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This is the best time to start a healthier diet – tips from nutritionist Angelika Zsigovits

An original KÖZGAZDÁSZ ONLINE post.

The internet is full of information about what not to eat or which food causes cancer. Needless to say that the majority of these videos and articles are fake. It is much more useful to concentrate on what to eat, what is a healthy diet like which we can stick to even while studying or working, and which we can experiment with now, while staying at home.

As a nutritionist, what are the most common issues that your clients have?

I often see that some important macro nutrients are missing from their diet, and they get their information from the wrong sources. For example, they tell me that carbohydrates are totally wrong and should be burnt at the stake. The problem with this is that blood sugar levels will become so low that you instantly need some fast absorbing carbs, and that’s when you grab a sweet snack.

How can you avoid this?

You should consume slow absorbing carbohydrates, ones that are rich in fiber and minerals, these can be a new style garnishes, for example, bulgur, wheat, millets, quinoa, or even brown rice or durum pasta. If you include these in your diet, you will have a lot more energy during the day. I know that the chocolate is very enticing, but try to avoid it. The reason why slow carbs are good is that the blood sugar level stays more stable and you will stop craving sweets. Of course, you need some adaptation period here.

Many university students eat unhealthy, why do you think this happens?

For many people the first really stressful situations in their lives occurs during their university studies and this may be hard to handle. It does matter whether your response to this is sports, or drinking and smoking. When talking about addictions you also have to see that your tolerance level will rise and, for example, caffeine will be less effective after a while. Your original goal has not been reached, so now you need to find a completely different solutions, but this requires effort. My older clients often tell me that their harmful dieting habits occurred when they were students. It is never too late to change, but the later you start the harder it will be. If you don’t transform your diet while you are young you will have even less time to do it later.

Is getting hooked on a less harmful alternative a good idea?

There is such an abundance of information that we stopped listening. I can give you less harmful alternatives, but you will only listen if you really want to change. I often see that without eliminating the root cause, and a thorough explanation nothing will work. If you do not understand why you should change, you will not.

You should avoid arriving at the point when there is serious trouble and you get scared, but unfortunately most people need this rock bottom stage to start to change.

When your body tells you this has to stop.

What are the signs?

I can give you my own example: I used to work at a club as a bartender and I used to drink a lot of energy drinks. This happened about ten years ago. One morning I woke up to such heart palpitations that I started to panic, and was just sitting and crying. I got really scared and that is when I decided to give up that habit.

How can you stay energetic all day?

I try to eat well. You can, for example, start making shakes for yourself at home. There can be a small ritual for this: I love cutting up my fruits while listening to music and watch my mix get ready. A little ginger, some matcha powder, this little ritual can be a new habit, which is even healthy. You do not need to do it every day, but if you do it regularly it will become a habit in about one, one and a half months.

If I get a craving during the day what can I eat?

In case you get cravings, you can have a muesli bar or some oily seeds. Of course, you need to be careful not to eat a whole pack of them in one sitting.

Nothing is forbidden as long as you refrain from eating very high caloric, sugary pieces of chocolate too often.

My favorite snacks by the way are crackers and millet balls, these are great. Then there are sugar free products, you can have those sometimes. When you eat fruits, for example apples or bananas, it is a good idea to have something on the side that will slow down absorption, let's say something rich in fiber, like oily seeds. As a result, our blood sugar level will stay more stable and we can go longer without eating.

What is your advice to those who are uncertain about change?

Weight gain is not because you eat white bread, it is because you eat and move irregularly, eat a lot of snacks between meals, don’t get enough sleep and start your day with an energy drink on an empty stomach.

Learn to cook and prepare your meal for the next day, which is a lot healthier, as well as cheaper. What is more, you will know exactly what you are eating!


Written by: Viktor Bera

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