9 simple tricks to eat healthier from nutritional therapist Amelia Freer

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9 simple tricks to eat healthier from nutritional therapist Amelia Freer (LIFESTYLE/FOOD/WELLNESS)
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9 simple tricks to eat healthier from nutritional therapist Amelia Freer

1. Start Gradually

Amelia suggests a slow approach to cleaning up your diet. "Sam has been a client of mine, so he has had the personalized approach that I work with, but I took him through all of the steps of the book," Amelia shared. "Chapter one is very clear, it says just give up one thing. Just start gradually. We all know what our one thing is within our diet ... Maybe we feel overwhelmed and try to be perfect, so instead of trying to do everything at once, just [choose] one thing and [start] gradually with that."

Photo Credit: Amelia Freer

2. Cut Down on Sugars

As Amelia points out, studies consistently show that excess sugar is detrimental to all areas of our health. "Very gradually, very subtly, over the last 20 or 30 years, our diets have become higher and higher and higher in hidden sugars, and that really comes from the low-fat, fat-free dieting generation," Amelia shares. "Instead of looking at the sugars that we’re eating, we’ve been focusing on the fats that we’re eating, and science is really starting to show that that’s been a little bit misguided."

However, Amanda recognizes that this doesn't mean all fats are good for you or that everyone should be on a high fat diet. "[It's about] becoming aware of where the hidden sugars are, and just understanding that sugar has many, many different disguises," she suggests. "There [are] artificial sugars, there [are] natural sugars, like fructose for example, found in fruits, and then there [are] the sugars that all carbohydrates get converted into. I think nowadays our diets have just become incredibly high [in] carbohydrates, high [in] natural sugars and high [in] artificial sugars. So we just need to be reducing all of them in all categories."

Photo Credit: Alamy

3. Eat Healthy Fats

While you should cut down on excess sugar in your diet, Amelia recommends eating more healthy fats. "When I refer to good fats it’s really just fats that are found naturally in foods," she shares. This includes oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and coconuts. "The fats that we really want to be avoiding are factory-made, processed fats. We know that they’re not actually beneficial for our health," Amelia shares.

Photo Credit: Getty

4. Be Conscious About What You're Eating

Amelia recognized that the foods affecting her consisted of cow's dairy and sugar, so those are the foods she consistently avoids. Doing so has had the biggest impact on her health. So she recommends that people really get in touch with the foods that they're eating, and recognizing where it comes from. Ask yourself: Does this resemble anything like its original source? 

"That really goes back to cooking your food from scratch," Amelia shares. "So the more and more that I can encourage people to make their food from scratch, I think generally they’ll be eating healthier foods, and that will be the starting point...I think it has to be a bit of a gradual journey. It certainly was for me."

Photo Credit: Amelia Freer

5. Cut Down on Snacking

"If you remove the snacking, it’s amazing how much you just cut down on what you’re eating overall," Amelia suggests. She says that this can be a gradual journey. So maybe you start off by reducing the amount you're eating hour by hour, and have a snack every three hours. She recommends a healthy snack like a piece of fruit, with maybe five or six nuts.

"It’s a little bit of healthy carbohydrate and a little bit of protein. That’s the ideal...But again, it’s about making sure that the sugar content, even the fruit content, is low. Something that I would occasionally have would be a slice of chicken leftover from the night before with some cherry tomatoes," she shares.

While Amelia says that the general rule would be a little bit of protein and a little bit of healthy carbohydrate when it comes to snacking, your ultimate goal should be to wean yourself off of snacks. "We can train our bodies if we’re eating the right things," she says.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

6. Cut Down on Caffeine

Think you can't live without your morning cup of joe? You can, and according to Amelia, it may be a good idea to cut back. However, there are studies that show the benefits of natural caffeine, so the way you approach it should be what works for you personally. Amelia points out that if you know you get addicted to caffeine or that it doesn't agree with you, you may want to consider it as your "one thing" to give up when starting the process of transforming your diet.

"I personally love a good quality cup of black coffee in the morning, but I only have one, and I make sure that I get the best quality coffee I can have...I think it’s an individualized approach because there are benefits to caffeine. I just think [it's okay] as long as people aren’t using it as a prop [or] as a supplement all day long to avoid stresses, or avoid emotions, and they [aren't] using it in an unhealthy way."

If you know you're the kind of person who can consume caffeine without becoming addicted, you should feel fine having a cup of coffee or tea. But if you do, you should keep it clean, Amelia says. "Good coffee shouldn’t need to be sweetened, and it shouldn’t need to have anything added to it like milk. Keeping it clean is having it black," she shares.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

7. Incorporate Exercise

We know that exercise is good for us when it comes to everything from our mental health to our energy and our joints as we age. However, Amelia reminds us that over-exercising isn't the way to transform your lifestyle, which is why she always starts her clients with focusing on their diet.

"I don’t believe that you can out train a bad diet," she shares. "I think so many people tend to over-exercise, thinking that it then gives them the green light to eat as much as they want. So I’ll always start with clients [by] saying, 'Look, exercise is going to become very important in your life. It’s essential if you want to be well and healthy, but we’ve got to clean up your diet first.'"

Amelia also points out that if you're going to exercise, you should enjoy it. There's no point in exercising if you're hurting yourself. "It’s about finding something that you enjoy, because you’re more likely to make it a habit if you enjoy it. For example, I can’t stand being in a gym. I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve hated it. For me, I need to be outdoors, I need to make it social, I need to make it fun and I need to make it short so I can fit it into my life.

"Everyone is so different and it has to be a personalized approach. I never want to seem like I’m giving ‘everyone needs to do this, my way or the highway’ advice, because I think that that’s really disempowering and it’s the opposite of what I’m trying to achieve with my book."

Photo Credit: Alamy

8. Start Cooking from Scratch

Part of transforming your diet is learning to make food that's clean. In Amelia's book, she shares recipes that can help you get started. "I absolutely love my chicken nuggets with the mango salsa," she shares. "I created that recipe because my niece and nephew love junk food. Chicken nuggets [are] their favorite, and I thought 'I’ve got to nail this. I’ve got to create a meal that they will actually eat without thinking that it’s healthy.'"

Amelia also loves her beef curry. "I always cook it when I have friends around for dinner. It’s just for me [the] ultimate comfort food, and it feels like you’re having something satisfying and filling, and it almost feels naughty instead of having a takeaway. "

Photo Credit: Amelia Freer

9. The biggest takeaway from her book

If you take one thing from Amelia's book, she'd want it to be that you start to connect more with the food you're eating and become more conscious about it. Instead of having a coffee just because you're bored or having a bagel because it's offered in a meeting, think to yourself, 'Do I need this?' 'Do I want this?' 'How is it making me feel?'

"That’s the sort of umbrella for every single chapter of the book," Amelia says. "It brings people back to those moments, whether it be cooking from scratch or just deciding to start with a healthy breakfast."

Amelia gets emails from readers thanking her for helping them to clean up their diet slowly and gradually and not making it complicated or seem terrifying. For her, receiving these notes is "just a dream come true, because that’s exactly what I set out to start with when writing the book."

Photo Credit: Amelia Freer

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When Amelia Freer was in her early 20s living and working in London, she was eating what she thought was a normal diet. She'd grab a croissant on the way to work, drink a lot of tea with sugar, buy a sandwich at lunchtime, and then grab a takeaway meal in the evening. She started to get terrible acne and began having digestive issues. "I was constantly bloated and in pain ... and always exhausted. I just wasn't a vibrant young 20 year old girl," she shared.

It was only when a good friend of hers mentioned that she may want to look at what she was eating that she became more aware of her relationship with food. She booked an appointment with a nutritional therapist, and that was the start of her journey. "I realized that I was completely unconscious about what I was eating," she said. "I started to make changes, and my health started to get better, and then I was hooked. I wanted to study it, so I went back to university and studied it for 4 years, and the rest is history. That was 10 years ago."

Now, Amelia works with many clients to give them the personalized nutrition guidance she believes everyone deserves. One of those clients is singer Sam Smith, who publicly praised Amelia's new book, 'Eat. Nourish. Glow.,' on Instagram.


Amelia's book highlights her 10 principles of eating. "As my practice got busier and busier, I realized there are so many hours in the day, and [only] so many clients I can see," she said. Amelia established the fundamental basics she consistently repeats to clients to help them improve or change, and figured out how to generalize them in a way that could help people get on track with their diets.

"It's very difficult to write a book in the sort of personalized way that nutritional therapists work, but I decided to kind of look at what am I consistently suggesting with clients, and that's how the 10 chapters of the book came up," she shared. "If you can't go to see a nutritional therapist on your own, this is a sort of handheld approach to what I have found works the best with clients, and then by the time you've done these 10 chapters, you'll hopefully have cleaned up your diet and be feeling a lot better. And if you do have any symptoms left over, then that's what you need to take to the nutritional therapist's office."

Amelia shared with us a few of her principles, as well as some other takeaways from her book. Check out the slideshow above for 9 simple tricks to eat healthier.

Related video:

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