Between stress, social pressure and ethical discussions, the 21st century has seen the rise of both eating trends and confusion about what we should be eating. Following the latest celebrity diet isn't always the right choice: you need to understand how to find your own balance with food.

What is best for every single one of us relies on our dietary requirements, lifestyle and goals. While for some the gym is a torture and relaxation is better achieved by reading a good book, for others exercise is a daily ritual that cannot be neglected. This same variation can be found in food.

Why I write about balance

Heema Gokani

Even though food has become one of the most talked-about trends, many still lack the ability to organise a balanced diet. Eating is a staple of our daily routines because it fuels our bodies and our minds — and this is why finding your own balance is so important.

A few years ago I was trying to detox my body. I went full vegetarian: the result was that I got incredibly sick. After several doctor's appointments, it became apparent that my body cannot digest fructose, meaning that I can never be vegan or vegetarian. 

vegetable, pasture
Heema Gokani

During the few weeks in which I followed that diet, both my physical and mental health started to worsen. I wasn't happy with my body; I wasn't happy with myself. I lacked the energy to go out and exercise or to even be in a good mood.

So what is balance?

bacon, beer, coffee, tea
Heema Gokani

You have probably read at least one article on how to find your own balance with food in your lifetime. While this article is more on positivity and acceptance, I feel the need to be clear on what balance is. Indeed, while I do not totally renounce to junk food, it is important to respect some boundaries in order to be healthy.

According to the NHS, in order to keep your body in good conditions you need to eat your 5 a day, drink plenty of fluids, and eat a little bit of everything — dairy or alternatives, starchy food, proteins (both from pulses and meats) and choose unsaturated oils. 

The same goes with sport and exercise. While it is perfectly acceptable that people find their own balance and relax in different ways, it is necessary, to keep your body and mind healthy, to get a daily dose of exercise. Even 10 minutes can make a difference!

Why is it so hard to achieve?

Heema Gokani

Now that you know the basis of a healthy life, you can concentrate on how to find your own balance with food and exercise. This is where it becomes more difficult because it's you — or your GP if you want professional advice — that needs to understand what is best for yourself. 

Never compare what makes you feel happy and healthy with someone else's lifestyle — it's absolutely pointless and could fill you up with unnecessary insecurities. 

#SpoonTip:  if you feel you're missing the target or have no idea what to do to reach your own balance, check out these NHS approved apps to help you during your journey.

Some like it different 

Mun Ling Koh

Having pointed out what everyone should do to have a basic, healthy life, it's time to think of how to reach your own balance. As I've already explained, even the basics can differ from one person to another. Having 5 a day is impossible for me — but I nonetheless keep a healthy diet.

When deciding on what to and not to eat — whether it is for personal preference or for ethical reasons — it's important that you know how to get all the nutrients you need. If you decide to, say, eat ice cream for breakfast to get an energy boost, then be careful to have balanced meals and snacks later on.

Balancing it all  

lettuce, tomato, salad, pepper, vegetable
Mun Ling Koh

While it is important to have solid basis on which to build and find your own balance — such as following the NHS guide list and practising daily exercise —  you must carefully modify your diet on your requirements and preferences. When it comes to preferences or ethical decisions, there is no completely right or wrong way to go. Remember that everyone has different situations and beliefs: as long as what they are doing is going to fuel them well, that's their choice.

Fruit and veggies, fish and meat, biscuits and burgers: everything can be eaten in the right amount and everything can make you feel good. There are no such things as "guilty pleasures" — food and guilt do not belong on the same page. So go treat your tastebuds and let your wellbeing flourish!