63 days to optimum health
Sally-Ann Creed talks to Naomi Meyer about Creed’s book, 63 days to optimum health.
Hi Sally-Ann! We are nearing the end of February, nearly 63 days into the new year (roughly) ... and it’s time to discuss your book, 63 days to optimum health. Time for a fresh start! Let us start with the number 63. Why 63 days?
As explained in the book, it takes this amount of time to establish a new habit – 21 days to establish it, and a further 42 to entrench it, and thus a new neural pathway is formed.
Why did you decide to write this book?
It’s been on my mind for some time, to write a book where it’s a simple transition over time from eating a standard unhealthy diet to eating a healthy diet, to provide more radiant health.
What is your background: have you always lived a healthy life, and have you always made the right choices regarding food, sleep, work/life balance, not too much technology and stress-related matters? Or, was there ever a situation where you decided you had to change something in your life drastically in order for you to live your life to the optimum?
I have always tried to live a healthy life, but failed insomuch as nobody teaches us how to eat; so, I had to bumble along on my own until I met a doctor who knew about nutrition – Dr Robbie Simons. He led me back to health. I had to change my entire eating regime, cut out some foods I was intolerant to, and change my lifestyle completely. Now, my aim is to make sure that whatever goes into my mouth is nourishing and will “give” me something, not “take” from my health. I do try to keep a balance when it comes to work, sleep, etc – but, I confess I’m not quite there, yet! I have a very demanding job – but, I’m trying! I have banished phones and EMFs and anything that will interfere with my immune system, from the bedroom – we have a phone-free zone in the bedroom, and the phones are far away, at the other end of the house; I’m not a slave to my phone. I also stop work at a certain time to avoid too much “screen time”, and my husband and I only eat real food – we never have takeaways or junk food. We cook from scratch every night – and we won’t touch a microwave! It’s all old-fashioned cooking. You can cook a very nutritious meal in just half an hour from fresh ingredients; there’s no excuse.
In your book, you focus on planning. Why would you consider this of importance?
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail – life is too busy not to plan. By following the steps in the book, you ensure you have all you need, and are not tempted by other things. Planning ahead also takes the guesswork out of the everyday “What are we going to have for dinner?” too, and it’s far less stressful. It doesn’t take long, either – and it’s a form of self-discipline, something too many of us lack today.
As a matter of fact, what would you consider the most important matter, if somebody arrived at your door tired and stressed? Should this person attend to his eating, sleeping or work habits?
All of the above. But, the easiest and most effective is what goes into your mouth. The rest follows. It’s a process, though – what is most pressing for you? And, in the end, if you eat properly, you will sleep properly. Work habits are a different thing, depending on your job, etc. But, we can decide to eat well daily, and to wind down and be in bed early. We can control some things; other things, we cannot.
Right, after the brain gets the message that life can change for the better after these 63 days, does it become easier? To always make the right choices? (And is this not sometimes what you need: a bar of chocolate, a glass of wine?)
Yes, it is effortless after 63 days, so long as you are committed and don’t throw all that hard work away! Stay on track, burn your bridges – do whatever it takes to remain in this new state of health. One has to learn to make right choices; it’s a series of baby steps, and like anything worthwhile in this life, it takes time, commitment and determination. If you are in the right “head space”, you are ready to embark on this. A bar of chocolate and a glass of wine – yes, these are life’s little pleasures. But, when they become daily go-to comforters, this is a recipe for disaster. And, when you do indulge, make sure it is very seldom; have a very small portion/glass, and stop there. Otherwise, this begins a cycle of craving, which will take a while to overcome. Being healthy and – to quote a now well-worn cliché – living your best life, does take time and effort. If you don’t put in the effort and know why you are doing all this, you will fail. You have to realise you are worth more than junk food; you have a life ahead of you that you want to live to the fullest – not merely exist at a lower level of energy, feeling tired all the time and losing interest in everyday things. This is the outcome of a poor diet.
Most people in this country are poor. Some people eat lots of carbs because that simply is all they can afford. What are the best foods you can eat, if you are on an incredibly tight budget?
There’s no excuse. When you cut the rubbish out (which is not cheap), there is enough for good food. One can live very affordably on healthy veggies bought at supermarkets, cheaper cuts of meat, and healthy fat, like lard, which you render down yourself (one of the healthiest fats on the planet); eggs are an affordable form of protein, etc. You simply have to look at your budget and plan accordingly.
Do you think that not all fruit and vegetables are created equal? Why choose certain healthy foods above others?
The best we can do for our bodies is (a) grow our own organic vegetables – even if you only have a windowsill, you can still grow herbs or sprouts in the cupboard; (b) buy organic vegetables from markets or farmers; and (3) failing the first two, do what you can – and buy in bulk from supermarkets or markets. Some vegetables have been genetically modified; almost all our food is sprayed these days with fungicides, pesticides and waxes, so if we can afford to get the best, our bodies will thank us. It’s not always possible – it’s not a perfect world – you have to do the best you can under the circumstances.
Which foods are your favourites? And favourite recipes/meals?
I love simple food, real food, and as close to nature as possible. For example, roast vegetables with herbs, garlic and olive oil in the oven for 20 minutes, and then a piece of baked fish done on the shelf below that for 8 or so minutes in butter – it’s a meal fit for a king. We love to make our own healthy pizzas from cauliflower or coconut flour, and then put our favourite toppings on and serve with a huge and exciting salad! We drench the salad in extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, some chopped herbs from the garden, seeds, and every kind of salad veggie we can find. We add organic olives, sometimes a few walnuts, or even some pineapple – whatever we feel like – no two salads are ever the same! Salad is a place you can really experiment and have fun – find out which flavours and vegetables go well together – there are no rules! And salad goes with everything. I even have it for breakfast with boiled eggs, sometimes.
Remember the song called “Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen”? I see that your book mentions bad chemicals in certain kinds of sunscreen. The sunscreen component was the integral part of this song. What would you say is the integral part of obtaining optimum health, starting today?
Planning, determination to succeed and not only adding in the good things, but being mindful to avoid the bad ones. Remember, we have been lied to for decades – about butter, cholesterol, smoking, “healthy” foods, etc – we have to become food detectives. We have to be “hunter gatherers” – we need to hunt for truth and good food, then gather it and make it work for us – it can change your life. It changed mine.