7 ways to shop healthy on a budget

Being on maternity leave, I need to watch my spending closely, including my grocery bill. I no longer splurge on expensive teas and gourmet jams but aside from that, I’m still able to shop healthy, after all, you are as healthy as what you put in your shopping trolley. Truth is, whether you’re a full-time student strapped for cash or a pensioner looking to save money, grocery shopping on a budget is a great skill to have. Unfortunately, while junk foods are notorious for being cheap, healthy food often gets a bad rap when it comes to affordability.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s definitely possible to shop healthy and make healthy and delicious food on a budget even if you run short of time. Of course, this will take a bit of forward planning but if follow these steps, you will set yourself up for success.


1. Plan your meals

Planning your meals is a key part of staying on budget. Spend an hour a week planning your meals for the following week and then write up a shopping list. Ensure you check your kitchen to see what foods you currently have – don’t let a bag of rice or piece of garlic go to waste. Try to incorporate ingredients you already have in your pantry in your meal plan. Only buy what you will definitely use, so you won’t end up throwing things away.

2. Steer clear of snacks

Once you’re in the grocery store, make sure you stick to your shopping list! Don’t let yourself give in to the temptation of biscuits and potato chips (pro tip: don’t go shopping on an empty stomach). Not only that snacks tend to be quite expensive for what they are, and even the so called ‘healthy snacks’ tend to be borderline junk food. Snacking can easily become an unhealthy habit and is an easy way to spend a lot of money without getting any solid nutrition.

3. Eat at home

Cooking at home is far cheaper than eating out (take it from someone who knows!). You can typically feed a family of four at home for the same price as you can get a takeout meal for one or two. If cooking is a hassle for you, make a double batch every time you cook or make your meals in bulk on a Sunday and freeze them so that you can simply pop portions in the microwave for dinner throughout the week. Eating at home also comes with the benefit of knowing exactly what’s in your meal. 

4. Buy generic brands

I’m a big fan of buying home brand or generic brands for pantry staples. They offer a cheaper alternative to national brands and are often just as good. All food manufacturers are required to uphold strict food safety standards which means that you can be assured that the products you buy are of good quality, regardless of the brand.

5. Buy on sale

This one is thanks to a colleague of mine who always check the weekly catalogues to see what’s on specials, before she does her groceries. Stock up on your favourite products when they go on sale, especially things that has extended shelf life, like sugar, detergent, canned food tend to last for months or years. Canned beans, for example, can last for months (even years) and can be used as the base of a HelloFresh dinner.

6. Buy wholesome, less processed foods

Less processed foods tend to be cheaper, healthier and more filling than processed foods – for instance, rolled oats are cheaper than instant oats, and dried beans are cheaper than canned ones. Wholesome foods like whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables are a great way to eat healthy without breaking the bank.

7. Buy frozen fruit and veggies

Given that fresh fruit and vegetables only really stay in season for a few months each year, buying fresh can end up being pretty costly. And just like how you can buy fresh to freeze, you can also buy frozen, instead of fresh. Frozen produce gives you taste and nutrition without the hefty price tag – and you can store them for months at a time without worrying about them wilting or going mouldy! Frozen fruit works great in baking, smoothies and as toppings for cakes or muesli, while frozen veggies are an easy way to liven up soups and stir-fries. 


Eating healthy on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be well on your way to living a healthier lifestyle. And if you’re up for it, growing your own fruit and veg at home can help you save money, too!

Hope this post inspires you to start shopping healthily, no matter how tight your budget is. If you have any other tips, let me know! I’d love to hear from you.  


Keren x


Speaking Lessons

Lessons from Speakers Institute’s Weekend Premier Bootcamp

Have you ever been so nervous you can’t hear yourself because you heart was beating so fast and so loud?

I hadn’t, not until a few weeks ago at the Speaker’s Institute’s Premiere Bootcamp.

Honestly, I’ve never been interested in speaking on stage. I’m more into one on one conversations or talking to a small group of people in an intimate setting. But I’ve always wanted to become a better storyteller and have more confidence when I speak. I think being able to speak with influence is a great skill to have and that is why I went to this bootcamp: simply to be better than before.

I’m glad I did.  I learned so much during this bootcamp and met so many wonderful people. I learned not just how to speak better, but also about myself, my fears and my abilities. I also learned a bit about recycling technology, health and nutrition, physiotherapy, psychology, recycling technology, ocean conservation, agile software, and so much more!

The wonderful people at September 2018 Premiere Bootcamp

Today I thought I’d share some of the key lessons I learned from this transformative event. But first, let me tell you how I got there in the first place.

As with many people who were at the bootcamp, I went to Sam Cawthorn’s one-day free “StoryShowing” event back in June after being invited by my friend Stella, who, I can safely say, is an event junkie. But the event was so impressive that I signed up to their paid weekend bootcamp event on the spot. Already I learned valuable lesson number one – the free event ‘funnel’ works.

Honestly, I think I waited way too long for the bootcamp. Owning to prior commitments, I chose a date that was four months ahead. By then, the excitement from the one-day event had already worn off and the thought of spending the whole weekend learning to ‘speak’ (not to mention the gruesome 8am-8pm daily schedule) was becoming less and less appealing. Thankfully, I had the best accountability buddy in the world: Money. The only thing that kept me from bailing out was the fact that I had already paid for this event, and it wasn’t cheap.

And so, I went, completely unprepared. I had selected a topic to speak about, but apart from that, had done zero practicing or rehearsing. Day one was the worst. I completely flunked it on stage. I felt completely out of my depth, stupid, and scared.  It is quite ironic really, because my talk was about embracing the “comfort zone” and – yet there I was, in the most uncomfortable position I could ever imagine, and failing miserably.

However, through this experience, I gained so much clarity not just on my idea, but also with the best way to convey it. Every day of the bootcamp I had to got to speak on stage. And every day I was able to refine my message through feedback from expert speakers and other fellow students. The best feedback I received was from one of the students who said that with my first talk, he disagreed with my idea completely. For the second talk he was not fully convinced but thought that there was something there. But with the third and final speech, he was completely on my side. Same idea, same message, different speaker – me, version 2.0. And with that said, here are the key things that I’ve learned that completely transform me as a speaker, as a storyteller, as an influencer, as an individual. Are you ready?!

 1. It’s not about you. It’s never about you.

This was the biggest lesson from my first talk, after I completely bombed.

Imagine this, you’re standing on stage in front of strangers, eyes looking at you, a big digital clock counting down, you’ve forgotten your next line and your hands and legs are trembling. You’re terrified. You don’t want to look stupid. You don’t want to look bad. And you start saying ‘stuff’.

The more you’re trying to make yourself look good, the more nervous you become. You become obsessive with trying to remember every single word, and when you don’t (and trust me, it will happen), you’ll get even more nervous and start saying things that don’t make sense. Game over.

But it’s not about you. You need to free yourself of the fear that you might fail, that you might look like a fool, that you might bomb. Because your audience don’t really care about you, they only care about your message, and how it can help them.

If you forget about your own ego and start thinking about your audience, the people you’re talking to, and how you can give them something valuable to go home with, that’s when you start becoming a better speaker. And it’s quite liberating, really.

“Stop focusing on trying to look good/avoid looking bad and start focusing on making a difference.”

2. Speak from the heart.

I know this sounds very cliched and hippie-like. As a scientist and a professional auditor, I struggled with this idea myself. I am pro-fact, evidence-based, and head-first. In my line of work, I assess and review evidence and facts, not what people say or ‘feel’.

But as I dig deeper into this idea, the more I see the point, especially if you want to be an effective storyteller, or an influencer.  Studies have shown that buying decisions are made based on emotion and not logic. Even with what we believe are logical decisions, there is always an emotional part (or whole) made by our subconscious mind. Our conscious mind then uses our logic to justify that decision.

As a speaker, understanding this is essential. Especially when you’re trying to get others to support your idea. You need to connect with your audience by speaking not just to their rational minds, but also to their emotions and their subconscious mind.

‘How to speak from the heart?’ I hear you ask. Well, here’s how you can do it:

  1. Tell a genuine story from your personal life. “There was this one time when I…”
  2. Connect the story with your message. “That’s when I realised….”
  3. Explain how your message can benefit your audience. “This can help you with…”

When you speak from the heart you build a deeper connection with your audience. They’ll be able to relate to you, buy into your idea or see your point of view. It can be scary to talk about some of these personal stories but often, the reason is because of how significant it was for you. And if it was significant for you, chances are, it will be for others too.

3. Notes will f*** you up

If you want to be a better speaker, you must get rid of your notes. Though I get that they might provide you with some level of security and comfort, at the end of the day you (should) already know what your message is. You don’t need your notes, truly. If you absolutely need to have them, then make them talk points, not a script to read from. And if you’re worried that you’re going to forget, stumble and look like an idiot without your notes, go back to point number 1.

I saw first-hand how this played out during the bootcamp. I remember it very clearly.  It was day 2 of the bootcamp. Everyone had to do their six-minutes talk on stage. One of my fellow students went on stage and he had his notes with him. You could tell that he was nervous. He was started reading from his notes, and then went off for a while, and when he returned to the notes in his hands, he looked like he might have lost his place among his notes. There was this long awkward pause, and the speaker was getting more and more nervous with every second that passed. I could feel the suspense as the room was dead silent and everyone was waiting to see what he was going to do next.

And then something drastic happened. He tossed his notes onto the table in front of him in frustration. He shook himself and then just started talking. In that moment something changed. He was a completely different speaker. The difference was night and day. He was more ‘himself’, his voice got louder, he became more relaxed and he was much enjoyable to listen to. At the end of the talk someone asked him why he threw away the notes. He said, ‘the notes f-ed me up, man!”. He already knew what he wanted to say. His notes were holding him back!

There are so many more gold nuggets I’d love to share with you, but hopefully these three will get you off to a good start. Whether you need to present at work, give a talk at your local community, or even pitch a holiday idea to your partner, I think it’s worth honing your speaking skills. If nothing else, it makes you feel more confident and comfortable whenever you speak in front of crowd, and that, my friend, is a wonderful feeling.

Yours sincerely,


Passionately Kere

4 Important Life Skills I Learned from Being a Vegan

A week ago I celebrated the four years anniversary of becoming a vegan. Four years! Four very humbling, challenging, eye-opening, thrilling, wonderful years. I’ve learned so much from this journey that I thought the best way to celebrate my anniversary might be by sharing some of the skills I’ve learnt from my four-years (and counting) vegan journey.

Passionately Keren

To be honest, transitioning to a vegan lifestyle wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as difficult as what most people think either. I love exploring new ways of cooking and veganising old favourites, and I love feeling healthier and more fulfilled, and knowing that I’m doing something good, not just for my body, but for the animals and the environment.

My goal with this post is not to convince you to go vegan (although if you do decide to pursue that path, I’ll be jumping up in joy!). My goal simply is to share with you some of the valuable life skills I’ve learned from the last four years. Skills that you too can acquire, should you so choose.

I have to say that I feel a little uncomfortable sharing this post because deep down, I don’t feel like I’m a good enough vegan – I still own and wear a lot of my leather accessories from my pre-vegan days, I still make mistake and let egg and dairy slip into my meals sometimes, and I still have immense abhorrence towards cockroaches. I mean, I bomb them every three months and I don’t think that’s a very vegan thing to do.

But we can only do our best right? And I believe that I am doing my best at this time. I also believe that it is better to do something, however imperfect it might be, than doing nothing at all. And so here I am doing something, and it has served me well. This post itself is a testimony to all the life skills I’ve acquired, in particular Life Skill # 2, # 3 and perhaps a bit of #4.

Here they are.

Life Skill #1 – Empathy

What is Empathy? Merriam Webster defines it as “understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another … [being] without having [those] feelings … fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner”.

Empathy is at the core of a vegan lifestyle. Once we’ve learned about the cruelty involved in factory farming, or the harmful impact meat consumption has on the environment, we stop consuming animals. We now understand what these animals have to go through in order for us to enjoy our burgers and steaks. Even though we don’t know them by name, even though they can’t express their pain the way we do, we still can feel their pain.

Vegans are not only empathetic towards animals; we’re empathetic towards humans, too. And this is not just my words. One study reveals, through brain scans, that vegans and vegetarians are indeed more empathetic to human and animal suffering than omnivores.

Empathy is one of the most important life skills you can have as a social creature. It allows you to connect better with people, understand them more fully, and deal with them more effectively. Empathy facilitates greater communication and helps you understand what drives people, what motivates them, what makes them tick.

Empathy helps you become more compelling, more convincing, and more encouraging. It makes you a better leader, a better employee, a better colleague, a better friend, a better partner, a better daughter, a better son, and a better human being, overall. It’s a nice side effect to feeling great physically, don’t you say?

Life Skill #2 – Vulnerability

Being a vegan helps me become more vulnerable, which is not something that comes naturally to me. Growing up, I’ve always guarded myself against rejection, or the potential of being rejected, ridiculed or mocked.

I’ve always had a soft spot for animals. In fact, I first became a vegetarian when I was eight years old, after watching the movie Babe. It only lasted a few months as my mother convinced me that Babe was not real and that animals don’t feel the way we feel. And because I couldn’t resist her delicious spaghetti bolognaise.

Being vulnerable is about being authentic, honest and true to yourself: not just revealing the pretty and shiny part of yourself, but all of you. Putting all your feelings and hopes on the line. As a woman (and with Asian heritage) this can be extremely difficult, as we’ve always been taught that vulnerability is a weakness, not strength.

Truth is, there is nothing more vulnerable than announcing to the world – to your non-vegan friends and loved ones – that you will change the way you eat, that you will no longer eat meat, chickens, fish, cheese, eggs, dairy, the kind of foods that you used to enjoy together, that you value the lives of the animals more than you value sharing those plates with them, that some of your principles no longer align with theirs, that you are now… a vegan.

It was one of the very few times where I was vulnerable by choice, and willingly opened myself up to judgement, criticism, and rejection.

Being a vegan has been a gateway for me to practice vulnerability, at every function, at every social gathering, every time I make new friends, or when I enter a new work environment. Practice, practice, practice. It’s not always easy, but it does get easier each time. And I’m all the better for it.

Passionately Keren

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brene Brown.

Skill #3 – Courage

Courage is not the absence of fear, rather, it is the ability to do something despite of that fear.

Stereotypically, courage is often represented as stoicism and a projection of invulnerability. But this is not true courage. True courage is opening yourself up to vulnerability, recognising the fear, embracing it, and saying, “this feels scary, but I’m going to do it, anyway.”

“You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.” Brene Brown

The last four years as a vegan have strengthened my tiny courage muscles in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined.

It took courage to ask the receptionist at work to fill the office fridge with dairy-free milk.

It took courage to ask for a customised meal at the restaurant for the first time.

It took courage to refuse food that my mum made for me, food that I used to love.

It took courage to announce my new lifestyle to my meat lover friends, which was pretty much everyone I knew.

It took courage to say no to cruelty, and yes to compassion and kindness.

And these tiny acts of bravery has helped me with other big decisions I’ve made in my life; like shutting down my four year food blog to start a vegan food blog from scratch; like asking for a pay rise at work; like quitting my cushy corporate job to spend time with my family overseas; and like starting my own business.

Who knew one could practice courage by simply changing what they eat?

“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Skill #4. Not giving a damn

Previously a chronic people-pleaser, being a vegan fixed me right up.

I used to buy ‘things’ to fit in, talk in a certain way, do things I didn’t like, and say things I didn’t really mean simply to try and make people like me.

I used to feel upset when way people looked at me a certain way (or if they didn’t look at me in the first place), if they didn’t ask me about my weekend, compliment my new dress, or ask me to join them for lunch. I used to care about all that stuff.

And then I became a vegan and I stopped giving a damn.

Passionately Keren

How? Why?

I believe it is because I no longer felt part of the existing social construct so I stopped feeling the need to impress people who still abided by that construct (i.e. almost everyone I knew). Instead, I started focusing on how I could be a more effective human, in my own right, and how to get the most out of this one life that I’ve been given.

And the last four years have taught me that the only thing you can control is yourself, what you do, how you think, who you choose to see. The rest is out of your hands, so why waste your energy worrying about it?

Does it really matter if people think I’m a bleeding-heart weirdo, if I don’t get invited to certain dinner parties because I’m a vegan, if people criticise me for still wearing my old leather shoes and bags after all this time, or if nobody like my photos on Instagram?

The truth is, there are so many more important things in life than all the superficial details and trivialities we all cling onto – our vain feelings, our pride, our ego.

It’s not that I don’t give a damn about everything, it’s that I’m picking my spots and only give a damn about things that truly matter, the big things, the important things. Health. Family. Friends. Loved Ones. Values. Purpose. Pancakes.

The less damn I give, the happier I become.

Passionately Keren

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. If you’re a vegan, let me know what other life skills you have gained from this lifestyle in the comment section below. And if you’re not, what skills do you think you would gain, if you choose to experiment with this lifestyle?

Keren x

15 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Mental Health

“They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me.”
― Nathaniel Lee

To celebrate Mental Health awareness week in Australia, and the National Mental Health day on Tuesday 10th October, I thought I’d share with you some fun ways you can boost your mental health. But first, let’s clear up some confusion, shall we? What is Mental Health?

What Mental Health is NOT

The term mental health is often misunderstood. I too have been guilty of misrepresenting it. For a long time, when people talk about mental health, I think about a particular mental health condition, such as paranoia schizophrenia as depicted in the movie A Beautiful Mind, which by the way, is a very good movie; or clinical depression, which is another common (if misunderstood) condition.

But mental health is not about mental condition or illnesses or the absence of these conditions.

What is Mental Health?

According to the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

So it is the combination of our emotional and psychological well-being. It affects how we feel, how we think and how we function in the society.

It is more about wellness rather than being about illness.

I like this explanation from Beyond Blue:

“…it’s important to remember that mental health is complex. The fact that someone is not experiencing a mental health condition doesn’t necessarily mean their mental health is flourishing. Likewise, it’s possible to be diagnosed with a mental health condition while feeling well in many aspects of life. Ultimately, mental health is about being cognitively, emotionally and socially healthy – the way we think, feel and develop relationships – and not merely the absence of a mental health condition.”

Why we need to look after our mental health

When we look the true definition of mental health, it is clear that keeping in good mental health is vital in order to function at your utmost in life.

It can be very easy to dismiss the idea of maintaining a good mental state if you haven’t had to go through difficult times. If you have had some hard knocks or you’ve experienced traumatic events, then you’ll know how important this can be.

Think of mental health like your physical health, but for the mind. And just like your physical health, if you want to improve your mental fitness, you have to do the work!

And that brings us here, to a list of things you can do to boost your mental health. If you can make time to go to the gym, then you sure can make time for some of these activities, especially since they’re all fun!

15 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Mental Health

  1. Watch a feel-good movie
  2. Take that class that you’ve always wanted to take, just for fun (such as an art drawing class)
  3. Paint, draw, write or do something creative
  4. Eat something you absolutely love
  5. Spend some time outside in nature or visit a museum or a gallery
  6. Pat a pet, or your friend’s pet, or a stranger’s dog at the park
  7. Do something fun or silly that makes you happy
  8. Spend time with close friends and other people who lift you up
  9. Enjoy a long bath or shower
  10. Wear something that makes you feel and look great (the two go hand in hand, by the way- if you look good, you’ll feel good as well)
  11. Do a mini spring clean and find things to donate to the less fortunate
  12. Learn yoga and mindfulness practice
  13. Read your favourite book
  14. Exercise (think of fun exercises like rock climbing, dancing, martial arts, pole dancing?)
  15. Play – whatever that might look like to you

If the list above sounds unexpectedly simple, that’s because it is. Self-care, social interaction, and play are all simple but oh-so-vital to maintaining your good mental health.

Please note that if you are non-neurotypical, or suffering from a debilitating mental illness, or simply feel overwhelmed by the above list and the potential of not being able to achieve many of the activities. Don’t stress. These are just suggestions. Just try to pick one of the activity if you have the energy and don’t feel defeated if you can’t. You might even have other things you love to do that is not on this list.

On that note, what are your favourite things to do for mental health? Do share them in the comment section below.

Keren x

If you need any mental health advice or support in Australia, visit Beyond Blue – they have a great library of resources on their website and a good support network.

Disclaimer: The content provided in this post is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

5 Tips On How To Get Rid Of Food Guilt

Guilt: A cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a moral standard and bears significant responsibility for that violation. (source:  Wikipedia)


I used to feel guilty after eating… Maybe not all the time, but a lot of the time

I would feel guilty after eating some chips at a party or some ice-cream after dinner. At one point I even started to feel guilty after eating bread!

It’s a tricky situation because on one hand I knew that I shouldn’t be so harsh on myself. Afterall, I eat fairly well most of the time and I exercise regularly too. But on the other hand I just couldn’t help myself.

So I decided to do something about it.

How t

I mean, as I food blogger I’m continually surrounded by food. I cook them, shoot them, photograph them, talk about them, and eat them. It’s what I love to do.

So I want to, I need to, stop beating myself up everytime I eat something more that a salad or a smoothie. I need to be at peace with myself and with the food I’m eating, whatever it might be.

Though it’s still an ongoing journey for me, I can gladly say that I’ve made huge progress. No more self-loathing and shame after eating, well, most of the time anyway. Occasionally shame creeps in, but I can quickly recognise it’s face and kick it out the door. What’s interesting is that, since I made a conscious effort to stop feeling guilty after eating, I’ve eaten less bad food as a result. Go figure.

So I thought I should share some of the lessons I’ve learned from overcoming this ‘food guilt’. If you have guilt and shame issue in relation to food (or you know someone who does), this post might be helpful to you. You too can free yourself of shame and self-loathe after eating anything. No complicated formula, just a few simple tips and tricks.

But first, let’s dig down to the root of the problem.

Why do people feel guilty after eating?

I think it all boils down to these two things:

  1. They don’t feel like they deserve or have earned the meal
  2. They ate something they themselves or the society, generally, label as ‘bad’

When you eat something that you haven’t ‘earned’ or think as ‘bad’ food, you feel like you have rebelled against your better judgement and it triggers that feeling of guilt.

On top of that, our parents, TV, and magazines are all telling that we need to ‘watch what we eat’, ‘not eat too much or we’ll get fat’, and we should be ‘good’.

And we know than when they say ‘good’. They don’t just mean being healthy, but also being ‘slim’.

No wonder so many women around the world have food guilt issues!

But here’s the truth. And it is also the reason why I no longer feel guilty after eating, be it a bowl of ice-cream at 11pm or a warm choc chip hot cross bun slathered thickly with vegan butter…hmmm.

The truth is that: Your health is not defined by just one meal. It is defined by everything else you do. Like getting enough sleep for example, or exercising, or if you’re me, spending an hour every Sunday making green smoothies for the week ahead.

Sure there’s always something ‘better’ or ‘healthier’ to eat. But if you’ve already plan on having pizza night with your friends, then you may as well enjoy it. Tomorrow is a new day. The next meal is a new day.

That said, I believe that it also important to know the difference between feeling guilty to feeling ill, bloated or any other adverse physiological reactions your body have on a particular food, in which case you need to stop eating the food in question and consult your doctor!

As for the psychology part, here’s my tips for getting rid of your food guilt. They work for me so they may work for you too.

1. Earn your meal

If you don’t want to feel guilty after a meal, then you need to work for it. Make it a reward for a task, be it exercise, assignment or any task you wish to complete. It’s very simple and yet so effective. Just think of a celebratory lunch or dinner you had after completing an exam or a gruelling project. Did you feel bad after that event? Probably not.

I remember a couple of weeks ago I earned my weekend lunch (a burger and chips) by walking down to the beach (at least twenty minutes’ hustle) to get it, and then walking back uphill after. It felt good. It felt like I’ve earned my lunch and then some.

I also think that all that walking made food taste so much better. You know what they say, the greater the effort the sweeter the reward.

Try it. Next time you want to eat something indulgent, try to earn it and feel the difference.

2. Make it healthier

Most of the time you feel guilty when you’re eating junk food. So why not make it healthier so you can feel better about it?

And you don’t even have to make a massive change. It can be as small as reducing the portion size or making some minor adjustment to the meal.

Take a burger, for example. There’s no reason why you can’t make a burger healthier while still retaining the delicious taste: perhaps swap the burger patties with mushroom, or skip the burger bun, or ditch the dairy and replace it with hummus or avocado instead, or maybe you can simply ask for extra salad.

These changes, although small, can significantly reduce the guilt feeling you have after the meal.

3. Believe in yourself

In other words, follow your own intuition.

Would you believe if I say that when you allow yourself to can eat whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like it, you’ll end up wanting a variety of food, not just the bad stuff?

No? You don’t think you can be trusted? Then answer this question: “What do you normally have for breakfast”?

You know that you can have chocolate cake for breakfast everyday right? No one is preventing you.

The fact that most of us don’t eat chocolate cake everyday proofs that our intuition is working and that we all have the ability to listen to what our bodies needs. We just need to take those intuitions with us and pay more attention to it. Everything we crave is exactly what our bodies need, including that occasional chocolate bar.

4. See food differently

Food can mean so many things to people. But when it comes down to the basic definition of food, it just means sustenance. All the things we eat, we eat them to stay alive.

Though some food may give us more pleasure than basic survival needs, they all have the same purpose, to keep us moving. Just like the air we breathe and the water we drink.

When you see food in this way, you realise that there is no need to feel guilty over an indulgent meal. The energy has been transferred from the food to your body, your body will metabolise it as best it can and prepare itself for the next meal.

Life goes on. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to to nourish your body again, and again.

5. Be grateful

Last and not least, just be grateful.

Instead than feeling guilty after having a delicious dessert, be grateful for what you have – food.

Yes it is a cliché, but it is so for a reason. A lot of people can’t afford food let alone worry about calories, sugar, fat, grains, non-organic ingredients, whatever. Be grateful that you’re here now, able to eat and enjoy food. You’re still alive. Calories can be burned but you can’t re-live your life. So enjoy it.

And if you’re finding it hard to keep a positive mindset, then maybe learning about the Nocebo effect can change your mind.

Have you heard of Nocebo effect? It is essentially the opposite of Placebos. Placebos induce a positive, beneficial effect, Nocebos induce an adverse effect. And it’s all psychological! Cue the song Zombie here… ‘in your head….in your head… zombie.. zombie…zombie..’

So watch those thoughts. Don’t add unnecessary nocebo effects to your bodies. Better yet, embrace the placebo effect and believe that there’s nothing to worry about. And there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Because there is no shame in enjoying food.

I hope you’ve found this post helpful. With my wedding only three weeks away, this also serves me as reminder as I prepare for the day, to not stress out every time I indulge and eat a cookie here and there.

If you have any food guilt story or tips you wish to share, leave it in the comment below, I’d love to hear from you.