It’s just over a month until Christmas, and many of us are preparing for the inevitable feasting and post-holiday detoxing that will ensue. The truth is, living in a place where eating is a national pastime, the cycle of binging and dieting has become part of daily life. We propose a long-term solution: The Home Kitchen Edit.
An initiative of COMO Shambhala Urban Escape in cooperation with top nutritionist Eve Persak, The Home Kitchen Edit isn’t the intimidating overhaul that promises quick fixes. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. “It’s all about incremental results, and starting something you can stick to,” Eve stresses.
This lifestyle change begins with a good, hard look in the mirror. It requires a comprehensive one-on-one consultation with Eve—mine lasted for 2.5 hours—where you talk about a typical day in terms of eating and exercise, medical history and more. Unlike most first dates, I recommend putting your worst foot forward as an honest and clear picture of your diet and state of health would lead to better, more sustainable results. After the assessment, Eve visits your home and kitchen then prepares a tailored grocery list so you can slowly replace the Kettle chips in your pantry with almonds, walnuts… essentially better options.
Though The Home Kitchen Edit is a thoroughly personal experience, we learned five rules from the nutritionist that showcases the laissez-faire yet empowering approach of this unique wellness programme.
Eat as often as you can and keep to a schedule
It sounds counterintuitive but eating every couple of hours helps boost your metabolism. “Think of your body as an engine—it’s better to constantly feed it than giving it large doses of food and encourage it to conserve energy,” shares Eve. Start with a healthy breakfast—think granola with banana—then make sure to snack in between mealtimes. Eve suggests training your body to know when food is coming by sticking to a routine. “Even with all the travelling I do, I always try to eat at a fixed time.”
Be prepared. Pack snacks!
A rumbling tummy defeats even the best intentions, so Eve suggests bringing something healthy with you at all times. A handful of nuts or a small portion of fruits in your bag is sure to stave off hunger as well as field distractions such as a freshly made cheese tart; there have been times we swore they were calling out our names. This requires a bit of discipline—shop for essentials over the weekend at SuperNature, for example, then prepare them in advance so you can grab and go during workdays. “Make small plastic containers your best friend as you can divide and store things in them easily. Also, never discount the power of a boiled egg—it’s easy, handy and fills you up quick.”
Allow yourself one treat a day
Similar to the idea of “cheat days”, giving yourself a treat every day diminishes the chance of binging. “This is a pretty simple rule that I got from my mum and it really works. If your poison is chocolate, choose the best one and make it count,” she advises. Having something to look forward to makes healthy eating less of a chore and all the more enjoyable.
Go organic for your main building blocks
Going 100 per cent organic can put a dent to your pocket as well as the variety of produce in your pantry. The second best thing, however, is choosing to go organic for the food you consume often. Determine which food items make up most of your daily diet and then switch to the organic versions. If your building blocks of milk, granola, and chicken are organic, your meals immediately become healthier in the process.
Savour every bite
As most of us will agree, food isn’t just a source of energy. Whether you’re having a Michelin-starred tasting menu or a simple meal you whipped up at home, “tasting your food with intention makes you appreciate it more,” she says. Go the extra mile by cooking—Eve recommends The Pleasures of Eating Well: Nourishing Favourites from the COMO Shambhala, a wellness-centric cookbook in which she served as the nutrition editor and consultant.
The Home Kitchen Edit is priced at SGD$650 for a two-hour consultation and is available at Como Shambhala Urban Escape. Lead image from Singapore Tatler Homes Archives | Photography: Michael Paul