Welcome to Spice Verse!
My name is Altha and I love to cook super healthy food! If you want to know more about me: I studied Philosophy and I have a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Bristol. I’m a very curious person and I enjoy critical thinking. You will see my Instagram posts full of thoughts and sometimes my scrutinies about politics. Although I loved both schools of thought, I left Philosophy and Politics years ago realizing that the world’s problems are just man-made. I, therefore, concluded that life is better spent in creating more than thinking. This led me to create this blog and share cooking tips in a form of a personal online journal for our family’s everyday healthy meals. Friends and family members made me realize how food and behaviour are more interlinked than we previously thought. And now that I am a wife and a soon-to-be mom I am more inspired to create and share. At first, I started this blog so I can remember my recipes without having to painstakingly write them in a notebook. In 2015, I discovered Instagram and found so many people who are in love with fitness and want to look their best. Working out has become their lifestyle and eating super healthy food has become their way of life. It inspired me so much to prepare healthy organic food and share my own realizations about health, human nature, and life.
In the beginning, my husband and I just wanted to lose weight. We both got bigger because we were both foodies. One day, we were looking through our photos and we didn’t like the changes we saw. It’s hard when you can barely recognize yourself so my husband and I followed tips from famous fad diets. They didn’t work for us. Honestly, in our opinion, your food should not be determined by any diet fad. Each individual has his/her own genetic trait which makes every person truly unique. The diet that works for me doesn’t always work with my husband and it will definitely not necessarily work for you. So, if you are struggling with weight loss my best advice to you is: “Listen to your body”. It will tell you when something is wrong sometimes even immediately. Like when you eat bread and you feel and look bloated, you might be gluten intolerant like me. Start from listening to your body and eating what makes you feel and look good and then you can commit to the workout and exercises you enjoy. Gluten, by the way, is not your enemy but what “they” have done to wheat. As we were a few months on our lifestyle change I was inspired by the changes in my husband’s body so I watched everything closely and I noticed that eating whole foods is the best solution for weight loss. Stubborn fats don’t mean your exercise is not working, it only means that you should completely abandon white processed sugars, potato chips, deep fried foods, and gorging on red meat. Also, one rule of thumb: if you overeat you will gain weight no matter how clean you eat. It takes practice and discipline to eat just the right amount (the size of your palm) and the right foods (natural vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices). Remember, eating frequently, meaning every time you know you are hungry, is better than eating three big meals a day.
Since my husband lost his excess belly fats after transitioning to a completely “made from scratch food”, eating less meat and animal fat, coupled with the right portion for every meal, I decided to share my recipes to help every person having a hard time with healthy eating. Sometimes, it can get so confusing with all the new diets being introduced online. But all we need is a guide: a list of what to eat and what not to eat. And that, lovely people, is your main responsibility. You have to find what food and exercise work for you. Establish a list of “what to eat/do and what not to eat/do” and follow it every day. Be keen, be observant, but please don’t be paranoid as well. Along the way, you will realize some pointers that you should improve and some food that you need to add or to remove from your list. If you have read about genetics in the past, I’m almost certain that you know that aside from various medical conditions that can make you gain weight uncontrollably, it is true that our body type is mostly genetics, however, excess fat is not. Yes, your body weight is under your control unless you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism or you are genetically structured to be a bigger built. I suggest you watch these videos from TED Talks which are very helpful: The Food We Were Born To Eat by John McDougall and The Mathematics of Weight Loss by Ruben Meerman. I have to note: We do not identify to any type of diets such as Atkins Diet, The Zone Diet, Vegetarian Diet, Vegan Diet, Weight Watchers Diet, South Beach Diet, Raw Food Diet, and Mediterranean Diet. We are more for a “balanced” diet while avoiding food that causes inflammation to our body as much as possible. When you’ve reached your goals it’s alright to treat yourself too.
Not so long ago, I could not even fry a fish or make a sunny side up. But when I studied in England I started playing in the kitchen a little bit. Soon after, I made my very first meal: corn and carrots sauteed in butter, 2 hard boiled eggs and some slices of ham. I was already happy with that! During the last months of my studies I had to save and so I learned to eat fruits. I also lost weight from not taking the bus and instead walk to school. Those fruits saved my health and made me recover from the harsh weather in England. It also made me concentrate better on my readings that resulted in great achievements. When I came to the United States right after, I started cooking for myself again. Then, I met my husband and noticed how bad his food choices were. I once tried the food he makes for himself and it was not edible. Not only the combination of packaged foods were bad but that they were all cold and have synthetic nutrients. Then, one day, I was alone and suddenly had a burst of inspiration to explore the world of spices for the very first time. They smelled so good! How was I not interested in them before? As a beginner, I wanted to learn the healthier ways of cooking so I research every day about their impact on health. Always keep in mind that we still haven’t fully cracked the code to the mysteries of the human body and even doctors and fitness experts themselves admit this fact. This is why we see so many types of diets and different opinions about health and weight loss.
As for my husband, he works a lot and sits a lot and to counter the effects of his busy lifestyle, I have to be very critical about ingredients. I thought, how can I help him stay fit with very little exercise? Sure, it wasn’t ideal but you cannot force anybody to exercise (oh, no!). I followed different pieces of advice, diet plans, and different cuisines believed to be healthy but he continued to gain weight and his muscles were almost invisible. He grew some fats and folds on his neck and back. It seemed to be an impossible task because I never had to think about anyone’s health before I met him. We didn’t stop trying and I finally realized that it is not about the type of cuisine or diet plans. It was about getting rid of the bad ingredients! As I continued researching about superfoods, which are mostly berries, herbs, and spices, I remembered my childhood when all these natural flavors were enough to make a meal tasty! I started incorporating them into our meals immediately. Yes, you can make great tasting food with natural ingredients! Every day I learned how to enhance different flavors naturally. The result? Weight loss.
According to my readings, diseases arise from sedentary lifestyle: eating packaged food, lack of exercise, and using synthetic ingredients, which importance we completely ignored before because we were not excessively fat. We buy biscuits and chocolate chip cookies from the store from time to time to treat ourselves when we’re happy on a weekend trip but we were oblivious of the accumulating effects of eating a little of this and that to our body until we saw at our old photos together. Our lifestyle change began back in 2015. I started working out on August 1, 2016 (better late than never) while my husband tries sporadically since he comes home tired from work. I know that lifestyle change is very difficult in the beginning and a lot of people find change harder to juggle with a nine-to-five job so just try little by little. Set a goal day by day then week by week to eat home cooked meals that you prepared yourself instead of eating outside. And while you are in that phase stop buying ready meals and packaged sweets so you don’t get tempted at home. Lack of motivation will not help you in the gym. It needs willpower as you transition to having the dedication to making it your habit. Hopefully, these recipes will make you love eating healthy and start living happier without feeling deprived. Food really is the key to a better state of mind and body.
Maybe you want to know what benefits we have experienced so far with healthy eating? Let me tell you some: I used to suffer from tinea versicolor — a completely embarrassing skin problem caused by a yeast infection or candida. My back was full of patches since I was sixteen. It started as an itchy patch on my lower back that spread throughout my entire torso and shoulders. I also suffered from back and shoulder acne that left scars and black pigments on my skin. I literally tried everything! But now, these are gradually fading and I feel more energetic and confident. As for my husband, he used to have skin problems around his nape called Folliculitis Keloidalis. A condition that is more common to darker skin tones than Caucasians. According to my research, the only cure is surgery and steroid creams. When he has a breakout the pores are inflamed and hair follicles in that area are trapped causing so much pain. Just accidentally touching his nape hurts him a lot. This condition is gone. He also used to have protruding cysts on his leg since he was a teenager (he can’t remember the exact year when it first appeared), which is about half a centimeter in size and the other two are smaller and less visible—the bigger cyst flattened. Even his behavior started to change for the better. He is less anxious, less angry, and less lethargic. From time to time he also gets adult acne, not to mention constant bloating. Now, all of these are history! Although sometimes Nutella (yes the chocolate spread!) is still a big temptation and he pays the price for months. Our body will tell us when it is unhappy but we need to listen and be very observant of the changes that we feel and see physically. The best advice I can give you is to eat only home-cooked meals so you can control the ingredients of every single meal. It is hard but you can. Nothing wonderful is easy!
Finally, I dedicate this blog to those who have found themselves wanting to try a healthier lifestyle. When you find yourself ready to work out, do it! Every ingredient, every sauce, will be made from scratch. They can be tedious but some will be very easy! Be patient and be persistent in trying to maintain your healthy eating and workout. Soon, you will never see fast foods as food ever again. That I promise you!
Let me put a Disclaimer: Everything in this blog is the result of our experiences and the product of my readings. All photos were taken by me/my husband. I hope you enjoy the content of this blog. You can see our healthy eating journey on Instagram @spiceverse where I make artful smoothies for breakfast, hearty lunch, and dinner recipes. I am not an extremist with food so I also make organic sweet treats every Friday. Always remember: Love your body. It’s your only home!❤️
The contents of this blog are solely based on our personal experiences. All our health issues that have been cured by our healthy eating habits are based on our own research. Every person has different tolerance levels, adaptability, health condition, and genetic predisposition. Please do not treat our advice as professional diagnoses. Follow our diet at your own risk. Adverse reactions to the food we suggest is a sign of intolerance to a particular ingredient. If you have had previous health conditions that your doctor diagnosed consult your physician before starting any type of diet. All the ingredients we use in this blog are natural and organic unless otherwise stated. We by no means suggest that they are safe for everyone. Please refer to your physician and medical history for food restrictions. If you experience significant reactions like rash, nausea, or vomiting, your needs may be different from ours. Please stop the diet immediately and seek medical advice. We have been dedicated to our food plan since 2015 and we have never been sick ever since. Therefore, we advise you to first seek your doctor’s advice and research the diet that best suits your current health needs.
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