There is a problem with food. How do we know what we are really eating and what is on our food as well as what is in our food. Without being technical or fanatical about our food all we can do is eat fresh organic whole foods as much as possible and try and be more aware of where our food comes from. Taking note of news stories on food problems etc is also worth following where problems with a food is highlighted.
Avoiding all processed and junk food is a start. Buying organic is also preferable if not for the nutrition content, where there is some arguments about whether organic vegetables have more nutrients than non organic, then for the fact that organic food should be free from pesticides and herbicides etc. As just mentioned some studies claim that organic vegetables are no more nutritious than non organic. Is that comparison on a like for like basis. If you grow ‘organic’ carrots on poor soil and grow carrots non organically on the same soil they will both be lacking nutrients. The non organic grown carrots though will still contain traces of any pesticides/fertilisers used.
Meat is also a problem. Try to buy meat that is grass reared and organically produced free from hormones and drugs. Supermarket meat is becoming more contaminated and not just from horse meat! Most chickens (other than free range) are now fed genetically modified (GM) feed and most supermarkets are no longer guaranteeing chicken to be GM free - and there is no mention of GM on the labelling which makes life more difficult.
Better to buy meat from a good butcher where you can ask the source and how it is produced. Often you will be surprised to find it is competitively priced as well. If it is a little more expensive but better quality buy slightly less or a cheaper cut. Eating a little less meat is generally good advice anyway. Then make up the meal by adding more vegetables which will improve your health as well. You can read more about healthy eating and making good nutrition the basis of your diet in my free (yes free) book to be found at http://www.obooko.com under the heading ‘Health and Self Development).
There is a crisis and austerity everywhere and prices including food keep going up so money saving food and recipes are also wanted. That does not mean buying cheap products such as ‘economy’ burghers or ready meals. Look at the latest horse meat scandal going on at the moment or think about mechanically recovered meat.
Instead you can make your own healthy dishes cheaply and here is one of my own. Fish cakes.
Take a tin of tuna or mackeral
2 medium potatoes
parsley or chives
mustard or horseradish source
Drain the tuna and mash well. Bake the potatoes in the microwave (my preferred method though you can also boil them). Chops the herbs and spring onion. Mash everything together in a bowl adding a teaspoon or two of mustard (diijon or grainy mustard) or the horse radish sauce.
Make your fish cakes and fry in olive oil with a little added butter and serve with either a salad, coleslaw, beetroot, peas or any combination you like.
A quick tasty lunch or dinner that won’t break the bank. You can find more healthy recipes and food tips in my book The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book available free at www.obooko.com under the heading ’health and self development’
We all need fat in out diet. There are of course plenty of arguments for and against this with Paleo Diets advocating more saturated fats and at the opposite end low fat diets and those who think saturated fats are bad for you. We need fat but what fats are needed is another matter. Not made easy by the fact that there are different fats available – saturated fats, mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats. Then labels on some such as essential fatty acids give a false impression. Essential just means that they cannot be made by the body. It does not necessarily mean they are essential in that we cannot live without them.
We do need fat though as there are fat soluble vitamins, vitamin A, D, E and K which are important vitamins for our health. Fats also provide a source of energy, aid cell growth and are needed for mineral absorption.
We are generally told to eat less fat especially animal fats which contain saturated fats. (They also contain cholesterol also demonised in many places, but that is another blog). However no fat is a single fat source even in meat. For example 170gm (about 6 oz) of lean beef mince may have about 22 gm of fat (depending on the cut etc) but only 9 gm (about 45%) is saturated. Fats and oils in foods are therefore a mix of fats. Butter and lard for instance are 40-60% saturated fat.
Saturated fats are not all bad. It is stable, does not go rancid and stores well. It is provided by animal fats and tropical oils. The body also makes saturated fats from carbohydrates. So we do need saturated fats. Saturated fats make up 50% of cell membranes and are also needed for bones to use calcium. They also help protect the liver.
Other fats are mono-unsaturated fats which are also stable and don’t easily turn rancid. Olive oil and nut oils such as almond are mono-unsaturated fats. Poly-unsaturated fats are the other fat that is commonly used and is also predominant in processed foods and junk foods. These are often touted as the healthy option by big business. They supply Omega 6 and Omega 3 oils which are not made by the body. We can get enough Omega 6 from our diet if including meat, fish and eggs in our diet. They go rancid easily, especially Omega 3 oils and should not be used for cooking. Omega 6 oils are even more prone to oxidation when sugar is also present which is often the case in our modern processed foods today.
Diets today are high in polyunsaturated oils and research now points to over consumption of polyunsaturated oils as contributing to disease such as cancer, heart, liver, digestion and weight gain. When heated oxidation takes place and the oils become rancid and produce free radicals which attack cells causing many health problems. Ideally cook with a little butter or lard. Olive oil can also be used for cooking if kept at a low temperature.
I am not advocating eating lots of steaks with saturated fat!! For a start we need to know where the meat was coming from. As in all diet and nutrition matters things are not what they seem and we all have different metabolisms and dietary needs. But be aware of the need to eat a healthy whole food diet free of processed and junk foods with lots of vegetables and fruits. Where possible buy organic eggs and meat from grass reared animals. Use butter instead of margarine or vegetable oils for cooking or olive oil if using over low heat. You can also get healthy oils from eating seeds and nuts (sprinkle on cereals or salads or soups etc) and eat oily fish a couple of times a week. Don’t be afraid to use butter for cooking – it tastes better as well.
I hope readers of my blog enjoy the subjects and maybe are interested in nutrition as the basis for any diet. Well you can find out more by downloading my free book ‘The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book’ by going to www.obooko.com under the heading Health and Self Development
The book explains nutrition and how it works in laymans terms (I am not a scientist) and gives advice on nutrition as a basis for diet together with food tips and an easy to follow plan to incorporate nutrition into any diet. There are also lots of healthy recipes.
I have made the book available on Obooko as the easiest option for me to get the book to as many people as possible and it is FREE. I hope you enjoy the book and carry on reading the blog.
Christmas is coming and maybe it is not just the goose that is going to get fat. We all tend to over indulge to a varying degree at this time of the year. Why else is the main new year resolution dieting, either for health or weight loss. It must be our guilty conscience.
There is no need to have a guilty conscience. You can indulge and join in the festivities without watching what you eat or drink. I don’t mean stuffing your face or drinking to excess just because it is Christmas, but you don’t have to watch your diet too carefully. Anyway if you normally eat healthy nutritious food and avoid junk and processed foods you will not be going crazy anyway.
If you follow my advice in this site and in my website at http://www.thenutritiondietclub.com and eat a healthy nutritious diet already the traditional Christmas dinner will be little different - other than maybe quantity. Turkey, potato, brussel sprouts, carrots, peas and stock based gravy, gives a healthy meal. Pudding and pies are perhaps an excess but once the day is over we will no doubt revert to our normal diet and no harm is done.
If you avoid over indulging too much on the chocolate and alcohol and nibbles, things you may not eat much of during the year, you can have a ‘normal’ guilt free Christmas and no harm done. There is also the new year resolution if all else fails! So eat drink and be merry.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
There are many diets around, and knowing which diet is best for you is hard to work out. There are low fat, low carbohydrate, low calorie, low gl, raw food, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, food combining (one of the better diets), and even ‘the perfect diet’; though nothing is perfect in reality.
We are not perfect either so trying to stick to a rigid diet routine is difficult enough without wondering if it is the right diet. So what is the answer. We all want to have a better diet, either for weight loss or health reasons. If it is a diet that is ‘low’ or restrictive in some way then it is probably not balanced and the nutrient content is not complete.
A complete diet is the answer and should be one that provides all the nutrients the body needs. Though I doubt any diet can do that in reality today without a lot of care and work. A diet with healthy nutritious food and few rules to follow is a good start. A diet that is not too difficult to follow and fits in with everyday lifestyles and uses everyday foods. A advocate a diet based on nutritious food and some simple rules. The main one being avoid processed foods, junk foods and soft drinks and colas including diet drinks (another story) and eat more fruit and vegetables.
You don’t have to starve yourself or count calories, and can eat as much fruit and vegetables as you like but eat more vegetables than fruit. The following is a list of foods to base your diet on and none are exotic, expensive superfoods.
Apples, Bananas, Berries, Pineapple, Broccoli, Lentils, Garlic, Onions, Mung Beans, Flax Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Nuts, Oats, Olive oil, Green Tea, Tomatoes, Sprouts (as in sproutings), Yoghurt (plain), all Vegetables, other fruits (grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, oranges, peaches, pears, prunes (high in anti oxidents)
Plenty of choice there and if you are not vegetarian make sure any meat etc you choose is organic, free range chicken and eggs, meat from organic grass reared animals and oily fish such as sardines and salmon. You don’t have to have large amounts of these or eat them every day, so the cost is not out of reach.
Age is another factor to take into account when working out a diet. While on the subject of ideal foods, the following are good for us oldies - cherries, oats, almonds, oily fish, tomato, chicken (free range), full milk (organic), together with the rest of the above foods.
Add to this healthy nutritious diet more fresh air and exercise and you have the potential for a healthier lifestyle that will make you feel good and look good.
There have been news reports on the latest research that mean that doctors will be able to diagnose whether we are going to get an illness years before it may happen. This includes alzeimers disease and the latest is type 2 diabetes. This seems to be the latest line of research and you may think that it is good to be able to predict an illness or disease before it happens and have a cure before it starts, and may be it is.
The problem here though is that as usual the research is done to provide a pill to prevent the illness ever occurring. It might be the case that the illness never would have occurred in the first place and you finish up taking unnecessary drugs with possible side effects that have other consequences.
Certainly being able to predict the likelihood of getting a disease like type 2 diabetes is useful but it does not need a pill to prevent it happening. Lifestyle and diet changes are probably just as good. The same can be said for other illnesses such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and gout for example. All helped by healthy nutritious food and lifestyle changes including more exercise.
The pill for all occasions is only a winner for the drug companies who want us all to be hooked on their products whether we need them or non. Why take a pill for high blood pressure caused by poor diet and lifestyle so that you can continue with the poor diet and lifestyle. Other illnesses such as cancer may then result from staying on the poor diet. So at the first signs of illness caused by poor diet and lifestyle surely you should be advised on correcting things so that you are healthier and don’t need the pills.
If more was done to educate people on diet and nutrition and to curb the powers of the large multi national drug companies and food manufacturers with their processed and junk foods containing possible harmful additives and sweeteners, we would al be healthier. The burden on the health services would also be less. So the last thing we need is more pills.