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).
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.
A new study has found that eating lots of tomatoes can help prevent strokes. Tomatoes are also high in lycopene and anti oxidents which are thought to have anti cancer properties. They also contain quercetin which has anti cancer, anti microbial and anti iflammatory properties. Tomatoes are also one of the foods where cooking increases these benefits.
Like many fruits and vegetables today, are they really as beneficial as they should be. Tomatoes are a seasonal, sun ripened summer fruit. Unless you grow your own or buy organic outdoor grown tomatoes they may be lacking in these vital nutrients. When they are artificially grown under cover and then picked before they are ripe, how much of the nutrients that should be in a tomato have actually developed.
That is the same with many of our fruit and vegetables today. Back to tomatoes and have you noticed how most shop bought tomatoes all taste the same and all have tough skins – some genetic engineering to make it easier for them to be carted around and handled.
One final thought on the study that tomatoes help prevent strokes. Why is it then that in countries where tomatoes are a large part of the diet people still get strokes.
As always there are always more questions than answers when it comes to diet and nutrition.
We don’t just need food to satisfy ourselves and our hunger. The cells of the body also need nutrition. The body develops from a single cell and every part of our body is a collection of cells continually dying, being replaced, being repaired and maintained. The nutrients we get in our food have to be sufficient for cells to carry out this work as they are essential to our being.
Each cell has a nucleus containing the body’s DNA. Chromosomes are clusters of DNA molecules in a cell containing 1000′s of genes. Each cell contains 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs. Genes carry the genetic code for the formation of the body and every gene is a tiny piece of DNA.
Chromosomes are therefore part of our genetic make up. Shortages of nutrients causes cell damage including breaks in the chromosomes, which leads to disease. Folic acid is one nutrient needed for DNA repair and other nutrients also work at a cellular level providing the nutrients needed. We therefore need to be aware of the importance of a nutrient rich diet. Not just to feed us on a general level but also to supply the nutrients that are necessary for the very basics of our being – the cells.
If the cells don’t get the food needed they can’t operate properly and disease is more likely. The lack of nutients goes unnoticed until it is too late and the damage is done. This is one of the reasons that we should all be following a nutrient rich diet now, as a preventative measure and to help ensure a long and healthy life. Remember your body needs food but the right food.
We are all on a diet of some sort or other. Maybe it is a healthy diet, a diet to lose weight, a detox diet or the latest craze diet, low everything (low calorie, low carb, low sugar, low fat) et all. Just eating is dieting in many ways.
What is important is that we eat the right foods whatever our diet. A healthy whole food diet of nutrient rich foods should be the aim. Given time that is all that is needed for health and weightloss.
The other important point to remember is to know what you are doing with dieting. If you are going to change your diet to one you have seen on TV or read about in a magazine, whether for health or weightloss, make sure you find out what the diet involves, how it works and its effects, especially long term. Is this explained and if not get more information before you start cutting this or that food type. Make sure you understand what the diet does for your health. Cutting down or cutting out foods will generally mean less nutrients available. Though that also depends on your diet in the first place. It makes more sense to first look at your existing diet and cut out the bad foods, the junk foods etc and replace them with more nutritious healthy foods.
That may be all that is needed to improve your health and lose weight and you would probably be getting more valuable nutrients in the diet. Low carbohydrate diets are popular but cutting carbohydrates altogether and increasing protein can cause health problems if carried out without knowing what you are doing. The type of carbohydrate and protein used are important. using nutrient dense carbs (whole grains, vegetables, fruit) and a variety of small portions of protein plus plenty of vegetables and fruit will work just as well as restricting carbohydrates is a more balanced approach.
Low calories diets are also popular and there is also a school of thought that calorie restricted diets are a healthy option for a long term diet. Again this is another example where you could just think that you eat less and at the same time eat less nutrients that the body needs. If you want to change your diet for the better think about what you eat. Change any poor quality or processed and junk food to more healthy, nutritious foods; add variety to your meals with more fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds. Avoid large portions especially of meat and carbohydrates and avoid snacking between meals. If you want to follow a particular diet get the information – there is plenty around and ask questions if necessary. Above all remember that nutrient rich foods are what the body needs. Your body needs food – the right food!
A lot of newspapers often carry reports about superfoods that we should all eat to ensure a long and active life. The the experts recommend that we should all eat them as part of our diets.
So do I and in this site my nutrition diet recommends the foods – mostly fruit and vegetables. They include apples, berries, broccoli, tomatoes, oranges, plums, spinach and grapes. These foods are among foods that contain polyphenols. In fact it is often stated that ‘a low intake of fruit and vegetables increases the risk of chronic disease’. My main diet recommendations are based on eating more fruit and vegetables.
Polyphenols are powerful anti-oxidents and also have anti inflammatory properties. Another powerful one is an extract from olives called hydroxtyrsosol.
Anti-oxidents help prevent damage to cells caused by oxidation. Oxidation can lead to cell damage that triggers cancer, inflammation, ageing and heart problems. This process is caused by free oxidising radical (commonly known as free radicals). Free radicals are also found in exhaust fumes, smoke, fried foods and BBQ foods.
Anti-oxidents that fight free radicals include Vitamins A, C and E and Selenium and others include the polyphenols they are all talking about. It is not a new discovery but more confirmation that anti-oxidents help slow down the ageing process. Anti-oxidents also help boost the immune system, increasing the resistance to infection.
More and more anti-oxidents are being discovered including the polyphenols, bioflavanoids, lycopene (from tomatoes) etc and they are found in berries, grapes, tomatoes, broccoli etc which includes the foods often mentioned in the studies.
The other factor about the foods is that they should all be eaten or as many as possible included in your diet. Once again it brings me back to The Nutrition Diet. There I to stress the benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables and at the same time a wide variety of foods to get the widest range of nutrients, including anti-oxidents.
As I keep saying, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables is the key to a healthy life and variety is the spice of life. Adding extras to your everyday meals is a start. Try adding seeds or fresh fruit to your cereals or grating a carrot in your salad as just two examples.
The other way to add variety and extra nutrition is to grow your own greens. We can all do it, even if you don’t have any garden. I only have a small garden and space is at a premium. There are also only the two of us and trying to grow lots of vegetables and salad plants is just not practical or economical. When they do grow they will all come ready at the same time and a lot is then wasted. Well not completely wasted as they finish up in the compost. But growing vegetables and salad can be done easily and give you a wide variety extra nutrition to your diet.
First buy some seeds. Either mixed salad leaves or chinese leaves mix. Alternatively buy your own selection – lettuce, spinach, pak choi, swiss chard, chinese cabbage, beet, etc. Mix them all together to make your own salad/vegetable mix. One thing to watch though is to make sure you only mix seeds that have a similar growing cycle so that they are all growing at the same time.
Now you have your seeds, make a space for your ‘mini’ garden. I use about a square metre for one batch but any smaller size will do. I have even used 2 or 3 seed trays. Troughs, large tubs, etc are also a possibility. Sow your seeds as per the instructions and once they are growing and with the second leaves showing you can start using them on salads by pulling a few plants to thin them out while the rest continue to grow. As they get bigger just keeping pulling a hand full of leaves to use with your meals.
Obviously these mine vegetables won’t make up a meal but that is not the intention. The intention is to add variety and other nutrients to your meal. Still buy a lettuce from the shop, make your salad then add your leaf mixture to the chopped lettuce.
If that is too much bother or too much work when you have a busy schedule, just buy a bag of salad leaves from the supermarket and add to your bought lettuce!! It is more rewarding doing it yourself but it is still adding variety to your diet. Another tip grate a carrot on your salad or even on your vegetables with a cooked dinner. Use your imagination and you will be amazed how easy it is to make your normal meals more nutritious and at the same time tastier with the added flavours.
My apologies for being quiet for so long. No excuses. Now back to blogging after the too long a break. During this time I seem to have avoided any return of my gout attack. I am not sure how, as I have hardly changed my diet which was anyway reasonably healthy. I try to practice what I preach, though like everyone else I am not perfect. The only change I have made really is to the water I drink. As mentioned when I had my gout attack and started looking for causes, the only thing I found was that most bottled waters were acidic. Some as low as 5.6 ph. I now use alkalising (PH) drops in my drinking water. Maybe it was the water who knows. The body is a complicated machine which should be kept in balance. There is still a lot about how the body works with nutrition that we don’t know or understand. We have to listen to our body and try and do the best we can with our diet and lifestyle to make sure the body stays in balance.