The arguments go on as to whether organic food is really worth the extra price usually charged. That is in the supermarkets anyway. Don’t forget that the local grocers shops and farmers markets as they can be just as cheap or cheaper and the produce may even be fresher. Also while not all produce may be certified organic many small producer will grow their produce using more traditional methods. There are often reports that organic fruit and vegetables are no better than normal grown produce anyway.
It maybe true that in theory both organic and non-organic foods contain the same vitamins and minerals but that can only be true if both are grown in similar soil and that can also be true of one organic produce against another organic produce. Even if it was true that both organic and non organic are equal there is still the use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers on non organic crops and the resultant residues.
Large scale agriculture also has soil depleted of essential nutrients and micro organisms, leaving poor soil quality which means less nutrients in the crop. Chemical based agriculture, where the growing of a single crop such as wheat or soy on the same land year after year is not only lacking in the essential nutrients but is bad for the environment. It also increases the use of pesticides and fertilisers because the land has not had chance to recover its richness.
So I still think organic is best. I would also prefer meat from organic grass fed animals. Large scale factory farmed meat has the possibility of contamination by drugs such as antibiotics and growth hormones and other toxins. As well as the drugs used in meat production there is also the concentration of pesticides in animals. Pesticides used to spray the crops fed to animals that we then eat. There are also the illegal practices that crop up now and again, the most extreme recently being pork dyed red and sold as beef!
The best way to be more sure your food is safe is to buy organic. Buy local products and use the farmers markets that are now widespread. Buying food this way is also better environmentally as organic and locally grown food producers take more care of the land, the soil, etc.
You are also helping the finances of your locality since the money spent locally helps keep good food and produce alive and the money also stays in the area instead of disappearing into supermarket profits. So buy organic if you can and buy local produce anyway and you will benefit from healthier more nutritious food.
Everyone agrees on the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables, but not enough people are following this important advice to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables – or more. Increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables is one of the easiest changes you can make to increase your level of health, lose weight and gain fitness.
No matter what your reason for pursuing a healthier diet, eating more fruits and vegetables is a great way to enjoy a delicious varied diet while enjoying greater levels of health. Adding more fruit and vegetables also gives you more variety which gives you a more varied source of nutrients.
Everyone knows the importance of a healthy diet to a healthy body, and fruits and vegetables are rich in the vitamins, minerals, trace elements and other micronutrients that make a diet healthy. In addition to all these advantages, fruits and vegetables are colourful, easy to use, abundant and inexpensive. Fruits and vegetables are great in soups, salads, as side dishes and as main courses. Plus they can be juiced or made into smoothies. There are so many varieties of fruits and vegetables, and so many different ways to use them, that it is almost impossible to get bored with them.
One reason for the recommendation that everyone increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables is that many of these foods have been shown to have strong antioxidant qualities. Antioxidants are important to good health due to their ability to bind with and neutralize harmful elements called free radicals. These free radicals are thought to play a role in cancer, aging related illnesses and other conditions.
Normally, free radicals are neutralized automatically as part of the body’s natural processes. However, when the immune system has been weakened, or if you are just feeling run down, these antioxidant fighters may not be working at peak efficiency. Many fruits and vegetables have high amounts of many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C.
Since there are so many fruits and vegetables to choose from, it is important to choose the best ones for your diet. Of course the perfect fruits and vegetables for you are the ones you like the best. After all, you will have a hard time taking advantage of all that nutrition unless you actually eat the fruits and vegetables you buy. But don’t stick to the same old fruits and vegetables, try something new for more variety.
Getting the most fruits and vegetables for your limited food budget is an important consideration for most people. Fruits and vegetables are usually plentiful and inexpensive, but in some cases they can be somewhat pricey, especially in the winter months when most fruits and vegetables must be shipped long distances. In addition to the supermarket and local grocery store, farmers markets can be places to find the freshest fruits and vegetables at the lowest possible prices. Farmers markets and roadside produce stands are often excellent sources of fresh, high quality fruits and vegetables.
Even when there is no farmers market nearby, it is still possible to get great, high quality fruits and vegetables at some excellent prices, simply by buying those fruits and vegetables as they come into season. Buying in season fruits and vegetables is usually cheaper than buying produce that comes from far away, and locally grown produce is often fresher and more nutritious as well.
Many people recommend buying a variety of colours when shopping for fruits and vegetables, and not just because they look good on the plate together. Different coloured fruits and vegetables have different nutritional qualities, so eating a wide variety of colours will give you the best selection of flavors, textures, tastes and nutrients.
Cooking vegetables properly is important as well, since overcooking can destroy some of the nutritional value of many vegetables. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are particularly vulnerable to nutrient loss due to overcooking. It is best to lightly steam vegetables in the microwave or on the top of the stove. When steaming vegetables for maximum nutrition, it is important to use as little water as possible. Use only enough water to keep the vegetable from burning, and remove them from the heat source as soon as possible. Alternatively eat more raw vegetables as well as fruit.
No matter what your reason for following a healthy diet, you will find that eating more fruits and vegetables is a delicious, as well as a nutritious, way to get the vitamins and minerals you need every day.
We are always being told by the news, magazines, or on television how we should be eating healthier. Regularly this includes the latest superfood that is a must and can solve all our nutrition problems. It may be as common as broccoli or more often some unusual tropical fruit that costs a fortune. In reality any food that is wholesome, fresh and full of nutrients is a superfood. Fruits and vegetables – broccoli, apples, prunes, berries, carrots, cabbage, etc. Nuts and seeds, peas and beans and even an egg is a superfood as far as nutrient content goes. Though you should not eat more than maybe 4 or 5 eggs a week.
You don’t need to spend a fortune or chase after some overpriced berry to have a healthy nutritious diet. The Nutrition Diet is one way of following a healthy diet and making nutrient content the basis of your diet. Even the experts are getting on the nutrition food bandwagon. Michelin starred chefs are producing nutritionally balanced dishes in their top restaurants – gourmet health food as they put it. (At a price). This is good news and good to see that I am not the only one promoting nutrition as the basis of diet. But if you can’t afford to eat at a michelin starred restaurant you can still do simple things that enhance the nutrient content of your diet with your own superfoods.
When you have soup add a handful of chopped coriander or parsley for added nutrients. Do the same with pizza or pasta, sprinkling the herbs on the top. The herbal and medicinal benefits of garlic can be gained by adding finely chopped raw garlic to vegetables, especially tasty when sprinkled on broccoli or brussel sprouts – also superfoods.
More sprinkles – this time seeds – sunflower, pumkin, sesame, etc added to salads and breakfast cereals. Also add seeds and raisins to coleslaw.
Save your vitamins from cooking vegetables by using the water used to cook the vegetables. Make soup or gravy with it or even cook your pasta in the vegetable water. The pasta will absorb some of the vitamins in the water.
Another way to add nutrients to a dish is to use spinach or even rocket as an extra to pasta dishes. While cooking your pasta, chop the spinach or rocket roughly and add to the boiling pasta. Some of the nutrients from the greenery will be absorbed and when you drain the pasta you have tasty pieces of greenery mixed with the pasta.
What else – add a squeeze of lemon juice to your glass of water, grate a little fresh ginger into your tea. Use your imagination and your own ideas to add nutrient quality to your food and make your own superfoods at little extra cost.
You can use any meat for this simple nutritious recipe. Use turkey, chicken or beef roughly cut in thin slices. You can also use left over meat as well.
Ingredients – for 2 people
300 grams turkey breast chopped/sliced
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
½ inch of chopped ginger
½ tspn mixed herbs
¼ tspn cayenne
2 large carrots
200 grams green beans
¾ cup brown rice
1 tspn turmeric
2 tomatoes chopped and skinned.
- Dice the carrots small and chop green beans about ½ inch in length and cook together until almost done. Drain liquid and KEEP the liquid for later. Put vegetables to one side.
- Put the rice in a pan and cover with water including the vegetable water which contains nutrients from the carrots and beans. (See rice cooking method for cooking brown rice). Add turmeric and tomato and bring to boil and cook until almost ready (al dente). Add the pre cooked vegetables and continue cooking until the rice is cooked. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
- While the rice is cooking put olive oil and a little butter in a pan and add onion, garlic and ginger and cook gently for a few minutes then add turkey pieces.Stir fry together adding the mixed herbs and cayenne until the turkey is ready.
Serve the rice and turkey together and you have an easy to cook healthy meal
You can find lots more healthy recipes in my book The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book available free at www.obooko.com (under Health and Self Improvement)
180 gms (6/7 oz) of tinned chick peas
450 gm (1 lb) of potato and carrot – 1 large potato and 1 large carrot with total weight of 1lb
1 large clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 small onion
½ teaspoon of mixed spice
½ teaspoon of paprika
a pinch of mace (for that sausage flavour!)
salt and pepper to taste.
For covering, have ready flour, a beaten egg and breadcrumbs.
Cook the potato and carrot. Cook the onion till soft either in microwave or lightly fry but don’t let it brown.
Chop parsley and garlic
Drain and rinse the chick peas
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mash together adding herbs and spices. Mix well.
Make into burger shapes and dust with flour, brush with beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs.
Fry on both sides in olive oil with a little butter added until golden brown.
Serve with salad or vegetables of choice.
(I am not a vegetarian, but made these burghers for the wife of a friend when they came to lunch as she is a vegetarian and she said they were great. After trying one myself I had to agree!!)
Hear are a few ideas for basic recipes with added content that can help make the recipe more nutritious.
BREAKFASTS – Breakfast is important and often missed by many people with our ever more busy lifestyles. Even so you can do something. If you only grab a slice of toast on the run then make sure it is a slice of brown/wholemeal toast. If you don’t even have time for that grab a banana – it is better than nothing.
Cereals are probably the most popular breakfast. There are all sorts of cereals and most appear healthy but often contain a lot of added sugar and salt. The healthier option is probably oats. You can make porridge but that is not the only solution. There are oat based muesli bars (again good if you breakfast on the move!) You can even get Oatabix. Oats also have the benefit of providing energy to start the day but are low glycaemic.
My favourite cereal recipe for breakfast includes oats. I get a bag of muesli (sugar fee or low sugar), add a bag of oats and mix together in a large tub. Then mix in added seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, linseed etc and dried fruit.
For breakfast take a serving of the mixture and add enough milk to moisten and leave to soak. Do this when you get up while you are getting washed and dressed. When you are ready for breakfast add more milk as required and enjoy a healthy tasty start to the day. You can also top the dish off with half a kiwi fruit chopped or some other fresh fruit.
If you are against milk use water for the first stage to soak the cereal mix and then when ready to eat add some natural yoghurt drink. Delicious!
COLESLAW – Not the insipid carrot and white cabbage sitting in a watery white liquid as sold in supermarkets, but a healthy mix of vegetables. The following recipe is just an idea to get you thinking about changing an everyday item and adding variety to the diet. Maybe you have your own ideas.
Ingredients: Start with the basic grated carrot and white cabbage or crisp heart cabbage. Then add a small courgette finely chopped , add a handful of sunflower seeds and a handful of raisins, you could also add a few pieces of walnut. Stir together and add mayonnaise to taste. Season with a pinch of cayenne if desired – cayenne is good for the circulation as well. If you like you can add a slug of olive oil to the coleslaw as well.
Delicious with a baked potato or piece of quiche or even roast chicken!
SALAD - Another meal that is not always done with imagination. Not just lettuce, cucumber and tomato. but a meal that can be varied and full of different ingredients. Take the basic lettuce. Add rocket, spinach, a sprinkle of parsley and finish with a covering of grated carrot. You can still add seeds and nuts to taste and sprinkle with a simple dressing of apple cider vinegar, olive oil and black pepper. By the time you add tomato, green or red pepper and cucumber to the plate you have a nutritious salad with different tastes and simple to prepare. Of course there are many more delicious foods to add, radishes, cress, chickpeas, sweetcorn, beetroot, etc but I only mention a few and just want you to think variety, after all variety is the spice of life.
GARLIC. We all know the health benefits of garlic especially its anti bacterial properties. It is widely used in cooking especially with stir fries, pasta dishes, curries etc. You can buy garlic pills and also eat it raw which gives the best effect. Many people are put off raw garlic by the strong taste and the smell left behind but I find that adding chopped raw garlic to a finished meal gets round this. I have found it goes well with broccoli and brussel sprouts and I chop a clove of garlic and sprinkle it on the vegetable as you would salt or pepper. You can experiment and sprinkle garlic on other things like chicken and baked potato. Delicious and healthy.
PASTA – The ever popular pasta can be a varied and different dish and this is one of my favourite concoctions that adds nutrient value to any pasta dish.
Ingredients: Onion, garlic, mushroom, courgette, broccoli, spinach or rocket and jar of Sacla Tomato and Parmesan pasta sauce. Salt and pepper to taste and mixed mediterranean herbs or italian seasoning herbs and parsley.
Chop the onion mushroom and courgette into small pieces, chop the garlic and stir fry the onion, garlic, mushrooms and courgette together for a few minutes. Add the spices and continue to stirfry until tender. Add the Sacla tomato and parmesan sauce and simmer. While this is cooking steam or boil the broccoli until just tender, drain and put aside BUT KEEP THE WATER from the broccoli. Put the broccoli water and additional water together in a pan and cook your pasta. Just before the pasta is ready roughly chop the broccoli and add to the stir fry. Drain the pasta and serve with the sauce. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.
For an added nutrient value take a handful of spinach or rocket and chop roughly and add to the pasta as it is boiling in the saucepan. When you drain the pasta the reduced greenery will be mixed with the pasta. It is all easier than I make it sound. For another variation on the content, this time in the sauce, swop the broccoli for beans. Instead of adding broccoli to the stir fry mix, open a tin of red beans and stir in sufficient for your taste. Again it makes a change in nutrition content and variety is a plus.
SOUP – Soups are many and varied and always popular. They are also nutritious as any vitamins and minerals which would normally be lost when boiling vegetables in water remain in the soup. In fact vegetable water can be used as stock for the soup. A good variation on a vegetable soup which also provides the ’5 a day’ recommended for you diet is filling without being fattening. Again use quantities to suit and even add or change ingredients.
Ingredients: carrots, onion, celery, potatoes. tomatoes (or a can of tomatoes), a handful of red lentils, red beans or butter beans, cabbage, Vegetable stock and garlic. Dice the carrots, onions, celery and potatoes. Shred the cabbage and finely chop or crush the garlic.
Put the carrots, potato, onion, celery into a pan and stir fry in olive oil for a few minutes before adding the tomato and garlic and cook for a further 3 or 4 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and then turn down heat add the lentils and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cabbage and beans and cook for a further 5 or 10 minutes or until all the ingredients are cooked to your liking. When ready either mash the soup with a potato masher or pour half into a blender and blend before putting it back in the pan with the unblended part. Serve with crusty wholemeal bread. Add small macaroni pasta for a more filling meal.
RATATOUILLE – A version that is easy to use. Ingredients include courgette, onion, tomato, aubergine, red pepper, green pepper, garlic, mixed herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Chop a large onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and stir fry gently in a pan with olive oil until softened. Add two medium size courgettes diced and continue frying. Add a small to medium aubergine chopped and diced and red and green pepper to tast. The peppers can be left out if not keen. Continue stirring and then add a large tea spoon of mixed herbs and two or three tomatoes, skinned. Mix all together, add salt and pepper to taste and cover the pan with the lid and cook on low heat for 20 or 30 minutes stirring occassionally. It is delicious served with a baked potato, white fish and even on toast. Again you can vary the dish depending what is in your cupboard – add mushrooms or beans. You can also make a large amount when the vegetables are in season and freeze portions for later use. You can also base the changeover to The Nutrition Diet on your current diet.
Begin by changing the way you do things before changing the content of your diet if that is easier to begin with. Make simple changes such as cooking only with olive oil instead of vegetable oil. Steam vegetables instead of boiling them. Reduce the size of meat portions and increase the size of vegetable portions to compensate – or add another vegetable.
The latter idea of adding something to your present diet or meals and recipes is one way of improving meals without having to think up brand new meals and new shopping habits. Again you are changing things gradually based on your current habits. Further changes will come as you find these simple changes give you more variety and additional flavours to meals. You will want to try more of your own ideas! As you eat more and more in line with The Nutrition Diet you will find your taste buds changing and you will enjoy healthy eating more and more.
No doubt you are thinking “where’s the diet?” All this reading and no action. So before we go any further here are a few things you can do now to start you on the way to The Nutrition Diet.
1. Don’t eat potatoes with meat or fish. This is one of the things I found helped weight loss and is based on the practice of not mixing carbohydrates and protein in the same meal. If you can’t cut them out all together take half what you normally eat. You don’t have to starve. Add another vegetable to your dinner instead of potatoes. If you fancy potatoes have a baked potato with salad or stir fried vegetables or even baked beans .
2. Cut out the snacks between meals and late at night. If you regularly have crisps or chocolate go without for a set period, 2 days, three days, whatever. Then maybe treat yourself if you are desperate. But go without again but for longer this time.
3. Use as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible, picking the freshest and ripest. Buy organic if you can.
4. Try and eat a least half your fruit and vegetables raw. A lot of the vitamins and minerals in food are destroyed by cooking. One tip – make one meal a day a raw food meal.
5. Cut back on salt. Use herbs and spices for seasoning. If you must have salt, use Lo-Salt which is a healthier option.
6. Use as many different foods as possible in your diet. Variety is the spice of life and the more varied the diet the wider and more balanced the level of nutrients in the diet.
7. Reduce the amount of fat in your diet, especially saturated fats. Also avoid trans fatty acids which includes margarines, salad dressings, processed foods, etc.
8. Use olive oil for frying or try stir frying in a little water and/or lemon juice.
9. Reduce your consumption of meats, especially red meats. They are high in saturated fats. As well as that risk, any chemicals ,such as antibiotics, used in the rearing of the animals, and toxins are stored in the fatty tissues. Three meat meals a week is plenty if you eat meat. At the same time try to reduce the portion of meat as well.
10. Eat more fish. Add oily fish to your diet at least twice a week. But not fish and chips every night! though the occasional cod and chips is a treat. Try and eat oily fish where possible – sardines, salmon, mackeral.
11. Eat more beans, chick peas, red beans, white beans, etc.
12. Add nuts and seeds to meals. Maybe in sprinkles or nibbles as a substitute for crisps etc. No salted nuts or seeds though.
13. If you smoke, stop. Or at least start cutting down. As well as the usual health warnings you have had, smoking also blocks the absorption and the proper functioning of many nutrients.
14. Drink more water – just plain tap water if nothing else available, otherwise filtered water or bottled water is preferable. Drink 6 – 8 glasses a day. As well as food, your body needs water!
15. Start exercising more, even if it is only a 30 minute walk every day. Ideally an hours exercise every day is the aim.
16. Make time for yourself. Relaxation is as important as exercise.
17. Consider taking a good quality multi vitamin tablet. Take one that is suited for your type, e.g. the over 50′s or young who have different nutritional requirements. Also take a good fish oil tablet. More on supplements later.
So to go over the proposals that I have just put forward, choose the best quality fresh food you can and try and eat more raw fruit and vegetables. Drink at least 6 – 8 glasses of water daily (not counting tea, etc.) Exercise regularly and also make time for rest and relaxation. Cut down on red meat, processed foods and fat. Take a good quality multi vitamin tablet and fish oil.
Don’t forget you can download FREE my book ‘The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book’ from www.obooko.com under the Health and Self Improvement section.
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
Don’t forget you can download FREE my book ‘The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book’ from www.obooko.com under the Health and Self Improvement section.