Last week I talked about ways to cut down the volume we eat as in the Western world the trend is to consume far more than is necessary with adverse effects.
When I talk to clients about food I always start with HOW food is broken down and absorbed. I touched on that last week when I mentioned the enzyme in the saliva. Every surface of the digestive tract from top to toe (well mouth to anus!!) is differentiated to maximize the break down of food, the absorption of nutrients into the blood stream and finally, the elimination of toxins and waste products out of the body. The cells of this continuous tract may be lined with beneficial mucous, or tiny little hair-like projections called villi or be tightly packed together to avoid leakage. Nothing in the design of the human body is by accident; every cell has a function and treated properly, these cells do their individual jobs and we go about our lives blissfully unaware of the constant processes keeping us alive.
If only this was true!
Modern life has thrown so much into the equation. Our food is no longer simple, unadulterated proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Our air, water and soil has been contaminated to varying degrees. Our lives are stressful, supposedly made easier by endless machines emitting a myriad of 'nasties' into our environment.
BUT my glass is always half full!
I'm not a pessimist and this is not a doom and gloom blog!
Yes, it's true that our environment is unfortunately tainted, but the upside is that there are sufficient people out there that care and understand about the quality of the food and water that we consume.
They write about it, they produce organic food for us and they campaign for change.
I may not be able to change the world with this little blog but I can sure as heck feed my immediate family with the purest foods I can find and afford. So for the last 5 years since my cancer treatment I have endeavoured to learn more about the food my body actually needs, the provenance of the food I buy and the best way to cook or prepare it. My motives are simple...to reduce the likelihood of my cancer returning and to prevent my daughter and husband having a body that cancer can run rife in.
I have a very low income, but when you only visit about 3 aisles in a supermarket you begin to realise how much money you can save avoiding processed and packaged foods.
So, following on from last weeks 3 little tips that need to become habit...here are 3 more simple rules of thumb.
1) Swap your chicken!! It breaks my heart how cheap chicken is to buy. I have little money to spend on food, but still, when a chicken is only £3-£4 it makes you wonder!? What has the poor farmer been paid for it? How many does he/she have to squeeze into their space to make a profit? What preventative 'meds' have they been given to avoid disease? What have they been fed on to accelerate growth?
DO WE WANT TO BE CONSUMING THESE PRODUCTS TOO?
My advice...buy one organic, free range chicken instead and use every scrap of it.
(Next week I'll tell you what you can do with the carcass!)
2) Ditch the processed food! Even if the ready meal is a healthy salmon and veg dish, or a "designed for weight loss" type meal..all you are doing is reducing your calories., which yes, in essence is a good thing, but what about the nutritional value of the food you need to absorb? What about all the preservatives and flavour enhancers that have a detrimental affect on our digestive system?
If you eat 4 or 5 of these types of meals a week, cut down to 2 a week.
If you have 2 a week, cut down to 1.
3) Eat your greens! Try to make sure that AT LEAST a 1/3 of your (now smaller) plate is veg! Every meal! Yep, that's breakfast as well. And lunch!
Here are a few breakfast ideas....
Omelette....3 eggs, 2 finely chopped spring onions, a handful of baby spinach leaves, a sprinkling of herbs...(and I love to add a bit of amazing turmeric!)
2 Poached eggs.... served on a bed of wilted spinach and finely sliced mushrooms.
Mackerel (and optional poached egg) with wilted pak choi. I add a little tamari soy sauce and wasabi to this dish. Love it!
Remember...little changes repeated daily will have a far greater effect on your long term health because they are sustainable.