Hippocrates is famous for having said ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ all those years ago, yet his message seems to have gone somewhat unheard. The world population is now sicker and fatter than it has ever been and the situation is only due to get worse. So many people are unwell and find themselves in the position where they have to take all sorts of medications, which comes with its own side effects. Of course pharmacuetical drugs have their place and we are very grateful for them in many situations. But you have to wonder when you read Anne Wilmore’s quote ‘The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison’. What about the situation where a person is being medicated for a condition that their diet is actually causing?
Our ancestors didn’t suffer from diabetes, heart disease or coeliac disease. We have to stop and ask ourselves why? The key is that they ate a simple diet of natural, organic wholefoods diet, free of refined foods, sugar and processed foods. They say ‘you are what you eat’, but literally to bring it down to a biochemical level, the foods we eat make their way into our blood, tissues, cells, DNA. Poor dietary choices are making our bodies sick. The results of putting good clean food into our bodies is evident almost immediately in our skin, our eyes, our digestion, our energy levels!
The body’s functions and systems run by using specific nutrients. Without these nutrients the body isn’t able to run efficiently and things start to go wrong. Inflammation in the body is the result. It often begins with smaller signs, like warning signals, maybe a rash or rhinitis, which if ignored can progress on to bigger signs and symptoms and sadly often a chronic condition. Unfortunately there is so much conflicting information in the media almost every day it makes it very complicated and confusing for people. You just getting started trying to implement one healthy eating habit, and the next thing you read something telling you its bad for you, its no wonder people get frustrated and throw in the towel and go back to their comfort foods that ‘make them feel good’. Many studies now are advocating the health benefits of a whole foods diet, rich in plants, free of refined foods.
The medicinal properties of food is a hot topic right now. Here are some practical ways you can fit plenty of the best types of restorative health promoting foods into your daily diet, and keep the bad guys out. Making a few changes in the kitchen might just lead to a few changes at the doctor or pharmacy!
Start the day with a large glass of lemon water, or warm lemon water with a dash of apple cider vinegar & a little local honey. Make this a morning ritual, it is the ideal way to kick start your digestion, while also detoxing and cleansing. Apple Cider vinegar is a great anti-inflammatory and lemon is packed with vitamin C. You’re body will be dehydrated after the nights sleep so this is the perfect time to rehydrate.
Breakfast is an ideal place to pack in lots of fruit, whether it be eaten as is, in a smoothie or juice, added to cereal. Nuts & seeds are also great to add into any of these. Nut butters are also a great addition to breakfast time. Fruits and nuts are going to give you a burst of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and omegas. Enjoy lots of variety and different colours, these guys have some serious health benefits. Veg can easily be incorporated into your morning with a green smoothie or juice. This is also a great way to get some greens into smallies without them even realising. A Nutribullet or good juicer is a great investment.
Dairy can be cut out of breakfast easily with all the alternative milks & yogurts available these days, coconut, almond, oat, soya, there are so many, just try a few out and find one you like. If you’re looking to go gluten free, there are a lot of gluten free options available nowadays, be careful though, as some ‘gluten free’ can still be very much refined, processed or sugar laden. Making your own breads and cereals is a sure way to know exactly what it is you are eating. There are some fabulous recipes now for breads containing buckwheat, quinoa, millet, banana, the list goes on….Cereal alternatives liked smoothie bowls and chia pudding are also great for breakfast time.
Lunch / Dinner
Lunch & Dinner are the perfect place to pack in lots of colourful veg & fruit. Whatever you are having supplement it with extra veg or salad, try and add some raw as these are packed with health boosting enzymes. Even fruit goes great in salads. Experiment with different grains like quinoa, brown rice or bulgar, these make a great base for salads. A good olive oil or even Udos oil and apple cider vinegar makes a great salad dressing. Sprouted seeds and beans are very easy to add in just about anywhere, with serious health benefits. If you’re eating out, look into what’s available in your area, there are lots of restaurants popping up now with healthy menus.
Soups are a fantastic lunch option that can be packed with lots of different veg and things like lentils, beans or grains also go great in them to. Seed or oat crackers can make a good alternative to bread.
It’s a good idea to have a couple of days in the week without meat. This gives your a body a rest, as meat can be tough on the digestive system. Maybe opt for fish a couple of times a week, high in omegas or opt for a nice vegetarian dish using lots of veg and beans or lentils, great sources of protein, fibre & micronutrients. Cutting down on meat can reduce inflammation, cholesterol and improve your gut health.
Studies are showing that it is better to eat less as the day goes on, so maybe you could have your main meal at lunch time and eat a lighter dish later on. This gives your digestive system a rest as it is slowing down later in the day and gives it plenty of time to recover for the next day. Try to keep meat or fish organic and local and free range where possible. Eat lots of green veg. Some wholegrains or root veg like sweet potato or butternut squash.
Snack time is a great place to add in the likes of raw veg sticks, fruit and nuts and seeds. These foods are so handy for a quick snack at home, in the office or on the go. Foods like these are going to have a lower glycemic index, which means they cause less of a spike in blood sugar than a slice of white bread, for example.Having regular small low GI snacks is a great way to keep blood sugar stable, which is paramount for good health. Constant blood sugar highs and lows can have a detrimental effect on health, leading in some cases to insulin resistance and later diabetes.
Drinking lots of water is one of the best things we can do for our health. Keeping our body sufficiently hydrated is going to mean that all body functions and systems are working efficiently. Drinking tea and coffee all day long is actually going to dehydrate you, as well as play havoc with your energy levels. You might feel like you can’t live without your morning caffeine hit, but limiting your caffeine intake can have a positive effect on your liver health, your energy, your skin, your sleep. Juices and even flavoured waters are packed with hidden sugars, or worse carcinogenic sweeteners like aspartame. Non caffeinated herbal teas are also good, with different ones supporting different aspects of health. A drink made with apple cider vinegar is going to have great antiinflammatory effects.
Eating locally sourced food is a great way to ensure the quality of your food. Local country markets and producers are going to have the best of fresh organic produce from your local area. Empower yourself by knowing where your food has come from and how it has been produced, you’re much better off with food grown and produced in your area, than that flown half way around the world and pumped with chemicals.
So many experts are now advocating the simple message ‘eat more plants’, this is an easy one to implement, by simply adding lots more fruit and veg to your daily diet. Add more green wherever possible. At every meal make sure to have some element of green. Blended in smoothies, soups or sauces is a great way to get more greens into kids.
Cutting down on the likes of gluten and dairy is going to do wonders for your digestion, and your gut health. Studies are now showing that the state of our gut health has an impact on our health in general, poor gut health and leaky gut are contributing to increased inflammation and compromised immune systems. Cut down on allergens in your diet and you will cut down on inflammation in your system and your risk of developing chronic inflammation.
Protect your gut health
Alcohol, antibiotics, medications, are just some of the things that damage our gut health. In this day and age almost everyone’s gut bacteria has most likely been compromised in some way. Taking a daily probiotics, eating lots of veg and adding some fermented foods to your diet are great ways to boost gut health.