You are what you eat – 10 tips for your better health
The saying “You are what you eat” has scarcely been more apt. We live in an age of fast food, ultra-processed food-like substances and fake GMO ‘foods’. You name it – actually scratch that, you likely can’t name it. Much of the ‘food’ available to us is manufactured with unpronounceable chemicals, additives or preservatives.
Carmoisine (E122) anyone? How about some disodium ribonucleotides or erythritol for good measure? The truth is, many of us just don’t know what we are putting into our bodies, much less the damage it may be doing.
We need to cut out the junk and get back to eating real, whole food!
Where to start? With my 10 top tips for improving your food choices and pushing yourself towards better health!
10 Tips for your better health
1. AVOID PROCESSED FOODS
Processed (and ultra-processed) foods do NOT fill you up. Harbingers of chronic disease, they’re packed with unpronounceable, allergenic, inflammatory and intolerance-provoking chemical additives, preservatives & processing ‘aids’ – if you can’t say it, why would you eat it?!
They also contain harmful trans-fats (see OILS below) and are packed with sugar, causing spikes in blood glucose and the inevitable crashes which follow – which means you end up eating more. Clever, eh?!
2. AVOID or LIMIT REFINED CARBOHYDRATES
Ditch the chips and bring in sweet potatoes.
Like sugar, refined carbohydrates are quickly absorbed by the body and mess with your blood sugar – so ditch the white bread and white pasta and refined grain products. Lose the cakes, biscuits and pizzas too!
Replace these with good quality protein (from grass-fed animals when possible), healthy fats, whole grains and a rainbow of vegetables which are rich in complex carbs and fibre.
3. DON’T FEAR THE FAT!
Let’s be clear – fat does NOT make you fat!
But choose healthy fats such as organic, free-range eggs; extra-virgin olive and coconut oils; butter (raw is best); full-fat milk, cream and cheese; organic meats (all from grass-fed animals); and wild-caught oily fish such as sardines or mackerel (much cheaper than salmon!)
Nuts are great in small quantities for snacking – avoid peanuts though.
4. BUY LOCAL AND EAT WITH THE SEASONS
When you are at the supermarket choose in-season foods and go ‘bar-code free’ by avoiding packaged goods.
Avoid plastic packaged products and ready meals and try to make sure that processed foods make up less than 10% of your trolley.
5. EAT ORGANIC SOIL-GROWN FRUIT & VEGETABLES
Ensure your vegetables are grown in healthy, living soils – organic is best, local organic better still.
Most supermarket vegetables and salad stuff are grown in huge greenhouses through an aquaponic system – not a grain of microbe-rich soil in sight to help our own gut bugs!
6. PREPARING AND COOKING
Now that you’re making great food choices – be kind to your well-sourced food and cook cleaner, lower and slower.
Avoid high-temperature grilling or frying, which chars or burns your food. The nutrients in all foods are susceptible to high-heat damage which produces harmful by-products.
Ditch the microwave and invest in a slow cooker, steamer inserts and non-toxic ceramic, stainless steel or cast-iron pans.
7. DITCH THE FIZZ!
No, not the Prosecco! I’m talking fizzy drinks (sodas, energy drinks, etc.) which can contain as much as 30g of sugar in a 330ml can. Check the labels and avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague.
Avoid fluoridated tap water at all costs (your poor thyroid) and choose spring or mineral water in BPA/B-free glass bottles.
Btw… there’s no need to fear freshly-squeezed fruit juice – enjoy them judiciously! Find out why here.
8. ‘EAT THE RAINBOW’
Go crazy on fruit and vegetables and eat a rainbow of colours: purple, green, orange, red, blue/black and white… every day!
Fruit and veg are rich in a variety of nutrients – vitamins, macro and trace minerals, prebiotic fibre and phytonutrients which help prevent chronic disease. And many are intensely hydrating too!
9. NO VEGETABLE & SEED OILS
Put them in the bin! Oils like sunflower, soybean and rapeseed are commonly-produced using harsh chemicals extraction methods. Even if ‘cold-pressed’ these highly unstable poly-unsaturated oils easily oxidise when exposed to light and heat and form trans-fats, which produce inflammatory free-radicals in the body. Just. NO!
Put in them in the bin and use stable, healthy coconut oil, well-sourced avocado oil or grass-fed animal fats (ghee, tallow, lard, duck) for cooking and extra virgin olive oil for dressing.
10. SAY “NO” TO GMO!
It’s hard to know where to begin to list the actual and potential health consequences of consuming GMO foods!
Nearly all of the world’s soya and much of its corn and cottonseed (animal feed) are GMO. In the USA, it’s very difficult to avoid eating GMO – directly, hidden in processed foods and in animal products (from GMO feed).
It is also worth noting that the UK Government is sympathetic to GMO technologies.