As a nutritionist I closely follow many of the latest research articles as well as reports on TV, in newspapers and on the Internet and it isn’t easy for everyone to understand what some of them mean. Who are we to believe?!
Well, it is actually quite simple. If we look back to our ancestors it isn’t hard to see where we should be looking for the answers. Humans only started settling into communities some 10,000 years ago. This is an incredibly short time for us to adapt to this new way of life. Before that we were still living in caves, foraging, hunting and gathering. We still need the same nutrients and vitamins we had evolved with to thrive on. We have slowly got accustomed to some of the changes, but what has happened, especially to our food production in the past 70 years or so, no one could predict. Our food has been highly processed, refined and modified and this is one of the reasons we are seeing so many problems emerging from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cancer, as well as autism in children, hyperactivity like ADHD, to name but a few. The NHS is buckling under the strain, so what should we do?
Simply put, EAT REAL FOOD! Food that is grown and raised locally, ideally organic. Look for grass-fed beef, outdoor reared pigs, line caught fish or locally grown vegetables, fruit or eggs sold on the roadside. Go to the local Farmer’s Markets where you live, whether it’s in big cities or buy from smallholdings in nearby villages where you can buy fruit or vegetables in season, or a health food shop for seeds, nuts and wholefoods. So there is no excuse not to eat loads of fresh local produce. Ready meals may be convenient but they are relatively more expensive than real food and much more processed!
So really, just make sure you know where your food comes from. Get going with some good quality, organic chicken wings or thighs. Make a nourishing soup, using chicken with the skin on and most importantly, the bones. Add any root vegetables – carrots, parsnip, celeriac, swede, an onion and 2 cloves of garlic, some fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, a bay leaf and about 5 peppercorns. Add a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar to draw out the beneficial nutrients from the bones. This chicken broth is one of the most beneficial foods you can add to your weekly menu. It is full of nutrients and vitamins; it aids digestion and nourishes the body with what it needs. It’s an excellent food for children with a cold or anyone for that matter that isn’t feeling well. Nothing could be simpler than gathering all the ingredients together, adding some water and a little salt and off you go. Bring to boil and let it simmer for at least 4 hours. It can also be made very easily in a slow cooker. In fact, the slower the cooking time, the better.
Another important subject to mention is to cut down on sugar. You don’t need refined sugar. There is plenty of natural sugar in fruit and vegetables. All sugar, alcohol, white flour, pasta, potatoes, sugary drinks are carbohydrates and turn into glucose (sugar) in your body. What the body doesn’t use for energy will get stored as fat. A complicated process but, in short – too many sugary foods are bad for you.
Where to start? Start sorting your food cupboard and your fridge. There are many synthetic foods masquerading as ‘real’ foods. Just ask yourself one question: Is my body going to benefit from eating this? If the answer is NO, then throw it away and stock your cupboards with healthy, organic and nourishing food, including lots of vegetables and some fruit.