Excellent Nutrition

“Let your food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food” Hippocrates

1) Enjoy your food!
2) Drink plenty of water
3) Eat Fresh and Whole Foods
4) 5 vegetables & fruits
5) Eat a good amount of protein
6) Vary food flavours
7) Healthy diet examples

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1) Enjoy your food!

'Enjoy your food' might seem like an obvious thing to say, but it is perhaps the single most important point any nutritionally-minded health practitioner could highlight to you.

When you truly enjoy your food you send deep, instinctual messages to your body to reach out and extract the energy and goodness from that nutrition.

A good diet does not have to be boring and don’t think for a moment you should eat foods you dislike just because they're good for you! Enjoyment and appreciation of good food is a sure foundation for feeling and living well. Some of the healthiest and longest-Iiving people in the world eat the most interesting and tasty diets.

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2) Drink plenty of water

Our body is about 60% water overall but our brains are 75% water and our blood is 85% water. Even slight dehydration makes the blood stickier and impairs good brain function. Drinking plenty of water helps us to not overeat, keeps our skin looking better and helps our brain function better.

We lose a lot of fluid every day through urination, breathing and sweating. Few people realise that, by the time their mouth is dry and they feel thirsty, they are already significantly dehydrated.

One of the best ways to establish a good hydration habit is the visual-cue of putting a glass-jug of water somewhere such as the kitchen bench or office desk and then aiming to empty it by the mid-afternoon. Some people find it helpful to add some lemon slices, mint or other green herb leaves for beauty and flavour.

How much people need to drink each day depends greatly on the weather, their activity levels, and their constitution i.e. how much they tend towards being dryer or damper by nature.

A good working guide is to keep some awareness of how often you need to go to the toilet to pass water. More than once an hour is too much, fewer than once in two hours is too little. Urine should be light in colour and virtually free from odour if you have been drinking enough.

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3) Eat Fresh and Whole Foods

Many people believe that processed and chemicalised food do more harm to us than we realise. Over 3000 chemicals have been approved for use in the food industry and, every year, the average person takes in well over a kilo of chemicals that our bodies have never had to deal with until very recently.

Fresh, whole foods are the best for our health. Their nutrient levels are higher, they taste better, they have no preservatives so you can see if they are past their best.

These are the foods that get to your hand or plate with a minimum of industrial processing and chemical enhancement, they've been grown in nature, not made in factories.

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4) Aim for at least five different types of fruit and vegetables daily

As everyone knows, fruit and vegetables are especially good for us, they contain an excellent range of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids.

Anything is better than nothing but, if not raw, then preparation by steaming, stir-fry or baking reduces nutrient loss. You will never gain unwanted weight by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.

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5) Eat a good amount of protein

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. Protein is found in animal products such as meat, eggs, fish, milk and cheese, and in certain combinations of complex carbohydrates for example, grains with beans or tofu and rice (Asia), lentils and rice (India) and tortilla and beans (Mexican),

Young people between the ages of eleven and twenty should eat about one gram of protein for every kilogram of their body weight. People from twenty onwards can reduce this to about 0.75 g for every kilogram. On average, this means people should consume at least between 45 and 65 grams of protein each day.

Approximate levels of protein in common foods

  • Meat (100 grams) 20-25 grams
  • Fish and seafood (100 grams) 15-20 grams
  • Beans/legumes (I cup) 10-15 grams
  • Whole grains (I cup) 5-12 grams
  • One cup of milk or yoghurt 8 grams
  • An egg, 6 grams
  • Cheese (30 grams) 6-8 grams
  • Vegetables and fruits (I cup) 2--4 grams

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6) Vary food flavours

There are five main flavours in the diet: bitter, sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Typical Western foods rely heavily on the sweet &/or salty flavours but each of the flavours has subtle effects on digestion and health.

Bitter foods, for example, improve digestion and bowel function by stimulating the bile flow. Warming spices in the diet improve digestion and can be especially useful for those who have difficulties with cold weather. Sour foods also aid digestion, are drying, and can be used to prevent excessive mucus membrane congestion.

At first you might not like the experience of a new taste but give it at least 3 tries before you decide whether you really like it or not. The psychology of taste is well researched; most people instinctively dislike a flavour that registers as new; but if you keep trying it is highly likely you will learn to like it and enjoy your food even more!

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7) Healthy Diet Examples

~ Start the day with:

  • The juice of a lemon diluted in a glass of warm water
  • 1/2 a grapefruit
  • Some citrus juice (especially grapefruit)

~ Breakfast

  • A homemade muesli with ingredients such as raw oatmeal, rice flakes, puffed millet, sunflower seeds, linseeds, sultanas, chopped almonds or cashews, dried apricots, paw-paw or other fruit, coconut and chopped pumpkin seeds. Add cow’s milk, goat's milk, yoghurt or soya milk, and chopped fresh fruit.
  • Fresh fruit in season with yoghurt and seeds or chopped nuts.
  • Wholegrain bread, toasted, with an egg or two, or perhaps some nut butter, hummus, low fat cheese, miso, add optional sprouts.
  • Cooked cereal such as oatmeal, millet meal, brown rice or buck- wheat, with added nuts, seeds and dried fruit as desired. Add milk of choice and fruit or a little honey.

~ Lunch

  • Wholegrain bread sandwich with a mixture of salad vegetables. Include a little protein such as meat, tuna, salmon, chicken, egg, low-fat cheese or hummus.
  • Salad of mixed vegetables such as lettuce salad, coleslaw, tabouli salad, grated beetroot, tomatoes, carrot or celery. Protein should be included either in the form of correctly combined vegetable proteins or animal proteins as above.
  • Soup with the addition of beans or grains, a little yoghurt or Parmesan cheese.
  • Any of the dinner choices

~ Dinner

  • The options for the evening meal are extremely varied, being only limited by the imagination. It should contain: at least three different vegetables, cooked or raw depending on season and some good protein.

~ examples for the evening meal:

  • Vegetables with rice and tofu
  • Lamb casserole
  • Chicken soup
  • Stir-fry beef and vegetables
  • Vegetables with lentils and rice
  • Fish with vegetables or salad

~ Fluids

  • Limit caffeine-containing beverages to 1-2 cups of coffee or 2-4 cups of tea a day.
  • Drink plenty of water daily.
  • Try getting a new herbal tea every week or fortnight until you find a few you like and want to have regularly. Hot or iced, they can usually be infused, i.e. steeped, for longer than ordinary tea, and honey can be added if desired.

With thanks to Ruth Trickey, Medical Herbalist, for some parts of the material presented here

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!

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© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd