Eating healthy is for some people almost an obsession. It seems like dieticians are constantly fascinated with new studies and they start throwing out names like antioxidants, fat free foods, non saturated fat foods etc. The list becomes so large and everyone has their own ideas that we begin to think that the only things that we can eat is pretty much only grass.
Then there are those that say you can eat just about anything as long as it’s organic and then we begin to feel this on our pocket. There are also dieticians that recommend that you don’t eat a wide variety of foods at once, as your digestion finds itself struggling to cope. While others say completely the opposite! On top of it all, some suggest you should eat a lot of meat and then there are some that say you should not eat meat at all.
I am a concerned eater due to my allergies. I been frustrated by all of this advice and lost hope at one stage trying to get it right. I tried absolutely everything under the sun, and although I am a healthy weight right now this used to swing like a pendulum that I had no control over.
The truth of the matter is at the end of the day that the studies are right and wrong, as any solution has two sides.
I always listen to my body, I know when it wants me to eat fruit or when I need to eat something meaty, because I really do crave for it. I could be sitting in front of the TV and my mind will say “I wish I was eating a carrot”. It’s an odd thing to think about, it sounds a bit nutty but if you listen to yourself you will find that the ultimate truth is within you. However, one thing that I have to completely agree with all the dieticians is that we really shouldn’t be eating foods containing those all so suspicious E numbers, colorants and preservatives, and definitely not eating sugar! There are substitutes for sugar and I don’t mean the poisonous sweeteners full of antidepressant substances, but honey for example.
If your body is used to consuming sugars and you don’t cut it out for at least 3 months, you won’t really be able to rely on your cravings because your body is craving anything to add energy into your system when you are in that sugary slump. Your pancreas is on overdrive and your heart is beating faster than you know why.
Also, don’t ever think that you will ever be able to achieve eating everything that is recommended in those diet books in a day, you’ll end up eating yourself half to death. There is no way a person can stuff their face with everything that is good for them in a single day. Variety is key, but overdoing anything is a disaster.
Then there is this huge speculation as to whether you should buy organic or non organic foods. So the organic foods are slightly more expensive, but when you think about it, if the vegetables/ fruit have been sitting on the shelves on the supermarket store for more than 3 days then they probably lost just as many nutrients as the non-organic. I stand to be corrected in terms of thinking that organic foods have more nutritional value than non organic. A very detailed study was performed to find out the truth, I have just copied some of the facts onto my blog, please feel free to read the full article. This article describes that they studied the articles that had been submitted as evidence trying to substantiate that organic foods are better. Out of 50 000 articles only 55 are relevant, as the rest have no founding evidence and are not backed up by facts.
This well-conducted comprehensive review, identified over 50,000 articles but found that only 55 were of satisfactory quality. It found only 11 papers with direct relevance to human health, five of which involved testing cell cultures rather than people. Of the six human studies, four included fewer than 20 participants, giving them little statistical power. The taste, surface pesticide content or appearance of the food was also not researched.
When the authors looked at only those studies of a satisfactory quality, conventionally produced crops had a significantly higher nitrogen content, which is a measure of specific fertiliser use. Organic crops had a significantly higher content of phosphorus and higher titratable acidity (a measure of ripeness of the fruit at harvest). They found no evidence of a difference in the remaining eight crop nutrient categories from the 11 analysed.
When the authors analysed the limited database on livestock products available, they found no evidence of a difference in nutrient content between livestock products produced organically and conventionally.
What interpretations did the researchers draw from these results?
The researchers say that there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between foodstuffs produced organically and conventionally.
They go on to explain that the small differences in nutrient content relate to differences in production methods or were biologically plausible, meaning that they relate to differences such as fertiliser use or the timing of harvest.
Of course you make your own decisions about what is wrong or right, but there are facts to be considered.
Regarding soya foods, used commonly by our vegetarian and vegan friends. One thing to note is to alway make sure that you soya has not got soya protein isolators, which affects the thyroid function and is linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, as the soya is put into an aluminium tank in order to allow the acid within it to strip the soya bean of its carbohydrates.
I think when you considering what to eat follow the below guidelines:
1. Have I got at least 3 different veggies on my dish …. (don’t over boil and overcook these so that they keep their vitamins), salad does cover a lot of bases as it can be made with a variety of veggies
2. Have I eaten berries or fruit as snacks throughout the day (2 -3 different types)
3. Have I got something stable on my plate ie. wholegrain rice or pasta (a complex carbohydrate for slow releasing energy and also something that will allow me to feel full for a long time)
4. Additionally have some form of meat, at least 2 times a week I recommend eating fish
I generally don’t like eating dairy and meat together, because this gives me stomach cramps. I really like snacking on nuts and fruit, like a parrot. Oh, and I really really love olives!
I don’t eat chocolates or sweets, if I do its once in a blue moon. I don’t worry if things are organic or not. I don’t measure my food, although I don’t eat more than when my tummy says stop. Generally one plate of food is the maximum. I never dish up seconds as it is overindulging. 3 course meals are ridiculous and I cannot really manage this, so I break it down to 3 separate meals.
In the last 6 years since I have changed my diet, I haven’t had weight fluctuations. I have had the flu only 3 times in the 6 years and this occurred during the very stressful moments of my life, when I have moved house / country / job all at the same time. Stress related illnesses are the worst, because even food won’t save you there.
Listen to your body it knows you well. I can’t tell you what’s wrong or right for you, you need to figure it out. Start eliminating things and build your pyramid up. What works for some people doesn’t work for others. Diets die and lifestyles are forever.