Adapted from the Food Matters Recipe Bookhttp://www.foodmatters.tv
1. Eat as nature intended Nature didn’t create you to eat ready-made meals with artificial preservatives and chemicals. Our ancestors and forefathers have always lived in symbiosis with nature and man has been geared toward natural food. It’s simple, eat more “living food” and eat less “dead food”! I general recommend plenty of vegetables and fruits (all in a wide range of colours and preferably in-season), herbs, seaweeds, mushrooms, nuts & needs, live yoghurts and cultured vegetables (sauerkraut), free range eggs and wild fish.
2. Choose Organic Where possible. Organic fruit and vegetables contain more vitamins and minerals than their non-organic counterparts, particularly if they are picked ripe and locally-grown. Moreover they are safer to eat as they are grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified organisms all of which have been proven to have harmful effects on our reproductive health and hormones, as well as overloading the liver.
3. Get yourself a juicer and a blenderA juicer and a blender are your best friends in the kitchen. Let’s say you come home from work and you are feeling hungry and lethargic. You normally reach for a packet of chips, but why not instead opt for a quick juice or smoothie loaded with vitamins, minerals and enzymes. I call that an instant meal, real fast food! This is what your cells are crying out for. Juices and smoothies are easily digested and can enter into the blood stream in 15 minutes.
4. Stay away from gluten-containing grains Gluten is a protein found in most grains, concentrated mostly in wheat, but also in rye, barley, spelt and kamut. Gluten allergy (known as Coeliac Disease) and gluten intolerance are becoming more prevalent. Even those not diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity can do better when they avoid it altogether. Gluten irritates and damages the intestinal lining and causes inflammation, immune reactions and is a major cause of “leaky gut”. Traditional preparation of these grains i.e soaking for at least 12 hours and sourdough leavening destroys some of the gluten, rendering them less harmful. Quinoa is becoming a new replacement for grains and can be used as a replacement in cooking in a variety of ways.
5. Stay away from processed sugary products Too much sugar or other refined carbohydrates can lead to blood sugar highs and lows, causing mood swings and food cravings, if not balanced by fats, protein and fibre. Opt for foods that naturally have a lower Glycemic Load or (Low GI). Choose fruits and vegetables over starchy grains. If you are going to eat sugar and carbohydrate rich foods, it’s best to combine it with healthy fats & protein to steady the uptake of glucose in to the bloodstream. Avoid sweetened packaged foods, particularly those sweetened with glucose syrup, high fructose (corn syrup) and artificial sweeteners.
6. Eat good fatsPeople who are trying to loose weight often try to keep their fat and cholesterol intake to a minimum. The reason behind this is that fat contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates and proteins. However good fats and cholesterol are essential for the absorption of most nutrients and the production of hormones. Thus it’s important not to avoid them. Enjoy the health saturated fats (not as evil as they’ve been made out to be, but in fact anti-aging) found in coconut oil, wild caught fish, organic dairy and grass-fed meats, and monounsaturated fats like those found in extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil, macadamia nuts and avocados. Make sure you steer clear of the oxidized, free-radical-creating trans-fats (found in margarine, spreads, cookies, chips, and in vegetables oils like safflower, sunflower and canola oil).
7. Be smart in the kitchen Prepare your meals with care. Ditch the microwave – if you have to use it never cook or heat your food in plastic (which leeches toxins into your food) always use glass or crockery. Eat more raw food. Don’t fry too hot – it’s best to saute in heat-stable coconut oil, ghee or butter on a low to medium heat. Turn the temperature down: get an old fashioned cast iron pot and slow cook! If using non-stick cookware its especially important to keep the temperatures at a low to medium level and discard the cookware when old or when scratches, flakes or chips appear.
8. Look for ethical and sustainable sources When buying eggs, dairy and meat it is super important to know where your food comes from. Toxins and chemicals are mostly stored within fat cells therefore again organically grown and raised is best. With organic and free-range animal products it is reassuring to know that no antibiotics were used, no GMO feed was given, no growth hormones were injected and the animals were raised naturally. As questions of your food supplier! When buying locally you help to lessen the environmental impact that the transportation of food accrues. If buying red meat ask your butcher if they stock grass fed meat, it’s much better for you.
9. Avoid food additives Read the labels!! Chemical food additives can wreak havoc on our hormones. In general avoid E-numbers but be particularly careful for the flavour enhancer MSG that tricks our brain into thinking we need to over eat. MSG is disguised under the following names: E621, monosodium glutamate, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed vegetable oil, yeast extract and mono-calcium glutamate and is often found in ready-made soups, chips, sauces and cookies. As a general rule: if you can’t pronounce it, or it’s listed in numbers and code, don’t eat it! Check out Bill Statham’s wonderful book and phone app the Chemical Maze, it will help you decode those numbers.
10. Eat in a relaxed stateOur stomach and digestive systems are very sensitive. Rushing your meal and eating on the run will put your body in a state of fight or flight which in turn will compromise or even halt your digestive processes and the uptake of nutrients. What we don’t digest can turn into bacterial fermentation (dysbiosis), bloating, or worst of all can be stored for later. Make sure you are seated and take the time to enjoy your meal in a relaxed state and with intention.