Now that the holiday season is over, I know many people are resolving to go on a diet and lose some of those holiday pounds. I would like you to consider making over the way you eat, so that it can be a sustainable and healthy way of life, rather than a short lived weight loss plan, that you know you will stray from pretty soon.
So what foods are “good for you”? What foods are “bad for you”? A simple question? Well not really. The reply is “compared to what?” For example, we are still being told that eggs are good for us. Well, compared to the greasy sausages next to them - they are. But if you really want to choose a healthy breakfast option, oatmeal is far better for you, and if you add some sliced bananas and blueberries you are about to have a great meal.
Potatoes are better for you than french fries, so they are a better option if you are eating out. But if you are at home, sweet potato is a more nutritious choice. The way I look at it, is to imagine you have 2000 calories in the bank at the start of every day. Then work out how you would like to “spend” those calories.
For example, after dinner, if you are craving something sweet, you might head for the freezer and serve yourself up a bowl of ice-cream. This will often be eaten, more or less unconsciously, in front of the TV. In just 2 scoops you will have eaten nearly 300 calories, 16g of saturated fat, 33g of added sugars and IGF-1, a known promoter of certain types of cancers present in all dairy foods.
Or if you had cut up a bunch of strawberries, in one cup you would have had way less calories (only 50) and no fat or added sugars. To make it more like ice cream if you are really craving that sensation, it is easy to freeze cut up fruit and then blend it. My favourite is frozen bananas. The secret is to wait until they are overripe, then peel them and freeze them. Blending frozen bananas gives a wonderfully satisfying dessert. You can even add a teaspoon of cocoa powder for a chocolatey taste. Sometimes I also add a half a teaspoon of instant coffee for a mocha flavour. Another alternative is to use the same ingredients but add soy milk for a delicious smoothie treat.
The foundation of the field of modern nutrition was looking into diseases of nutrient deficiency. Unfortunately many nutritionists are still focused on what nutrients we may be lacking, but most of our chronic diseases now are due to what we are getting too much of. Look at heart disease, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. I bet you know a lot of people suffering from these, if you are not yourself! These all strongly linked to too much fat, too much animal products, too much processed foods. Do you know anyone suffering from kwashiorkor, scurvy or pellagra - the deficiency diseases of the past (or of poorer countries)? Probably not!