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General dietary recommendations for health

These are general guidelines that have been put together to help you understand the areas required by the body  


Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a great source of energy (provided they are still in their natural state – not refined or over processed) and are packed full of vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Try fresh fruit – kiwifruit, oranges, apples, berries, banana with yogurt and ground LSA (linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds) for breakfast, a salad of lettuce and greens, carrot, tomatoes, celery, beetroot, sprouts and either feta cheese or tinned tuna for lunch, and a stir fry of bok choy, broccoli, red capsicum, mushrooms, bean sprouts and courgette with tofu, egg or thinly sliced meat for dinner.

Try to include a rainbow of colored fruits and vegetables every day – red capsicum, orange carrots, yellow corn, plenty of dark leafy greens, blueberries and purple beetroot. 

Eat organically grown produce whenever possible to reduce intake of harmful pesticides.

Whole grains are grains such as wheat, barley, quinoa, rice, rye and oats with the outer bran and germ still in tact which means they are higher in nutrients, fibre and taste. Good whole grains to eat are brown rice, porridge, dark grainy rye breads, quinoa which can be sprouted or cooked.

 

Protein
Protein is necessary for building body tissues such as hair, skin, nails and bones as well as repairing damaged tissue, hormone production and immunity.

The protein requirements for an adult are between 40-60 grams per day depending on your size. To get an idea of how much 40 grams is there is approximately 10 grams in each of the following: 1½ eggs, 100 grams of tofu, 1/3 cup of nuts, 30 grams of cheese, ¾ cup of lentils, 2 avocados, 1 ¼ cups of yogurt or milk, 8-10 oysters, 40 grams of tinned tuna, and 40 grams of steak.

Protein is a sustainable form of energy as well which means that you will feel fuller for longer. Remember that vegetables contain protein too. There are 5g of protein in 1 cup of cooked spinach or 1 cup cooked rice.

The need to eat ‘complete’ protein is a myth as protein is broken down into its individual amino acids which are  utilized by the body as required.

Fats
Dietary fats are are necessary for vitamin absorption and hormone production as well as body cell structure. They reduce inflammation and help maintain healthy bodyweight.

The best oils to cook with are mono-unsaturated oils such as cold pressed olive and avocado oils, and saturated fats such as butter and coconut oil. Saturated fats are only bad for you when damaged by excess heat or hydrogenation which turns them into toxic trans fatty acids.

Avoid ALL types of margarine – they are highly processed trans fats. Poly-unsaturated oils like flaxseed, corn and sunflower are very unstable so should be stored in dark glass bottles and in the fridge if possible. They should never be heated so are best used in salad dressings or drizzled over food after it has been cooked.

Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are types of polyunsaturated oils (Omega 3 and 6) which we must obtain through our foods. Omega 3 EFA’s are found in oily fish, linseeds/flaxseeds, dark leafy greens, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, whereas Omega 6 oils are found in evening primrose seeds and most vegetable oils. Most people get enough 6 in their diet but less 3 so make an effort to include food sources on a daily basis.

Liquids
Try to drink 4-6 glasses of water per day. Drink more in summer.

Avoid coffee and black tea. Instead enjoy herbal infusions such nettle, chamomile, rosehip and oatstraw which are high in nutrients and have healing properties. Each cup of herbal tea counts towards your daily water intake.

 

Meal ideas

Breakfast

  • Porridge with ground nuts, stewed fruit and non-homogenised or raw milk
  • Free range egg omelet with tomato, mushrooms, spinach and cheese
  • Buckwheat porridge with banana and yogurt


Lunch

  • Homemade vegetable soup
  • Sushi and miso soup
  • Salad – lettuce, carrot, tomato, sprouts, cucumber, avocado, egg, cottage cheese
  • Baked kumara stuffed with your favorite fillings – creamed corn, tomato, chili, fresh herbs, onion, spinach and cheese, or coleslaw

 

Dinner

  • Pan fried fish with pumpkin mash, steamed vegetables and mango salsa
  • Vegetables in garlic, onion,
  • Lemon juice, coconut milk and
  • Coriander. Serve with brown rice, quinoa or buckwheat.
  • Lean steak served with baked potato, sour cream, mushrooms and salad
  • Dahl and root vegetable casserole served with brown rice and steamed greens or salad

 

Snacks

Good foods to snack on are:

  • Nuts – almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts
  • Seeds – pumpkin and sunflower
  • Dried fruit
  • Smoothies – spirilina/barley grass    
  • Yogurt, fruit and juice
  • Vegetable stick with hummus, salsa or
  • Guacamole dip

 

Foods to eliminate

  • White sugar and flour – eg. soft drinks,   lollies, white bread, pasta, pastries
  • Artificial colorings, flavorings, preservatives, artificial sweeteners
  • Processed foods
  • Refined table salt
     

Food preparation

Eat a combination of both raw and cooked vegetables to get the full spectrum of nutrients. Steaming and quickly stir-frying vegetables are great ways to keep in flavor and nutrients.

All grains should be soaked for 8 to 12 hours before they are cooked to remove the phytates which bind up minerals, making them harder to absorb. This includes brown rice, quinoa, millet, oats (porridge) as well as lentils and legumes.

Only use unprocessed sea salt in cooking. Also try kelp and soya sauce/tamari for a salty flavor. Use plenty of spices, herbs, ginger, garlic, turmeric in your cooking for extra flavour, anti-oxidant activity, circulatory and gut health benefits.

 

Food sources of commonly deficient nutrients

  • Calcium (actually not deficient but the body’s ability to utilize it may be reduced) - Fish such as salmon and sardines, tofu, broccoli, collard greens, bok choy, molasses, clams, dried figs, yogurt, almonds, kale, sesame seeds, cheeses.
  • Iron - Liver, prunes, baked beans, molasses, red meat, spinach, eggs, Swiss chard, beet greens, peaches, whole grains.
  • Magnesium - Legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts, dark green vegetables, cocoa, seeds, mineral water, tahini, coconut, soya beans, bananas, chamomile
  • Zinc - Oysters, red meat, eggs, fish, whole grains, peas, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chicken, split peas, sprouts, brewer’s yeast.
  • B vitamins - Brewers yeast, whole grains, wheat germ, nuts, seeds, legumes, avocados, fish and broccoli.  
  • Vitamin C - Kiwifruit, berries, citrus, capsicums, chili, watermelon, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, kale, spinach, Swiss chard.

 

The foods that you eat play a massive role in how you feel physically and emotionally. Choose whole-foods, that is foods with nothing added or nothing taken away, for energy and well-being. The closer to the way they grow in nature, the better for your body.

 

Brett Elliott ®

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