If you think that you’re the only one having a hard time keeping up with the latest developments in the world of “eating right”, you’re not alone. And there is good reason why we feel confused. For starters, food, nutrition and diet are complex issues to tackle. There aren’t a lot of straightforward answers, even on a good day. Add to it that different diets affect us differently, the not so small issue of biased research, the fact that a lot of what is printed and talked about is driven by business interests and lastly, simple often doesn’t sell. But don’t give up hope yet. There are a few tips that can help us all. Come and cook with us!
Let’s look at this step by step. The approach in medicine to personalize the way we deal with an illness has had similar developments in the world of nutrition. An opinion in this week’s Sunday NYT by David S. Ludwig titled “Could Your Healthy Diet Make me Fat” talks about “personalized nutrition”. So what’s good for me isn’t necessarily good for you which could mean that we’re moving towards an individual approach in nutrition and away from national guidelines for the entire public. What’s more, the government is having a spectacularly hard time determining what these guidelines should be – and that isn’t even taking into account how our food choices impact the environment. If you ever tried to come up with a menu suggestion respecting the various dietary restrictions of your dinner guest, think about a diverse group of experts trying to define with nutritional guidelines they can all agree upon. Read here the entire list including participants, if you are so inclined. One highlight worth mentioning is they all agree that “it is not necessary to eliminate food groups or conform to a single dietary pattern to achieve healthy dietary patterns”. In other words, a little of everything is a good measure to live by.
Marion Nestle, an expert in food policy, author and professor, has been collecting studies funded by food companies since last March and keeping score whether the results do or do not favor the sponsor’s interests: so far, the count is 80 that do, 7 that don’t. We certainly never see the finer print on who commissions a study when we read that milk, eggs, red meat and GMO corn aren’t bad for us. I’m not saying that they are but if the outcome of the study favors the entity that paid for it, then we should know about it.
And if it wasn’t enough to think about what we should eat, most of us struggle to find the time to make dinner. I know it isn’t easy, but don’t be discouraged and know that every little step helps. We try to share recipes that fit the bill: not a lot of prepping, simplicity of ingredients and most of all, pleasing to the palate.
None of this is really new, as we’ve written about it before. I leave you with Jamie Oliver’s 10 Easy Tips to Live By which I initially saw when I visited his store in Nottingham Hill in London this summer. I was thinking of you and couldn’t wait to share them! Come and cook with us!
Eating healthily is all about balance. Every now and then it’s perfectly OK to have pie for dinner or a nice slice of cake at teatime – treats are a part of life – but it’s also important to recognize when we’re pushing things too far. Indulgent food should be enjoyed and savored, but only occasionally – it’s important to remember that the majority of our diet should be made up of balanced, nutritious everyday foods. Make healthy food a priority in your life and allow it to bring your family and friends together. Learn to love how it makes you feel, how delicious it is and remember that a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise are the keys to a healthy lifestyle
1. Cook from scratch
This is one of the most important life skills you can learn. It allows you to have complete control of what goes into your food.
2. Eat a balanced diet
Aim to eat a balanced diet that contains each of the food groups in the correct proportions.
3. Variety is key – eat the rainbow
Fill your diet with a wide range of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and naturally low fat dairy foods. When it comes to fruit and veg, different colours provide your body with the different nutrients it needs to stay strong and healthy – it’s not just greens that are good for you!
4. Understand what you’re eating
Make an effort to learn about the food you’re eating – we all need to understand where food comes from and how it affects our bodies.
5. Eat nutritious calories
Make sure the majority of your energy intake comes from nutritious calories that also provide your body with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and good fats. Avoid empty calories.
6. Don’t skip breakfast
Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and helps you to be alert and awake throughout the day. Make sure you always eat a nutritious breakfast. Make it wholesome and make it count.
7. Read the small print
It’s important to read packaging correctly. Be aware of the recommended portion sizes, and the sugar, salt and saturated fat contents. Remember that not all E-numbers are bad, but too many is often a bad sign.
8. Drink more water
Water is an essential part of your diet. Drink plenty of water and avoid empty calories from things such as fizzy drinks, energy drinks or juices with added sugar. Eat your calories don’t drink them.
9. Keep active
Exercise is an extremely important factor in staying healthy so try to be as active as you can.
10. Sleep well
Make sure you get enough sleep – it’s an essential part of being healthy and directly affects how well we are able to learn, grow and act in life. While we’re asleep, our bodies have that all-important time to repair.