One thing we all realise is that we need food for survival. The thing is however, is that everything that we put into our bodies can either have a negative impact on our health or a positive impact. Food truly is medicine, so upon discussing this with our Nutritionist Amy McKendrick, Amy mentions that when she eats something, she always considers "is this going to nourish my body or cause it stress?".
Thankfully, Amy has created a list to help us make better food choices when shopping for food or whilst eating out. I have listed the top four and will present the next four in the next post.
1. AVOID - Margarine. Margarine contains plant based oils which have been through a multi-step process including hydrogenation. This turns the liquid into a solid. This results in the formation of trans fatty acids. Trans fats increase risk of coronary heart disease, increase LDL cholesterol (bad) and lowers HDL cholesterol (good), decreases immune responses and increases blood insulin levels increasing risk of diabetes.
REPLACE with avocado or extra virgin olive oil. These fats are both high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are extremely good for the heart. These both reduce LDL and raise HDL. Or you could just have a small quantity or pure organic unsalted butter. It is just pure cream after all.
2. AVOID - White bread. Now this one is always on my list of foods to avoid. What is good about white bread? Nothing! It is cheap for a good reason. It contains bleached white flour which has been stripped of nutrients and contains a high gluten content. Not to mention all the additives and preservatives that are usually added to give them a longer shelf life. White bread is one of the biggest culprits in the amount of gut issues we are seeing. It is also high glycemic, which means that it converts to sugar very quickly.
REPLACE with organic stoneground sourdough breads. Bills sourdough is the only bread I buy in the supermarket. It contains good quality stoneground organic flour and has been traditionally made through a long ferment process. This makes the gluten easier to digest. It also has a high fibre content making it low glycemic. Better for controlling blood sugar imbalances.
3. AVOID - Processed baked goods. All those packaged muffins, doughnuts and cakes not only have a tonne of calories, but they are also loaded with refined sugars, trans fats and food additives such as colours, flavours and preservatives so they look appealing and have a longer shelf life.
REPLACE with a piece of fruit instead. Fruit will give you that sweet fix, but it is also loaded with fibre and antioxidants.
4. AVOID - soft drinks. Now this one is an obvious choice but still so many people drink the stuff. One 600ml soft drink contains 16 teaspoons of sugar. This will not only increase your waistline and cause fluctuations in energy levels, but it will also increase your risk of developing diabetes. Diet soft drinks are just as bad. They contain the artificial sweetener aspartame which is a neurotoxin. Having aspartame is actually counterproductive because it tricks your brain into thinking you've had something sweet, therefore continuing the whole sugar craving cycle.
REPLACE with homemade superfood smoothies, coconut water or just plain old water with some fresh lemon and lime in it. I put in my smoothies; coconut water, lemon, kale, cucumber, blueberries, frozen banana, celery, avocado, apple and chia seeds.
Stay tuned for more foods to avoid and foods to replace them with.