Guidelines for Eating Well from our Boot Camp Nutritionist Naomi Devlin.
â€˜Eat food, not too much, mostly plantsâ€™ â€“ Michael Pollan, In Defence of Food.
Your body wants nutrients and fuel to function effectively. Foods that are low in nutrients include; sugar, alcohol, refined grains (white bread, flour, white rice etc.), most vegetable oils, trans fats, coffee, skimmed milk and low fat versions of real foods.
Try to think about food in terms of nutrients, not calories. Spinach, blueberries and red peppers are all highly nutritious, but so are butter, eggs and steak. Grains, fats, nuts, meat, cheese, fish and eggs are all nutrient dense, but also calorie dense â€“ fill yourself up with nutritious vegetables and provide satisfaction with smaller amounts of nutritious, calorie dense foods. Avoid anything that doesnâ€™t nourish you!
Your body understands real foods in their natural state. Synthetic nutrients that occur in synthesised vitamins, fortified cereals, low calorie drinks and factory produced food, upset the natural balance mechanisms developed over thousands of years and result in disease.
The body needs fat â€“ cutting it out means that you are not satisfied by food and likely to eat more as a result. Fats enable absorption of vitamins and minerals from food, resulting in greater nourishment and reducing the likelihood of overeating. A fat free diet can lead to gall bladder problems in later life. Butter your vegetables and oil your salads, just go easy on mayo.
Emphasise saturated fats such as butter, meat fats and coconut oil for cell structure and to support the liver. Monounsaturated fats such as oily fish, nuts, avocado and olive oil help calm the nervous system, oil the skin and support the endocrine (hormonal) system. Avoid processed fats and any oil that is not cold pressed â€“ most vegetable oils are heat extracted and therefore rancid, causing inflammation and releasing free radicals into the body.
Fats to cook with (in descending order of stability at temperature): Dripping, Lard, Coconut oil, Sesame oil, Duck/goose/chicken fat, Olive oil, Unsalted butter.
Fats to eat raw: Olive oil, hazelnut oil, walnut oil, almond oil, butter, cream, avocado.
Sugar of all kinds upset the blood sugar balance, causing fat to be laid down. Even fruit sugar can upset the balance and strain the liver â€“ causing triglycerides (undesirable fats) to be laid down in the arteries. Donâ€™t eat more than one piece of fruit a day and only eat sweetened foods as part of a meal. Your body doesnâ€™t actually need any sugar â€“ itâ€™s not nourishing!
Tips for eating well:
Shop around the outside of the supermarket and you will fill your trolley with nourishing produce, avoiding all the tempting processed food that is displayed in the centre aisles!
Donâ€™t buy food where you buy your petrol. Most petrol stations and convenience stores donâ€™t sell food, they sell highly processed, nutrient empty snacks â€“ stop at a nearby supermarket or take food from home.
The higher quality your food, the less youâ€™ll eat of it. Grass fed meat, wild fish, organic eggs, butter and milk all pack more nutrients than their intensive farmed equivalents â€“ meaning you need to eat less of them to feel satisfied. Organic vegetables and native, seasonal foods also contain more of the vital nutrients your body needs.
If you take the fat out of milk, cheese and meat, you are likely to eat more of it to compensate. This can lead to over consumption of protein, which cannot be digested. A smaller amount of meat with skin, connective tissue and its own fat is far better for you.
Eat something raw every day to top up your enzyme levels. We need enzymes from raw food to support our internal organs and digestive system. Where possible, also include some raw meat, fish and fat in your diet as these are highly nourishing. Sources include: butter, olive oil, coconut oil, gravadlax, ceviche, smoked salmon, rollmops, steak tartare, salami (must be nitrate free), Parma ham…
Eat fermented food to support your bowel flora and increase your ability to digest food, support your immune system, produce B vitamins and avoid bloating. Sources include: Yogurt, kefir, salami (nitrate free), sourdough bread, Bircher museli, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kombucha, kvass and home made probiotic pickles and drinks (recipes in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon).
Eat at a table, in the park or in your garden. Make a deal with yourself not to eat in front of the TV or at your desk or computer. Eating should be a conscious and social activity. Chew slowly, chat to your family, listen to the radio or read a book. Light a candle and set the table â€“ food is sacred and youâ€™re worth it.
Prepare food in advance. Cook a large joint of meat to eat cold (brisket, silverside, topside, whole chicken, make a frittata or tortilla, soak and cook enough quinoa for a few days and have feta cheese on hand so you can always whip up a nourishing quinoa/feta salad when youâ€™re tired. Freeze tray bakes and make batches of soup â€“ your colleagues will be so jealous when they see your lunches! Soak museli overnight to digest out the phytates and it becomes a fast food breakfast â€“ ready when you get up!
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