Nutrition has always been a passion, ever since I was a spotty teenager prone to weight. Ecstatic to learn that I could help get rid of those zits and double muffin midriff bulge purely by eating healthily, I was eager to glean as much knowledge as possible on this magical subject. In those days there was no internet to go to for a quick search on ‘How can I get rid of spots? Teen magazines were my first resource before I hit the bookshops in search of little books on healthy eating.
Back then there certainly wasn’t the plethora of books now available, on everything from the latest slimming diet to eating right for your blood type. It’s become quite confusing for most people as you’re told to cut out dairy one week and grains the next week. That’s fine if certain allergies are showing up as being a contributory factor in an illness, but for the majority of people you just need to follow a daily healthy eating plan.
Having studied food science as part of my degree, nutrition remains an abiding interest. I keep myself updated by reading the latest research yet I like to demystify it and keep it simple, because it actually is SIMPLE. It’s about eating healthily to maintain optimum health throughout your lifetime.
If we think of our bodies as a car, sleep recharges our batteries and food is our fuel. We wouldn’t put the wrong fuel in our car, so why put the wrong fuel in our bodies. Many of the ailments we come across in society today are in some way associated with or directly related to nutritional intake. It is possible to make dramatic changes to your life through adjusting your diet and lifestyle to suit your needs for instance through
-Performance/ Sports Nutrition
-Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart
-Food for Mood including Depression, Anxiety and Stress
-Nutritional Advice for Fatigue/Burnout
-Digestive Disorders including IBS, Coeliac Disease and other issues
-Coping with Allergies & Intolerances
-Women & Men’s Health
-Healthy Eating for the Family
-Bone & Joint Nutritional Guidance
-Allergy/Food Intolerance Testing
In this blog I plan to deal with many of the above over the coming months. But for a start today I have decided to refer back to the good old fashioned Food Pyramid as the basic guideline for healthy eating.
Foods that contain the same type of nutrients are grouped together on each of the five shelves of the Food Pyramid. This gives you a choice of different foods from which to choose a healthy diet. Following the Food Pyramid as a guide will help you get the right balance of nutritious foods within your calorie range. Studies show that we take in too many calories from foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt, on the top shelf of the Food Pyramid.
They provide very little of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. Limiting these is essential for healthy eating.
It is self explanatory. The first group comprises carbohydrates of which it is recommended that you eat six portions per day. Yes that’s right! You require more carbs than protein, since you need them for heat & energy and to spare your proteins for their primary function of growth and repair.
The second group group comprises Fruit and Vegetables; your main source of cellulose along with vitamins and some minerals. Five portions are recommended per day.
The third group is the dairy group (rich in protein) but this can be substituted with soya or goats milk products. Do remember however that you rely heavily on this group as a source of calcium and if you omit dairy you must ensure your diet contains another rich source of calcium. Three portions are recommended per day.
The fourth group is the meat, fish & alternatives group – the main source of protein unless you are a vegetarian. In which case you must substitute with vegetable protein in the form of nuts, beans and pulses, quinoa etc. Two portions are suggested as a daily allowance.
The fifth group is what we recognize as junk food or foods with empty calories – remember to keep these to a minimum.
So there you are; – if you understand the food pyramid you’ve got an essential basic understanding of what constitutes a balanced diet. After that you need to make wise choices as to what you include in each group. In future blogs I’ll give you additional information to add to this foundation. Feel free to comment or ask any questions.