‘Eat Food… not too much… mostly plants…’ 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, standard vegetable oils, 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 so fill yourself up with nutritious vegetables and provide satisfaction with smaller amounts of nutritious, calorie dense foods. Avoid anything that doesn’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, resulting in disease.
The body needs fat so cutting it out means that you are not satisfied by food and likely to overeat as a result. Fats enable absorption of vitamins and minerals from food, resulting in greater nourishment. Fats repair every cell membrane in your body, avoiding them leads to weak and inflamed cells. Butter your vegetables, eat your chicken skin and oil your salads, just go easy on mayonnaise as it contains super-heated polyunsaturates.
Different fats do different jobs. Eat some 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. Polyunsaturated fats such as, fish, flax seed oil, cold pressed sunflower oil are important to calm inflammation and produce hormones.
Avoid hydrogenated fats, trans fats and any oil that is not cold pressed. Most vegetable oils are heat extracted and therefore rancid, causing inflammation.
Fats to cook with (in descending order of stability at temperature): Dripping, Coconut oil, Lard, Sesame oil, Peanut oil, Duck/Goose/Chicken fat, Olive oil, Unsalted butter.
Fats to eat raw: Olive oil, Hazelnut oil, Walnut oil, Almond oil, Butter, Cream, Avocado, Tahini, Egg Yolk.
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, causing triglycerides (undesirable fats) to be laid down in the arteries. Don’t eat more than two pieces of fruit a day and only eat (occasional) sweetened foods as part of a meal. Your body doesn’t actually need any sugar and it’s not nourishing!
Tips for eating well:
Shop 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!
Don’t buy food where you buy your petrol. Most petrol stations and convenience stores don’t sell food, they sell highly processed, nutrient empty snacks. Instead stop at a nearby supermarket or take food from home.
The higher quality your food, the less you’ll eat of it. Grass fed meat, wild fish, organic eggs, butter and milk all pack more nutrients than their intensive farmed equivalents meaning that 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 full fat milk, cheese, yoghurt or meat that includes its skin, connective tissue and 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, gravlax, ceviche, smoked salmon, rollmops, steak tartare, salami (must be nitrate free) and 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 muesli, 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, food is sacred and you’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 you’re tired. Freeze tray bakes and make batches of soup, your colleagues will be so jealous when they see your lunches! Soak muesli overnight to digest out the phytates and it becomes a fast food breakfast ready when you get up.
There are huge amounts of information about how to make good food choices in the NTA Life recovery programme. Each module explains what foods to eat more of and which to avoid depending on your individual health issues. Click on NTA Life and join today to benefit from hundreds of years worth of naturopathic knowledge about what your body needs.
We have our own range of natural food-state formulas available through our clinics and our website, including:
Blood sugar and adrenal balancing nutrient powders
Buffered Vit C powders
Digestive support powders with enzymes to aid nutrient absorption
Herring Oil capsules that give the same nutrients as cod liver oil and are sourced from clear waters
Hormone balancing nutrient powders
Nutrient formula powders that provide RDA of all vitamins and minerals including B6
and many more… click on “product orders” from the NTA Life drop down menu on our website, to see the full list.