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Healthy Eating Guide

Updated: Mar 31, 2023


Protein

Protein is vital for tissue growth and repair, it also important for memory, mind, mood and movement. Protein with each meal and snack is a good way to balance blood sugar levels and this may help with energy levels and feeling fuller for longer.


*Aim for 3 palm sized servings per day (2 smaller servings with a snack)*


Good protein choices

  • Oily fish – salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines

  • White fish, chicken, red meat (grass fed)

  • Beans, pulses, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa

  • Eggs

  • Seeds, pumpkin, sesame, linseeds and sunflower, aim for a tablespoon of ground seeds per day. Ideal ingredient to add to oats at breakfast or mixed into smoothies.

  • Nuts – small handful of nuts is a good amount – brazil, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios and pine nuts. Eat as a snack with fruit or dried fruit, add to breakfasts or eat on their own. Nut and seed butters such as, almond, pumpkin, tahini (sesame seeds) and hazelnut are great on a couple oatcakes or a spoonful with a banana or added to curries, soups, salad dressings or stews.

TOP TIP - Keep seeds and nuts in the fridge

  • Avocado – 1-3 a week

  • Protein powders – whey, pea, hemp or rice. (ask for advice)

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the body’s main fuel and is used for making of energy. Eat complex carbs and avoid white refined and processed like white sugar, bread, cakes, pastries and rice.


*Aim for 4 servings per day*


Wholegrains

  • Brown or white basmati rice (not wholegrain but good to mix), rye, oats, quinoa, wholemeal bread or white/wholegrain pasta

  • Vary grains, try to not eat gluten containing grains everyday or at every meal, have grain free meals using root vegetables as a filler. Quinoa is a seed from the rhubarb plant! It is gluten and wheat free.

TOP TIP - Make quinoa tasty by adding spices to the water when cooking, once cooked add lemon juice and olive oil.


*Vegetables 5-8 portions of veg per day* – half your plate should be VEGETABLES!

  • Green leafy vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, and chard

  • Root veg – beetroot, sweet potatoes, new potatoes, celeriac, parsnip, carrots

  • Rainbow coloured vegetables – Red, yellow, green peppers, courgettes, beetroot, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes

  • Lentils, beans, peas – good source of veg, carb and protein – 3 nutrients in 1. Tins or packets are good for convenience

  • Frozen peas

  • Tinned tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, olives, capers and peppers in olive oil

TOP TIP - herbs and spices count towards this half. Using tinned or jarred ingredients such as peppers or olives can also be a tasty and easy way of upping veg!


*Fruits 1-3 portions fruit per day*

  • Apples, pears plums, berries, kiwi, pears, peaches, banana (1/2 and freeze the other ½ to make banana ice cream)

  • Frozen berries are handy especially when out of season

  • Dried fruit – apricots, raisin, sultanas, dates, and goji berries – keep to a minimal amount i.e. 2-3 apricots, 10-20 raisins.

Fats

There are two main sources of fat: saturated and unsaturated.


The main sources of saturated fat are meat and dairy.


Meat contains essential nutrients like protein, B12 , zinc and iron.


Aim to eat quality red meat 2-5 times a week. Keep processed meats low. Where possible try to buy grass fed meat as it contains higher amounts of omega 3 than grain fed, this contains more omega 6. Omega 6 is not bad for you but the western diet is high in it, when the ratio of omega 6 to 3 is too high it can be a trigger for inflammation.


TOP TIP: Avoiding ultra processed foods and eating more omega 3 foods can address an imbalance.


Coconut oil is also a source of saturated fat, and it does not produce harmful substances when it is heated unlike sunflower or rapeseed oil. It is a medium chain fat and therefore can be used for energy quicker than other fats, it can be useful in sports.


Cook, roast and bake with olive oil or coconut oil and butter. Do not cook with vegetable oils like sunflower or rapeseed oil.


Sources of fats

  • Oily fish – salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, sardines, and trout. Tuna is also a good source but limit because it has been found to be higher in mercury.

  • Nuts and seeds – grind seeds so you can access the essential oils easier than your teeth can!

  • Cold pressed olive oil

  • Coconut oil

  • Avocados

  • Eggs

  • Butter

  • Meat

  • Brown meat on chicken

  • Nut butters

  • Dairy


Avoid hydrogenated and trans fats. These are manmade and can be harmful. They are found in processed margarines, baked goods, sauces and salad dressings. Butter is best.


Water

A good way to tell if you are consuming enough is by observing the colour of your urine; it should be a pale yellow colour. Aim for 1.5 - 2 litres a day equivalent of a large bottle of mineral water. However do not stress about this, food also contains water. It can also include herbal teas, milk and smoothies. Fruit, vegetables and soups are another good way of maintaining hydration.


Foods and other substances to avoid

White refined foods – (sugar, white bread, biscuits, cakes, sweets) can disrupt blood glucose levels and can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Excessive salt – excessive sodium can cause fluid retention, which can lead to high blood pressure. This can then aggravate heart conditions, kidneys and premenstrual syndrome. A good way to limit salt is to eliminate processed and fast foods.

Alcohol – too much can disrupt blood sugar, taxes the liver and robs the body from vital nutrients. It is also implicated in heart disease and cancer.

Excessive coffee, tea – can rob body of vital nutrients and also be a stressor on the body.

Pesticides – buy as much organic produce you can afford, buy local produce in season

Toxins – heavy metals – tuna can contains mercury, eat in moderation – once a month (or less). Aluminium can be found in antacids and cookware.

Smoking – causes many health problems including cancer and heart diseases

Environmental toxins – insecticides, herbicides, flame-retardants, chemicals in plastics and cleaning fluids can be toxic and natural alternatives such as glass containers and natural cleaning agents ie vinegar and bicarbonate of soda are better. I use Dr Bronner soaps and make my own kitchen and bathroom sprays.


Final tips

  1. Chew food thoroughly, a lot of digestion happens first in the mouth, the more you chew the less the stomach has to do

  2. Take time to eat and eat at a table with no technology

  3. Be organised with cupboards stocked up with healthy choices

  4. Don’t think ‘what I can’t eat think’, THINK what ‘I CAN EAT’


Good Books

The 10 secrets of 100% Health cookbook – Patrick Holford & Fiona McDonald Joyce

Food Glorious Food – Patrick Holford & Fiona McDonald Joyce

The Extra Virgin Kitchen – Susan Jane White

The Medicinal Chef – Dale Pinnock


Shops and Web Sites

www.naturaldispensary.co.uk - register giving my name then when at checkout enter NNA010 for a 10% discount


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