January has come and gone. And some of us would’ve made a list of New Year’s resolutions when the year began. The subject of health is always a popular pick for each New Year, with losing weight trumping the ‘to do list’. And I trust that we are all still feeling motivated and energised!
There are those who would’ve pledged to shed a few kilos; or perhaps you have been blessed with a lean, fit body and don’t necessarily want to lose weight but simply remain your healthy self. It really doesn’t matter what your health goal is, there will be something for everyone. Therefore, what more fitting topic to kick start this health column than to explore ways in which we can eat our way to a better health and lose weight at the same time.
Where health is concerned prevention is always better than cure. And yet we can’t ignore the fact that certain factors do come into play and meddle with our health. Our lifestyle choices, genetic disposition, environment, life’s mishaps , circumstances or indeed lack of will power among other things can leave us in a precarious position and before we know it we find ourselves battling one ailment or another.
But it’s never too late regardless of what your health situation may be as every little step you take from today will go a long way towards optimising your health!
Grains, Nuts, Fruits and Vegetables
When my daughter started school I had to sign a parent contract pledging that I wasn’t going to put any candy, biscuits, crisps or anything unhealthy in her lunch box! That’s right, the matter was that pertinent! And three years later I still stop and think about each item of food that I put in her lunch box.
It is often preached that natural is always better and I tend to agree. Therefore, for this food series the more natural varieties will be explored first. And nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables do come to mind.
Prepared as naturally and simply as possible vegetables, nuts, grains and fruits are the most nourishing and healthful of the bunch. I’ll be the first to admit that I used to struggle with the more natural varieties of food especially grains. I found them unpalatable, dry and dull in the best of times. And if you have children then you will understand what a chore it can be to try and get them to eat their fruits and vegetables.
There is also the unfortunate problem of gluten and nut allergies; and there are some who will swear that because of their texture grains are responsible for irritating their stomach lining by scrapping the mucosa, and flaring up symptoms of diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. These types of food, when cooked effectively and creatively, adding healthy natural additives such as pepper, natural butters/oils and honey, can be quite palatable and easy to partake. Not only are nuts, fruits, vegetables and grains beneficial for health, they are easily accessible regardless of where in the world you live. You don’t have to be mighty rich to afford these. All it takes is a bit of energy and perhaps a gardening tool or two to grow your own, or indeed take a wander into the forest for some of the wild varieties!
However, it is crucial to remember to tailor your choice of these varieties to your individual health needs.
Examples to choose from:
Nuts – peanuts, round nuts, cashew nuts, hazel nuts, peanut butter, almond
Grains – oatmeal, whole meal bread, brown rice, sorghum, chappatti, pumpkin seeds, millet,
Vegetables – pumpkin leaves, cabbage, spinach, cassava leaves, potatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, sweet potatoes
Fruits – lemons, oranges, grapefruit, apples, bananas, mangoes, figs,
Not only do grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables taste delicious, they are a rich source of all the nutrients that the body needs to fight disease (protein, vitamins, iron, fats and so on). These foods also feed the intellect, provide energy and help us maintain the vigour that we need to carry out our daily duties.
Therefore, if you are like me a few years ago, I hope that you will now be more willing to give these foods a go. I wish you the best of health!
Join me again next month as we tackle another topic for our food series.
Resources: Healing Foods: Eat your way to a healthier life by Steel et al. Discover more at www.dk.com