food for thought

Healthy Eating Guide

There is not a single diet that will suit every person with illness, but the Basic healthy guidelines will help.

Treatment for life threatening illness places a high demand on the body and can change the way the body uses food. Good nutritional health before, during and after illness is important. Eating right and maintaining a healthy weight are important ways to reduce the risk of illness and help reduce side effects. What you eat, the way you eat or don’t eat, and the way you cook, all influence your body.

Good nutrition will help:

  • To maintain and improve quality of life
  • To recover and heal
  • Protect your immune system and fight infection
  • Maintain strength and energy
  • Reduce side effects such as; constipation, diarrhea and anxiety
  • Prevent wasting of muscle
  • Maintain weight and keep your mood stable

We believe a healthy balanced diet should be composed of the following:

  • Carbohydrate (complex)
  • Carbohydrate (simple ie. fruits)
  • Protein
  • Fats

Of this healthy diet, the majority of foods should be fruit, vegetables, and pulses with daily servings of whole grains, fibre, seeds and nuts. Eat moderate animal products and dairy. Eat Essential Fatty Acids, which keep you happy, keep your heart healthy and help control inflammatory processes in your body. EFAs are found in deep-sea fish (tuna, salmon, and mackerel), avocado, linseed, sesame seeds, sunflower oil, walnut, pumpkin, soy (tofu, soymilk and tempeh).

Fibre helps to keep the heart and bowels healthy. It is important to move waste products out of your body efficiently. Choose fibre to suit your needs. You can get fibre from whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and legumes. Vegetables, wheatgerm and psyllium husks are a great source of fibre. Avoid refined carbohydrates including sugar. These products are very acid-forming in your body and can contribute to diseases such as arthritis and fatigue. They also provide a rapid increase in blood sugar, followed by a subsequent slump in energy. Avoid margarine. It is a synthetic, chemically altered product that can produce excess free-radicals in your body. Try small amounts of butter canola oil spread, avocado, tahini or cashew nut spread.

Choose fresh foods that are in season. Choose organic produce to avoid pesticides, fungicides, insecticides and other chemical additives. These additives are stored in the fat tissues of the body and are understood to interfere with many of our bodily systems including hormones and mood. Eat a variety of foods to get your nutritional requirements and to minimize developing allergies and food sensitivities. Use cold pressed oils as these provide EFAs and are prepared without the use of dangerously high temperatures that can render oil carcinogenic.

In Summary

What to avoid and what to include

Breakfast

  • Smoothie with fruit, oats and/or ground almonds
  • Cooked cereal (oats, rice or buckwheat) with soymilk, ricemilk or yogurt
  • Natural wheat free muesli
  • Wheat free toast with avocado, hummus, sardines, nut butter, baked beans
  • Poached eggs with tomato, spinach and mushroom
  • Fresh seasonal fruits / stewed fruits with yogurt, honey, nuts and seeds

Lunch

  • Salads such as cous cous, lentil, rice, chicken, bean, roast vegetable
  • Wheat free salad / salmon / chicken sandwich, pumpernickel bread
  • Savory millet or rice, lentil & veggie curry, chilli beans, dahl
  • Corn on the cob
  • Soups, such as veggie and lentil soup, borscht, minestrone, pumpkin
  • Sushi or sashimi
  • Wheat free pasta with vegetables
  • Steamed vegetables with olive oil and lemon dressing

Dinner

  • Stir-fry vegetables +/- chicken, fish, tofu with brown rice
  • Soups include vegetables and legumes
  • Baked or grilled fish, BBQ lean meats with salad, vegetables or rice
  • Corn fritter, veggie burger, fish cakes, frittata
  • Lentil curries, dahl and rice
  • Marinated tofu, lentil burgers or fish cakes with veg or salad
  • A wide range of different coloured vegetables stir fried in water, as a salad, steamed or roasted
  • Miso soup with vegetables and tofu

Snacks

  • A handful of nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower, cashew etc)
  • Protein energy drink, soy smoothie, vegetable juice
  • Homemade whole grain bran muffin
  • Low sugar fruit such as apple, pear, orange, grapefruit.
  • Rice cakes or crackers with avocado, pesto, hummus, tahini
  • Plain natural yogurt with fresh fruit and LSA
  • Vegetable juice
  • Vegetable sticks with hummus or tahini
  • Fresh fruit

Drinks

  • herbal teas
  • dandelion coffee, chai
  • vegetable juices
  • filtered water
  • smoothies
  • lemon juice in water (especially prior to meals to aid digestion)
  • Eat when relaxed
  • Chew food thoroughly
  • Eat 5 small meals a day do not overfill your stomach
  • Avoid very hot or very cold food
  • Try to eat fruit on an empty stomach
  • Eat lightly in the evening, it is best to allow 4 hours after eating before going to bed
  • Give yourself time to relax and enjoy your meal, always eat sitting
  • Avoid eating when stressed or distracted
  • Focus on eating do not read or watch TV
  • Wait 1 hour after drinking fluid before eating.
  • Limit fluid intake with a meal to a maximum of half a glass of water to maximize digestion.
  • Rest after eating
  • Adjust your diet to the seasons, hearty soups in winter, salads in summer
  • Choose foods in season
  • Keep food safely when preparing or storing.
  • Listen to your body, eat when hungry, avoid eating when not hungry or upset
  • Shop for fresh local organic produce, stock your kitchen with good whole foods
  • Introduce new cookbooks, recipes and cuisine to your cooking
  • Become passionate about food and feeding your body and soul

Our eating habits are as important as the food choices we make in achieving and maintaining health. An old saying worry and hurry are the enemies of digestive health is truer today than ever before. In order to benefit from the dietary changes we make, it is important to adopt healthy eating habits.

1. Chew.
Digestion begins in the mouth with chewing and the secretion of enzymes. Eating quickly increases the amount of air and size of the food swallowed. This will lead to inadequate digestion and increased gas production.

2. Eat regularly.
Eat at least every 4 or 5 hours, or 5 small meals a day. Our bodies need regular fuel to maintain blood sugar levels & metabolism but enough time to complete digestion before more food is eaten. Avoid skipping meals by having balanced snacks on hand for busy times. Hunger is a sign of low blood sugar and will lead to poor food choices & overeating if ignored.

3. Avoid Overeating.
Overeating occurs when we skip meals, eat too quickly or don’t satisfy our taste buds. Overeating is a major cause of obesity and stresses the liver and digestive tract. To reduce the risk of overeating, spread your meals evenly throughout the day and don’t leave the largest meal until the evening. Our digestive fire is at its peak around noon, a time that is most efficient at converting food into energy rather than storing it as fat.

4. Eat with awareness.
Awareness eating has been proven to cause a rise in metabolism. Ask yourself how hungry you are before and after each meal. Take 5 minutes to relax before a meal if you feel stressed. Prepare as many meals yourself as possible. Touching, tasting, and smelling food before you eat it will prepare the body for digestion, prevent over eating and improve your psychological relationship with food. Stop eating when you are almost full, to gauge whether you need more. It takes approximately 20 minutes for our brains to receive the signal of satisfaction during a meal.

5. Achieve fluid balance.
Avoid drinking excessively during a meal as this can reduce enzyme activity. One glass of fluid is adequate. Drink at least 2 litres (8 glasses) of water between meals each day. This can include herbal tea as well as diluted fruit juices.

6. Prepare.
Shop for fresh food regularly and keep your pantry stocked with good staples to make it easier to eat a healthy diet. Learn your local marketplaces and food stores, allow time to wander when food shopping. Whenever you cook or prepare food, make double and freeze in individual containers for future meals. When preparing dinner, make lunch at the same time. The best preparation is knowledge about healthy food options. A well-informed choice will be a healthy choice.

7. Go 50% raw.
Have half of your vegetable and fruit intake raw (eg. salads) unless otherwise advised by your healthcare practitioner. Fruit and vegetables contain enzymes which aid digestion, so aim to eat some with every meal.

8. Choose organic.
Organic produce is free from harmful chemicals and pesticides. By choosing local organic produce you also learn the seasonality of foods. The body responds well to particular foods in differing seasons. Also adjust your cooking methods with the seasons, hearty soups in winter, salads in the summer.

9. Exercise.
Aim for at least three to four times per week. Exercise works the diaphragm, which massages the intestines and thereby improves digestion. It also regulates appetite, blood sugar control and metabolism.

10. Eat positively.
Good habits can easily be established with a little effort and a positive frame of mind. A balanced healthy diet doesn’t have to be boring, bland, time consuming or expensive. Take back the control of your diet and health by making your own choices. Ensure the majority of your food consumed is within the healthy range (90%) and allow the odd treat to satisfy your mind, soul and social life (10%). Remember, food should be prepared, and eaten, with joy! Introduce new cookbooks, recipes, ingredients and cuisines to your diet. Become passionate about food and feeding your body soul.

1. Watermelon Has More Lycopene Than Raw Tomatoes
Lycopene is a powerful carotenoid antioxidant that gives fruits and vegetables a pink or red color. It’s most often associated with tomatoes, but watermelon is actually a more concentrated source. Compared to a large fresh tomato, one cup of watermelon has 1.5 times the lycopene (6 milligrams (mg) in watermelon compared to 4 mg in a tomato).

2. Watermelon Juice May Relieve Muscle Soreness
If you have a juicer, try juicing about one-third of a fresh watermelon and drinking its juice prior to your next workout. This contains a little over one gram of l-citrulline, an amino acid that seems to protect against muscle pain.

One study found that men who drank natural unpasteurized watermelon juice prior to their workouts had reduced muscle soreness 24 hours later compared to those who drank a placebo.

You do need to be careful with drinking watermelon juice, though, as it contains a significant amount of fructose. It may be better to eat the entire fruit, or opt for these other tips to prevent muscle soreness.

3. Watermelon Is A Fruit and A Vegetable
Remember how watermelon is related to cucumbers, pumpkin, and squash? That’s because it’s part vegetable and part fruit (it’s a sweet, seed-producing plant, after all). The other clue that watermelon is both fruit and vegetable? The rind is entirely edible.

4. You Can Eat Watermelon Rind And Seeds
Most people throw away the watermelon rind, but try putting it in a blender with some lime for a healthy, refreshing treat. Not only does the rind contain plenty of health-promoting and blood-building chlorophyll, but the rind actually contains more of the amino acid citrulline than the pink flesh.

Citrulline is converted to arginine in your kidneys, and not only is this amino acid important for heart health and maintaining your immune system, but it has been researched to have potential therapeutic value in over 100 health conditions.

While many people prefer seedless watermelon varieties, black watermelon seeds are edible and actually quite healthy. They contain iron, zinc, protein, and fiber. (In case you were wondering, seedless watermelons aren’t genetically modified, as they’re the result of hybridization.)

5. It’s Mostly Water
This might not be surprising, but it’s still a fun fact; watermelon is more than 91 percent water. This means that eating watermelon with you on a hot summer day is a tasty way to help you stay hydrated and avoid dehydration (it’s not a substitute for drinking plenty of fresh water, however).

6. Some Watermelon Are Yellow
The Yellow Crimson watermelon has yellow flesh with a sweeter, honey flavor than the more popular pink-fleshed Crimson Sweet. It’s likely that yellow watermelon offers its own unique set of nutritional benefits, but most research to date has focused on the pink-fleshed varieties.

For more information on the benefits of watermelon, as well as 5 tasty recipes, click here

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