Firstly, don’t play games with your metabolism. Remember that Food is medicine. Using food in a particular way can be a potent and valuable therapeutic tool to manipulate your metabolism. It is unwise to unnecessarily cut entire food groups out of your diet or even cut calories without taking measures to protect your metabolism from damage. Don’t fall victim to fad diets, deceptive food labeling or calorie counting. Unless you are sensitive or have an allergy to a food group like dairy or grains do not exclude them from your diet.
If you change just one thing, change this - Eat foods while they are in season. If at all possible, also consume foods that have travelled the least distance to get to you. “Food Miles” is a term coined in the US for actively searching out local markets and farmers to support. This also has the added benefit of supporting your local economy. In years gone by food was bought fresh from local farms and small markets, and since there were no refrigerated transport, cold storage or even much in the way of preservatives, food was fresh. It was this lack of processed food, and therefore a much more nutrient dense diet that was a major reason why people from grandparents’ generation seldom experienced food sensitivities and allergies. Another big difference was there were no cans of baby formula available. The best way to consume foods out of season is to learn some of the old ways like canning, pickling and fermenting foods.
Prepare your own food from scratch, buy ingredients, not pre-packaged, processed food. Learn to cook the basics at least. Make and take your lunch to work. Get your family around the table for breakfast and dinner. Not only will that strengthen the family bond but you will be limiting the exposure to ‘take-away temptation’. Remember when soft drink was a ‘treat’ once or twice a year? Custard was made from scratch from eggs, milks and sugar and the best hamburgers came off the backyard BBQ? Well if that was your memory don’t you think your kids deserve some good childhood food memories too?
Other things you could do (and save yourself a bundle) is to learn how to make your own kefir, yoghurt and kombucha. Not only are they great value but they are packed with natural probiotics and you can forget about buying that expensive probiotic supplement. Avoid preservatives food additives, stabilizers and thickeners. Most of all become aware of GMO’s. Even as short as 40 years ago the majority of food wasn’t treated with additives, antibiotics and hormones to help preserve shelf life. These days the ‘benefits’ of having food that has a USE BY date greater that 12 months from the date it was made comes with a hefty price, it comes at the expense of the consumer’s health.
Become mindful of wastage and do everything to minimize it. In cooking you can take a tip from days gone by and learn how to use up an entire animal by making mineral rich bone broths. Animal bones were saved to make soup stocks or broths. Not only will you be able to save money but your food will be so much healthier. In your daily life learn to recycle, up cycle, re-purpose and renovate. Simplify your life by becoming more of a minimalist and not surrounding yourself with unnecessary clutter. Unless something has intense sentimental value, don’t hold onto things that you no longer use. Get them to somewhere that they can be useful to someone else.
Take care of yourself when you start to feel run down. For the most part Doctor visits should be saved for accidents and life threatening illness. I’m not saying to avoid doctors, not at all. There are however many people who want a tablet or pill to avoid using a bit of common sense. In our grandparent’s day when they got a fever, they waited it out. When they felt sick, they ate soups and got lots of rest. They were not off to the doctor every fortnight with every ache, pain and sniffle. They trusted the body’s natural healing process a whole lot more than we do today and they understood that their food was medicine. In short, they knew when to head to the doctors and when to just stay under the covers and take plenty of vitamin C and rest.
Lastly, (for the moment anyway), is to turn off the TV, iPad or Smart Phone and GO OUTSIDE. Kids these days (and a lot of adults as well) hardly know how to function without constant contact with technology. Be sure to devote some time to nature, spend a day without any TV’s, music or technology and listen to the birds outside. Turn off the noise of daily life once in a while for your health’s sake.
Time and time again I hear people ask "why do I feel so bad when they tell me there's nothing wrong?" My goal is to help solve your health problems, to get to the bottom of things, not just symptom control but to bring about a return to good health.