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Balanced Meals

Let your food be your Medicine”, Hippocrates

Hippocrates was right, to be healthy we must eat healthy food, but what is healthy food? We are told many different things by “experts”, many of whom contradict each other and many of whom do not appear to enjoy the top quality health we want.

We know that food must give us protein, carbohydrate and fat but there are also 7 other ingredients we need to consume if we want top quality health.

To help you make your mind up about the right type of food to eat lets look at each of these ten “ingredients” of health.

 

Protein

Protein is what we are made of. Our skin, nails, hair, muscles even our bones are held together by protein. The antibodies used by our immune system are protein. Not enough protein in your diet is obviously a big problem but so is too much – it is a burden on the liver andd on the kidneys and seems to lead to osteoporosis.

There is huge variety of ways to get enough protein – and it's best to think of it as a Protein Spectrum

The Protein Spectrum is a range of sources of protein. Everything on earth eats to survive and we cannot live on water and sunshine. We have to get protein from a vegetable or an animal source. Here is the Protein Spectrum:-

We decide what happens in our body by what we choose to eat!

Tofu, Soya beans, lentils, nuts, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, chicken, meat

Now is decision time because it is up to you to pick from the options on the Protein Spectrum. You will get adequate protein from all of these sources. To help you choose lets just say that we label diets by how we get protein. There are three types of diets: Vegan, vegetarian and mixed or omnivorous.

  • Vegan diets use tofu, Soya, lentils and nuts as their protein sources
  • Vegetarians use Vegan sources plus milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • Omnivores eat everything! If it moves they eat it - and if it doesn't move they still eat it!

There is no such thing as second class protein – all these diets work. Meat eaters who wish to improve their chances of enjoying a long and healthy life should make changes along the Protein spectrum gradually. General advice is to move to the left on the Protein spectrum towards foods which contain the Anti inflammatory oils rather than foods which have Pro inflammatory oils.

Fats and Oils

Most of the brain is made of special fats and oils, without fat/oil we would die, very low fat diets have been shown to lead to depressive illness and an increased risk of suicide. But if we listen to most health advice we do not get the message that fat is good and nourishing – quite the reverse, we are usually told that fat is bad, that it leads to heart attacks, obesity etc.

Of all the food sources in the world fats and oils have the worst reputation. The facts are that we must have fats and oils to live. If there is a deficit in our diet our skin suffers, we start to get inflammation throughout the body and we get depressed. Many hyperactive children have been successfully helped with e.g. Evening Primrose Oil

The oils that we eat have a clear effect in the body – some encourage inflammation and some are anti inflammatory.

  • Pro inflammatory oils are found in meat and in hydrogenated oils
  • Anti inflammatory oils are found in flax seeds, Evening Primrose oil and in sunflower and corn oil
  • Neutral oils are found in Olive oil and in Canola

Carbohydrate

This is our energy supply. Our best source of carbohydrate is vegetables and the worst is sugar. It is best to say that there are two kinds of carbohydrate – Natural and Man made.

  • Natural sources of carbohydrate are vegetables, beans and fruit
  • Man made sources are biscuits, bread, pasta, rice cakes and the worst one is sugar

The issue here is how the body responds to a carbohydrate. As the carb breaks down it releases sugar into the blood. Vegetables do this slowly, biscuits, rice cakes etc do this too fast for the body to handle in a healthy way. For someone with blood sugar problems either hypoglycemia or diabetes – even fruit should be carefully limited.

A Balanced Meal

Putting together what we have covered so far we get a simple picture of a meal made up of roughly equal amounts of protein and carbohydrate with a little oil. Just do it the simple way – a rough third of the plate should be protein and a third the carbohydrate. A teaspoon or dessertspoon of Olive Oil should be sprinkled onto the food with every meal.

The absolute judge of whether the meal is balanced is how you feel.  A balanced meal will stop you from feeling hungry for 4 or 5 hours. If you feel hungry much before this the choices you made need adjusting.

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