01.02.2008

Easy Changes for Daily Eating

I started the year with an articleabout foundations… this month, I want to takeyou through some simple ways to incorporate those foundationinto daily eating.

Things that will make a huge difference, without thewhole family (or friends) thinking you have become aborn again hippie:

1. Where possible, buy organic food. This will,in one fell swoop, increase your range of nutrientsand reduce your pesticide load. Do remember thatit is your right, when buying organic food, to seethe certification. The product should be beautiful(not half dead), reasonably priced (it will moreoften than not be more expensive – this isas it should be as it reflects the true cost ofproducing food, but the issue here is it shouldn'tbe outrageously priced. Also, when in season, organicfood can often be the same price as non-organic)and it should be ripe and taste delicious.

2. Where possible, shop from a farmers'market. This is where you will find "real"food.

3. Buy more food closer to its natural state…more fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, wholemeal flours,legumes etc, rather than that food made up by industry– for example, breakfast cereals (whole grainsprocessed into shapes).

4. Use more whole rather than refined grains,and organic ones if possible. Bought from a bulkbin, you will be surprised how cheap they are. Forexample – eat brown rice rather than whitefor dinner. Quinoa is a fabulously easy grain (andgluten free) and wonderful for dinner instead ofwhite rice, or in a salad for lunch.

5. Still on grains – Begin to ban packagedcereals (puffed rice, corn flakes, puffed milletetc) in your home. They are HIGHLY processed grains– all those great vitamins and minerals thatare so desirable are no longer there – norare they in any format the body can use. Becauseof the extreme processing, the protein becomes damagedand can behave similar to MSG in the brain, as anexcito toxin. Instead of processed cereals for breakfast?– eggs in all their forms; baked and Mexicanbeans; whole grain flour waffles, pancakes and pikelets;porridge and muesli.

6. Still on grains! – Bread. Endeavour tofind some good bread you can buy (I'm notgoing to suggest right now you make it!). Good breadis always sourdough – proper sourdough, notthe "wave the sourdough wand over the breaddough and 2 hours later it's sourdough"kind of thing. Why sourdough? Because during theprocess of rising with sourdough, phytates (organicacids that inhibit absorption of minerals like calciumand zinc in the digestive system) present in wholegrains and gluten are broken down. Many people thatare intolerant to wheat find they can eat breadmade from organic/biodynamic whole grain wheat flourthat has had a long, sourdough rising. Good breadis made from a wholemeal flour or even a mix ofunbleached white flour and wholemeal, so it'snot so heavy, with a good length of time given overto the sourdough fermentation. Right now, the prevailingwisdom is that spelt bread is "healthy"bread. It IS NOT the particular grain that makesbread healthy – it's how the bread ismade and the quality of the flour. Preferably, theflour should be organic. There are some fabulousones around – especially if you live on theEast coast. If you live in the West like I do, thenyou have to hunt a bit more.

7. Still on grains! – Use a little moreorganic wholemeal flour. I like to use wheat, spelt,barley and oat – lovely in waffles, pancakes,pikelets, cakes and muffins. It's nice tostart with 50% ratio of wholemeal and 50% unbleachedwhite flours – you will end up with a lighterend result.

8. If you are buying milk, please buy full cream,non homogenised milk – preferably organic.The same goes for milk products such as cheese andyoghurt. Nature has put the fat there for a reason...It enables the body to utilise the calcium, andis rich in vitamin A and D (more so if the milkis from a grass fed cow). If you want to have lessfat, have smaller portions of the full cream product.

9. Buy and use quality fats – butter, ghee,and unrefined oils (even the drippings from a roastare great). Do not use or buy anything made withmargarine or vegetable shortenings – evenif it sounds incredibly healthy like olive oil margarine.Margarine is a manufactured, fake food and thereis nothing about it that's good. Most of thecheap, colourless oil you see in a supermarket isa HIGHLY REFINED and damaged fat. This is a richsource of free radicals, and very damaging to thebody. When this oil is made into margarine, it becomesa source of trans fatty acids – again, profoundlydamaging to the body. The resulting oil from industrialisedrefining is nothing like the original oil –for example a lovely sesame oil, where the oil issimply pressed from the seeds and is rich in nutrients.

10. If you can manage, grow some (any at all really)vegetables… even if that's just someherbs – in a tub, or in the ground. This reducesyour food costs and connects you to the source offood.

That's a lovely list to start with, and theyare generally very easy things to do. Probably the onethat will give you most grief is using more whole ratherthan refined grains. Persevere though, because you willmaster them… they just take a little time. Onthe Recipe page is a simple pancake for breakfast (BerryNice Pancakes)… this recipe is great for summer,uses some wholemeal flour, is soaked to reduce thosephytates and make everything more digestable –but, most importantly, it's easy AND they'redelicious.

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