“If it doesn’t look like a food or sound like a food, then it probably isn’t!”
Never before have we talked about healthy food so much! It can cause quite a few issues in households and when eating out with those who have “dietary requirements”. Nutritional policy, and the education of our health professionals, is yet to catch up to the WHO’s (The World Health Organisation) recommendation that an approach of prevention is the most cost-effective, affordable and sustainable course of action to address chronic disease epidemic worldwide. The WHO projected that by 2020, chronic diseases, largely preventable, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes will account for almost 75% of all deaths worldwide(1). Yet information still needs to be made available to the wider community in a simplistic manner so that informed choices about healthy food can be made and therefore, wellness achieved.
Time to take control
Our lives are busier, food is more convenient and we are exposed to hundreds of chemicals each day. Avoid inflammation, and resultant illness, by knowing what is in packaged and processed foods. They are mostly full of artificial sugars, oils and flavours. I discovered this 6 years ago and with change I couldn’t believe I could feel so amazing. Hence, the birth of The Rabbit Hole!
Throughout my twenties and thirties:
I lived with headaches, joint pain, sinus issues, tiredness, ringing in the ears and skin issues. Argh! I was falling apart. Doctors offered me creams and pills, told me to strengthen my core and pretty much to live with it as it wasn’t debilitating enough to take any extreme action – I’m talking drugs! My blood tests were clear….who knows what they were actually testing for! Never once did anyone suggest we look at what might be causing these symptoms. As a nurse, shift worker and Mum of three boys, why wouldn’t I have back pain, tiredness and headaches?
It’s the new normal isn’t it?
Then 6 years ago, I learnt there may be another way……food and environment! For 10 weeks straight, I removed all processed foods, including gluten and dairy (they are heavily processed after all), eggs, coffee and alcohol….yes I did! As a result, within a few weeks I hadn’t experienced any of those old symptoms and even lost a couple of kilos. By the end of the 10 weeks I was sleeping like a baby, my skin was brighter and I was bounding with energy and positivity!
BOOM! Miracle cure!
I’ve played around with reintroducing some of those foods and know if I’m pushing it as the symptoms come back. It’s been a long journey to change some of my habits, both physical and mental, and yes I’ve fallen off the wagon many a time. I never knew I could feel so good and that what I was experiencing was NOT normal. I also know that I totally deserve to put the effort into feeling this good and the flow on effects for the family make it so worth it. So how did I do it?
What to look for when buying food:
Ask yourself these questions:
- How many ingredients does it have?
- Is it made from ingredients that grow from the earth or feed from the earth?
- Does it have a health claim on it? (ie low fat, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free etc)
- Is it a product or is it a food?
- Could you make it yourself?
Beware these sneaky ingredients:
Monosodium Glutamate – Other names are yeast extract, hydrolysed vegetable protein, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, textured protein, flavouring, hydrolysed plant protein, 621.
Hydrogenated Vegetable oils – Avoid canola, sunflower, vegetable, peanut, rice bran, rapeseed oils. (they are produced at high heats, become rancid, then bleached and purified making them highly inflammatory and nutritionally devoid)
Artificial Sweeteners and Refined Sugars – Sucrose, Sugar, Dextrose, Maltose, Fructose, Glucose, High fructose corn syrup are types of refined sugars
Soy and Soy products – I know! These were developed as a cheap, quick crop to grow and was advertised as a healthy non-meat protein source and dairy alternative. The Japanese and other traditional cultures fermented soy properly and it didn’t form the bulk of their meals. Soy today is genetically modified to withstand being sprayed by glyphosate (RoundUp) which is now directly linked to the development of certain cancers.
Sounds bad right? What can you eat?
- Shop the outside of the supermarket – skip the packaging.
- Preferably organic or grass fed meat and dairy
- Chemical free fresh produce
- Visit the Farmers market and support local
- Seasonal produce – higher in nutrients, minimal cool storing.
- Dress your food with herbs, spices, homemade mayo, pesto….
- Read the ingredients label – let’s be real, we all have a couple of go-to’s in the pantry!
- Just eat real food!