Wednesday, 19 July 2017

What to Eat

Not a day goes by without some fresh piece of advice appearing in newspapers or being passed round by word of mouth about what is good for you to eat, how to lose weight, the powers of superfoods, whether or not to be a vegan, a vegetarian, a pescatarian.

It used to be so easy.

All you had to do was have three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. At each meal you were meant to have some protein, carbohydrates and fats. You should include lots of vegetables, many greens to clear your blood, carrots for your eyesight, peas and beans to keep you healthy. Fruit could be eaten between meals or made into a dessert. That sums up what my mum taught me.

We knew we needed vitamin c, because sailors who didn't have fresh food and spent a long time on voyages got scurvy.
We knew that potatoes, bread and rice were starch and to have some with every meal.
We knew we should have a little bit of everything and never too much of anything, especially prunes.
We knew we needed milk to have strong teeth and bones and that anything burnt was bad for you.
We knew that living in England where there wasn't so much sun meant we needed to take vitamin D or we might get rickets and every day we took haliborange which had Vitamin AD and C.
We knew our skin shouldn't go red in the sun.
We knew that sugar rotted our teeth.
We knew we shouldn't eat leftovers or food that had been lying around uncovered.
We knew that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

All this information was part of our everyday life in the fifties.
It seemed sensible, I never met anyone with scurvy or rickets.

Every day, though as I was saying we are told of things that are bad for us, or good for us.
Last week I read that burnt toast is bad for us, after a survey and tests were done. But I thought we knew that, our mothers certainly did, because any burnt smell wafting through the house was immediately followed by furious scraping noises as the burnt bits were taken off.
Then I read about a girl who had a disease caused by mercury poisoning and reading the article that she had been eaten a whole can of tuna fish every day for years.
Whole pages of magazines and newspapers are taken up with how sugar is toxic, sausages and bacon are full of poisonous substances.
One day coffee is good for you, then it's bad. Too much tea depletes you of iron, too much iron is bad for you.
It used to be five-a day and now it's seven. There must be a ratio of 3 vegetables to one fruit and they must all be different colours.

No wonder that we are a bit confused.
So let's go back to our mums' original advice, a little bit of everything.

Here are a few basic rules,
Good eating starts with good shopping, so make sure you plan a few meals and write a list before you shop.

You can have a few treats, maybe one a day, which have little or no nutritional value but add to the fun.

chocolate bars
take-away meals
alcoholic drinks
Restaurant meals
Biscuits and cakes
cappuccinos etc

Whatever takes your fancy.

Healthy snacks are nuts, raisins, fruit,yoghurts

Of course we all know people who break all the rules and are never ill and will hopefully have a long and healthy life.
There are also people who eat healthy food all the time but have high cholesterol, etc.
So once in a while have a blood test or something to make sure all is well.
Life style changes that doctors suggest you make are usually about cutting back on the treats mentioned above or walking more or sleeping more.
Don't forget your mental health too, eat foods Vitamin B, zinc, magnesium, iron and folate and stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Wheatgerm, leafy green vegetables, peas, oily fish, nuts and seeds, bananas and oats,
lettuce, celery, fruit and vegetables will all help. the bananas between meals on their own if you want to raise your mood, don't know why but it's just something else my mu used to say.