We’re in the season of indulgence so while you’re in the mood why not treat yourself to some truly fabulous, healthy foods?
For the ultimate luxury breakfast, start the day with lightly scrambled free-range eggs topped with smoked salmon.
If you’re eating chicken or turkey on Christmas day, find a butcher who buys directly from a local farm where animal welfare matters. Boil up the carcass afterwards to make some health-boosting stock and use to make delicious soup with any leftover meat and veg. If you prefer a joint of beef or some steak, the best is grass-fed and organic.
Cook roast potatoes in lard or go for goose fat. Vegetable oil is damaged by heat and should never be used for cooking. Choose organic veggies of different colours to make the plate look cheerful as well as giving you a variety of vitamins and minerals. Steam your veg to retain flavour, texture and nutrients.
Upgrade your snacks with bowls of natural nuts, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese. Or cut crispy vegetables into sticks and serve with a home-made dip eg cream cheese, natural yoghurt, lemon juice and herbs.
Having a cheese board? Seek out traditionally made artisan cheeses rather than anything mass-produced or processed. Cumbrian cheeses come in a remarkable array from mild to head-blowing. Unpasteurised cheeses are rich in beneficial bacterial (avoid if you’re in a high-risk group eg pregnant or elderly). Enjoy real butter on your crackers; it’s much healthier than ‘spreads’. Serve with grapes and celery for a refreshing crunch.
Finish off with some high-cacao rich, dark chocolate. Yum.
Yes, this one’s mine. I created this phrase 20 years ago when I realised how much of my life was spent thinking and worrying about what was next. For most of my day, my mind was in ‘the next place’ and all it did was made me inefficient and anxious.
So I started to play a little game. I would ask myself, ‘Where am I’ and the answer would put me back inside my own body, in the place that I actually was, doing the thing I was actually doing. I used my phrase as the screensaver on my computer.
Now that I’ve studied it more, I realise that this was my fist attempt at mindfulness. If you’ve never tried it, Mark Williams and Danny Penman’s book Mindfulness is great for getting started.
The Eat Well Gang got together in November for a special Jackie’s Gee Up, led by Paul Heslop, juicing enthusiast. Since doing the Eat for a Better Life course, juicing has been a regular activity in the Heslop household and they’ve reaped the benefits in great health. See Paul’s testimonial video here.
You can juice many fruits and vegetables. For health, it’s best to concentrate on veg with just a little fruit to take away the bitter taste. Wheatgrass featured prominently on our night and was combined with vegetables and fruits giving a range of flavours. See Paul in action on the videos page under superfoods.
In the New Year, I’ll be challenging my readers to make green juices. Christmas is coming soon, so if you don’t have a juicer perhaps some kind person might buy one for you as a present.
I’ll tell you the shocking truth about food……… Ready?
If you’re plagued with tiredness, aches, pains, ailments and excess weight, do you know it could be down to your food? How can you be confident about what to eat when messages about diet are so confusing?
Want the shocking truth?
Prepare to be shocked by the tactics of food companies who profit at your expense. I’ll tell you what they put in food to make you eat more and more. Don’t fall for the glossy adverts! The goal of the diet industry is for you to fail. If it worked no one would buy their stuff more than once and their profits would plummet. Other products offer fun and convenience and don’t pretend to be healthy but often pretend to be harmless. Are they?
What’s the solution?
For energy to do the things you love you need a healthy body. For a healthy body, you need to eat well. I educate people so that they can make good food choices and their bodies can thrive. I’m independent and have no products to sell; your health is my priority. Be delighted by the truth I share with you; it will set you free from confusion and the misery of dieting.
My business birthday present for you
My business began in December 2004. It‘s my 10th business birthday celebration – with a present for you! Talk to me about eating well for 20 minutes FREE during December 2014.
The long dark nights, wind and rain confirm that we are heading into winter. All around me, people are coming down with coughs and colds. In spite of their generosity in sharing – I don’t want one! Do you?
Did you know that most of your immune system is in your gut? Your susceptibility to disease can be affected by what you eat and drink. So when my husband came down with a cold, I reached for echinacea, wheatgrass and vegetable juices and coconut oil. Then I cooked up some of James Wong’s special chicken soup for colds including garlic, ginger, chillies. Effective and delicious.
To strengthen your immune system, eat more:
Oily fish and eggs for vitamin D. Among its many health benefits, vitamin D primes our T cells. Your skin makes it for you in the summer sunshine but I live far too far north to make much at this time of year so I take it as a seasonal supplement.
Vegetables – they give you lots of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants plus fibre to feed the good bacteria in your gut.
Coconut oil – has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Live natural yoghurt and fermented vegetables repopulate your good bacteria.
Sugar – it feeds bad bacteria, unbalancing your system.
Processed food – you want your body to fight infection, not use all its energy fighting bad food.
Eat right for your metabolic type (I can test if you don’t know)
Get lots of sleep to make the powerful anti-oxidant melatonin.
Exercise, especially out in the fresh air (but not vigorously once you have a cold).
Did you see Michael Mosely’s two part documentary on meat? The first part considered health and, at the risk of me massively over-simplifying an hour-long programme, seemed to conclude that eating fresh meat is fine but processed meat may increase your chance of cancer.
The second part considered environmental effects. This, I felt, focussed far too much on production of green house gasses and ignored other environmental impacts. The man at a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) in America cheerfully said his was the green way to raise cattle. He completely ignored the fact that his animals lived in a barren, grey wilderness reminiscent of a concentration camp. There was not a single plant, insect, butterfly, bee or bird to be seen. This is not my vision of green farming.
Any environmentally friendly, sustainable farming system needs to include protection of biodiversity and care for the land itself. Grass stabilises the land and prevents desertification, so grass and grazing animals naturally bring environmental benefits. The manure that the animals produce fertilizes the land so that it retains its nutrients. Contrast this with the CAFO animals whose dung is a problematic waste to be disposed of and whose food is corn grown using artificial fertilizers in a cycle that depletes that land and pollutes the water.
Large areas of some countries are given over to growing crops like corn and soy, in huge mono-culture farms, just for animal feed. The natural diet for cattle is grass.Corn and soy cause health problems for the animals and change the profile of the meat to higher omega 6 content and lower omega 3 so the meat is less good for us – there was no mention of this.
It’s been a great summer of sport with the Commonwealth Games, golf (what a fab Ryder cup), cricket and the European Athletics Championships. My husband gets annoyed when sports people say they’ve given 110%. If you put 100% into something, by definition, that’s everything you’ve got. There is no more.When it comes to eating well, how far are you prepared to go? Do you need or want to eat 100% good things?
Recently, I went to a delightful concert with tea and cake at Higham Hall. A gentleman who had heard one of my talks watched with interest to see whether I would indulge. Knowing that a cream scone once in a blue moon wouldn’t do me too much harm, I had one (well, half of one). I ate it mindfully and enjoyed it very much.
Like sports people, the % effort you put in depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you have serious health problems, then it’s worth putting serious efforts into supporting your body by eating all good, nutrient-packed food. If you’re healthy and feel great, you might take a more relaxed approach.
What if you’re in-between with a few niggles, an expanding girth, declining energy, but nothing drastic?First, think about your physical state and the importance to you of it being better. Second, estimate current percentages of natural food and processed food you eat. Marketing is so subtle and devious that you might not even be sure which foods count as good and which as bad. Low-fat fruit yoghurts are a classic processed food posing as a healthy choice. Third and last, decide what you are willing to do to improve your life. Choose a level that gives you some benefits and that you can sustain.
Everyone I speak to at the moment is about to go away somewhere exotic. There are huge physical and psychological benefits to be had from going on holiday. It’s wonderful to be looked after; for someone else to cook and wash up for you, to make your bed and clean the floor. Holidays let us recharge and give us space and time to remember why we love to be alive. They’re a time to treat ourselves. We buy things we wouldn’t normally buy. We sleep in, stay up late and enjoy the luxury of doing what we want in between. Relaxation, walks, swimming, new people to meet and exciting places to go, quality time with loved ones – so far so good.
Food and drink is where it can all come unravelled. It’s so easy to go mad and stuff yourself silly, particularly on an ‘all-inclusive’ deal. In these credit-crunch days we want our money’s worth. The holiday word is ‘indulgence’. If you did a pre-holiday diet, the splurge can be partly fuelled by the deprivation you suffered beforehand. This ‘on or off’, ‘all or nothing’ mentality gives your body problems. Instead of just eating more, how about using mindfulness to get morepleasure from what you eat? You’ve more time than usual to notice how good your food looks and smells. Savour the tastes and textures. Eat more slowly and let your senses soak it all in. Fabulous!
If, like me, you’re spending the summer at home, you can take the same approach with home cooking, picnics, parties and BBQs. Even a simple salad for lunch can be an amazing experience when you give it your full attention.
Top tip: For maximum enjoyment of food – eat mindfully.
Clients sometimes say of their weight, lack of energy and ailments, ‘Well what can I expect at my age?’ I think it’s a shame that we’ve been conditioned to expect so little. It’s almost an abdication of responsibility – “there’s nothing I can do; it’s my age”. OK, we might suffer some wear and tear but our bodies have a remarkable capacity for renewal if we look after them. We don’t have to buy into the common pattern of junk food, inactivity and physical deterioration as if it was inevitable. If you commit to exercise and good food, perhaps you can stay younger for longer. It’s your choice.
You probably know people who are still sprightly in their older years and also young people who look and move as if they were decades older than they are. In my early 30s I was in a sorry state. Overweight and unhealthy, I felt lousy most of the time. Ten years ago I learned to eat well and transformed my life. I recently turned 50 but feel 19. Being 20 years older doesn’t matter to me; Ifeelyoung.
Find a good role model and emulate them. Jack LaLanne understood exercise and nutrition and lived a vigorous life to the age of 96. One of his sayings was, ‘Exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.’
My grandfather was still fly fishing at 94. He was Italian and understood about eating good food. When Channel 4 made a programme on the World’s Best Diets, Italy came second (just behind Iceland) and we saw a village of elderly people, full of vigour, eating only real food. There is no paradox to the health of the French either; they eat well too. Sadly the UK was way down with our love of processed food and you can see the results all around you in the population’s general lack of good health.
It’s always worth looking after yourself and never too late to get into good habits. Keep moving with a form of exercise that suits you, keep flexible and improve the way you eat. You’re worth it!
Top tips – you’re never too old to benefit from eating well.