How do you want to spend the rest of your life? Isn’t it interesting that the foods that are not good for us are our favourites? Sometimes we don’t even know that fact. People who suffer with post-nasal drip, usually should avoid all dairy products; and those who have an arthritic condition are better off not eating red meat or drinking red wine.
Do you ever feel hyper-sensitive after eating foodstuffs containing sugar? Did you know that many foods contain sugar, even those you wouldn’t expect? A report released by Maclean’s magazine last year suggested that the average Canadian eats nearly 100 lbs of sugar per year! And most of it is hidden in foods you think are healthy. Cereal, pasta sauce, bread, ketchup, salad dressing, peanut butter, fruit juices and most “low fat” products. The taste has to come from somewhere, reckon the manufacturers. Childhood obesity is on the rise, as well as many side effects such as Diabetes, high blood pressure and possibly even Alzheimer’s, according to Suzanne de la Monte; a professor at Brown University. The World Health Organisation suggests sugar should be a mere 10% of our total energy intake per day. The way to control that is to read the labels every time we go shopping or eat something, and if necessary, keep a food journal until you are familiar with your own requirements. The healthiest way to obtain sugar in your diet is from fresh fruit and vegetables and, most strongly suggested; organically grown.
Reading labels can be a feat in itself. There are many words that we simply don’t know what the real ingredients are, and it would take a dictionary to work out even one product’s label! Some people go by the rule – ‘if it has more than three ingredients, I won’t buy it.’ That doesn’t always work for those with a busy lifestyle, so it is a good idea to find out what some of the additives are and what they might do to our systems. In an article published by President’s Choice last year, we learn that there are more than 850 food additives approved for use in Canada alone. If we only knew what they are for and why! Some are nutritional boosters such as Niacin and Folic Acid. Carrageenan, Agar, Citric Acid and Xanthan Gum are added for texture and to thicken sauces, etc. The ones to really be aware of are Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Sulphite and Sodium Benzoate. These are added to enhance flavour, prolong shelf life and help maintain the colouring of a food. The problem is, they come under the guise of many different names – even ‘natural’ – and can have a negative reaction for many. Flushed face, headaches, rapid heartbeat, upset stomach or itchy skin to name a few symptoms.
So how to enjoy a healthy lifestyle AND shop diligently? There are many co-op buying services that one can subscribe to in and around Winnipeg, where sharing an order of organic vegetables and fruit makes it less costly. It is also helpful to think more about the 100-mile shopping radius. This allows your foodstuff to arrive fresh at your doorstep, rather than looking tired and depleted after travelling thousands of kilometres AND being picked long before ripening. If you’ve ever eaten a banana or mango in the land of it’s origin, you’ll know a world of difference in taste and texture. This might be restrictive for many, having now become used to consuming various fruits and vegetables throughout the year, instead of seasonally or not at all. Really, who wants to eat strawberries in December? Personally, I see them as a summer fruit and ‘save’ them for that time. That makes them more special and eagerly awaited, don’t you think? Supporting local growers is also to be favoured, and such fun to go out and actually experience picking the fruit yourself. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries and apples are some locally grown fruit varieties.
To get back to my comments at the beginning of this article about our favourite foods not always being the best for our digestion. Did you know that tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, potatoes, eggplant and peppermint belong to the Deadly Nightshade category? They throw a lot of acid into the digestive tract which shows up as indigestion, bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, nervous sweating, pains in joints – feet and hands – which can lead to arthritis and gout over time. Now you’re probably pulling a face and thinking, ‘what’s left for me to eat?’ I suggest you may want to closely observe your body’s reactions after eating any of these foods and make a healthy decision for yourself. If you can’t give them up entirely, then at least cut back on the quantity you consume. Beware of dried fruits, as many of them are preserved with Sulphur Dioxide. You might also want to look at mushrooms. Ever had a ‘gassy’ tummy after eating them? They are actually from the fungus family, and they ferment in your body, especially overnight. A far better colon and bladder function is achieved after deleting nightshades from your diet.
Living with joy and elation takes work, observation and love – self love. Eating lots of leafy greens, beetroots, raisins, figs, watermelons, almonds and some of the lighter proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish and eggs are some of the foods that will help you back to a pain-free lifestyle. Add walking in nature, laughing and listening to soothing music and you really are on the right pathway. Being grateful, showing kindness, acceptance and forgiveness are simple pleasures that bring great rewards. And you will certainly feel much less pain than before.
Cheron Long-Landes, Cheron Dearle Holistic