Health food, expensive food? Not necessarily, if you limit your food choices and keep in mind the nutritional value vs. cost then you will be able to shop smart, and save money while optimizing your health!
So lets talk basics
Macronutrients are comprised of three nutrient groups, proteins, fats and carbohydrates.M icronutrients include vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Say: pro-teen Animal protein and vegetable protein probably have the same effects on health. It’s the protein package that’s likely to make a difference.It’s important to pay attention to what comes along with the protein in your food choices. Vegetable sources of protein, such as beans, nuts, and whole grains, are excellent choices, and they offer healthy fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Nuts are also a great source of healthy fat. When it comes to proteins that come from animals you run the risk of ingesting too much saturated fats. Research shows that it is not the amount of proteins you ingest but the amount of fat that causes unhealthy obesity
Beans are able to replace meat entirely, the only risk you run is too little methionine [Wiki Methionine Dietary sources] which can be dealt with by for example adding brown rice, sesame seeds or cereals to your daily intake. Fish is an excellent source of protein, and is highly recommended in favor of meat for its omega-3 fatty acids, but it is better to avoid some fish, large predatory fish [a general rule is that smaller fish have less mercury than larger fish because large fish eat small fish, which can increase their mercury load] such as tuna or shark, for their levels of mercury and PCB’s. Good choices are wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring and sardines.
If fish oil supplements are taken, they should be distilled and toxin free, and not from farmed fish as they will contain less omega-3s and more omega 6 which is pro inflammatory. Also there are more pesticides, antibiotics and other contaminants found in farmed fish.
[Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=96] Don’t go no-fat, go good fat.
Surprising as it may sound, fat is an essential part of our diet. It is an energy source, its needed so your body can absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and prevent deficiencies of these vitamins, it provides insulation under the skin to protect from the cold and the heat, protects organs and bones from shock and provides support for organs. Fat surrounds and insulates nerve fibers to help transmit nerve impulses. Fat is part of every cell membrane in the body and helps transport nutrients and metabolites across cell membranes.
By now you have probably heard about good fats and bad fats. It isn’t so much a matter off “how much” fat you eat that matters, it is rather an issue of “what type” of fat you ingest. The “bad” fats, saturated and trans fats, increase the risk for certain diseases. The “good” fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lower disease risk. The key to a healthy diet is to eat good fats and avoid bad fats and trans fats. Quick list of food products that contain good fats:
* [Extra vergine] Olive oil
* Flax oil
* Nuts (walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios)
* Sunflower [raw], sesame, and pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, pine nuts
* Fatty fish (wild salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, mackerel)
* Chestnut oil
* Hempseed oil
* “Starflower oil” or “Borage oil” [GLA rich]
* Canola oil
* Black currant seed oil [GLA rich]
* Evening primrose oil [GLA rich]
Omega 3-6-9 Fatty Acids, your body doesn’t synthesize them itself, you can only get them through food or supplements you ingest, but without these essential fats your brain cannot function. Most western diets contain too much omega 6 and this skewes your omega ratio which should ideally be 1:1 and max 4:1 [omega 6: omega 1] Modern western diets are known to have ratio’s more akin 10:1 or even 30:1
Not recommended: Some fats are extremely pro-inflammatory. These are the artificially hardened fats: margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These products include oxidized fatty acids and trans fats. Corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils are also sources of linoleic acid, but didn’t make my short list because they are refined and may be nutrient-deficient as sold in stores.Peanut-butter and peanuts, even though they are a good source of fats and protein, they do not contain omega 3 so it may skew your omega 3 – 6 ratio, plus another unhappy truth is that peanuts are often plagued by a fungus that produces a toxin called aflatoxin, a carcinogenic. Peanut butter is made from tested peanuts and are therefore a bit less likely to contain aflatoxin, but peanut butters are made using trans fats [hydrogenated oils] as a stabilizer. Should you insist on peanut butter, please try and find a ‘natural’ brand where the oil is on top and keep it refrigerated, that keeps the fungus from spreading. FYI; peanuts are not actually nuts, they are legumes.Butter, if you insist on eating bread and using butter, be aware that the only butter worth contemplating is grass butter, that is butter that comes from grass-fed cows. This is something that should apply to all your dairy products, make sure they come from grass-fed animals.
NOTE: Oxidized fatty acids occur when oils are exposed to air, light and heat. Rancidity is a sign of oxidation; if your oil smells at all funny, to the garbage bin it goes. This includes nuts and seeds, which do not have a long shelf life. Refrigeration can extend their shelf life. Plant omega’s vs. animal omega’s “Plant sources of ω-3 contain neither eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) nor docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The human body can convert α-linolenic acid (ALA) to EPA and subsequently DHA. This however requires more metabolic work, which is thought to be the reason that the absorption of essential fatty acids is much greater from animal rather than plant sources”
[Source: Wiki Essential fatty acid food sources]
Choose good carbs, not no carbs There are two basic types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are the sugars [high glycemic index or GI], and the complex are starch and fiber found in whole grains and vegetables [lower GI].
The glycemic index and glycemic load are indicators of the oxidative stress that will occur as a result of ingesting certain foods. Simple carbs provide calories and short-term energy, but have no nutritional value. When you eat more high-GI foods, like bread, potatoes, white pasta, sugars, chips, crackers and fast foods, your body will process these foods as simple sugars. It burns the sugars very rapidly, causing excessive oxidation which results in an inflammatory response, promoting obesity, premature aging, and a weakened immune system. Healthier carbs are found naturally in fruits and vegetables and are part of a nutritional package, have a lower GI, and so are a much better choice. Always chose foods with a low-GI like whole grains, beans, winter squashes and other vegetables, temperate fruits [berries, cherries, apples and pears] and less refined or processed food. These foods tend to even be anti inflammatory. A good way to start the day is with a bowl of oatmeal, it will give you the energy you need for physical activity that will kick off your day properly! [Wiki Oatmeal breakfast, health benefits]
Instead of potatoes for dinner, try brown rice or whole wheat pasta instead.Forget about fruit juice and eat whole fruits instead, the juice contains almost only the fruit sugar and hardly any fibers whereas the whole fruit contains less sugar and more fiber. And don’t forget my new favourite food, beans. Not only are they a super source of protein, they are also a great source off slowly digested carbs. Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients are obtained for the most part from fruits and vegetables.
Vitamins are organic chemical compounds (or related set of compounds) that cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism, and must be obtained from the diet.
Minerals nutrients are the chemical elements required, like for example calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, and iodine.
[Wiki Dietary mineral ‘Dietary nutrition’]
Phytonutrients are indicated by the colors and smell of fruit and vegetables, such as the deep purple of blueberries and smell of garlic.
I take supplements, highly recommended from most research D3. Make sure that if you take supplements you know which are soluble in fat, which in water and which require something else for optimal uptake. For example D3 is soluble in fat so the best moment to take it would be with the meal containing most fats which is likely to be dinner. With turmeric [curcumin] it is pepper that assures optimal uptake
Now that we have covered basic requirements, lets talk shop: What you should always have in your pantry: Sweet:Honey [it is said that local honey also helps build resistance against allergies and it is good to keep around for non-food purposes as well as honey is a very good first aid product against burn wounds (Potential of Honey in the Treatment of Wounds and Burns)]
Salt: Sea salt, Shoyu Miso
Sour: Lemon,Lime, Balsamic vinegar
Dried fruit: Cranberries, Plums, Apricots, Goij berries, Figs
Nuts: Walnuts, Pecans, Macadamia’s Cashew nuts, Hazelnuts, Almonds
Seeds: Brown rice, Oats [for oatmeal], Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seed, Sunflower seeds, Chia seeds
Coconut: Coconut grated [unsweetened, BIO], Coconut butter [extra virgin, BIO]
[It is good to bake in because coconut butter/oil consists mostly from saturated fasts and therefore its structure doesn’t change with high temperatures like other oils do and thus does not produce trans-fats or bad chemicals ]
Oil: Olive oil, Flax oil,
Spices dried and fresh when available: Cacao powder, Chili peppers, Chili powder, Garam Masala, Cinnamon, Ginger root [fresh], Garlic [fresh], Curry, Turmeric, Oregano, Basil, Basil [fresh], Rosemary [fresh,] Parsly [fresh], Coriander Coriander [fresh], Black pepper
Frozen vegetables/fruit: Peas Blueberries Raspberries
Dried beans all kinds
Beverages:Green tea,Black tea
Now, some money saving tips :When you eat foods as described then you save money just by not eating meat [much] Chose wisely, for example raisins do not contain as much fibre as cherries or cranberries, therefore scrap raisins and replace them with cherries, cranberries or goij berries. Can’t afford all the different kinds of nuts? Take the one with most nutritional value, the walnut and buy them whole.You save money by not buying lemonades or soda’s those are really bad for your health. So limiting your selection and only choosing the most nutritional options you save [on doctors visits too..]But you can save money also by for example looking at bigger quantities, like a 10 kilo bag brown rice. Ask in your local store if they give discount if you buy by the dozens, they do at the Dutch Ekoplaza..Then you can actually grow your own herbs/spices indoors by using some very easy to do DIY low tech…
You could even grow your own strawberries, lettuce or tomato’s, who year through!
Disclaimer: This document is purely based on what I learnt whilst reading scientific research. Everything in this article you can find back on the web. I have added some links, but many more can be found if you want to go more into detail or review the information yourself. This is a work in progress as nutritional data concerning what is healthy is constantly changing.