Healthy eating

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Cooking it, growing it, eating it. Tell us your favourite recipes and tips, or ask for ideas.

Healthy eating

Postby Sprocket » August 2nd, 2014, 6:20 pm

I've decided to improve my diet: it's always been reasonably healthy, but there's room for improvement. I've just bought a book called 'Food Rules' by Michael Pollan, based on the acclaimed dictum "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants". His rules are mostly common-sense, such as never buying any food with more than five ingredients, or which has sugar in its top three ingredients, avoid products containing ingredients you wouldn't have in your larder, eating less meat and more vegetables, etc. One reform I've decided on is cutting out sausages, bacon, and other processed meats completely. I like them, but not so much that I'll seriously miss them. I'm also going to stop using margerine, because that's a food pretending to be something it isn't (butter), which he also recommends avoiding. That means using butter on bread and toast, which doesn't seem particularly healthy, but I only use it for those purposes, not for cooking with, so I won't be eating very much. After trying to spread butter from the fridge for a week, I dare say I might change my mind about that rule. I don't eat all that much meat as it is - certainly not with every meal - but I will east less red meat (I hardly ever eat beef or lamb, but |I do love pork), and when I do, make sure it's lean. Lots of fish, especially oily, is a good idea.
Greg has commended the traditional Mediterranean diet before now, which contains lots of vegetables and fruit, especially tomatoes, and I have read that the healthiest diet in the world is the traditional Japanese one - lots of fruit and veg. and fish, little meat, and no dairy. Well, I'm not giving up dairy produce, but I don't use tons of it anyway - I only have milk in tea and coffee.
Any other ideas or comments?
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Re: Healthy eating

Postby GregB » August 3rd, 2014, 2:31 pm

Yes, pretty much as you say, though food experts can be tiresome when they tamper with their own conventional wisdom (eg. eggs were maligned for years as carriers of bad cholesterol, though now it seems they have the green light - and don't ask me to explain the science behind that.) Certainly, lots of fruit and vegetables and so on (you've described the healthy diet well), especially reducing as much as possible red meat and eating foods rich in the magic heart-friendly Omega 3 oil, mainly oily fish (as you mention), preferably fresh - we try to eat sardines braised on a grill at least twice a week, though apparently the tinned ones also have almost equal health benefits. Fresh tuna is even better, though perhaps harder to obtain over there. White meat, above all chicken, is also highly recommended, be it roast portions or grilled fillets, but as far away from cooking with fat as possible. Butter? I like it but don't use it - I use Flora margarine, supposedly enriched in Omega 3, though for toast or sandwiches I normally use the Catalan style of bread spread, ie. a cut tomato smeared on the bread or toast followed by a good splash of olive oil (an essential ingredient in a healthy diet as well, above all on salads - another great plank in the healthy diet.)
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Re: Healthy eating

Postby Sprocket » August 3rd, 2014, 3:27 pm

Depends what you mean by fresh tuna. We can buy frozen tuna steaks easily enough, but I don't know about literally fresh. I do use a fair amount of olive oil.

I was a bit dubious about his condemnation of margerine, since the only alternative is butter, which doesn't sound very healthy, so I did a bit of googling. It seems that butter isn't near;ly as bad as was once - and quite recently - assumed, and is indeed good for you, in moderation at least. A number of websites, none of which seemed to be pushing some weird agenda, all more or less agreed. Here's one of them. So, as long as I'm only using it on bread and toast, I think I'm ok to switch to it.
Last edited by Sprocket on August 3rd, 2014, 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Healthy eating

Postby GregB » August 3rd, 2014, 4:59 pm

I meant tuna straight from the catch to the fishmongers' shops. We have such a shop in our street which usually has fresh tuna for sale (though the various markets in the city boast even greater quantities.) The advantage over the frozen variety is that you can grill the steaks straightaway, leaving aside the argument as to whether deep freezing robs it of some essential qualities.
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Re: Healthy eating

Postby Sprocket » August 3rd, 2014, 5:03 pm

I thought that would be what you m eant. Unfortunately, Hemel Hempstead is about as far from the sea as you can get in Great Britain.
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Re: Healthy eating

Postby GregB » August 4th, 2014, 7:14 am

Another factor is where tuna can be caught; they don't exist in northern waters, while the Mediterranean is full of them (likewise sardines and anchovies.)

That link about butter was very interesting and after reading it, I'm probably going to start using it again, at least for toast and on certain hot vegetables (notably potatoes.) These changes in dietary recommendations, from some products being denounced as 'enemies' to our health one day to the same ones being later classified as 'friends', resemble a kind of culinary 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'. In the end, I think it's just best to follow the kind of balanced food regime we've talked about here and not consume anything in excess.
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Re: Healthy eating

Postby Pondero » February 15th, 2015, 5:07 pm

The only place in Port Charlotte.or vicinity where you can buy decent bread, as good as we get in Toronto is at Panera Sure it costs over seven dollars a loaf of French bread, but it has no preservatives ( no Calcium propionate). They slice it for you and as it will grow stale in a day or two they give you a freezer bag as well..
We last visited Panera when in Niagara Falls New York.
In Canada we visit Dimpelmeirs, a German bakery for similar bread - at cheaper prices -but they do contain Calcium Proponiate).
Last edited by Pondero on February 17th, 2015, 11:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices.

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Re: Healthy eating

Postby Pondero » February 15th, 2015, 5:13 pm

I think I will try making my own bread when I get back home Sprocket - as you do! And as my mother and grandmother did before me.
Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa, The bookmark of Teresa of Ávila, [28]
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Re: Healthy eating

Postby Sprocket » February 15th, 2015, 5:16 pm

Good for you - that way, you know exactly what's in it. I made some yesterday - wholemeal, plus four eggs (One egg per loaf - I make four at a time, and freeze three) and roasted sunflower seeds, and decorated on top with chia seeds, which are very small and resemble poppy seeds. I bought them at the health-food shopa few months ago, where I went to buy poppy seeds, inter alia. They didn't have any, so |I bought chia seeds instead. I'd never heard of them before.
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Re: Healthy eating

Postby Bev » February 16th, 2015, 5:34 pm

Good thread, and good for you Sprocket!

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a book on making Green Smoothies. The idea is to make a morning smoothie using low-glycemic fruits (berries mainly), chia or flax seeds, and a variety of dark, leafy greens and blend it into a morning drink. I add protein powder (an all plant-based protein), coconut oil, and turmeric paste (which I make myself from turmeric, ground black pepper, and water.) I add a packet of Stevia to sweeten it, and it tastes really good.

You could make your own sausage out of ground turkey, Sprocket. I've done it, and with all the herbs and spices that go into making it, I believe it must be very good for you.

On tuna, all the large fish--regardless of where they are caught--contain high amounts of mercury. It has something to do with the increase in the water, which the bigger fish accumulate more of. The smaller fish are much better and can be eaten in large quantities.

Your bread sounds delicious, Sprocket! I really should go back to making my own again.
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