OK I'm not overweight, but do have allergies, Asthma and Ceoliac Disease, the combination of which has caused all sorts of issues over the years.
We're also trying to have another baby and taking a dietary approach to improve fertility - we're not getting any younger !!
We've been making advances toward this for a number of years now, and we've lived as follows :-
We don't use a Microwave
We don't eat any ready meals
We usually cook fresh each day for the main evening meal
We usually have fruit or eggs cooked in the morning
We are Gluten Free
Those five points brought quite a change in our home as it takes time to prepare food, and you have to plan in advance. The next step having done plenty of research was to double down on our efforts.
We are not diary free, no milk, no cheese
We use Almond or Cashew milk as a substitute
We make our own juices from fruit we purchase
We have one completely Organic
We rotate between no meat, meat and fish in our diet
When we snack we eat nuts
We don't store any food in soft plastics
We don't wear shoes inside the house
We have a portable HEPA air filter working at home
We joined the Gym
We cut out alcohol
We stopped drinking Tea & Coffee
We bought lots of cook books for healthy living recipes
We did a pile of research around nutritional values of things
We take nutritional supplements
We use plant based cleaning solutions now
We drink mineral water from glass bottles
OK, this sounds rather severe, but here is some of the reasoning. Had we just gone from a normal consumer diet to this I think I might have gone stir-crazy, but because it's two steps done over a time period the adjustment hasn't been to bad.
Most of the UK population because of poor weather is Vitamin D deficient. Being Ceoliac, I am pre-disposed to being Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Iron, Zinc, Nacin, Riboflavin and Magnesium deficient. It's because the damage to the bowel over the years has meant the bowel doesn't or can't absorb these nutrients as easily as it should.
The way food is prepared and packed also leaches out hormone-like chemicals into the body, particularly estrongen. If your house is like ours, the amount of packaging we recycle every week is incredible - enough to full a small wheelie bin.
So the background chemical impact to our bodies is huge. It affects sleep, mood, energy levels, memory etc.
If I'm honest, when we made this next step, I was skeptical, but a month in, we're both already feeling the benefit. The dark circles under our eyes have gone. I'm a lot less bloated. Rebekah's Asthma is better. We have more energy and are sleeping better. We've both lost a little weight as our body goes re-adjusts. My double chin is disappearing !!
Anyway, the obvious question is how much does it cost. As a family of three we tend to spend £90 a week on food, that includes having family and friends around once or twice a week. I don't think doing all of this that we'll be much beyond £100 per week after the fact. The key to this is planning you weekly meals. If you plan well, you won't waste anything and all of the left overs are used the next day. When you think about the savings you will make by not purchasing snacky food, no biscuits, fizzy drinks, chocolate, fancy coffees etc, it's surprising how much of the weekly budget that could take up.
One other thing is to shop around. When we wanted to eat Organic meat, we tried all the main supermarkets and Tesco Extra came out top, often running promotions on Meat which took it under the normal price. Sainsbury's were good for Organic Eggs and some of the recipes used spices we could only find at Waitrose. I was surprised M&S didn't have a wide range of items and didn't compete on price with the other stores, at least in our area.
You do have to remember preparation time takes longer, so for example I cooked a piece of Salmon with Tumeric, Smoked Paprika, Lime and Lemon juice (fresh) with a sprinkle of Pepper. The recipe said to have an accompanying Salsa, so I made that too from scratch (extra 15 minutes right there).
To set things up, it took a full day, we emptied the cupboards, removed everything out of day. Looked at every single cooking utensil - everything rubber or plastic got recycled. We also looked at what food processor was best for the recipes we planned to use. A good allrounder we have found is the Nutri-Bullet - it's quick, easy and clean, just decant the finished item into porcelain or glass immediately. We also cleaned out the fridge and put simple trays in there so all the veg or fruit is in easy view, we then know what is likely to go off quickly and what we need to buy soon.
We next plan to start to see if we can source Organic food straight from local farms and avoid plastic intervention altogether. One shocking thing I read on this journey is that 70% of the plastic we discard (single use plastic) cannot be recycled. So it's better to stop using it altogether - where possible.
We're only a month into a years experiment, and I'll give an update in a few months, but so far, (after some effort) the results are great. We haven't missed it. The new diet is giving us a lot more variety than the dishes I used to make. I love cooking so the experimentation is fun.
My wife is a medical doctor so the research has been thorough and thoughtful. Many studies say it will take a complete four months of healthy diet to rid our bodies of the many hundreds (yes I said hundreds) of chemicals we have consumed across all the food we eat. This diet removes, colourings, preservatives, flavourings, binding agents, all kinds of stuff our bodies were never designed to digest.
If nothing else, I wrote this to help you think about what you eat. You may not be able to do the radical things we have, but you could surely do one or two to small things which will improve your general health.
I was walking around Tesco the other week and a family of five (all there, all very much over weight, literally had a big trolley stuffed to the gills with ready meals, snacks, fizzy drinks - there wasn't a vegetable or piece of fruit in sight. What will their health be like in later years ? It really made me want to improve our health so we can enjoy life to the full for as long as possible. If you need pointers or have questions drop me a line.