The Unsworth Group Practice Wellbeing Guide
Why is nutrition important?
The human gut is one of the largest organs in your body and this is the first point of contact your body has with the outside world. It is how the world we live in connects with us.
So spending a little bit of time to make sure we all have the correct basics on good nutrition is the best and most important step you can make to improve your health and keep well. If we pick the wrong foods consistently this sets off pathways of inflammation in our body that can be responsible for chronic diseases and ill health.
So let’s get informed and get living well.
Know what’s in your food
A simple rule of thumb: if a food item you are about to buy has more than 5-6 ingredients don’t buy it, this means it has been highly processed and refined and there isn’t much good nutrition in there. This helps you guide your decisions, especially in the confusing supermarket which tells you ‘this’ and ‘that’ is good for you. Another simple rule of thumb: try to avoid the inner aisle of the supermarket which has processed and refined foods.
Highly processed, refined foods and low fat foods are full of hidden sugar. The body is thrifty it won’t waste any energy you put into it, so all this hidden sugar is a form of excess energy which it stores as fat. It puts this fat around your organs and your middle which can become harmful to you in the long run. So know where the sugar is hidden and don’t put it in.
Flour (which is the major component in bread and pasta) is highly refined; all the fibre and goodness has been removed in the processing and it is a very high source of sugar. Try to avoid it or eat it in very minimal amounts and don’t make it the main part of your daily diet.
Fizzy drinks, fruit juice, flavoured milks and smoothies are packed with sugar. Drinking a glass of orange juice isn’t the same as the goodness from six oranges – it’s the same as drinking all the sugar from six oranges without any of the fibre.
Sweeteners of all types this includes diet drinks, no added sugar, flavoured water/ squashes etc. should be avoided they make your body hungrier and are highly processed chemicals that are not good for the body. They actually make it harder for individuals to lose weight. Drink water put a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber in, if you don’t like plain water. Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Oils and Spreads
Avoid margarine and processed vegetable oils such as corn oil, sunflower oil.
Try not to have too much of the higher sugar fruits such as melon, pineapple, bananas, oranges and mango. However it is still better than cake and biscuits.
Avoid cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolate, ice cream, bread, pasta, rice, battered and crumbed food, potatoes, fizzy pop and juice. Did you know that in tomato ketchup almost a third of the bottle is full of sugar.
Avoid too much Beer (it’s pretty much liquid bread) sweet wines, sweet liquors, sweet mixers.
So what can I eat?
Well here’s the fun part.
Let’s get back to basics and cook with butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil. These are not refined and are full of omega 3 and omega 9 essential fats your body needs to work properly. Use olive oil and cold pressed extra virgin oil (this means no processing) for your dressings.
Good Sources: Eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, fish, salmon, tuna, duck, turkey and shellfish. Try to get the best cut that you can afford we know it can be expensive for some people but eating this way will also keep you fuller for longer, removing all the hidden sugar from your diet will make you less hungry as it doesn’t turn on your hunger hormone insulin. Try to get meats off the bone or from the butchers- they have the best quality.
Crowd you plate with lots of non-starchy vegetables- these can be cooked with the above fats. Another good tip is try to eat the ‘colours of the rainbow in vegetables’ - you can get your children or grandchildren involved with a rainbow chart and they can tick off each time they’ve eaten another colour. Eg: avocado, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cucumber, olives, lettuce, peppers.
Try to pick the lower sugar fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries. You can enjoy this with full fat Greek yogurt as an alternative to highly processed and refined cereals. (Look at the labels they add glucose/ fructose (sugar) to almost everything!)
Full fat milk and a wide variety of non-processed cheeses - if you eat these it will fill you up and has good nutrition for your body.
Enjoy water, tea, coffee or herbal-tea this help with your digestion.
Enjoy the occasional alcoholic drink: red wine, dry white wine, spirits try to avoid the sugary mixers.
How will you feel?
Eat mindfully - when you cut all the extra sugar out of your diet you can start to hear your hunger and fullness hormones from your gut. So eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.
You may initially experience tiredness and a headache the first few days. This can be ‘sugar withdrawal’ so make sure you drink plenty of water.
As you will be cutting out refined and processed food you won’t have as much salt in your body, so you may want to add salt to your meals. Try to use non-refined salts such as sea salt or Himalayan pink salt - this is full of minerals that are good for you.
Experience it to believe it! Give it a try and see how much better the right nutrition can make us feel.
If you are interested in finding out more about how to improve you general health and wellbeing please look at the below resources which has been very helpful to guide us in providing this advice.
https://www.dietdoctor.com/ this is a great resource that tells you exactly where hidden sugar is and how other people have turned their health around with simple diet changes. It also has many great recipes to get you started .
Also if you are interested look at the concepts of intermittent fasting or time restricted eating. Sometimes eating in over a shorter period of time over the day makes our body more efficient. Our ancestors didn’t eat regularly over 12 -14 hours a day they could only eat when food was available. Modernisation has changed our pattern of eating. Resting our gut for part of the day will give our body time to focus on important housekeeping duties to keep us well.
For a holistic look at how to not only optimise your diet but to ensure you relax, get good movement and sleep which are all important to help us control our hormones and ensure our well-being have a look at ‘The 4 Pillar Plan ‘ by Dr Rangan Chatterjee.
Another good website for recipes include https://www.ditchthecarbs.com/.