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Food - What Can We Eat?

Mar 6, 2008
Recent surveys have shown that one in four of us are completely confused with the official guidelines on healthy eating.

Take red meat for instance. Does it cause cancer or is it good for us? Is alcohol bad or good in moderation and should you stop drinking if you're pregnant. How about tea and coffee - is the caffeine bad for us or not?

Then of course, there's chocolate. Do the feel good factor and antioxidant properties in some brands make it worth risking all those calories?

We all know processed food contains lots of saturated fat, salt and sugars, as well as colourings and flavourings so we shouldn't eat too much of it, but we're now told we shouldn't eat the good old English breakfast either.

Bacon, sausage, egg, beans and toast should be relegated to the dustbin apparently. Instead we should eat fresh fruit and cereal, but even that is often full of hidden salt and sugar.

It is difficult knowing what you should or shouldn't eat and most people don't have the time to read the packaging. Even if you did you'd probably be confused, as each manufacturer seems to have a different method of describing the contents. The simplest to understand, I think, are the traffic light symbols, which show red, amber and green. Most people understand red means stop, amber means be cautious and green means go, even if they don't take any notice of them.

We should, for the sake of our health eat plenty of different coloured fruit and vegetables because they contain chemicals to prevent cancer. They also fill you up without providing too many calories which is great. If you can afford organic food it's even better because not only do they taste better, and have more natural vitamins and minerals, they are grown without harmful chemical pesticides and fertilisers. This means they don't add to the daily toxic build-up in your body. Unfortunately they are in the wrong price range for most people on a limited budget though.

There is no question we are getting bigger and childhood obesity levels are rising. This will inevitably have health consequences and it is partly our modern lifestyle which has created the problem. Apparently we now live in an obeseogenic environment. I hope I've spelled that correctly as I've never heard of it before.

When food was scarce we had to use a lot of energy to get it, but now we are surrounded by high-energy foods and labour saving devices so it's really hard to get
rid of those excess calories. Refrigerators and microwaves have a lot to answer for. Without them we probably wouldn't rely on so many delicious ready meals and take aways.

Another problem is the lack of facilities to be able to exercise safely. Many of the school playing fields have gone and cycle paths are not traffic friendly. Few children are encouraged to go out to play because of the fear of muggings, gangs, paedophiles, drugs, etc, and that's in daylight hours.

It seems to me though, there's no point getting obsessed with food otherwise you just end up miserable. If you like something, eat it but do so in moderation and stop when you feel full.

If you are one of those people brought up to believe you must eat everything put in front of you because of the plight of the starving people in other countries, then use smaller plates and eat slower. It may sound simple but it works. I've tried it.

You end up eating less, but feel full because you've taken the time to actually chew and taste the food, and also chewing releases a chemical in your brain which tells your stomach you are full. Clever, eh?

It also prevents food waste because even if you do leave something on your plate it unfortunately won't help the starving millions.
About the Author
Jean Shaw writes articles and is the author of three true story books on autism and mercury poisoning

Visit her blog
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