How I found my way
  to good health...... through food

plate of steamed greens

My way to stay healthy AND lose weight

It's difficult to be dynamic when you're not feeling well. If you're taking pills or medication to get through your day it is time to reassess. It might not be possible to be in perfect health but we can do as much as possible to help ourselves. SO...... let's look at easy ways to keep yourself on track physically through food.

I was never blessed with good health. When I was a little kid I had constant headaches and migraines, feeling lethargic, and with all sorts of mysterious illnesses, BUT slowly after many years I found my way to good health and learned that most of my problems were simply caused by what I ate and drank. If this all sounds familiar read on.

There is a list of Food Nasties and Product No No's at the bottom of the page as well as a couple of easy recipes for making veggies more yummy.

         Three important things to remember:

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   1. Eat good quality food and lots of fresh veggies (not processed food)
   2. Aim to be neither overweight or underweight
    3. Look after the inside of your body - yes the inside, and the inside will look after the outside.

If you eat the right food you will slowly lose weight, your skin will shine, your eyes will sparkle and you will feel a whole lot better. You might find you don't need headache pills or other medication. Just remember your body craves the vitamins and minerals in veggies. Eat lots. I will tell you ways to do it. I don't subscribe to any particular food regime - I just try to get a good balance of nutritious food.

         Monitor your PH level - Be alkaline:

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    One very good way to tell how your health is doing is to monitor your body's PH balance.     Keeping your body alkaline is a vital part of staying healthy. You can buy PH test kits usually from health food shops, they are just strips of card that you pee on and they will tell you your PH reading. Just like in your garden if the PH balance of the soil is not right your garden cannot flourish, it is the same with your body. If the water in your swimming pool is not the right PH the pool goes yicky green and rotten. So does your body.

ph test strip

Our body needs a PH balance of 7.365 or more to stay healthy, but most people are way down at 5 or less indicating their body is very acidic. If you continue being acidic your body can just begin to die from neglect, like the plants in your garden because they are too acidic. Now I am not a health expert so you must make your own inquiries into this to fully understand it, but keeping my PH at around 7 has improved my life hugely. It is said that cancer cannot flourish in an alkaline body, so for that reason alone I believe it is important to try to get it right. There is a massive amount of information on the internet about PH. Spend some time researching.

         Keeping your body alkaline:

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    It is not that difficult:
    1. Drink plenty of fluids - good quality filtered water is essential. Coconut Water is alkaline and has many, many good vitamins and minerals.

2. Eat lots and lots of veggies, all the colours of the rainbow. The wonderful thing is that you can eat a lot of these.

3. Try to eat something veg with every meal. Fry up for breakfast? Add baby spinach leaves or silverbeet, or last night left over veg. Just add green to every meal either green veg or salads or coleslaw. Yum. You don't have to give up eating meat just eat a bit less of it and more veg. Once you get in the mindset it is easy and you will find yourself wanting to eat the veggies first.

The wonderful thing about this simple way of life is that I lost 4 kgs without even trying. Try it!

Two really easy recipes for making veggies totally yummy.

Roasted Veg tray

roast vegetable tray

Ingredients:
Every sort of veg you can find - anything.
(I use pumpkin, brussell sprouts, onions, cauliflower, fennel, carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, olives)
1 big bowl.
Coconut oil or olive oil
5 or 6 cloves of Garlic (unpeeled)
Herbs - oregano, rosemary or thyme

Directions:
Turn your oven on to 180 degrees.
Cut all the veg into large bite sized pieces, onions cut in half are fine.
Put them in a BIG bowl
Add some unpeeled garlic cloves 5 or 6 (because they ARE yummy when roasted - Note: they cook quite fast so you can keep them back for 20- 30mins if you wish, as you want them to be soft and yummy, not overcooked.)
Add salt and pepper
Add some chopped herbs - fresh are best - such as rosemary, thyme, oregano
Drizzle over some coconut oil or olive oil.
Toss the lot until herbs and oil are mixed through.
Empty out onto a baking tray.
Bake in an oven till the veg are browned - about 1 hr.

Don't forget if you held back the garlic add it at about 20 - 30 mins. (You can add a couple tablespoons of broth to the pan just to get the veggies moist after about 45mins (optional).
You will never hate veg again.

Steamed Veg

plate of steamed greens

Ingredients
Every sort of veg you can find in your fridge.
(I usually do a big greens selection - zucchini, silverbeet, peas, brussell sprouts (cut in to quarters) frozen broad beans etc. Anything you like really but not just carrots and beans. You can even add cos lettuce.
Note: before adding broad beans immerse frozen beans in hot water and remove outer skin.

Directions
Cut into bit sized pieces
Put them all together in a steamer - a steamer saucepan, rice cooker steam tray, chinese steamer or a even colander over a pan of water - whatever you have to hand.
Cook for around 5-7 minutes even less if you like them crunchy.
Serve with a knob of butter and pepper. Totally yum.

I avoid putting big clumps of veggies on the plate. I just don't like them like that and I think most kids don't either, but chopped up smaller and mixed together with a knob of butter on them they are wonderful. And stir frys are wonderful too.

Add some green to every meal

Remember the more you can eat fresh produce the better. I have also read that frozen veg sometimes can be healthier than fresh as they don't spray longlife preservative on it. I'm not sure about this, but it does make sense. Something to explore. Best to eat organic but some of us can't afford to do that.

Pete Evans (chef) has some particularly tasty recipes. On the subject of Pete Evans I love his fabulous bone broth and the fantastic benefits of having a mug for morning tea. Yummo. Much yummier than cupcakes or donuts and a real energy boost.


Food Nasties

This is not a definite list but......

I've added this to the page because I think it may help a lot of people avoid problems with their health, and in some cases depression and anxiety. If you identify what effects you badly, and eliminate it, your life will improve enormously. I hope by sharing this knowledge it might help you too.

Your Food Journal

Time to put a food journal to use. You can buy a nice little notebook, or download one from the internet.
Every time you get a bad reaction to something write down everything you ate for your last meal or about 4-6 hrs ago. Note the brand of the product, because not all products are harmful - they vary from brand to brand. Everybody is different so your record will be unique. Very soon you will see the products that are bad for you. I have listed some of the Nasties below that have taken me 30 years to identify.

Food Nasties to Avoid

Here is a list of products which I have found affect me very badly. To avoid them you have to read labels on the products you buy.

Preservatives

Potassium Sorbate E202 (seriously dangerous - not used very much now. Can cause dreadful headaches.)
Caramel colouring (evil man made rubbish) also causes dreadful headaches.
Food Acid E330 ??????? (Now used in place of Potassium Sorbate E202) but still to be watched carefully and it is in a lot of products.
If you get bad headaches it is probably something to do with these products.

Artificial Colouring

My husband John gets bad asthma from food colouring. I get stomach ache or headache. We get completely different reactions to the same product, and I guess this is what makes it so difficult to track down.

Artificial Flavouring

Something like artificial lemon juice can give me dreadful pains in the left side of my stomach and/or headaches. Also garlic powder, chicken salt, the artificial shiny coating on apple skins which is edible plastic in a lot of instances! I get bad headaches from garlic powder and chicken salt etc. There is nothing like just using fresh garlic and himalayan salt.

Coffee - yes coffee!!!

Some coffee has awful additives - flavouring and preservative, especially the coffee in the pods, so be very careful which you choose. imported coffee has probably been sprayed if it comes in bulk bags so we buy really lovely coffee beans from a small coffee grower on the D'Aguilar Range at Bracalba in Qld called Auswana Coffee. It is really nice, and has no additives. Insecticide, Pesticide and GM free.

Yeast (it's even in Vegemite)

Man made yeast contains chemicals and can give vulnerable people serious burning sensation in their stomach and stomach gas, other people get heartburn and even others get asthma, and others a feeling of tremendous lethagy. In Vegemite, gives me headaches and I love it. Sad.

Bread

Now this one is difficult but honestly most bread has awful chemicals in it, like man made yeast which swells you up, give you gas and puts you to sleep. Then there is the flour "improver" more like shelf life improver. One of my most difficult challenges is to find bread that I can eat that doesn't affect me badly. It is trial and error but be aware that it can affect you, badly. Oddly enough I find I can tolerate some (not all) Turkish Bread and Turkish Garlic Bread rolls and Croissants from the supermarket.

Monosodium Glutamate

(Monosodium Glutamate can also naturally occur in fermented foods such as Soy Sauce) I couldn't understand why I got a headache from good quality Soy Sauce, but then I found out about naturally occurring Monosodium Glutamate. Grrrr. I love Soy Sauce. I can tolerate just a tiny bit.

Soy Sauce

An update on soy sauce. I have discovered I can eat Yamasa brand Soy Sauce. Yeah!!! Asian Grocers sell it.

Preservatives in SOME Chocolate

A lot of people say they get headaches from chocolate, but it is not usually the chocolate, it is the preservative in the chocolate or in the filling. The more expensive chocolates can be worse than the cheaper ones. Trial and error will find the ones you can eat. I never have a problem with Cadbury or the Aldi chocolate brands.

Meat

More and more I am finding that I get a headache from eating meat, fish and sometimes chicken. Now I am no vegetarian, I love my meat and fish (which I try to limit to small servings) BUT it is getting difficult to find product which doesn't affect me. I suspect it is because when the meat is being butchered it has to be washed down with water and I suspect that there is a lot of chlorine in the water or some preservative in the final wash. It is not desperately bad but..... These headaches usually come on about 6hrs after eating it so it wakes me up at 2am. If it is bad I usually take half a Zyrtec (allergy pills) which relieves it. Zyrtecs are very good because they are small, and not coated in plastic. You can break them in half as you don't need the whole pill in most cases. Interesting that an allergy pill relieves the headache. But the best way to avoid bad headaches is don't eat the food that causes them.


Product No No's

What to avoid in toiletries

Bleach is used in toilet paper and can make life pretty uncomfortable for some. If you are having problems in that area look for a brand which doesn't use bleach. I find Aldi brand Confidential is great. Sometimes even the hypoallergenic ones from the supermarket can affect you. Just keep changing brands until you find success.

Baths

Problems with unexplained vaginal discharge or sore bums. Forget baths - have showers. Sitting in bath water with its added chemicals like chlorine can cause dreadful problems to sensitive areas for some people. A lovely young girl I know was having dreadful problems, and I suggested to her mum that she take showers instead of baths. They also changed their brand of toilet paper to one which didn't use bleach. She never had another problem.

Anti Perspirant

This is just my personal opinion but I have a horrible feeling that there is a connection between spray anti perspirant (with it's propellant) and breast cancer. I wonder has a study ever been done on this. I think it cannot be good to stop our body performing as it is meant to. Use a simple deodorant with as little chemical addition as possible.

Candles and Air Fresheners

Scented perfumes and air fresheners can be lethal and definitely cause me headaches. They are a complete no no in our house. Open the doors and windows and get some fresh air. It's free and good for you!

Fabric Conditioner

This is dreadful stuff. A lot, if not most of the common skin problems, can be traced back to this. Believe me you can live without it and save money.

Washing Powder

Most washing powders have some pretty ghastly chemicals in them. I have found that a product called Aware is good and can conveniently be found at most supermarkets and does not cause any allergies in our family.

Fly Spray

All sorts of insect sprays can cause headaches. My approach is if it can kill insects it can slowly kill us.

Insect Repellent

Think twice before you sit breathing in the smoke from insect repellent, or the fumes from a spray can.

Face

Forget using expensive creams and moisturizers - I use Pure Coconut Oil and it is gorgeous. No nasty chemicals and costs very little.

Summary

Well this is a lot to take in. I know it goes on a bit, but I thought I would put it all down in case it resonated with you, and helps you feel better in your life. It's really worth taking the time to eliminate all the rubbish from your life. Remember you are paying the manufacturers of these products to make YOU ill.

There is a massive amount of information on the internet about food additives, and it's pretty depressing. It's almost impossible to avoid them completely but if you identify and eliminate the ones which cause you most trouble you will notice the difference in your health and you won't be buying expensive medications.

This is by no means a definitive list - it is rather depressing isn't it, but hopefully it will alert you to some of the problems that you or your loved ones might be having in your life, and there is a very big chance that you can improve the situation.

If you get headaches for unexplained reasons try taking half a Zyrtec Allergy tablet. Quite often those headaches and migraines are caused by one of the above and you are having an allergic reaction, but don't keep taking the tablets. Identify what is causing your headaches and get it out of your life. Don't forget the manufacturers of these products are making money from making you ill. Just don't buy them.

I would love it if you joined the discussion and told us about your experience with nasties, so please leave your comments below.

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