Avoid going to the extremes of diet and restriction and instead choose to slowly change your eating habits to embrace the foods that nourish you. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can improve overall wellbeing and reduce the risk of a range of preventable chronic diseases, including some cancers. Up to a third of all cancers are preventable through simple lifestyle changes, including maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol and being active. So, here are some simple tips and tricks that can easily be incorporated into a busy lifestyle.
A lot of powerful nutrients are in fruit and vege skins, so where possible, leave them on. When buying non-organic produce, you can soak them in your kitchen sink with water and a good splash of apple cider vinegar to break down some of the pesticides on the skin’s surface.
It can all be so confusing as to what is good for us and what isn’t. A way to make this easier is to shop around the outskirts of the supermarket: fresh fruit and veges, then on to lean meats, fish, dairy products and eggs. The occasional exception is items such as
herbal teas, cooking oils, nuts and seeds, which
tend to be on shelves within the aisles.
Snacks can let people down. We often grab high-energy foods that are quick and easy when stressed or tired, rather than actually hungry. Keep healthy snacks, such as raw nuts and seeds, nearby with some dark chocolate (in a portion-controlled container), vege sticks with hummus or nut butter, or a piece of fresh fruit. Raspberry Coconut Truffles (page 60) are a tasty treat to have occasionally, rather than a daily snack.
Raw and cooked veges offer different nutrients. An example is a tomato. In its raw form it is a great source of vitamin C, but when it is cooked the vitamin C is destroyed; instead, cooked tomatoes offer lycopene, another antioxidant that has been shown to help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Aim to eat a mix of raw and cooked veges each day.
Avoid dried fruits as they have concentrated fruit sugars and are usually sprayed with sulphites to help them retain their colour. Sulphites can exacerbate allergies, asthma and eczema in some individuals.
Many sugar-free recipes use sugar alternatives such as dates, honey and/or coconut sugar, which are better options than sugar (however, they still need to be used in moderation).
Brown rice syrup is also used and is a good alternative as it is 100 per cent glucose, which is easily utilised by the whole body for energy (unlike fructose, another sugar molecule that is metabolised by the liver then stored as fat). When recipes call for a sweetener, this is a better option – however, it is still a sugar. I would try using less than the recipes states to reduce your sweet cravings.
There are some useful books and movies that can shed more light on food trends and how certain foods work in our body. Look to That Sugar Film (2014) and Food Matters (2008), plus David Gillespie’s book Sweet Poison: Why Sugar Makes Us Fat (2008).
1½ cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup almond meal (or ground sunflower seeds to make it nut-free)
½ cup freeze-dried raspberry powder
4 Tbsp coconut oil, softened
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
zest and juice of a lemon
¼ tsp vanilla extract
extra coconut for rolling
1. Place all ingredients, except the extra coconut for rolling, into a food processor and mix until combined.
2. Shape into balls and roll in the extra coconut.
3. Store in the fridge or freezer.