Advice wanted on healthy diet

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11 years 3 months ago #26804 by rivercottage
Hi everyone
I have just had a health scare with the word "tumour" in it. Still waiting final final histology results but looking as though it will be ok.

Not for the first time this has made me think about the modern western diet - I have had a habit of saying that I think it is responsible for alot of degenerative diseases and cancers. So I have decided to do it instead of just having an opinion on it.

I would like to cut out everything that is unnatural, poisoned, GM etc. but to be frank my brains are not working very well at present and I am finding it hard to know where to start. There is alot of information on the internet but I am a bit overwhelmed by it all. Nutritional information and advice on nasty additives is important but it isn't a shopping list!

We are fortunate to live rural (Wakefield Nelson) and are just getting to grips with the orchard and vege plot on our 1 hectare. We have no livestock (maybe chickens next spring), but that could be a possibility down the track, but we both work full time so don't want to bite off more than we can chew.

I would appreciate it if anyone could help me out with some easy-to-follow steps to get me started. We don't eat real rubbish, everything is home-cooked, but that's about as far as it goes at the moment.

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11 years 3 months ago #371440 by kimberj06
Hi Rivercottage (love the name by the way!) I too tend to wonder if todays modern diet and lifestyle are creating issues with health etc. I am hoping to get to a point where we can also provide whole foods for our table - my theory is that it could help control the eczema and allergies my girls have. I don't have any help to offer you at this stage but you have my moral support (for what it is worth!) and I will be watching to see how you get on!

I have begun by planting the vege garden - fruit trees are next on our list - and I make my own bread, crackers and muesli bars etc to cut down on additives and preservatives in my kids lunchboxes. Obviously if you are still working then time becomes an issue, but I found once I got into the routine it became very quick to get the bread on (I use a breadmaker with a timer function) and the baking done each night after dinner. Our diet is never going to be 100% natural as we still like to use white flour and sugar from time to time, but every little bit helps I think. Good luck with it all - there are fabulous people here with wonderful advice and I am sure someone will be along to help soon!

Hoping to get out of the city while I am still young enough to make the land productive.

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11 years 3 months ago #371442 by rivercottage
Thanks kimberj - I have a breadmaker too, although I have hardly ever used it. And you are right about home baking too - it really doesn't take very long does it? I just need to make more effort, especially as we don't have children to worry about.

Thanks for the moral support!

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11 years 3 months ago #371443 by Nora
Replied by Nora on topic Advice wanted on healthy diet
There is very little evidence that diet affects health.
The things that spring to mind which do have some evidence are:
-eating so much as to be obese, therefore increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obstructive sleep apnoea and resulting heart failure amongst others
-eating fewer calories prolongs life expectancy
-eating barbecued meats which can cause bowel cancer
-drinking neat spirits which can cause mouth and upper gastrointestinal cancers

I believe sugar and white flours are natural. But I guess that depends on your definition of natural.

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11 years 3 months ago #371444 by kimberj06

Nora;363515 wrote:
I believe sugar and white flours are natural. But I guess that depends on your definition of natural.


I like to think they are too Nora - my fear is that they are so overly processed as to be un-recogniseable from their natural state - but then so is Meat when it comes down to it?![;)] My plan is to try and eat sensibly using mostly what I can grow/provide for my family without getting to hung up on the natural versus un natural - everything in moderation so to speak and yet still trying to stay away from overly processed and modified foods. In other words I want to have my cake and eat it too! Sorry Rivercottage - not helping much huh?!

Hoping to get out of the city while I am still young enough to make the land productive.

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11 years 3 months ago #371446 by thevarneys
Hi Rivercottage. We mainly eat homegrown and homemade, and my shopping trolley consists of ingredients rather than any finished products, so while we still eat refined sugar and flour, it is limited and we know all the other ingredients in our food. I thinkit would be difficult (and expensive, for our family anyway) to eat 100% natural or healthy foods, as a lot of NZs flour, rice, oil etc comes from elsewhere. It would be fun to be able to grow our own, but not viable on our 5 acres.[;)] We eat mainly seasonal veges and fruit from our garden, or friends, thus avoiding sprays and chemicals in commercially grown produce. We have been able to source whole raw milk (the best way to have milk), :D and in couple of years will be having our own! I dont work out of the house, so I am home a lot to do all this, but you could start small (like your veges and fruit, chooks and eggs) and home baking, and go from there. You could even go halves with someone to buy a homekil beast/pig. Just by eating home made products instead of precessed food, my hubby lost 8kg :D (and hes a type 1 diabetic) , I have lost weight too (this is without trying, just eating differently, and the kids are well foccussed and we all hardly get sick. Actually, if the kids go to a party or have some processed 'junk' food, I notice a big change in their behaviour - a bit hyperactive, arguing, tired and bored easily. It must be a shock to their body! [:0] preserving excess fruit and veges is a good way to eat out of season.

Some people are so poor, all they have is money.

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11 years 3 months ago #371447 by kaybe
Replied by kaybe on topic Advice wanted on healthy diet
rivercottage, I would agree with Nora's list, but also add that certainly it has been shown that whole-grain/low GI foods are better for your body than highly processed (white flour/sugar) combinations, and that regularly eating foods high in antioxidants can help reduce your cancer risk.

Tomorrow is the day I will stop procrastinating.

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11 years 3 months ago #371449 by rivercottage

Nora;363515 wrote: There is very little evidence that diet affects health.
The things that spring to mind which do have some evidence are:
-eating so much as to be obese, therefore increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obstructive sleep apnoea and resulting heart failure amongst others
-eating fewer calories prolongs life expectancy
-eating barbecued meats which can cause bowel cancer
-drinking neat spirits which can cause mouth and upper gastrointestinal cancers

I believe sugar and white flours are natural. But I guess that depends on your definition of natural.

Thanks Nora - my tumour was in my small bowel. I also have diverticular disease (it hasn't progressed into diverticulitis thank goodness). So I am obviously quite focused on that area. Hmmm I do like eating the burnt bits on meat. That's something for me to put on my list then.

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11 years 3 months ago #371450 by rivercottage
No kimberj, this is all good. Great to hear so many points of view. At least this is only a handful, not a couple of million like you get on google!

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11 years 3 months ago #371454 by rivercottage
Hi thevarneys - you sound like you have a do-able sensible kind of approach. I'm sure I can get to where you are without too much trouble. I thought my trolley only contained ingredients, then I realised that breakfast cereal, muffins, crackers, bread, flavoured yoghurt, etc. are not ingredients! I got a really nice muesli recipe from my doctor so that has cut out the processed cereal; and I can fix the baking just by making a bit of effort. We did get a fair bit of stuff from our vege plot this year, and I have homegrown apples and pears in the pole shed so that's a good start.

There is a dairy farm near us and I was wondering if they would/are allowed to sell me raw milk? I am a bit unsure about the rules though. I did make some cheese recently (from supermarket milk) and it came out really well so I imagine if I had raw milk it would be superb.

I guess the homekill meat is the next step. We did get half a pig and a quarter of a cow last year but our source has dried up. It certainly was the best meat we've ever tasted, and we know what it was fed on. I would love to be able to do that again but it is just a case of finding a source I suppose.

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11 years 3 months ago #371456 by kate
Replied by kate on topic Advice wanted on healthy diet
Just a note that it is illegal to buy or sell homekill!

We also buy mainly ingredients but does anyone have a recipe for good crackers? Not that I can make them at the moment without an oven...or a kitchen...

Web Goddess

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11 years 3 months ago #371457 by rivercottage
Hi kaybe - yes I have noticed that refined white flour and sugar products make me get sugar crashes, so I always buy (and bake rarely) wholemeal bread and muffins etc. I have noticed that some so-called "wholemeal" bread is not really wholemeal - it is sort of brown with a load of bran added. Comparing that to say, Mackenzie stoneground wholemeal bread, there is no comparison.

Re antioxidants, one of the things I have been thinking about is not just pesticides etc. but also the nutrient quality of some foods, especially fresh fruit and veges. When I tasted our first apples this year I was amazed at how good they were, until my apple-picker friend pointed out that last month the supermarket apples would have been pretty old, kept in cold storage from the previous year's crop (duh!). I am planning to expand my vege plot capability and orchard variety anyway. I'm going to be pretty busy!

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11 years 3 months ago #371458 by rivercottage

Kate;363529 wrote: Just a note that it is illegal to buy or sell homekill!

We also buy mainly ingredients but does anyone have a recipe for good crackers? Not that I can make them at the moment without an oven...or a kitchen...

Oops thanks Kate. Here's a recipe from Annabel Langbein - I haven't tried it yet but they look yummy and it says it takes about half an hour to make:

Sesame and oregano lavosh:
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup wholemeal flour
4 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp finely chopped oregano
1tsp salt
1/4 cup ex virgin olive oil
1tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 165 C
Mix dry ingredients, then mix in oils and water and make a soft pliable dough. Roll out dough (about 1/4 at a time) as thinly as possible, cut into narrow strips and roll again until nearly see through. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, brush lightly with oil and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake about 15-18 minutes.

I imagine you could use other seeds or herbs, and the sesame oil will be for flavouring so probably optional. I wonder if you could use a pasta machine instead of rolling them out?

Cheers

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11 years 3 months ago #371461 by kate
Replied by kate on topic Advice wanted on healthy diet
Wow, they sound really good, thank you :D

Web Goddess

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11 years 3 months ago #371469 by kimberj06
My cracker recipe is for a very simple water cracker - quite plain but I have been experimenting with added flavours. The trick really is to get them super thin and make sure they are thoroughly cooked or you end up with a stodgy hard lump of a thing!

200g Flour
1 teaspoon salt
100ml cold water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Put dry ingredients into bowl, make a well in the center then add wet ingredients. Mix gently to dough and then roll very thin and cut as desired. (I have a duck cookie cutter and the kids really enjoy having "Quackers" for morning tea!) I put grated cheese in with the flour and salt before adding the oil/water and it gives them a nice flavour so we can eat them plain. Oops - cook at about 180 for 10-12 minutes! I find I have to watch them towards the end as they can over brown quite quickly if the thermostat on the oven revs up like mine sometimes does.[}:)]

Not sure who to credit this recipe with as I found it on a foody website and gave it a go.:o

Hoping to get out of the city while I am still young enough to make the land productive.

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