On Thursday night, we spent the evening listening to a lively debate on ‘what should I eat?” from a panel of health experts and communicators. They covered a range of topics including dietary advice (yes everything from sugar, fat and gluten), exercise, alcohol and caffeine. The discussion was diverse and it was very interesting to hear the different views.
One of the most important messages we both took away reinforced our current beliefs around mindfulness. The importance of taking a mindful approach to eating, not focusing so much on what not to eat, rather choosing foods for nourishment as well as enjoyment (a glass of wine, a full fat latte, a couple of pieces of chocolate…).
What is meant by nourishment?
- Nourishment: the food necessary for growth, health, and good condition
One of the biggest problems in our contemporary diets is the lack of fruits and vegetables on our plates. The 2011/2012 Australian Health Survey found only 5.5% of Australian adults had an adequate daily intake of fruit and vegetables. This is an alarming statistic (to say the least) as fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, not to mention a whole heap of beneficial phytochemicals. A sufficient intake of fruit and veg is known to reduce a person’s risk of developing chronic conditions that are plaguing our western society such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
What is a sufficient intake?
For Adults, 5 serves vegetables and 2 serves of fruit. According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines:
- A serve of vegetables: 1/2 cup cooked vegetables, 1 medium potato or 1 cup of salad vegetables
- A serve of fruit: 1 medium piece, 2 small pieces of fresh fruit or 1 cup of diced fruit
How about organic fruit and veg?
The most important thing is to start by getting a rainbow of vegetables on the plate (at most meals) and then think about organic.
Organic is important as it lowers our intake of chemicals and toxic load on the body and is also better for the ecosystem. In saying this, it can also be expensive. When you have decided to go to the next level, a nice solution is to compromise and choose to buy some of your produce organic.
A US health and environmental research organisation, Environmental Working Group (EWG) has come up with two lists- ‘The dirty dozen’ and ‘clean fifteen’.
The Clean fifteen contains the least amount of nasties in their non-organic form
The Dirty Dozen are often laden with pesticides and other chemicals in their non-organic form
A nutritious diet does not depend on whether or not it is organic.
Remember this: start by getting an abundance of colours with veg and fruit, and then think about taking it to the next level (by going organic).