A very warm welcome to the second part of my new three-part series on prepping yourself – mentally, emotionally and physically to get into the best shape possible to have a happy, healthy winter – and, quite potentially to get into your best shape (mentally, and physically) – ever!
This week, we’ll look at the best (proven!) way to eat, to stay healthy, avoid colds and particularly ‘flu. I’ve also included a special recipe for my delicious ‘healing soup’ which incorporates the very best herbs and spices for remaining healthy and vibrant.
First of all, when you are making any changes to your life – including nutritional strategies, it is vital to get your mind-set right so that you know what you are doing – and more importantly why. Highly motivating thoughts and robust rationales for positive change, will help you transition to healthy habits quickly and easily.
Lots of ‘experts’ will tell you what to do and they expect you to just take their advice on face value. I don’t think that is helpful, because, unless you really get to grips with why things work – and exactly how they will benefit you, I think it is hard to stick to changes. So, as both Harvard and Cornell Universities have both just come out with the advice that a ‘plant-based, whole food diet’ (PBWF diet) is the optimum way of eating for health, we need to pay attention.
These institutions are incredibly conservative, and they receive vast funding from the meat and dairy industries. They are really going out on a limb in making these definitive statements – so the research evidence for the health benefits of a PBWF diet has to be overwhelming. They stand to lose billions of dollars by not supporting the animal farming industries – so it is certainly time for us all to sit up and take notice. Furthermore, we now know that a PBWF diet is ideal for our planet from an ecological and animal welfare perspective. When you add all this up – and learn how easy it is to make delicious plant-based meals that will save your health both in the short and long term – and rewind your biological clock to make you physically younger – you’re already cultivating the mind-set that will support you in making healthy changes and making vitality-promoting choices. All this adds up to enabling you to create realistic strategies for getting happier, healthier, smarter, sexier, fitter, brainer, leaner and more resistant to both acute and chronic illnesses.
So, what are the best nutritional strategies for remaining fit and well throughout the winter months and beyond? Here are a few guidelines that will stand you in good stead when working out what to incorporate into your diet for optimal wellness:
- Eat regularly: 3 meals per day, and don’t snack between, so that your blood glucose levels have a chance to level out. Elevated blood sugar is instrumental in elevating Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs), which cause collagen and other proteins to stiffen – which causes us to age prematurely, internally and externally.
- Incorporate plenty of fruit and veggies (especially emphasising green leafy veg and salad veg).
- Eat up to 25g nuts/seeds per day.
- Eat organic where possible – or wash your produce thoroughly.
- Avoid or limit: all animal proteins including meat, fish, eggs and dairy, artificial sweeteners, high GL foods.
Jayney’s Healing Winter Soup for Glowing Health and Super Vitality
This delicious soup is a rich source of nutrients, adaptogenic herbs, mushrooms and spices. It is powerfully anti-inflammatory – so think of it as a ‘functional food’ dish that will both help to prevent and speed recovery from illness and opportunistic winter-time infections – such as colds and flu.
Important note: This recipe is extremely healthy – as is. But – you’ll also note that it contains very little Salt, Oil and absolutely no Sugar – making it a great introduction to and “SOS-free” eating programme. The Salt, Oil and Sugar-free diet is now being embraced by many of the world’s leading natural-nutritionally orientated doctors and health experts who recognise the need for all of us to reduce the Salt, Oil and Sugar in our diets for optimal health.
This is the recipe I use – but it really is one of those dishes that you can play around with and add anything that appeals to you.
1 red onion – roughly chopped
1 garlic clove – crushed
Reishi mushrooms* – or powder
I small turmeric root (2-3cm) very finely chopped
1 large carrot or 2 small medium ones – peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped into 1cm cubes
1 can of organic chopped tomatoes
1 heaped tsp grated fresh root ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tsp reduced salt vegetable bouillon powder
½ red pepper – diced (optional)
Shredded cabbage (red or white – or both)
1 can unsalted organic beans** (pinto, chick peas, borlotti, black, kidney etc.)
Curry powder (optional)
75 ml coconut milk
Water, as needed
Heat a small amount of water in a large pan and gently water-sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the chopped tomatoes and all spices and simmer gently.
Add the carrot, sweet potato, cabbage, kale and mushrooms, beans and just cover with boiling water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the red pepper (if using) and coconut milk, then test the flavour. If you feel that the soup needs more oomph add a very small amount of the Bouillon Powder, taste and then adjust as necessary – try to use as little as possible so as to reduce your salt intake. Finally, blend until smooth & thick – or leave chunky.
* The mushrooms can be used fresh or dried – if using dried, don’t throw away the soaking water as this is incredibly nutrient rich – so decant it carefully as sometimes dried mushrooms can be a bit gritty.
** Adding beans provides a really rich source of vegetable protein – just use any that you like.Tags: healthy eating, nutrition, winter