Oh boy, have I come off the healthy-eating wagon. I thought my poor winter-eating-habits would naturally wane as the Summer sun kicked in but I think it's a become more entrenched than I was hoping!
Yesterday I woke up at 8am and had a cup of herbal tea to start the day but immediately started working from my desk (in my pyjamas admittedly), and forgot to eat anything till 11am when my tummy started rumbling. But alas, I couldn't be bothered to cook anything so I reached for an chocolate bar instead. The hours rolled on and by 1pm I couldn't hold out any longer. So I had another... dun, dun, dunnnnnn. Then I got up and had a rummage 'round the fridge, a hand-ful of left-over ham, maybe a bite of cheddar. By mid-afternoon I'm feeling a little lack-lustre and usually make myself a cup of caffeinated tea just to keep me going. Then in the evening I do my only bit of cooking for the day. The easiest thing I make is lots of whole-wheat pasta with cheddar and green pesto. This is my comfort food.
You might be thinking "it's not that bad". And I suppose, in comparison with some diets it's not. But, nevertheless, it's bad enough for me to have gained some weight. Not enough to worry me but enough to know I could be eating better.
If I took myself as a patient I'd say I'm simply not eating enough nutrient-dense food. I'm eating a lot of "nonsense". Things which keep my energy levels at artificial highs throughout the day but also takes me into peaks and troughs of blood sugar.
To get me back on track I've brought out the recipe books and have written a meal plan for myself for the next few days. I won't be starting a trendy diet or enforcing rules upon myself I'm just going to plan meals which are tasty and nutritious. This will be a big improvement on me barely eating at all during the day then binging on carbohydrate at night.
Over the next few months I'll be telling you about the new habits I've introduced, recommending recipes and dispelling some of the common dietary myths. Here's my top tip for starting the day right. Get the first meal of the day right and it can make or break your food for the rest of the day.
Every day I'll be having warm water with lemon juice, honey and apple cider vinegar. This will be followed by Evening primrose oil (good for abaiting my painful periods plus it has essential fatty acids in) and my current Herbal prescription.
Morning Apple Cider Switchel
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1 tsp of local honey or maple syrup
- 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar
- the juice of half a lemon
Because we're made up of water and without it we'd die! Being just a little dehydrated can interfere with our functional efficiency.
Honey is an amazing food, made by the wonderful bee. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiseptic. This makes it good for topical use in healing wounds but also could be helpful to heal stomach ulcers. It helps with colds and coughs because of its supportive action on the immune system. I am a collector of honeys, which is why the image shows one from Tokyo. But I'd recommend finding a local honey from a farmers market or health food shop if you want to use it to help treat or prevent allergies if you get them. It's the local pollens which are captured in the honey that give it an area-specific action.
Why Maple Syrup?
Maple syrup is tapped from the Maple tree. It's rich in Zinc which makes it especially good for men as they need it to keep their prostate gland in good nick. The zinc content also makes it helpful in maintaining a healthy heart as it protects the artery walls from free-radical damage. It also contains Manganese which is essential for maintaining an even blood sugar level so although it's sweet small amounts are good for you.
Why Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar alkalises the body thereby reducing inflammation. This has been used to relieve the pain of arthritis. I once had a patient who exclaimed she had cured herself completely of her arthritis by incorporating it into her diet and bath water. Quite amazing.
Lemon is rich in Vitamin C but sadly this is largely destroyed when you pour boiling water on it. But I bet you didn't know lemons are a natural diuretic. Meaning they make you pee. This is good to help flush the kidneys. In fact, lemons can be used to flush kidney stones from the kidney. However, it's not a good idea to do this unless you've had the kidney stones assessed for size and it has been confirmed that they are small enough to pass through your body. You don't want them getting stuck on the way out! They also help reduce swelling, inflammation and are anti-bacterial. So they're over-all a nice cleansing food.
I'd love to see and hear about your Switchel's on the hashtag #herbalising or in the comments below.