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Mealtime Myths

Mealtime Myths – We are told as children that certain foods are ‘good for us’.

These are such things as green vegetables, carrots, salads and fruit.

The promise was we would be healthier as children, have curly hair and be stronger and more beautiful as adults. These claimed benefits came from this mysterious quality referred to as ‘goodness’!

Once we grow up, and make our own decisions about what we eat, we rarely choose these ‘good for us’ foods. Once we stop having people telling us what to eat, we tend to develop a taste for obviously ‘bad for us’ foods and other ‘bad for us’ things.

Young bodies are extraordinary in their ability to get nutrition from whatever food comes their way. Young bodies also cope very well with large quantities of alcohol, nicotine and other substances that they learn to ingest, without any obvious negative consequences. Later in life this may not be the case. Do hangovers take longer to get over, for instance? Does it feel harder to shift the few extra pounds?

Your body is designed to naturally offset the effects of unhealthy substances that would otherwise be poisonous – your body wants to heal itself. But if those natural substances are not present in your normal diet, then your body cannot do the necessary counteracting work and the poisons do their damage.

It may be true to say our body is what we don’t eat as much as what we do!

Not everything is as “good” as it seems

Why are vegetables, salads and fruit promoted as particularly beneficial for our bodies? The usual reason given is because of their high vitamin content. But they also absorb minerals, such as iron, magnesium and zinc, straight from the soil. These are some of the ‘natural’ substances that our body uses to counteract the negative effects of unhealthy food and to do other repair work in the body.

But even if we like vegetables, salads and fruit, we may be preventing our body getting the vitamins and minerals we need. Firstly, the use of modern fertilizers means that crops can be grown in poorer soil and still look good. Because the soil does not contain the quantity of minerals that traditionally manured soil does, the minerals are simply not there to be absorbed. It is said that Spinach, a byword for healthy food, contains only 25% of the iron it used to 50 years ago.

Secondly, there is a time lag between foods being harvested and reaching our plate. The longer this is, the more vitamins and minerals are lost. Ironically frozen can often be better for you than fresh (especially if veggies are frozen within a few hours) as the freezing slows the decaying process.

Thirdly, a further loss in minerals and vitamins takes place during peeling and cooking. The combined effect of all these is that we are lucky to get a small fraction of the potential benefit that should be available from these foods.

If you want to boost your wellness buy local organic produce (it travels less), buy frozen, leave the peel on, eat more raw stuff and take vitamins!

love Jean

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