Variety is the spice of health

We are bombarded with new information on foods everyday – one day they harm, the next day they’re to be consumed with abandon. The confusion mounts and you may indeed find yourself asking yourself: What should I eat? I want to share a simple, relaxed solution:

Real Food and from there? Variety.

So many people wake up, eat cereal or toast. Go to school or work and eat a sandwich. Come home and eat a grainy snack. Then dinner, maybe pasta and sauce. Maybe there’s some processed food in the form of a chocolate bar, strange drink, the grainy snack or biscuits in the mix here, too.

So the processed bit needs to get out of there, there’s no arguing that no matter what food camp you’re in.

But next… could it just be the sheer amount of grains that is doing us damage rather than the odd bit of toast or the odd bowl of pasta? I’m no scientist and while I know it seems from current research that excess grains are not the best choice for most people, I can’t say for sure that all grains must go unless you’re on a specific diet for healing purposes, in which case it seems this can really work for some people. 

I’m a big believe in ‘it’s not what you do every now and then that counts, but rather what you do MOST of the time. That serves me well and I enjoy gluten free pasta from rice, amaranth and quinoa, soaked and cooked brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat toast in my food mix in a pretty small percentage, ie, about 1 serve every 2 days of one of them. But here’s the key:

It’s a massive overall real food mix and portions of grains when I do have them are in check, to ensure I’m eating lots of gorgeous plant foods from the rainbow of colours available, as well as meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds. 

VARIETY TIPS

Veggies of all colours

Are you buying the same 3 veggies over and over again? Get into a habit of rotating through a bigger variety. Look up recipes for vegetables you’re not sure how to cook. Grow the repertoire by adding a new something every couple of weeks. A veggie box delivery is a great way to ensure you’re getting delivered seasonal, new vegetables throughout the year. It often forces me to get creative.

Nuts & seeds

Do you find yourself buying just almonds and almond milk? Or just pepitas? Start rotating through all of them. Huge nutrient variety throughout the world of nuts and seeds. Be sure to activate them when you can

Fruit

Buy different fruits as they become available throughout the year at the market. There are so many different ones, and yet so often we just get the same 3-4 over and over again. No wonder we get bored and ‘crave’ processed food touting ‘new and exciting flavours’ – Get your new and exciting flavours from nature.

Ethical meat

always getting the same cuts or the same type of meat? Each one has different nutritional offerings and be sure to get some liver every now and then to get the incredible nutrition it delivers – have you tried my fool proof paté?

Fish

Eating salmon weekly? Most salmon is farmed and it’s very difficult to get transparency on what they’re fed, with GMO soy often in the mix of their pellets. You have to ask and it takes a while to get to the people who can answer. Wild caught, line caught fish is preferable. Change it up. Try snapper, blue eye travella, dory, flat head… stick to local fish, rather than imported from countries with dubious fish farming practices. Also, don’t over do the tuna. The odd bit of tuna once a fortnight will be fine, but these big fish accumulate mercury and we sure don’t want to do the same.

Spices and herbs

Again, watch out for using the same ones over and over. Often, we could be using so many more. Stop with the 4 tiny parsley leaves over a steak for garnish. Chop half the bunch and sprinkle on top. Herbs are so nutrient dense and delicious.

Cultured foods

Always reaching for the sauerkraut? Get some fermented beets, carrots or a mix of veg happening. Each brings their own power to the picture.

Superfoods

While we don’t need to buy every new superfood that comes out, freshly pressed with a dash of angel’s tears off the monk’s mountain in some faraway land… they can be fun and exciting to add in the mix and they do pack nutritional excitement too. Just don’t buy the same one over and over unless you’re using it medicinally with a practitioner of course. Try new ones and with each new one will come a new range of nutrients for your body to love.

Grains

Always using wheat flour? Swap through spelt, buckwheat, almond meal, coconut flour… Baking can provide an opportunity for nutrient diversity too by using different flours over time. I’m personally gluten free, and use coconut flour, tapioca flour, banana flour, teff, flax and nut meal. I always rotate through the different flours again, for different nutritional offerings. 

Pantry staples

Buying the same dulse flakes every time? Why not try and different sea vegetable? Buying the same type of beans or lentils every time? Get different once next time. Learn to soak them first here. Using the same sweetener? Why not move through maple, honey, panela, rice malt syrup… they all have different nutrients they bring to the picture. Key with sweetness is to bring the overall sweetness intake down a few notches. Cupcakes at 8.30am for a 3 year old aren’t normal. Something sweet for breakfast, morning tea, after lunch, afternoon tea, after dinner? Not normal. Enjoy immensely one or two small sweet things a day and start crowding out the rest with savoury foods or – often is the case – other activities because actually, you’re not that hungry in the end…

Dairy

Buying the same block of cheese or always getting cottage cheese? Swap cheeses, get sour cream or quark or ricotta next time.

Fats

Always using butter? Or olive oil? They’re great, but why not mix it up with coconut oil, hemp (cold only), avocado oil, ghee, lard, tallow… Each brings their own awesomeness, so be sure to move through various fats for your cooking and salads.

Variety from nature will give us 3 things

  1. A broader range of nutrients. Tick. We sure need those.
  2. A better cooking vocabulary. New ingredients means you need new inspiration and with a larger recipe repertoire, we become overall better cooks who produce better and better food. Winning! Get out those cook books or start a pinterest board and watch the flavours from your kitchen soar! 
  3. A greater satisfaction and excitement from what nature provides, rather than feeling we have to go elsewhere. We are nomadic by nature. We chase the seasons and in the old days that meant finding new plants and animal foods wherever we went. Marketers know this about us, and pray on our desire for the ‘new’ by providing the weirdo packets of fakeness that they do to give us that shiny new and exciting feeling.

cookbooks2

 

So there you have it. This week’s revelation on just how simple it is to start maximising your nutrients, nurturing diversity in your diet and reducing the ‘repeat foods’ – especially grains, that can all too often become overeaten.

Real Food. Happy Bodies.

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Comments 5

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  1. Do you have tips on where to buy fish in Sydney? I have only recently started eating salmon as i have never liked the taste but can’t get away from needing those omega-3s yet I have no clue about sourcing the best one. I live in the Eastern suburbs….

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      Author

      I’m an Easty too! I would steer clear of salmon as a ‘main fish’ of the diet, only because most are farmed and fed questionable foods. Mackerel and sardines are your best, most sustainable and highest omega rich fishies – Tinned you can go with Good Fish or Fish 4Ever brands or fresh, or the fish shop next to Coles, level one Westfield BJ. My favourite all round fishmongers are the guysfrom the One that Got away Bondi road and the guy at the Thursday market at Double Bay – incredible quality and they genuinely care about sustainability – Hope that helps! x

  2. Thanks for this Alexx! We’ve recently gone gluten and dairy free, started for gut healing purposes; and I can see now how much grain we were consuming. It has been a hard transition for the family and I have stuck to what they have accepted in our changed diet. This is a great reminder to change things up, and maybe even add in some grain or dairy every now and then. The family are going to be so stoked when I eventually bring back the ‘caramel cheesecake’ LOL!!

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