I woke up bleary eyed this morning and managed to wolf down some cornflakes before rushing out the door. I got stuck on the tube for a while and was late for work. I was in meetings all day and managed to grab a sandwich at lunch. When I got home late, I threw something in the oven, ate and then went to bed, as I was totally wiped out – sound familiar?
With the pace of modern life we are getting more and more stressed and have less and less time to sit and eat healthy meals. But guess what, our nutritional needs are higher than ever before.
Consider that we live in a much more polluted and toxic world than that of our grandparents. These toxins are everywhere – cars exhaust fumes, the chemical cocktail of pesticides, dyes and preservatives in food, factory emissions and the countless chemicals in personal care products. Your liver, kidneys, lungs and skin take the brunt of this insult. All of these chemicals and hormones need to be detoxified and these vital organs – chiefly the liver – needs lots of quality proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to survive.
Some of you reading this will say – “but I eat lots of fruits and vegetables and make good food choices” – I commend you! But did you know that the food you eat today has less vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than food tested in the 1930’s. “But I eat organic food you retort” – fantastic! But research has pointed out that organic food does not necessarily have greater amounts of nutrients than conventionally farmed foods. Well, “we’re all doomed” I hear you say – not so.
By simply being savvy in the supermarket and ignoring the food manufacturing hype, making sensible decisions to support your liver and using some non-toxic health care products and supplements where appropriate you can make a big difference to your life and to your health.
Don’t fall for the marketing hype – food labelling
Functional foods are the flavour of the day. Chances are you won’t be able to walk though the supermarket isles without seeing the world omega 3, it’s in bread, margarine, breakfast cereals and it’s the panacea for health and longevity. The same can be said for fibre and antioxidants. Don’t get me wrong, these nutrients are fantastic but you won’t get any viable amounts from any of the fortified processed foods bought in the supermarkets. You will also probably need a nutrition degree to work out what is a sensible amount of fat, salt and sugar to consume in the food products you buy.
When you go through the isles deciding what to buy, simply ask yourself this – was this food around 10,000 years ago? If the answer is no, it’s probably not worth buying. If you keep this simple tip in mind when buying food and allow yourself the odd treat, your cupboards will be stocked with foods that keep you healthy in this toxic world.
Organic food – do you believe the research?
You can’t definitely be sure that organic food will provide more nutrients to help your liver detoxify compared to conventionally farmed foods. What you can be sure of though is that you won’t be getting the chemical cocktail of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides from these foods. By eating organic you will be doing your liver a big favour. If you buy organic meat you will also be avoiding foods with traces of antibiotics and hormones that could possibly affect your health. The Environmental Working Group found that the following 12 fruits and vegetables were the most contaminated with pesticide residues:
- Sweet bell peppers
Make sure you buy these foods organic if you are trying to make better food choices and I also recommend you buy organic coffee, milk, poultry and other meats as well. The Environmental Working Group also found that the following 12 foods were the least contaminated with pesticides:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
Of these “cleaner foods” onions, avocado and sweet corn had almost no detectable levels of pesticides and would be safe to buy non-organic.
Support your liver
Your liver thrives on food rich in amino acids, B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. By choosing to eat good quality sources of proteins such as meats, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds you will be giving your liver the boost it needs to clean house. These foods combined with other liver super foods such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts) onions, garlic leeks and all berries are rich in the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants the liver needs.
Personal care products and supplements
Read the labels on your personal care products, anything with the word or pre-fix paraben is bad news, switch to roll on deodorants instead of the aluminium laden spay on types, switch to natural brands of health care products such as creams, moisturisers and shampoo. Good brands include J/A/S/O/N or Neways. Finally use liver supporting supplements to help detoxify. Milk thistle, dandelion, a multivitamin and mineral, fish oil or DIM are all good places to start.
Woke this morning up feeling ok, managed to eat some muesli and eggs before going to work, and managed to eat some berries and nuts as snacks through the day. I ate a salmon salad for lunch and chicken with broccoli and onions for dinner. I took my multivitamins and I’m going to buy some natural roll on deodorant and personal care products tomorrow at the shops – this could be the new you, dealing with the pace of modern life.