Eatucation for all
One of the most pressing global challenges in healthcare to be faced over the next thirty years is to reduce the impact of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer. We pretty much know that changes to our eating patterns combined with increasingly sedentary lifestyles are some of the important causes, while the development of agriculture and processing of foods has also been a major negative contributor to human health. Nutrition and its impact on health is becoming more accepted, yet we have known for well over a century that micronutrient deficiency is linked directly to human disease.
Addressing the importance of balance and variety in eating should be our primary goal, including identification of “wrong kinds of foods” and “right kinds of foods” – foods that can damage us as opposed to real foods that deliver health benefits. A routine nutrition high in plant-based foods i.e. consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts can help alleviate part of this problem, and have been widely advocated by international agencies.
In the developed world, we might assume that micronutrient deficiency and malnutrition is not relevant, however obesity is a common example of malnourishment. A balanced routine nutrition is the answer and is now strongly associated with the promotion of health and the reduction of major chronic disease.
Begin an ‘Eatucation’
Of course, our relationship with food is a very personal one that develops from birth, heavily influenced by nature and nurture including our sex, taste, culture, society, wealth plus many other psychological and emotional issues. Yet while there are a multitude of factors influencing our food consumption, most of us only really seem to question what we eat once we become focused on one particular issue: our body image. Then, in most cases, it becomes a question of counting calories, with the focus on our weight, rather than an evaluation of what we actually consume, what particular foods can impact our health and whether these will help us achieve our goals.
Just Routine turns this approach on its head, focusing instead on what is consumed. Real foods are the focus of attention as these make the metabolism work harder, a significant advantage in weight management while also aiding our overall health. We also minimise the risk of loading ourselves up with empty calories from foods high in calories but low in nutrition. High-quality nutrient-dense food takes more energy to break down and digest, in the process keeping blood sugar levels stable and better fulfilling energy demands. Powerhouse fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats will work together with all the elements to optimize nourishment, leaving a feeling of satiety and fullness.
Switching to healthier alternatives can require simple tweaks, good examples being:
- Soda: switch from soda (regular or diet) to fizzy water or naturally flavoured water with cucumber, lemon & lime or orange
- Carbohydrates: switch to 100% whole grain carbohydrates
- Protein: keep it lean and eat red meat in moderation
- Fats: don’t avoid healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, fatty fish)
Then aim higher
The benefits to be gained increasing the proportion of plant based real food in our routine nutrition versus processed are truly extraordinary and can genuinely be considered a worthwhile contribution to reduce the risk of chronic disease caused by poor food choices. And this is why I decided to develop Just Routine, the real food app http://justroutineapp.com/ – a new way of looking at food to help anyone make better food choices and to track progress.
Understanding the need for changes in our food habits is one thing, making them is the challenge. Just Routine can help, while the cumulative benefits of even small changes make the effort more than worthwhile.
If you want to receive notification of the next Article posting please enter your email address in the subscribe section on the Home Page.