A balanced meal contra wrong eating habits.

 

Nutrition

it is necessary for the proper functioning of our bodies. On the other hand, it is one of the most neglected activities. Proper food not only provides us with energy to live, keeps us healthy but also prolongs our youth.

 

Energy.

We know that food is fuel for a body but do we realize that it can take away energy from us?

Below there is an example with a fictional character in the main role:

Bob had a traditional, “nutritious” meal made of fried pork cutlet, potatoes topped with fried pork chop, so that it would not be too dry, and fried cabbage playing healthy green part. He was drinking a cold beer made the meal complete. After dinner, he ate a dessert: a very strong black coffee, sweetened with tree teaspoons of sugar and a piece of a rich cake. Then came a traditional nap for health. After having waken up Bob had another cup of coffee with another piece of cake. At 8 p.m. a barbecue with friends: sausages, juicy rare steaks - a lot of meat to eat and a lot of beer to drink. Finally, Bob returned home tired. He didn’t power to take a shower. He took of his clothes and went to bed. After such exhausting day, sleep should have come quickly but it didn’t. Bob thought that it was probably because he had slept during the day. After three hours of squirming in bed and staring at the television, Bob fell asleep but he had a feeling of being awake. He had terrible nightmares. A crazy bloke holding a chain saw chases the people, cutting off their limbs. A lot of blood and... meat around. In the morning an alarm clock goes and wakes Bob up. It had been ringing a loud tune for half an hour. Bob has to get up as he has to go to work. Not to be late Bob skips his breakfast. He is so exhausted, in a terrible mood and he can hardly control the closing eyes while sitting behind his desk.

What and why it is all happening? Because of food.

How many diet mistakes did Bob make? The answer is simple: too many.

Fat, carbohydrates, a lot of fried and hard to digest products, acidic reactions conflicting with alkaline. Everything is flooded with a cold drink that slows down digestion. It is highly possible that our digestive system will go crazy. A stomach no longer knows if it should produce acid or alkaline to neutralize these dumps of food that it was scattered with. Therefore, all the energy of the body is used for digestion. It is no wonder that Bob literally turned off the power supply.

Insomnia and heavy sleep, when it comes - it's the effect of overloading a liver: too much fat and alcohol late at night. The liver has a hard material to work on, and we have a hard night ahead.

Bob’s morning doesn’t differ much from a sad norm. People don’t eat breakfasts, chasing a bus / car, they get a sweet and fat muffin and next occupy their canteen. In general, we eat anything, anyhow. Similarly, we live the same way: in a constant rush.

I worked for a big corporation for more than a decade and I had never left home without breakfast, even when I was in big hurry. The only exception were moments when I had to do medical tests having an empty stomach. Then, right after the tests, I did not run to a canteen or for a bun. I always took to the office my breakfast prepared at home.

It is not without reason that all nutrition experts explain that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It provides the energy necessary to run the “machinery”. On the other hand, it is still the most neglected meal of the day. I know a gentleman who doesn’t have to wake up early morning to go to an office and his breakfast looks like that: bread / roll with cheese or pie. FULL STOP. A bit too fast for putting this FULL STOP. Something is missing.

Does anyone have an idea of what should be on this sandwich for breakfast to make it a balanced meal?

The magic word is: VEGETABLES. This sandwich would look much better if we placed on cheese / pâté slice of tomato / cucumber / radish / paprika / mix of all and the dress everything with fresh herbs. The difference between one sandwich and the other is that the first serves as a stomach stuffer and the other is a meal. Vegetables – there are not only irritating additives to meat, they are a source of valuable vitamins, minerals, and above all - a valuable source of fibre. In the above example, the gentleman will not dislike the "colourful" sandwich but when he has to prepare a meal for himself: he returns to the proven way: bread with "something concrete on top” without additives. Here we come to the heart of the matter - to our habits. It's not lack of time that causes us not to eat properly in the morning, these are our bad habits. I know, it sounds brutal but that's the truth. I also haven’t always eaten perfectly. However, in my case, the body itself enforces good treatment. Only once I went to work without breakfast. I was very young then, it was my first full-time job and I cared so much about it. I was afraid to be late. The effect was that I lost my conscious on an escalator leading to the exit of the underground, hitting my head in a metal post with an information board. I woke up when my body was shaking with convulsions like in epilepsy. People stood above me and wanted to call an ambulance. Since then I have never hurt my body with the lack of the morning dose of “fuel”.

 

Let's try to make every meal balanced.

What's this?

Theory first:

a balanced meal consists of: carbohydrates (from 50% to 70% of a meal), proteins (from 10% to 15% of a meal), fats (from 20% to 35% of a meal) and vegetables / fruit.

Carbohydrates in a healthy version are: wholemeal bread flour or gluten-free flours (such as: corn, buckwheat, millet), wholemeal pasta, groats, bran. Carbohydrates (simple sugars) are also found in fresh fruits. You may also find them in legumes (beans, chickpeas, etc.).

Of course, the main source of protein is meat living on land, in the air or in water. Another main of proteins is dairy products and also legumes (beans have more protein than meat and it is easier in absorption).

With regard to fats most dieticians recommend vegetable oils. However, I opt for butter (at least 82% fat). Animal fat is essential for the absorption of vitamins: E, D, K and B group vitamins (vitamins will be described in a separate column) very necessary for the normal functioning of the organism. I use butter only on bread. I use rape oil or unrefined coconut oil for frying and baking. I add olive oil to salads. Sometimes I like to eat a white bread dipped in olive oil or add it at the end of cooking to improve taste and not to lose its nutritional value.

 

Breakfast.

Example of a balanced breakfast:

Sandwiches with salmon paste, fried egg with herbs (oregano, lovage, melissa, thyme), lettuce with fresh cucumber, tomato with fresh basil.

Vegetarian version:

Sandwiches with pecorino sheep cheese with walnuts, fried egg with herbs (oregano, lovage, melissa, thyme), lettuce with fresh cucumber, tomato with fresh basil.

Sandwich version:

Sandwiches with boiled egg, cucumber, tomato with fresh celery leaves, turkey sausage sandwiches with cucumber, tomato with fresh celery leaves, small tomatoes as munchies, and for a dessert a small sandwich with peach jam sweetened with birch sugar (home made).

You will say, "Dear, how much of this. Why so much?" I answer with a question: when you travel and in a hotel you get for breakfast a rich smorgasbord buffet, how much do you eat?... Exactly. Why do we eat a lot on trips but not at home? It's about who prepares it. If someone cooks for us, then we eat. When we have to do it - we don’t have time. It takes no more than 15 minutes to spread the bread with butter / paste, cut the cheese, tomato / cucumber, while the egg is frying in a pan, and a coffee maker spews out coffee. Is it a long time? At the beginning, it seems that it is but with time it will become a habit.

I also made mistakes. With my illness (Crohn’s), I was advised to start the day with a baby gruel in the morning. So I did it. After the gruel I felt full me but when I arrived to my office, I started be hungry and at once I reached for supplies brought from the home. I consulted this with my dietician. It turned out that the gruel is a good idea but not at the beginning of the day. It is too easy to digest. As a result of such breakfast, my blood sugar level decreased, hence the feeling of hunger when I reached the office. In the morning, we have to eat well.

 

Second breakfast.

Now we can rock with fruit (even diabetes). Fruit and vegetable juices combined with dairy products in the form of milk (preferably of vegetable origin, e.g. almond or coconut) and nuts to munch.

1) cocktail: celery, bilberry / blueberry / berry, almond milk, birch sugar, fresh mint, lemon oil of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG);

2) nuts mix with dried apricot;

3) fresh blackberries / blueberries.

Millet cooked in saffron with: almonds, hazelnuts, dried apricots and fresh kiwi.

 

Dinner.

Do not be afraid of vegetarian meals. That cuisine is not monotonous at all (I’ll devote it a separate column).

Baked cod fillet in tomato sauce with the addition of buckwheat and vegetables stewed in tomato sauce and grated fresh carrot.

 

And what happens when lunch / dinner time is when we stuck in the office? If we eat out of the office, try to buy balanced meals. Don’t buy pizza ... leastways not every day. I tried to make dinners at home and I warmed them up at work. In the winter I took rich soups in a thermos flask. During the summer in the office I ate homemade fruit or vegetable salads. After returning home I prepared dinner for myself. You may have a deal with a colleague from the room. I had such a cooperation: one day I brought something that we shared, next time she did. Soup or vegetables / fruits for a salad can be prepared in the evening, in order to minimize the time needed to make a meal in the morning.

And what about dessert? In fact, it would be better to leave it. If something sweet is on our mind, we can prepare a tasty afternoon tea. Here are examples:

Jelly: blended pineapple with orange with the addition of gluten-free gelling agar - agar and cinnamon CPTG oil, sweetened with birch sugar.

Fresh pineapple covered with cream of mascarpone cheese with the addition of sugar from birch, cinnamon and orange oil of pure therapeutic class, and on top blackberries / blueberries.

 

Supper.

It should be easy to digest, so as not to have such experiences at night like Bob. Unfortunately, we tend to skip breakfasts and eat too much in the evenings. This is often the effect of relieving stress after a day (this is a topic for another chapter). If we have to eat late, then it should be easily digestible; the best are vegetables. You can prepare vegetable lecho from yellow and red peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, onions with the addition of fresh or dried herbs supporting digestion, with tomato concentrate or soya sauce. You may enrich this meal with legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans). Broad bean with mint is delicious. However, then we must apply a mixture of herbs to legumes, otherwise you will need to ventilate your sleeping room before going to bed. If you have to eat meat because you feel hungry and cannot fall asleep, you could add to the lecho turkey sausage or chicken - generally try to eat white meat, not red. It is also nutritious salad made from fresh vegetables: lettuce, cucumber, tomato, peppers, olives, sprinkled with grated cheese or egg, with bit of olive oil with fresh or dried herbs; or tuna salad in olive oil, pickled cucumber, corn, dried tomato and capers. Overnight avoid using of flavour enhancers: mayonnaise or cream. Our livers don’t like them. Well-seasoned greens don’t require such additives to taste.

And finally another example taken from life. Some gentleman had this kind of a job that he came home at 9-10 p.m. He was hungry, and he didn’t want to prepare himself "some" vegetables. His supper was rather monotonous but quick to prepare. The night meal consisted of a white bread and a chocolate bar. After a few years of such "diet" appeared problems with the pancreas. Today, this man is treating diabetes and politely eats vegetables for supper. The chocolate bars and rolls left his menu. I will devote a separate column to the diabetic diet.

It would be nice if the supper looked like the example below:

Vegetable lecho -  stewed: zucchini, green beans, yellow and red peppers, mushrooms, onion, pickled cucumber and fresh herbs: oregano, lovage, tarragon, melissa and additionally: fresh tomato, fresh and pickled cucumber.

 

I know that some of that reading may be discouraging. I have worked out the right eating habits for years. Despite my knowledge and experience, I always consult the dietitian and refine my diet. Summarizing:

1 / try to eat 5 meals a day (approximately every 3 hours);

2 / meals should consist of: carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the right proportion;

3 / add vegetables to each meal;

4 / do not neglect breakfasts. Better not have supper than breakfast;

5 / suppers should be light to digest; breakfast should be concrete but do remember about the nutritional balance.

Too much of that all? Let's start with small steps. Remember to develop good habits. When you begin to doubt the sense of these activities, it is worth asking yourself: do you want to be fit and full of energy or trail because lack of energy / disease / obesity?

 

Food - this is a very broad subject, so I will often come back to it in next columns devoted to among others: diet in Crohn's disease, diet for diabetics, vegetarian diet, vitamins.