How much fruit and veg?

I recently read that the Japanese government gifts their citizens a silver sake cup when they reach 100 years of age, and that the policy is being reviewed because last year it cost the Japanese government $2 million. In Okinawa, Japan, you’ll find the world’s highest prevalence of proven centenarians. Not only do they have the highest life expectancy in the world, but also the highest health expectancy, they remain vigorous and healthy into old age. I’m sure there are many reasons for this longevity, and diet must be one.

In Britain and Ireland we’re all familiar with the “five-a-day” maxim. The Japanese government recommends up to 13 portions of vegetables a day, plus four portions of fruit. A spokeswoman from the British Department of Health (I assume Ireland just copied these guys) said of the five-a-day campaign, “There must be a balance between what is healthy for the British public and what is feasible”. In other words, 5 was chosen because its a sufficiently low, unthreatening number.

Below is my attempt at an Asian style meal: rice, egg, spinach, and steak. Delicious yes, but a very Western slant on Asian cuisine, with just one portion of veg. It doesn’t help that the variety of interesting fruit and vegetables that grow in Ireland is low.

IMAG0836

There are many ways in which eating fruits and vegetables is beneficial for health. Both are high in fibre, which makes you feel fuller for longer, which can help reduce unhealthy snacking. Fruit and vegetables are also a natural source of numerous vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintaining good all-round health. I eat a lot of fruit, but I’m not so good with vegetables (the better of the two). If I want to live to see the year 2086 and beyond, I’ll have to add more veg to my diet. More fruit and veg, good advice for all.

What to eat and cheat day

You can train and exercise all day and all night but if the food you eat isn’t right, isn’t healthy, then you’re not going to look as good or be as healthy as you want. I love educating myself about the human body, how we move, and different types of training techniques, but when it comes to food science, I’m in the remedial class. Trying to learn about calories, and fats, and all that stuff, its enough to put me to sleep.

Because I have no will to learn about food, I instead follow a much more basic philosophy, I eat what I know to be good, and stay away from what I know to be bad. The food industry doesn’t always help in this regard. Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, is perhaps the father of modern advertising, and modern advertising makes it hard for ordinary people to know what to eat. Bernays used psychoanalytical ideas for PR and advertising. Beforehand, goods were advertised based on utility, “this is what it does”, while todays advertising targets your emotions and aspirations, “want to be cool – buy this phone” – “want to be healthy and slim like the celebs you love – then eat this”. You’re being sold a narrative that more often than not, the stuff you buy can’t deliver on. Check out the ingredients list on the “healthy snack” below, its massive, and sugar is mentioned 4 times!! Contrast that to the ingredients list on the banana, there is none, its a banana. Stay away from food that is marketed and packaged as healthy, and eat what you already know to be good for you.

Healthy Snack vs. Banana
Healthy Snack vs. Banana

Its unfortunate that our bodies have evolved to crave sugar for its positive effects in small quantities. For millions of years, our cravings and digestive systems were exquisitely balanced because sugar was rare. Modern technology has made sugar bountiful and we don’t seem to realise that our bodies are not adapted to large amounts of sugar and it’s making us sick.

I don’t “diet”, partly because I don’t like the word, it invokes imagines of starving oneself. I eat lots, I enjoy my food, and I eat healthy. But we’re all only human. Its hard to resist the constant media bombardment of delicious sugary foods and our own evolutionary inbuilt cravings. I have one cheat day a week, and on cheat day that Coca-Cola tastes incredible!!

My advice, have one cheat day a week, it doesn’t always have to be the same day each week, and stay away from foods with too big an ingredients list.

Prawn and Chorizo Risotto

IMAG0194 (1)

This one is a nice healthy energy booster. A simple list of ingredients; prawns, chorizo, brown rice, chopped tomatoes, chicken stock and some frozen peas.

Using Brown rice instead of white rice packs this full of complex carbs, so eat this earlier in the day, and you’ll have plenty of energy to keep you going. The Chorizo adds a rich flavour (if you like Chorizo, which I do) and the prawns add muscle building and protecting protein.

Make a large quantity of this in a big pot and it will do for your lunch for days!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑