Back in the late nineties, Reader’s Digest Association published a valuable book entitled Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal. It listed a small number of good, healing foods and foods to stay away from. Don’t worry, there are more good than bad.
For you to begin a new diet, get rid of the old troublesome one first. We hate to break the news, but sugar is trouble. It stimulates the appetite. People who eat refined, sugary, processed food consume 25 per cent more calories than those who eat natural whole foods. Unfortunately, refined sugar is in everything nowadays, even can juice and vegetables! And it only takes one table spoon of refined sugar to impair the immune system for up to four days. Even the Holy Book says to control your intake of sweets. “Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much of it, or it will make you sick!” Proverbs 25:16 (TLB) warns. Honey may be natural but it’s still sugar in the bloodstream. From experience, I can attest that too much sugar of any kind will make you sick. And I know you can live without it!
Now Out With The Old
Clear your cupboards of anything made with sugar, white flour, packaged mixes, ‘soft’ processed drinks and other depleted, fattening food. Alcoholic drinks in your fridge, ice-cream in your freezer. Whatever tempts you, out with it! If you can’t bear to throw food away, share it among the children and youths around you, or use it up gradually and replace with healthy foods. Clean out your cupboards, refrigerator, and freezers, then you are ready to go shopping.
In With The New
At the market, look out for fresh, healthier foods. Head towards those sections of the market where you will spot all the colourful fruits and vegetables we’ve been raving about. Pick up ingredients for a big salad, select some vegetables for soup and several other vegetables for dinner side dishes. Keep your colours in mind and choose accordingly. And don’t forget plenty of onions and garlic, food without seasoning can really be intolerable.
Always choose the freshest, highest quality foods available. Living in Nigeria has its advantages! Sometimes I’m awed when I walk through a produce section. Look at the abundance God has given our nation. The blessings in Nigeria are truly amazing, aren’t they? I sometimes breathe a word of thanks right there in the market.
Pick out some tempting fruits for breakfast and snacking. Bag some lemon and lime for the week. Be sure to stock plenty of seasonings like ginger and garlic and other favourites.
Sometimes the bread shop is near the market. There is nothing wrong with day old bread either. Just watch for mold. And don’t be fooled by packaging and advertising. Content is what you are after! You want whole- grain baked bread with little or no sugar and fat. The purer and simpler the ingredients in your food the healthier you will be. Learn to read labels, your health depends on it!
In the meat section, select low-fat proteins like chicken, turkey, fresh fish and if you love beef, limit yourself to one special meat of the week.
Choose several grains too: ofada rice, beans, millet (for pap), wheat, and other healthy favourites.
Try to replace pastry snacks with nuts. Buy a bottle of cashew or peanut. If you are on the run and need something quick and nutritious, nothing beats a handful of nuts. But if losing weight is a priority, eat only a serving. They are full of fats. Let the nuts replace your next meat serving. Career women can prepare the week’s meal ahead of time and pop them in the freezer if necessary.