Healthy Living | Healthy Ageing

Eating for Healthy Ageing

Growing up, I never heard that we ate to live, what I now know though, is that we certainly didn’t live to eat.

Ok, I might have been lucky with a mother who didn’t have a sweet tooth and wasn’t even really a cook, her cooking was basic and simple.

Variety of nutrients

Most of our meals had a medley of vegetables such as beans or peas with onion, garlic, tomato, celery, etc. There was also a potato and some meat. When the budget was tight, more potatoes appeared on the plate, still with a mix of vegetables and less meat.

A great variety of fresh foods in our meals means the synergy of all nutrients supports our health and the good bacterial colonies in the gut. Making sure we eat real foods helps our body to recognize and utilize them so that it can stay as healthy as can be.

Portions

In past years, the media has promoted that we had to eat x number of portions of various food groups to give our bodies the nutrients it needs. Besides the fact that I love eating, I have always valued eating for health, so, at the time, I saw the value in this.

I realized though that I started to eat more than I was used to, and my body didn’t like it in the longer term. My cooking style had not changed but the size of each meal had. I went back to what I knew growing up, simple and nutritious meals. Feeding my children only reinforced this.

Processed foods

Processed foods have some components removed and others added. These foods contain

  • less fat as this was seen to be beneficial for health by various institutions
  • more sugar/syrups so it is still appealing to the taste buds
  • artificial ingredients
  • more chemicals, preservatives and additives to extend shelf life

The poor synergy between processed foods and the body means that these foods cannot be digested and utilized efficiently, there is a breakdown in the communication. This can lead to obesity, ill health, poor concentration, faster digestion leading to eating more, etc.

Processed foods make me think of a puzzle where pieces are missing or altered or even, a car given the wrong fuel or oil and the engine wears faster or stalls.

I believe in the following:

See the food you buy and know what you put in


Weight loss industry

Dieting is the wrong answer. More and more people know that, when losing weight, we regain it plus more. The weight loss industry is changing its focus to Wellness which doesn’t really change the game, just the banner it operates under.

My take on it is that there is too much focus on food and, servings in cafés and restaurants are often more than double to what we need and most of us, including me, eat it. Why not, when the meal is served, separate it into two halves so that visually you see when to stop, or, share with a friend.

Fasting

Fasting can take on many different forms. This is a very personal choice and it may need to be avoided or limited during pre-conception, pregnancy, high level training, ill health, etc. The following are popular ways:

  • 12 hours – not eating from sunrise to sunset
  • 24 hours – from dinner to dinner, breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch
  • On alternate days
  • Skipping meals when convenient
  • 16 hours – not eating between dinner and lunch the next day
  • 5:2 diet – 5 days of normal eating with 2 days of restricted calories (500 calories) or no calories

During the fasting periods, it is important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and/or on-caloric drinks, such as black coffee or tea.

My experience

I try to eat the best I can, it is not perfect but I am happy with what I choose to feed my body. When I first heard about the 5:2 diet, I thought it a great idea, 5 days of normal eating and 2 days of restricted calorie intake. What I realized later is that I naturally had adopted this throughout my adult life.

I have just finished my first 24 hour fast. I soon realized though that it was really 36 hours, from Monday night dinner to Wednesday morning breakfast and I liked how I felt. However, I want to stress here that, at 68, I no longer need as much fuel.

Conclusion

When I abandoned the portion idea years ago, I refocused on what my body needed, some days more and some days less. This may be a simplistic approach, but it can work for most of us. When it doesn’t, from what I have read, the diversity of the good bacteria in the gut is not large enough to give the brain the message of satisfaction.

Again, from my own readings, good prebiotics and probiotics that can be absorbed by the body as well as fermented foods can all support a change by introducing new and healthy bacterial colonies that help the body to feel more satisfied sooner when enjoying a meal. I love my regime of simple meals and some great supplements.

The younger generation deserves a nutritious and varied food intake to put them on the path of Healthy Living thus Healthy Ageing

In good health 😊

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