Healthy eating is having a moment. By healthy, I’m not referring to draconian calorie counting or the unpleasant imbibing of nutritional shakes. Those years are finished. Heathy eating is now a lot, well, healthier than that. It’s about whole foods and nutrition-dense meals. It’s the eschewing of indecent amounts of sugar and additives. It’s basically just good sense eating.
As now is the time of year when the salubrious habits of summer generally fall to the wayside and colds and flus set in, I asked Primrose Matheson, the founder of naturopathic brand Primrose’s Kitchen, for her top tips on eating well, maximising health and embracing a holistic attitude…
‘ ‘Naturopathic’ basically means eating foods that are as close to nature and as unadulterated as possible. The more we play with food and process it, the more unfamiliar it becomes to our body and our systems aren’t sure what to do with it. This sets us up for future problems such indigestion, IBS, intolerances, and obesity.
Long words often make things sound complicated but this is really very simple: eat foods as you find them as much as possible and eat organic as much as possible, because the chemicals in the farming and hormones in the meat business put an added strain on our body.
Naturopathy is also holistic: you can’t just have a good diet without a balanced lifestyle and regular exercise.
People always say to me that there are so many fads and one day something is good for us and one day its not. My answer? Listen to your body and have a look on the ingredients list on everything you buy: awareness is everything. If you don’t know what it is don’t eat it until you do. Be awake in your life, not asleep.
If you get in touch with your body you will start to realise what you need in your diet from what you crave. A simple example is something like magnesium. Women need magnesium more when they are premenstrual, which explains the chocolate cravings so often referred to. Chocolate is a rich source of magnesium, however so are green foods such as kale, spinach and cashews.
Being aware of the benefits of certain foods so that they can also be used in a therapeutic way is also a good idea. Take turmeric – it is a great anti-inflammatory, so would be helpful in juices for IBS sufferers.
Always read the ingredients list on packets. Just because something says is ‘gluten-free’ for example doesn’t mean that it is healthy. You can have a processed gluten-free loaf of bread or a pizza base where nutritionally there will be no whole foods your body will recognise.
I discourage people from looking at whether something is ‘fat free’ or adding up the calorie content. Those things were in my opinion invented by the food industry as a marketing technique. If you are eating whole foods such as fresh vegetables, wholegrain rice, millet, organic meat, pulses etc. the calorie and fat content are not important. These foods will naturally make you feel full when you have eaten enough of them.
Hydration is also key. We eat when we are hungry but we also eat when we are thirsty. Drink a bottle of water when you wake up in the morning and leave 30 minutes before breakfast, this should avoid over-eating. Keep a bottle by you during the day too so you can keep topping up. There are lots of re-usable glass bottles available now so we don’t have to use plastic.
Some key ingredients to help you look and feel your best //
Ginger / aids digestion, reduces nausea and increases circulation, so is very warming.
Fennel seeds / great for digestion as well, just pour hot water over the seeds.
Carrot juice / good for the skin and a powerful detoxifier so can be used first thing in the morning for people with acne. Add fresh turmeric to reduce inflammation of the skin.
Nettle / can help alleviate allergies, reduce coughs and remove acids from the body.’