I’m passionate about finding healthy, nutritious and toxin-free foods, that offer us exactly what nature intended at affordable prices, and want to pass on any tips that I can. I think it’s really sad that food shopping in this day and age can be such a minefield with so many things to consider; packaging, preparation, soil, pesticides, pollution, sustainability and so on… Sometimes I’ll find a good product that’s wrapped in bad packaging, or some other frustrating combination. I think it’s far more healthy not to stress too much, than to tick all of the boxes to hit perfection. Stress is the number one and most potent toxin in the body, which is often the underlying cause to all manners of disease. So here is the first instalment to the products I like, use and believe in. I have not been paid for the endorsement of these products and only have my own experience to go by.
I try not to add sugar to anything. It’s not often necessary. However, not only does every cell in the body survive by metabolising glucose, I also believe you’ve got to feed your soul too and life would be no fun without the occasional sweet treat! My philosophy is that it’s got to come directly from nature. I don’t care how many calories they contain, it’s just got to be natural and unrefined. So I never use stevia or agave and there’s no need to use white table sugar either. For a long time I only used honey or maple syrup, which needs to be pure, raw and organic. However, more recently I stumbled across this new kid on the block – SugaVida. It’s a nutritious natural sweetener derived from the nectar of the Palmyra tree, it’s organic and unrefined too. It’s rich in vitamins B1, B2, B6 as well as containing the only plant-based, bio-available source of B12. It also leaves an alkalising ash in your body and is the only superfood sweetener known (to me at least). You can use 50% less than you would regular sugar despite its low GI of 40. It’s a good choice for diabetics and vegans…and well anyone really. I’ve so far only used it in my coffee, smoothies and porridge, but definitely intend to try it in my baking as well. You can find out more here.
I’ve had advice from several people that Bio Kult is a good brand because it has a multi-strain of 14 different bacterium. The beneficial bacteria in Bio-Kult are cryoprotected during the freeze drying process, which gives two main benefits: They are protected from the harsh acid environment of the stomach and are therefore able to colonise the full length of the gastrointestinal tract. The process also allows Bio-Kult to be stored at room temperature without the need for refrigeration. While they do use milk in their growth media, the capsules do not contain enough to upset people with lactose intolerance. I used these on a 10 day gut detox with L-glutamine and have found since to have a better tolerance of dairy and gluten.
There’s been some discussion about the dangers of protein powders, and again I think getting protein from natural sources and portions is the best way really, however I do use this from Whole Foods to add to my smoothies. I like hemp because it’s plant-based and use Nutiva because it is USDA certified organic. For ultimate purity, the product also does not include any hexane, gluten, dairy, lactose or sweeteners. The nutritional value, as with all whole hemp products is fantastic, providing a whopping 15g of protein per serving, as well as 6g of fiber and 0.8g of omega-3 fatty acids (ALA). The product is also a good source of iron.
Having met the founders and their co-workers I can honestly say they are a great bunch of people; knowledgeable and passionate about bringing you the best quality ingredients that is good for you, their producers and the environment. Currently I’m getting into their Spirulina, which I drink with lemon water. It’s a very nourishing and cleansing drink to have first thing in the morning before you eat. A single tablespoon (7 grams) of dried Spirulina powder contains:
- Protein: 4 grams.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 11% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 15% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 4% of the RDA.
- Copper: 21% of the RDA.
- Iron: 11% of the RDA.
- It also contains decent amounts of magnesium, potassium and manganese, and small amounts of almost every other nutrient that we need.
If I had all the money in the world, I’d probably buy even more premium tea bags, but sometimes you’ve just got to put some things in perspective. In fact, I’d make my own, before I paid more money. I think Pukka is a good compromise brand. They’re organic and I’ve heard their ingredients are better than Twinings. I drink their herbal teas first thing in the morning and last thing at night, to not only enjoy, help me relax / wake up but also compliment my diet with beneficial herbs. While I don’t want to give up caffeine, I am reducing it due to its acid-forming properties and the headaches I can get from relying on it too much.
That’s all for this post, but I will continue to try, test and review products as I understand navigating the expensive health food aisles can be time-consuming, confusing and anxiety inducing! There’s certainly a pressure out there to hit perfection, but as long as you are making progress with better choices I would enjoy the journey – it should be fun and an adventure!