Detoxfication Simplified

No word gets tossed around at this time of the year more than ‘DETOX’.Everywhere you turn someone is on some kind of detox in the form of diets,teas,juices-there is even even a detox coffee!

But what really is the detoxification process? Is it necessary?How do yo know you need to detox?

Quick Biology Lesson

Most people know that the liver is the main detox organ but it’s not the only organ.In the mix is the gall bladder,kidneys,the lymphatic system,colon and skin.Yes,your skin is one of the detox organs,not the most efficient but it picks up where other organs can’t cope.Dull skin tone anyone?

The liver does the main filtering of toxins in the blood that enter the body through the GIT( gastrointestinal tract) BEFORE it enters the rest of the body

Th colon moves whatever detoxification waste the liver has dumped into the digestive tract for elimination because if it hangs around the colon too much due to constipation,there is a risk that it can be reabsorbed into your bloodstream. You don’t want that.

There is another system in the body that we don’t hear much about yet it is one the most important and intricate body systems;the Lymphatic system.It’s made up of tiny vessels and groups of nodes that carry the interstitial fluid in the body and dump it to the blood stream to be removed.It also carries vital immune cell.The special thing about this system is that (1)it has no pumps to move the lymph(2)it moves in one direction.It moves with the help of surrounding muscles that press on the lymph vessels.

And lastly, skin.Skin is our biggest organ but it is also the least efficient when it comes to detoxing.It does however take over from other detox organs when they are overburdened with toxins.

Although the kidneys‘main function is maintaining the fluid balance in the body,it also does detox duty.It filters specific toxins,especially in protein foods, and removes it via urine.The fluid balance is important for blood pressure,electrolytes and the acid -base balance.

Since we have all these organs and systems detoxing while we are busy scoffing our faces with sinful indulgences,why do we need to add detoxification on our health plan?

Because,my nutrivore friend,there are forces bigger than us giving our poor liver and other organs a run for their money.Okay I could be exaggerating but our number one  evil is the environment we now live in. Our world is filled with man made toxins,some of them the body does not even recognise. It stands to reason that it will need a bit help getting rid of them.

Another  reason is that our diets are deficient in nutrients that assist these organs to work efficiently. Take fibre for instance; time and time again it has been proven that we do not consume enough fibre. Fibre is necessary to move things along our colon. So if we do not have enough fibre to assist elimination,we risk keeping the toxins in the body or even worse,reabsorbing them.

So yes,for these two reasons,among other,we need to detox.

Detox Goals

When we embark on a detox program these 3 goals should be what we aim to achieve

1.To reduce the workload of the liver.

2. To stimulate the body organs to  move the toxins out of the body.

3.To encourage detox organs to work better.

We clearly indulge excessively during the festive.We eat with the abandon.We are careless with our livers,drinking too much alcohol  because,who drinks water during holidays?Really now.

 

So how do we achieve the above goals? That is the next topic in this detox series. Make sure you don’t miss it.

Nutrivore Love

 

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Act Against Childhood Obesity-A simple guide for parents

As parents we want give our children the best in life.However when it comes to healthy eating and living,we seem to somehow fall short.

These days children’s wellbeing compete with a lot that is already on the parents plate and more often than not,it’s the children’s eating that is compromised.

Even health conscious parents  find themselves competing against easily available unhealthy temptations.Children are bombarded with messages of unhealthy food choices which puts them in a certain peer group if they drink this drink or eat this fast food. This creates a ‘need’ for them to belong to and a dilemma for parents who want their children to be healthy and to be accepted in their peer groups.

Of course food and eating does not have to be an unpleasant task.Food is meant to be enjoyed,each bite savoured.Mealtimes should be social events,where the family gathers and shares day’s news.It is meant to be a slow time,a time to reconnect with each other and with oursleves.But our hectic lifestyles do not allow this often.However all is not lost.

Obesity among children is on the rise and this warrants our concern.As a parent you can take action to ensure that your children cultivate healthy eating habits.By making a few simple changes you can make good nutrition and healthy habits part of your family’s daily routine

1.Keep it simple and in ubandance

Childern like simple foods.Offer them simple but nutrition packed fresh food.Carrot sticks,cucumber slices,assorted fruits and simple salads make the best treats.

That being said,offer a variety of simple and healthy food so that your children can choose what they like.Do not force them to finish what is on the plate especially when it’s vegetable.That just creates more resistance and nobody wins.Instead keep offering the food with other food until they get used to it.I only started eating avocado,paw-paw and spinach a few years ago.As a child I hated it but now,it’s on my top 10 favourite foods.However I still do not eat the butternut(squash)that I was forced to eat as a child.Lesson- do not make a big deal when you meet resistence.You can try other means to get that food into their system.I used to grate a whole variety of vegetables into the bolgnaise sauce when my children were younger,they ate the vegetables without even knowing.

2.Ditch the Sugar

The habit of offering healthy foods as snacks has to start at a young age. I was horrified and saddened all at once when I saw a mother give their 10 month old a sucker(lollipop).I had to literally sit on my hands to stop from grabbing that poison away from the child.Sugar is addictive.Recent studies have found it to be as addictive as cocaine and poisonius to our bodies.Repeat after me:We do not need added sugar in our food.

Get into the habit of offering pieces of fruit,vegetables,nuts,berries and seeds as snacks.Taste buds can be trained.Start to train them young.

3.Lead by example

Childrn learn best by observing adults.They will most likely do what you do than what you say.I could write a whole post about this because it is such a wide topic as it includes how we talk about food,weight and the attitude we display around food.Is it something we enjoy?Is it an enemy to be feared?Does it “make us” fat or thin?Does it make us beautiful or liked?Do we use food to make us feel better or as a reward? Do we make bad food choices and blame it on genes?There is a long list of questions that we are almost never aware of when we have conversations about food in front of our children.What we might not be aware of is that it rubs of to them and impacts on how they view food.

As a start be aware of the conversation you have regarding food and weight.Make healthy choices-not because you want to lose weight but beacause you want to be healthy.Choose low-carb real food over processed food.Banish fizzy drinks and high sugar fruit juices.Switch to water and water infusions,teas and herbal teas,kombucha,coconut water and freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices.

4.Meal Preperation is King

The familiar saying that “If you fail to plan,you plan to fail”  must have been coined with meal prep in mind.A lot of people blame our busy lifestyle for bad eating habits and fast food people know this and capitilise on it.Healthy eating does not mean you have to be chained to the kitchen. 

Meal planning and preperation is key.Just as you plan your work week or even your work wardrobe in detail,the same commitment is required for healthy meals.Set a day in the week,plan your meals,do the necessary shopping and you can even cook 2 or 3 meals ahead and freeze them.That way there is no reason for you to stop at a take away joint for greasy,chemical laden food.

5.Make it Fun

Make meal preperation fun for your kids.Get them involved in planning and cooking of your meals.Instead of teaching them to make a jam sandwich,why not teach them how to put a simple crunchy salad together?Salads are a good way to start them on. They are easy,colourful and they have different textures which children love experimenting with.

By making these simple changes you can start giving your family the gift of health and vitality.Obesity among children is on the rise and that comes with a lot of health burdens.That is not a legacy we want to give our children.Your children might not take kindly to the changes you make but be assured that they will thank you later in life once it makes sense to them and you get the reward of knowing that you gave them your best in a way that matters the most.

💜

Lindi

Super Sweet Potatoes

My love affair with sweet potatoes started a long time ago. My mother does not eat white potatoes, but give her sweet potatoes and a different woman emerges. She can have them for breakfast, lunch and supper.

Growing up I ate both white and sweet potatoes with gusto. In fact I practically lived off fried chips (French Fries) during my varsity days. They made them and smothered them in mushroom sauce (oh the memories, I am salivating just thinking of that bad calorie fest) But hey, I was young and careless.

I still love my potatoes but not as much as sweet potatoes. This is purely based on preference not on nutrient value or health benefits. There is a lot of debate and misinformation regarding these well-loved, tubers but pitted against each other, they stand neck and neck in nutritional value.

Sweet Potato Facts

  1. Did you know that sharing the name ‘potato’ is as far as the relationship between the two go? Sweet potatoes come from a completely different plant family to potatoes.
  2. There are 5000 known varieties of sweet potatoes.
  3. Sweet potato leaves are edible and highly nutritious.
  4. Yellow/orange sweet potatoes are packed with more than 400% of your daily Vitamin A requirements.
  5. They have more fibre than white potatoes.
  6. They are rich in Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and manganese. These minerals are essential in normal functioning and maintenance of our bodies.
  7. They are very low in proteins. However, their proteins may have antioxidant qualities.
  8. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, some B group vitamins and Vitamin E
  9. The deeper the colour of the sweet potato, the more anti-oxidants it contains.
  10. Although they both fall in the middle of the glycemic Index, sweet potatoes have a lower GI than potatoes.

Health benefits

  1. Prevention of Vitamin A deficiency.

High pigment sweet potatoes contain are rich in Vitamin A prevent effects of deficiency which include night blindness, scaly skin and dry tissues.

2. Improvement of Blood sugar regulation.

While they are high in sugar, the high fibre content in sweet potatoes slows down the rate of digestion thereby regulating blood sugar.

3.  Contains antioxidants which neutralise free radicals.

This leads to reduced oxidative damage associated with some types of cancers, heavy metal residues and other digestive tract problems.

4. Aids digestion

The high fibre in sweet potatoes supports a healthy digestive tract and regulates digestion

5. Anti-inflammatory properties.

Bright coloured sweet potatoes contain pigment related antioxidants which are beneficial to general heath and have anti-inflammatory powers.

6. Heart Health

Potassium in sweet potatoes may help to lower blood pressure and regulate heartbeat.

Ok, back to the fun stuff-how I like to eat my sweet potatoes. I prefer to roast them with a little salt and just eat them as is. The other day I made a mean lasagna and just used the sweet potato slices instead of lasagne sheets. But my absolute favourite, favourite has to be sweet potato crisps/chips.

If you ever tried making sweet potato chips, you know it takes skill and many failed attempts. For one thing, sweet potatoes are notorious for refusing to get crisp. I found the secret to crisp sweet potato chips in a recipe I am sharing today.

To do them right you also have to have the correct equipment. Enter the mandolin. I never knew what this was for until I was serious about making my own vegetable crisps. The mandolin will help you cut the thinnest slice, a good step towards crispness. You can try  to use a sharp knife but I got better results using a mandolin.

Lastly, you have to watch them like a hawk. There is a thin line between burnt and crispy chips. Don’t cross it (like me, many,many times)

I encourage you to try a variety of ways to get incorporate sweet potatoes in your diet. There are plenty vegetarian sites which offer 101 ways with sweet potatoes. I found this…

Try your hand at making these chips, you won’t buy another packet of commercial chips.