Food to make you look and feel great
PUBLISHED: 09:16 11 March 2014 | UPDATED: 09:16 11 March 2014
We are what we eat – and what we should be doing is eating for our health. Charlotte Smith-Jarvis talks to Felixstowe based nutritional therapist Maggie Franks
The beginning of the year is the traditional time for resolutions. Burn the fat, bin the booze, forget the fags. Not easy though, is it?
Last summer I watched as my husband tried, in vain, to quit smoking. It all stemmed from a visit to a spa, during which two lengths of a kid-sized pool proved lung bustingly difficult.
I’d been trying for months, years even, to get him to give-up, catching him hanging around the garden shed with a cigarette like a delinquent schoolboy. Nothing worked.
But when, aged 36, he realised the physical toll the odd Marlborough Light had taken on his body, it was as if a lightbulb had come on. Within a week, aided by an electronic cigarette, he’d canned the habit and joined the local running club. Now he can run a six-minute mile without even breaking into a sweat.
I, on the other hand, teeter behind, thighs chaffing in skin-tight leggings, the top riding up to reveal less a washboard stomach, more a washing machine tummy, rolling and bobbing around.
Approaching the big 30 and determined to be as slender and toned as I was before I had our two children, I’ve decided 2014 is my time to beat the bulge and look fab in a bikini.
Like many women, I find myself in a quandary. I enjoy food. I mean, I really enjoy food and I don’t want to spend my days confined to eating celery sticks and Quark. So, I turned to Felixstowe-based nutritional therapist Maggie Franks to tell me where I’m going wrong.
“Nutrition is the starting point for good health,” says Maggie. “What you eat is the building blocks of making who you are.”
According to Maggie there’s a lot of information out there when it comes to dieting. “We are all very different and what suits one person won’t necessarily suit another. Quite often people who go on diets do so because they want to lose weight, and health is almost secondary to them. If you eat for your health you should naturally lose weight.
“Also, people don’t stop to eat, they don’t take time away from workload. The body cannot digest and deal with food at the same time as working as it thinks it’s in fight/flight mode. Go out for 20 minutes, get some natural light and do something different. Take time to eat.”
For good health, key to Maggie’s ethos is to give the body what it needs – good energy, a good fatty acid profile and good hydration. “When you put the whole package together, your body’s having a party.”
Important foods to include on the way to that ‘body party’ include whole grains, and Maggie says one of the best things you can easily do is to switch from white things to brown.
“All those white refined products – pastries, crumpets, pasta – give your body a sugar hit. They’ve been stripped of fibre and magnesium and vitamin E. Do half and half to begin with and increase the amount of brown to white gradually. If you soak brown rice in the morning before you go to work, you can rinse and drain it when you get home and it will only take 15 minutes more than white.”
We should all being eating raw things every day too. “Things like nuts and seeds are great. A handful of almonds soaked in water are digestible and much more supportive of the body.”
But what if we’re sugar (the new evil) junkies?
“Chromium-rich foods such as dark green leaves help balance sugar. Some people have a real issue with sugar, but if you have whole foods and whole grains and a lot of raw, you’ll find you reduce the sugar cravings. Rather than thinking ‘I’m going to cut out chocolate’ you could eat more fruit, but be mindful. Dried fruit and sweet fruits are still sugar. And we’re not craving sugar because we’re weak willed, it’s because our body is craving nutrients like Omega 3. We can get this from flax seeds, fish oil and pasture-fed meat.
“Think of your body like a house. You can’t build it properly without the right tools.”
Maggie Franks runs Delicious Nutritious and has worked in the complementary therapy and health care sectors for 22 years. She is a qualified naturopathic nutritional therapist (N.H.F. Dip Advanced & Clinical), an aromatherapist (S.P.A. Dip.) and previously worked as a Registered Nurse (RNMH). Visit www.delicious-nutritious.co.uk