Thursday, February 02, 2006

Looking after your body, part 3: Food and diet

Yesterday and the day before, I've been on about the importance of looking after your body, and how I've gone in my quest to look after me.

As you'll recall, after her surgery my wife Marie motivated both of us to get into , but we still struggled to know what to eat.

Of course some things were obvious: don't eat junk food, keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum. But it was all pretty vague and in the back of our minds - until we went to Australia last year.

There's something about a different environment that makes you open to new ideas. That's why it's great to travel. :)

Plus, we also got fed very well by both our sisters (both very good cooks!), and we decided it was time to do something when we got back home.

We started with Daniel's Diet, by Philip Bridgeman (not to be mistaken for the many other "Daniel's Diets" out there). It's a fairly extreme diet from a Christian naturopathist in Australia that eliminates or severely reduces:
  • sugar
  • fat
  • anything artificial
  • wheat
  • dairy
The last two items surprised us a bit, because bread and milk are two of the most frequently bought items in supermarkets.

The reasoning behind getting rid of dairy is that we're not meant to eat/drink milk past infancy. Wheat, meanwhile, is not harmful in itself, but tends to cause intolerance because it is in so many foods these days (take a look at some ingredients lists sometimes, it really is!).

We have ended up relaxing many of the standards of Daniel's Diet, but I'm glad we started with it. There are so many diet options out there that it's easy to get confused. By trying just one for a period of time (for us it was roughly three months - give or take) we can start to understand the principles behind the rules.

For us that was the most important thing - understanding why we're eating so many fresh vegetables, and why we're avoiding this that and the other.

Interestingly, we found that cutting dairy and wheat has actually helped us lose weight, or at least some appearance of weight. Water retention, whatever. We like getting the compliments!

So here's what our looks like now:
  • Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Snacks: nuts, fruit or healthy chips (e.g. pita chips - yes, even though they have wheat in them)
  • Spelt or rye bread, if we have bread (not often)
  • Soy milk
  • A large lunch, smaller dinner
We've also been helped by The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, which is a lot more moderate in its advice, and a lot more comprehensive. Great stuff like weekly shopping plans help translate the information from theory into practice, from intention to reality.

Tomorrow, why all this stuff is important.


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