James Revell from Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne shares his experience of embarking on a new summer diet to find a better balance to his nutrition.
Summer Breakfast Changes
This summer I made six changes to my diet and eating habits. These changes were mostly focused on getting more fruit, veg and fibre in my diet. I, like 95% of the population, wasn’t eating enough of these good things and wanted to be more organised in making that change.
I’ve tried all of these changes before but this summer I decided to be more organised and consistent with these improvements. As a chiropractor, I often get asked about health advice and nutrition. I’ve discussed these ideas with some of my guests and a couple have been inspired to try it for themselves. So I thought it might be useful if I shared in this blog what I’ve been up to, so you can try it for yourself. I hope you enjoy.
First of all, let’s start the day the right way.
This summer I decided to rely more regularly on porridge and oats as a way to start the day. Chiropractic work is physical and mentally demanding. I find it important to avoid the mid-morning lull in energy that I get with most cereal or bread based breakfasts.
This summer I’ve relied on porridge – mixed with milk – for my breaky. Previously I have had a habit of occasionally skipping breakfast (when I’m running late, of course) or having a protein based breakfast such as fish, eggs and beans. Fish is my favourite and it’s got lots of health benefits associated with it. However, I wanted to experiment with more oats in my diet because oats are a great source of soluble fibre.
If you thought fibre was only good for your digestive system, then think again! Fibre has been shown to support healthier cholesterol levels which is a key factor in the fight against heart disease.I tried good old fashioned porridge oats with water to start with but after a few days I kept thinking it tasted a bit like cement (not that I’ve eaten cement). Anyway, I changed to porridge and milk, occasionally with some nuts, too. I was strict with myself not to have any sugar or jam (jam is my favourite) because I know what I am like and a little sweetness usually turns into too much!
I have to admit I missed my fish! I know it sounds strange to most people but I prefer a fish breakfast and although the porridge was better that other “cereals”, I did miss my fish.
Remember raw veggies and fruit are a great source of fibre. I avoid too many of the sweet, high sugar fruits like berries and strawberries.
For a long time I have been in the habit of taking a carrot for a walk. I grab a raw carrot from the fridge and chomp on this when I walk the dog first thing. The organic carrots taste amazing, plus they’re another great source of fibre and plenty of vitamins. Bobby the dog gets the end, so he has his healthy start to the day, too.
Snacks during the day consisted mainly of more carrots, nuts and the odd other piece of fruit or veg. My favourites were cashew nuts.
Another quirky trick I tired and loved was adding beans or lentils to a basic soup. Adding beans and lentils makes the soup higher in protein as well as soluble fibre – plus it really filled me up!
Another odd addition I made to my diet this summer was to have more garlic. Smelly garlic breath is never a good idea in my job, so I usually avoid it. However, this summer I made a point of getting more garlic in my food.
Some experts believe that Garlic can help reduce your blood clotting and help to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. So I thought I’d try some simple recipes to get it in my diet. I made fresh a garlic and beetroot juice – which was actually pretty good. I also put garlic in my soups, stews and veggie bakes.
I enjoyed the juice to start with but after a while became a bit sick of it – I think I over did it! Because you need to have the garlic in very high amounts to make the potential improvement to your cardiovascular system we also found that increasing our garlic use in our home cooking made everything smell. So after a couple of weeks I cheated with a garlic supplement instead. Obviously I don’t feel any difference but it’s relatively cheap and I’m still taking them.
The government recommends we should eat at least two portions of oily fish a week, but I prefer to have it at least five times a week. My favourites are tinned mackerel and salmon fillets plus I top up with a quick glug of Nordic Oil each day too! Yum!
I’m used to having fish for breakfast and although I stopped over the summer and swapped to porridge I would still prefer a fishy start.
Over the summer I moved my fish meal to lunchtimes. Tinned fish was a simple but smelly lunchtime option. I was happy to have it with cold sweet-corn. In fact I love it. Where ever possible I opt for organic fish. My old Biology degree has left me with a dislike of farmed or sea caught fish, which have been exposed to various pollutants or additives. I also don’t feel so happy about eating farmed fish if I can avoid it having seen the cramped conditions they endure.
Oily fish, like sardines, pilchards, mackerel, kippers, herring and salmon are important for your cardiovascular health, and may help lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol. As well as these good fats, fish are also as a quality protein source, offering sustainable energy release over a longer period of time. That’s why they’re on my favourite breakfast list.
My secret energy-boosting tip
I set a daily target to drink at least four pints of water every day. This summer you’ll have seen a pint glass next to my notes when I was working. This keeps me well hydrated and without it I suffer a mid-afternoon energy crash. I found this trick of having a large glass right next to me worked really well and I’ll certainly be keeping it going.
In my experience you’ve got to make being healthy practical!
Here’s my 6 of The Best Summer Healthy Eating Summary:
- Porridge breakfast – I prefer fish, sorry!
- More than 5 fruit and veg per day. Starting with a raw organic carrot when walking the dog was a great start to the day – Bobby the dog looked forward to the end of the carrot
- Lentils and beans in my soup – yep I liked this and will keep it going but my wife wasn’t so keen
- Increase garlic intake – too smelly and I overdosed on garlic juice, so instead try just a simple supplement if more convenient
- Fish – I love fish already. Changing my fish meal to lunchtimes wasn’t so hard but I think we’ll go back to having oily fish for breakfast
- At least 4 pints of water/day – having a large glass next to me worked really well and I’ll be keeping this trick going for sure
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By James Revell
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