Keep it Simple, Stupid!

on Monday, 02 March 2015. Posted in N21 Experts

My washing machine broke for good last week, and when the men came to deliver the new one, they told me that I had a slowly leaking pipe under the sink. With a rare and wonderful show of superb customer service, they offered to have a quick look at it, to save me the cost of calling out a plumber. It turns out that it was just a loose washer, but what we found when they opened up the pipes was unpleasant to say the least. A big load of grey, smelly gunk, stuff – mainly foodstuff - that had got washed down the plughole any time washing up was done.


It made me think about our insides – how much "gunk" do we have blocking up our intestines, just sitting there affecting our internal environment?


Does it make a difference to our body's "pipes" whether we eat clean or not?


Well yes, of course it does. Our bodies have evolved to eat food that is natural, seasonal and local. Food used to look like food; a far cry from what we see today in the supermarkets and shops. Walk into any supermarket, and you'll pass a few rows of fresh produce only to be faced with row after row after row of things packaged in plastic bags, boxes and containers, things that we are told are food.


Many of these products contain ingredients that we don't understand:

• Partially Inverted Sugar Syrup, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Ammonium Bicarbonate – in McVities biscuits

• Modified Maize Starch, Fat Powder (fat powder?), Dried Glucose Syrup – Dolmio Lasagne Sauce

• Glazing Agent (Gum Arabic), Vanilla Flavour Clusters, Barley Malt Flavouring - Kellogg's Special K Creamy Berry Crunch


And ridiculously high levels of sugar:

• 9 teaspoons - Coca Cola original 330ml

• 6 teaspoons - Muller Crunch Corner strawberry shortcake yogurt 135g

• 5 teaspoons Yeo Valley Family Farm 0% fat vanilla yogurt 150g

• 4 teaspoons - Glaceau Vitamin Water, Defence 500ml

• 2 teaspoons - Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Crunchy Oat Granola Cinnamon Bars 40g


Research has shown us that some of the ingredients found in processed and fast foods trigger the same reward pathways in our brain as heroin and cocaine; they are highly addictive and are messing with our endocrine and neurological systems, not to mention our weight and energy levels.


Now you have to go out of your way to get food that is fresh, seasonal and locally sourced and produced, although it has got a whole lot easier now that we have The Sidings, our local Farmer's Market and the wonderful Food Gatherer delivery service.


Even if you aren't interested in buying organic, sometimes finding English fruit and vegetables in a supermarket is like looking for Willy Wonka's golden ticket; take apples for example – you'll find varieties from France, South Africa and New Zealand, but apples from an English orchard are nowhere to be seen.


Anything that has come from abroad has had time in transit. Time for the nutrient content of the food to become more and more depleted, and the further the food has travelled, the lower the nutrient levels by the time it arrives on your plate.


The power of marketing is not to be underestimated. I was 10 when the 'Shake and Vac' advert first came out, I'm in my mid-forties now and I can still see the woman dancing and hear the song in my mind..... We are bombarded with adverts for processed foods; on TV, online, in print, on the radio, on billboards and the sides of the bus, and within shops themselves. We are constantly being sold the stuff that harms our health. When did you last see an advert for a head of broccoli or a bunch of spinach?


All of these factors: the weird ingredients and the excessive levels of sugar which lead to food addiction; the pesticides and the time spent in storage and transit; and the constant, in-your-face yet somehow also subliminal food marketing; all contribute to us eating foods that are desperately low in nutrients and health benefits. Food that could be blocking up our "pipes", blocking our body's ability to breakdown and absorb nutrients from food, and instead is supplying us with little or nothing of nutritional value.


My solution? K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid: a US Navy principle which states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. Why mess with your food when the original gives us everything we need and more?


There is a growing movement of consumers who are interested in their health. People want to eat well, they want food that they know is beneficial to them and food that is simple and honest. If you are fed up with the contents of your kitchen cupboards but don't know where to begin, I offer this simple advice. When choosing what to eat, ask yourself these questions: does my food look like it came from the ground, from a tree or other kind of plant? Does it look like it came from an animal? Or does my food come in a plastic box, bag or carton*?


Stick with the real food and feel better.


Denise Chester

Nutritional Therapist


Does it make a difference to our body's "pipes" whether we eat clean or not?

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