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Spring 2019Food for thought this Spring
New Year’s Eve may seem like a long time ago as we finally reach the spring, and I wonder how many of us have kept to those resolutions to get fit and eat right?
If you haven’t managed to shed the pounds, then you are not alone, around 64% of people fail to keep their turn of the year promises when it comes to healthy eating.
I believe we are hampered by crash diets, a deluge of images on what is supposed to be the perfect body, too much unregulated advertising for junk food, and a bizarre notion of what is good and bad to eat.
A healthy diet is sometimes seen as, frankly, a punishing bore - fruit, vegetables, couscous and hummus (none of which is wrong incidentally and can be tasty and healthy when served right). Conversely, all fried food and anything containing salt is bad (even though our bodies need small quantities of fat and salt).
In my opinion, this unhealthy attitude contributes to problems such as comfort eating, and the copious consuming of treats at times when we feel down.
The secret to good nutrition is balance; getting all the ingredients to leave you happy and healthy in body and mind.
Many of us will have seen the advice on having our five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, but did you also know that the British Nutrition Foundation advocates daily eating three/four portions of starchy carbohydrates, two/three servings of dairy and two/three segments of protein, including eggs and meat?
Portion sizes are also critical in maintaining healthy eating. The UK seems to have adopted American plate sizes overflowing with food (which also leads to waste in a world where others are starving). Cutting down a little makes a huge difference.
I would advocate weighing your plate of food in your hand before dishing it out – you will know whether it’s too heavy or not – and the NHS Live Well campaign is a slightly more scientific guide to how big your servings should be.
With the weather turning brighter we will surely be more amenable to getting out there and doing some exercise.
Everything from beetroot to rhubarb, carrots and cabbage are seasonal too, and this might be a great opportunity to try locally grown produce.
Make now the time to promise to fuel your body properly, and truly put that spring in your step.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Dr Chauhan is a respected GP, health and social care campaigner, and champion of social justice and charity. As a local GP, he has become a powerful advocate for his patients and introduced innovative methods to improve their care. His work mentoring and employing young people has won national recognition.