Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Food is good

Another question from Natalie:

Mart and I are trying not to eat that many carbs at night so what we have been doing is making things like stuffed gem-squash (boiling them, adding a little creamed sweetcorn, then frying in a tiny bit of olive oil: some onions, mushrooms, and lean bacon, then adding a tiny bit of cheese and grilling). Can you let me know whether this is bad or not? we tried filling the gems with mince but that wasn’t so nice...

First of all, I want to say that all fresh food is good, so there is nothing 'bad' about your meal of stuffed gem squash. What you have described doesn't sound very sustaining, though. Try mixing some cooked rice - or better still, quinoa - into your filling, and I think you will find the meal more satisfying, and no less healthy. You can try stuffing butternut (more robust than gem squash), aubergine or bell peppers, or even large tomatoes as a variation.

When you talk about 'carbs', I think you mean 'starches'. Yes, starches are carbs too, but so are gem squash, onions and mushrooms! The majority of your food should consist of carbs, and if what you are eating is not meat and not fat, then it is carbohydrate.

The best nutritional value comes from foods that are as natural as possible, so as long as you are avoiding processed foods you are doing really well. The next best thing to fresh is frozen or canned. These products are usually free of colourants and preservatives, and they provide foods that are quick and easy to prepare plus giving you year-round availablity. If you buy canned vegetables, just check for added salt, and only buy fruits canned in fruit juice - the fruit canned in syrup is overloaded with added sugar.

I know you and Mart are both physically active, and you do need starch for optimum performance. What time of day do you go to gym? You should have between 6 and 9 servings from the grains (starches) food group every day. Remember that the grains group includes: potatoes, sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta, brown and wild rice, bulghar wheat, couscous, cereals and breads, etc. You shouldn't cut out starches (do control portion sizes), rather reduce saturated fats and added sugars, for health and weight control.

I welcome questions, from all my readers, provided they are relevant to the past and present content of this blog. Please leave your question in a comment, and I will do my best to answer you promptly.


Bron said...

I battle terribly with low blood sugar and low blood pressure (despite healthy eating). I eat small meals regularly, but this doesn't seem to help.

What can I do to keep my sugar and blood pressure up and consistant?

sphinx said...

thanks for the question, Bron.
i will answer this in depth in a blog post next week. in the meantime, keep a timetable for a few days, noting down everything you eat (amounts and times) and when you feel good as well as when you feel a drop in bp or blood sugar. every day will vary according to stress levels and tiredness - even the weather may impact. and of course, whether it is a working day or a weekend. you may not be eating enough in your small healthy meals.

B said...

Could not enough watercontribute to low BP / sugar?

Sphinx said...

B, you could have a point, though none of the research i've done so far mentions water specifically. very few people drink enough water so drinking an extra couple of glasses a day certainly can't hurt.