1. Squeeze fresh oranges every day – high in vitamin C and magnesium, oranges are great for energy and boosting the immune system.
2. Grow parsley – herbs are easy to grow, add heaps of flavour to meals and contain massive amounts of nutrients. Flat-leaf parsley is delicious and really is nature’s equivalent of a multi-vitamin and mineral capsule.
3. Use turmeric – brilliant for the liver and detoxification, try adding turmeric to scrambled eggs, rice, stews, curries etc.
4. Bone marrow – if you’ve ever made a stew or casserole from home-made bone marrow stock, you will never use a shop-bought sorry-looking stock cube ever again. We need fat to help digest protein properly and the best way to get this is from a rich nourishing bone broth, this also helps greatly with reducing inflammation in the body and aiding the anti-aging mechanism. Butchers are only too happy to give them away free, use the stock to make delicious winter-warming stews, curries and casseroles. This is how our grandmothers and great-mothers used to cook, by using the whole animal: bones and offal in addition to the muscle meats that we have been relying on in recent years.
5. Local honey – a brilliant anti-bacterial, immune boosting and allergy preventing food. Include in porridge, herbal teas, with Greek yoghurt, with cocoa and warm milk for a nutritious hot chocolate etc.
6. Carrots – anyone who has symptoms of PMS, food intolerances and digestive discomfort would do well to include a raw carrot salad or carrots on a daily basis. The fibre in carrots helps feed the good bacteria in the gut which in turn balances oestrogen levels in the body, thereby ameliorating PMS and food intolerances. Not a lot of people realise this but food intolerances are very much linked with hormone dysregulation.
7. Eggs – an amazing super-food, eggs are a brilliant source of protein and fat as well as vitamins A & D. Long recognised as a convalescing and restorative food, I recommend them to all my clients – both young and old. Try to source organic, free-range eggs from chickens that have been fed a GM-free diet; unfortunately a lot of egg allergies can be attributed to the poor diet fed to the chickens or poor animal welfare – we need to start demanding higher quality and better animal welfare from the food industry.
8. Milk – I love to source raw or unhomogenised milk that has been processed as little as possible; this ensures vital enzymes and fat-soluble vitamins are still intact. Unfortunately, over-processing, pasteurisation, homogenisation and skimming of fat leaves behind a very indigestible product. The enzyme lactase in necessary for the digestion of lactose, fat-soluble vitamins are necessary for the digestion of fat and fat is necessary for the efficient digestion of protein. So instead of avoiding milk altogether if you suspect an intolerance, perhaps try a higher quality, less processed product. Milk is a fantastic pro-metabolic, pro-thyroid super-food.
9. Sourdough Bread – bread as it should be, sourdough is popping up on menus and supermarket shelves everywhere but to get the genuine product you really need to source it from a master baker such as Joe Fitzmaurice from Riot Rye in Cloughjordan Eco Village (Joe even grows his own grain) or Paul Illien from Moyglass Bakery in Co.Galway. Sourdough is a fermented bread which means it is much more digestible than mass-processed and quick-baked bread products. The above bakers only use organic grains; the pesticide and herbicide residue on non-organic grains are shown to play a role in gluten intolerance, pesticides and herbicides are designed to kill micro-organisms but we are now wondering what they do to our own gut flora i.e. the billions of bacteria we rely on to stay healthy and digest food efficiently.
10. Cheese – a great protein for vegetarians (such as Paneer in Indian cookery) and a great everyday snack to enjoy with a piece of fruit for a balanced mini-meal. Manchego and feta are good sheep’s milk products which have a slightly lower fat content.