Basic nutrition

Last update 08.08.2019

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”
François de La Rochefoucauld

Having a healthy nutrition is not something you were born with – it is a skill that can be learned, the same way you learn to ride a bike or drive a car. Under medical and nutritional supervision, we should adapt our diet to a whole-food plan-based one, for 3 essential reasons: for health, ecology and ethics.

It is enough to deny, out of ignorance or interest, the scientific evidence on the benefits of a  whole-food plant-based diet.

how a healthy meal is composed?

 

50% of vegetables, raw or steamed

25% of carbohydrates (e.g. whole ancient grains like Senatore Cappelli, Tumida siciliana, Tumilia, Russello,  Perciasacchi, Margherito or naturally without gluten like millet, rice, amaranth, buckwheat, corn, …)

25% of protein-rich foods like pulses, beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, soya, fish (max 3 x week) or egg (1 each 2 weeks). The total amount of protein, contained in these foods < 8% of the meal as a whole. For more, please see on the weblink (DE FR IT EN on the top) of our Confederation.

Here some one example: compose your own dish and then mix, so you have the right amount in the dish, so easy right?

This meal is composed of several main foods (organic, local and seasonal) :
– 50% of vegetables, raw or steamed;
– 25% of low GI carbs (e.g. whole ancient grains or naturally without gluten);
– 25% of protein-rich foods like pulses, beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, soya, fish (max 3 x week) or egg (1 each 2 weeks).

Pay attention to the following aspects:

✅  Rich breakfast (6-9 am, <1h after wake-up);

✅  Balanced lunch, see the balanced dish nutrient (11 am – 1 pm);

✅  Light dinner (6-8 pm);

 drink tap water most outside meals, e.g. one glass of water every hour, drinking with meals dilutes gastric juices and digestion is therefore less effective;

✅ eat 1 portion (120 g) of fruit per day,  mostly to be eaten during breakfast or before 2 pm, never after a meal;

✅ eat 4 portions (4x120g) of vegetables per day;

✅ a thorough check of your health at a medical center must be done before, but also during, the general change in eating habits;

➡️  eat ONLY ONE plate per meal;

➡️  eat after 4h from the last meal in a food interval of 8h, find more information on our circadian rhythms on www.mycircadianclock.org, digestion still lasts 4 hours;

➡️  the proportion of carbs should be higher depending on the level of physical activity (inactivity 20%, light to moderate 25%, intense to very intense 30-40%) and never eat carbs for dinner;

➡️ each food has a different reaction in our body, therefore is truly individual;

⛔️⚠️ the proportions of food that have been indicated in the nutrient dish should NOT be applied in special cases such as children, youths, pregnant or breastfeeding woman, for elders or people with particular diseases. Consult a doctor with relative specialization (pediatrician, gynecologist, geriatrician or others) who can determine your individual medical needs and, if necessary, prescribe dietary supplements;

⛔️⚠️ avoids any type of dietary supplement that is to hang absolutely ONLY on medical prescription;

⛔️ avoids overcooking food (avoid >100-120°C): steam cooking is the best choice.

 

In recognizing the power and importance of our daily food intake for the health of our body, we should imagine a food pyramid, with the priorities on water, vegetables and fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, salads, nuts and oils, and a maximum of 2-3 portions of fish per week. Avoid processed/ultra-processed food, dairy, refined flours and foods, meat, alcohol and added sugars.

If you are vegan, plan blood test to control vitamin D, B12 and folic acid each 4 months. Discuss with your doctor, if you need to integrate nutrients.

The benefits are a better body energy, a protection against diseases, a prevention of them, a positive effect on our body, mind and in general, a healthier life.

⚠️❌ absolutely avoid DIY (do-it-yourself) and get medical attention.

The Glycemic Index and Load (GI-GL)

The Glycemic Index gives us a clear idea of how much quantity of easily digested carbohydrates (like monosaccharides, simply sugars, like glucose, fructose, sucrose AND disaccharides like sucrose, maltose, lactose) are present in the food, and so indicates the food’s effect on a person’s blood glucose.

– a high GI is > 70
– a medium GI is 56-69
– a low GI is < 55 (whole grains, fruit, vegetables)

This number indicate the extent to which the carbohydrates raise the blood sugar levels after eating. This value tells you how fast the carbohydrate in a food will raise blood sugar level. Here is the chart for the GI:

Whenever sugar levels go up excessively in the blood, it results in a large amount of work for the body.

And this is a significant cause of cellular damage and aging.

The Glycemic Load (GL) takes into account the amount of carbohydrates within a certain quantity of serving (a portion, for example one apple) that will cause your blood sugar to raise. The pumpkin is a good example: even if he has a high GI (75), he still has a low GL (3), these values can be found here.   The overall impact of this food is smaller on your blood sugar level.

The University of Sydney has explained, in details, this issue and is in different languages available (IT, DE, FR and so on) and has created an excellent world-wide database for each GI and GL on food. For more information see: http://www.glycemicindex.com

For more information see also this study on the website of the American Diabetes Association: Fiona S. Atkinson et al,  International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values, 2008.

In the future, the doctors may be more interested in evaluating the state of your microbiome than your BMI and, if needed, they will prescribed a nutrition rich in dietary fibers (whole grains, vegetables and fruits). The best choice is whole rice bread with hummus (low GL and high dietary fibers). The FDA recommends that an adult male consume 38 grams of fibre and 29 grams of fibre for female per day.

My nutrition (described in a reductive way as seagan)

Me and my doctors decided on a seagan (vegetables and fish) nutrition for health reasons (leukemia and consequent hemorrhage) and for general well-being. In addition, no sugars, refined flour, processed food, junk food, artificially-added chemicals and/or flavourings are allowed (organic, local, seasonal).

What is my nutrition? a whole-food plant-based diet that includes fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, food derived from seafood (2-3 portions of seafood per week as long as it is sustainably-fished, low-mercury seafood) and 1 egg each 2 weeks.

We suggest that you read this interesting article in the Huffington Post (July 2016) which introduces the concept of a seagan diet. The article introduces an informative book called ‘Seagan Eating‘, by Cramer and McComsey, which makes a strong case for those looking for a healthier diet but unable to go “whole-hog” vegan to take the plunge. The book is available to buy at amazon.

Resumed in these main foods (organic, local, seasonal) :
– 50% of vegetables, raw or steamed
– 25% of carbohydrates (e.g. whole grains)
– 25% of protein-rich foods like beans, seafood (max 3 x week) or egg (1 each 2 weeks)

A healthy food pyramid

Find the healthy food pyramid at Oldways, a non-profit food and nutrition education organization with a mission to inspire healthy eating through cultural food traditions and lifestyles. The organization is well-known for creating the Vegetarian Diet Pyramid.

The basic nutrients for our body are given by carbohydrates, proteins
and fats.

In general, less processed and less cooked carbohydrates are more health-friendly, such as whole wheat flours. Avoid refined flours in your diet.

And remember that the cooking methods of foods affect the GI of carbohydrates.

Lastly, focus on your meal and don’t do anything else at the same time, like answering emails or watching television. Have balanced meals even at work.

 

Disclaimer: This text is only for illustration purposes and does not replace your doctor’s opinion. It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Absolutely avoid DIY (do-it-yourself) and get medical attention.