A plant based diet is one based on vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruit, with little or no animal products (including dairy) 

 OR8A0372Over the past few years  a lot of people ask me what I eat.

My diet is pretty much plant based. Free of meat, dairy, and refined sugar and I  generally steer clear of gluten. Sometimes I eat organic or bio dynamic eggs.

I always get the question “so Alex are you vegan, vegetarian, what are you?”

I’m really not a fan of labels or diets. We are all bio chemically unique and while a certain way of eating may suit one person it may not suit another. I don’t believe in the “one size fits all”.

We have to find our own way and what really makes your body function at its best.

OR8A0378I believe in a more flexible  plant based way of eating and I’ve worked out exactly what I need to eat to make my body thrive, maintain a healthy weight and feel pretty amazing most of the time!

I stick with an 80/20 rule.

80% of my food is wholesome nutritious food nurturing and supporting my body and the other 20% is treats, so if I go out for dinner and there is a bit of cheese in my meal or butter in something I don’t freak out, I couldn’t be that  regimented, it would drive me mad.

My only non negotiable these days is meat.

It wasn’t until my third diagnosis that the penny really dropped

I finally realised that my low fat diet really wasn’t serving me.

I used to be the Queen of low fat! I knew how many calories and saturated fat was in everything! I really thought I had it sussed! It was a very boring and controlled way of eating. I didn’t have an eating disorder but the way I ate was very disordered!

While I was busy counting calories etc  I should have been checking all the nasty chemicals in my low fat food that were probably causing complete chaos in my system!IMG_1170[1]

Now I realise that most low fat and fat free foods have sugar, artificial sweeteners and chemicals to make up for the loss of taste, which makes them really poor nutritional choices. Plus, our bodies need healthy fat in our foods to keep our cell walls strong, absorb important vitamins and regulate hormones. For years I was starving my body of so much goodness.

So things needed to change….. because now I was eating for survival!

I needed to put my body in the best environment to heal.

I didn’t do anything drastic I just started adding wholesome nutritious alkalizing foods and it began withalexandra backshell juicing. Its amazing how many veggies you can pack into one juice and I could already feel  my energy shift. I experimented with smoothies and superfoods, using fresh organic  and  seasonal produce, and while this slow transition was happening I could feel the difference in my mental clarity, mood and general health. This is when I became aware that certain foods were not serving  me anymore and just dropped of my radar …….

IMG_1163[1]♦ Dairy

Dairy is natures perfect food..but only if you are a calf!

You have to think about it, humans are the only animals who drink the milk of  another species and drink it past infancy. This always used to be an icky thought in the back of my mind but it is drummed into us from an early age “milk will give you strong bones”,  “milk is good for you” and years ago nothing could stand in the way of my morning milky latte!

Cows milk contains on average three times the amount of  protein in human milk and this creates metabolic disturbances in humans that has detrimental  health consequences.IMG_1158[1]

Cows milk is custom designed to fatten up baby cows by filling up all their four stomachs. It is not designed for humans.

Humans lose the enzyme needed to digest lactose (the sugar found in milk) between the ages of two and five, so if you continue to drink into adulthood the undigested sugars from dairy end up in the colon where they begin to ferment producing gas that can cause cramping, bloating, nausea, flatulence and diarrhoea. Dairy is also known to cause asthma, allergies, ear infections, acne, weight gain and excessive mucus and phlegm. Nice!

The affluent dairy industry are clever and have managed to paint their big money maker in a very positive way to make us all believe that we need dairy to build strong bones and dairy is good for you its the best source of calcium, but it turns out they’ve been telling us porkie pies!

The consumption of dairy actually contributes largely to a deficiency in calcium in the body. Can you believe it! Animal protein (found highly in dairy) increases acid load in the body. In order to neutralise that acid and bring the body back to balance and an alkaline state, the body searches for its own reserves for an alkaline mineral. Enter calcium. But this calcium ends up being pulled from our bones, leading to bone-weakening conditions like osteoporosis. Dairy may contain calcium but it is of no use to our bodies.

Dairy cows are pumped with antibiotics to prevent diseases because of the terrible conditions they are kept in, and when they naturally stop producing milk farmers inject them with a growth hormone to artificially increase milk production. This hormone has been linked to many cancers.IMG_1171[1]

This is a massive topic and a dark murky road so I’m going to leave it there. I replaced scary dairy with delicious nut milks like cashew and almond, oat milk is lovely too. Right now my favourite is coconut milk.

♦ Meat

I didn’t come out with a big sweeping statement that I was going to be a vegetarian or stop eating meat, it was a gradual thing that has just evolved, and the less meat I consumed I really noticed how I felt when I did eat it, heavy and bloated. And now I know why…IMG_1162[1]

Meat contains absolutely no fibre  and creates a lot of work for your small intestines. It can take up to three days for meat to pass through your system. If you don’t have great digestion it can get stuck there putrefying and creating acidity. It also can cause blockages, so other food gets stuck in your intestines. Really not a nice thought.

Just like the dairy industry, the meat industry paint this lovely wholesome picture for us of cows grazing in wide open fields and happy chickens roaming free but again sadly this is not the case. Traditional farming is a thing of the past due to the worlds mass demand for meat. 85-95% of our meat comes from factory farms and what goes on behind those doors is a horror story.IMG_1165[1]

These animals are kept in poor conditions, pumped with antibiotics and fed on an unnatural diet, I find it deeply saddening. I don’t want to sound like a ranting non meat eater and I would never judge someone on their dietary choices, I would just say be conscious of where you are sourcing your meat from.

I did eat a bit of organic meat occasionally  but I decided….

I love animals and I don’t want to eat them anymore, simple. ♥

♦ Sugar

Sugar is a hard one to dodge, it seems to be in almost everything that is processed. It’s something you really have to keep an eye on when your trying to cut it out. And just because something says no added sugar doesn’t mean to say its not laden with it already.IMG_1161[1]  

I really thought I was onto something as I didn’t really have a sweet tooth, little did I know I was consuming loads of sugar and the worst artificial sweetening agents hidden in all my diet food!

Scientists are now saying that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Side by side brain scans show that the brain will produce as much dopamine (the feel good neurotransmitter) and release opiate-likeIMG_1159[1] substances activating the brains reward system just like cocaine. This is why we feel good  and justified after eating sugar. Scary!

Not only is sugar highly addictive it provides the body with no goodness whatsoever.

Sugar robs our bodies of B vitamins (which give our cells energy to function) disrupts calcium absorption, and has a deleterious effect on our nervous system. It also suppresses immunity and causes an overproduction of digestive enzymes, which in turn makes the pancreas work harder. This in turn makes the liver work harder. On top of that it leads to tooth decay, weak blood, depression, mood swings, has been associated with cancer and makes you fat!

There are so many great natural sugar substitutes (plant derivatives) on the market now that have less impact on blood sugar levels like stevia, xylitol and maple syrup and I absolutely love raw honey.IMG_1172[1]

 

When you start to change the way you eat and to set yourself up for success just think about planning small manageable steps rather than big drastic ones.

Making little changes to your diet can add up to big health benefits.

Diets are not sustainable long term but clean healthy eating is.

Just keep adding all the good stuff and I guarantee that you will start to be aware of the foods that don’t serve you any more and they will drop of your radar too!

Feeling fully energised and vitally healthy comes down to a very simple principle: take out the bad stuff and put in the good stuff.

~Dr Mark Hymen

Essential-Powerhouse-foods

 

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Stick it on your fridge and start adding some of these incredible powerhouse foods to your  world.

Have a wonderfull week.

Alexandra♥