Credit Crunch Nutrition
With the financial crisis pressing in on us and record numbers facing repossessions and redundancies, it's not hard to fathom why supermarkets are the winners in the food price wars. For those of us who can no longer afford the luxury of eating out, two-for-one deals and cheap ready meals are there to fill the gap. Many of us are choosing to switch to supermarket own brands, and sales of supermarket 'basics' staples are one of the few boom areas in food manufacturing.
So what does this change mean for our collective health? Does tightening the purse strings mean foregoing flavour and fattening up on cheap food, or can we find ways of safeguarding our wellbeing (and waistlines) without breaking the bank? And can making a few simple changes to our diets make the difference between burning out and riding out the recession in a happier and healthier way? Follow these tips to stay on top of whatever comes your way:
Buy cheaper cuts of meat.
Luckily it's not just fast food that's flourishing. Some commentators have noticed a pleasing trend emerging in sales of 'slow food' too: customers who are willing to lay aside that extra time are buying cheaper cuts of meat and simply cooking them for longer. Try cutting up neck of lamb and casseroling it with red wine, rosemary, carrots and mushrooms. If you add in pulses such as lentils you can bulk it out even further. If you're unsure what to buy, ask your local butcher who'll be please to advise you. (And don't worry about the fat in these cuts of meat: people have been eating and cooking with animal fat for thousands of years, staying lean and healthy. Modern increases in weight are largely down to people eating sugar!)
Juice your fruit and veg.
This is a great way towards your five-a-day and fresh juice is packed with enzymes to make this a highly absorbable vitamin and mineral 'injection'. Good combinations include celery, pear and ginger or carrot, apple and blackberry. Juicers don't have to be expensive.
In times of stress the body uses up and requires higher levels of nutrients. Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline cause minerals to be lost through the kidneys, so a good multi-vitamin is essential. If you can, add in some magnesium and zinc for immunity. If you can't afford to take tablets, then leafy green vegetables and egg yolks are good sources.
Omega 3 fish oils.
These magic oils aid in maintaining just about every system in the body and are invaluable for manufacturing important chemicals which regulate mood as well as keeping our joints supple and skin healthy. During stressful times our skin can sometimes suffer from breakouts and Omega 3 oils help to reduce inflammation. Happily they also influence appetite in the direction of wanting to eat less!
Drink more water.
It's become a bit of a cliché now, but one of the cheapest and kindest things you can do for your body is to hydrate it. The body is 60% water but around a fifth of us drink almost no water at all! Diuretics such as caffeine just make the problem worse, since they force the body to excrete more water than they donate. If you can, drink eight glasses a day; soups and juices will also help. Water helps the body flush out wastes rather than storing them in tissues and joints, and also helps your mood and concentration. The brain makes the biggest demand on our water reserves; think of a bad hangover as the brain's revenge on a self-imposed drought! Other signs that the body is trying to conserve its water supplies include high blood pressure, dry skin and chronic fatigue.
Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2009. Published with permission. Elizabeth Wells is a freelance writer and is not affiliated with avivahealth.com.