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Fighting a losing battle

Life's unfair. You eat healthily; you exercise regularly, but you cannot lose weight. You live healthily; you eat a balanced diet, but you're plagued with fatigue. You're doing everything 'right'. So where and how can you be going wrong?

by: Janet Steer | 26 Jul 2007

Unfortunately, in life, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If you're not achieving the results you desire, perhaps you are doing something wrong, despite being told and having convinced yourself to the contrary.

But, in your defence, what are you supposed to believe? The world is filled with recommendations, yet contradictions, success stories, but disastrous endings.

It's human nature to not see what we don't want to see. Who wants to believe that their morning cuppa should be done away with? Or that their evening tipple should be toppled?

But the good news is that perhaps these are not our stumbling blocks. Rather, our misconceptions, that we’ve never really challenged, are really to blame.

Soya think you're on the right track?
How often have you been told to eliminate dairy from your diet and replace it with soya? And whilst I fully support and agree with a reduction in dairy consumption, I do not believe that it should be replaced wholeheartedly with a barrage of soy products.

Soy milk, soy cheese, soy yoghurt and soy burgers are highly processed products. They are not the traditional staples such as tofu, tempeh and natto that are eaten in the East.

The chemicalised soy products that we associate with health can be extremely difficult to digest. They may give rise to a whole host of new symptoms that we would never think to blame on the soy.

So whilst soy products may assist in a transition from dairy food, do not overdo them. Aim to eat the best quality soy products available, preferably fermented; and eat them in moderation.

On a protein high?
If bacon, burgers, butter and cheese have made you half the man you used to be, it's time to reconsider your health regime.

Perhaps your astounding weight loss is your absolute measure of happiness, but it's time to think beyond scales and bikinis and assess whether your Atkins adventure really is sustainable.

Be kind to your kidneys. High protein diets put extra strain on your kidneys. Be considerate to your friends. Bad breath and listlessness were not part of the package that initially attracted them to you. In the long term (if you last that long), it's just not worth it.

We need complex carbohydrates. So rather than getting more intimate with our four legged friends, nourish yourself with wholegrains and fresh vegetables, and give your body the quality fuel that it so desperately needs.

Free from the shackles of sugar?
The key to good health is being able to distinguish between good-quality carbohydrates and poor-quality carbohydrates. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate; a poor-quality carbohydrate.

It plays with our moods and pads our waistlines. So if sugar is out, what is the right alternative? We need sweetness in our lives. Do we replace sugar with a non-nutritive alternative? No. Artificial sweeteners are not the route to go.

They are pure chemicals with suspected carcinogenic effects. They play with our minds and mess with our metabolism. Forget the diet drinks, the saccharine coffee and the canderal chocolate.

Don't forget fruit and factor in rice syrup, barley malt, honey and maple syrup. And remember that sugar-free often means full-fat.

Start to question what you 'believe'... experiment and experience. If you're guilty of the above, implement some changes. Feel the difference.

* Janet Steer is a graduate of the Kushi Institute in Becket, Massachusetts. She is recognized by Michio Kushi, the founder of modern Macrobiotics and the Kushi Institute, as a recognized Macrobiotic Teacher and Counselor. She is also Food24's resident wholefood expert.


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