When I just started thinking about eating healthier, I would read about healthy ingredients, and then have no idea what to make with them. Plus, many recipes I found turned out not to be tasty, or to have lots of other unhealthy ingredients added. So, I decided to write healthy recipes that taste good too! But, sometimes it can be handy to just have a list of healthy ingredients. A friend asked if I could write out the ultimate list of healthy foods. Of course! Here they are:
1. Include sweet potato in your diet at least twice a month, especially in the winter for better mood, better skin and an good source of vitamin D. Sweet potato was one of the main foods of the old Okinawans.
2. Eat avocado once a week, especially in the winter for a source of important healthy fats as well as to keep your skin hydrated from the inside in harsh weather conditions. Ps. if your skin is dry, avoid soap and instead have a luke-warm bath in which you added 2 spoonfulls of organic olive oil (and watch out for slippery bath afterwards). Skin health here we come!
3. Hugely improve your nutrition with cholorophyll by eating more leafy greens (salad, kale, spinach, cabbage, sea weed) or taking a Spirulina supplement (see point 4).
4. If you are looking for a vitamin supplement, get away from cheap and expensive drug store vitamins and minerals. Instead order organic Spirulina (I did a lot of research – Green Origin is a good brand of spirulina tablets). Start by taking 1 per day before breakfast or lunch, move up to taking 2 or 3 per day max. Some recommend 6 per day, but this is really way too much if we go out on a limb and assume you also eat other nutritious food and are not solely dependent on spirulina for your vitamins.
5. Cook on sesame oil (nutty flavour) or coconut oil (coconutty smell) instead of other vegetable oils. These are healthy oils that are also suitable for cooking, baking and frying. Vegetable oils such as sunflower oil are a huge source of Omega-6, the pro-inflammation fatty acids. Also, you should never buy an Omega-6 supplement – most of us get too much Omega-6 from our diet already, and it is pro-inflammatory.
6. Rule of thumb for organic. If you buy all your food organic, that can get quite pricey. Scientifically speaking, organic vegetables are not better for your health than non-organic vegetables. Eating vegetables is the important part. My rule of thumbs is: if I eat it raw, I like it to be organic, if I am going to cook it, it’s okay if it’s not organic (because the heating process will break some of the chemicals). Meat should always be organic, mostly because the animals have had much better living conditions, but also because of the hormones, antibiotics, grain & meat diet (instead of grass diet) that is unnatural to them. Organic meat can get very pricey. I end up not eating meat every day (which is actually healthier) because otherwise it would be too expensive.
7. Eat a portion of steamed organic broccoli at least twice per month. This is probably the healthiest thing you can do for your body all throughout the year. The great thing about broccoli is that it makes a great side-dish to almost any meal.
8. Buy almonds, pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts from a nut specialist store and eat a handful of them every couple of days. Almonds are an excellent source of B vitamins and are hence not only good for your nerve cells and your ability to tolerate stress but also for the health of your skin, nails and hair. If you have brittle nails you will definitely see an improvement after consuming a handful of almonds each day!
9. Eat raw tomato, at least one a day during sun exposure. Lycopene in tomato greatly protects the skin from sun damage! This means that it helps prevent wrinkels and even skin cancer (don´t forget the sun screen during extreme sun exposure though!).
10. Especially if you love dairy products, switch to organic. Regular dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese) are not only full of antibiotics and hormones (used in non-organic dairy industry), but often also contain carcinogenic colour (E-100 numbers) and flavour additives (MSG may contribute to a high risk of mental illness, such as Parkinson and Alzheimer by depleting glutamate reserves in the brain). If you love dairy, you are probably eating multiple dairy foods per day, and might be putting your health at risk. So, if you love dairy, switch to organic! 😎 P.s. organic doesn’t have to have a label – if it’s from a small scale farm where animals have been treated well and fed their natural diet, then you’re good!
11. Never use garlic powder. It really does not have the amazing properties (or flavor) of real garlic. While real garlic is awesome and super healthy! Buy that awesome clove of garlic and chop it up. Gosh it’s worth it. Mmmmm. Throw garlic and onion in almost all of your savoury dishes. You should be eating onions and garlic at least 3 times a week.