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We are what we eat

21 October 2016

You can eat your "5 a day" as a nice tasty smoothy, writes Kathryn Ware from the Senior Citizen's Media Group, who offers some juicy tips for taking on more fruit and veg

We know what foods are good for our health. Sugar is a non-food so of no benefit – but if, like me, you are addicted to sugar then withdrawal is a battle, although you could use artificial sweeteners. Dieting has been a way of life for me since my early twenties and weight control has been a constant battle. Until these last few years my yo-yoing weight didn’t seem to affect my health but now it is a very important factor to consider.

Even though we know what foods are beneficial to our health and those which are not, we have seen much in the media concerning a healthy diet. The government started to warn people about unhealthy eating habits and I remember well the "5 A DAY" campaign suggesting we eat a variety of at least five fruits and/or vegetables a day.

Watching what we eat is necessary at any age but as we get older it becomes more important for us to follow a healthy diet. A juicer is a good investment. I bought a juicer called a Nutribullet and have had such fun with the different recipes. Well actually I don’t think of them as "recipes". I use a combination of fruits and vegetables. It depends on what is available and, if possible, can buy organic. Organic fruits and veggies are more expensive but ingesting the chemicals sprayed on non-organic produce must cause health problems.

Soft fruits

Using soft fruits like raspberries, strawberries or blackberries with the juice of an orange or lemon, together with apple, spinach and banana is great. Pineapple and mango are good but, for me, they are too sweet. Carrot, beetroot and celery can be added to the fruits or used with spinach, celery and cucumber in a vegetable juice.

Diabetics have to be very careful of the sugar content of the drinks. As long as you take a bit of care with your ingredients, and monitor the amount of carbohydrates and sugar, these blended drinks are a great way to get in multiple servings of fruits and vegetables, along with many essential nutrients.

For years, nutritionists and doctors have preached that a low-fat diet is the key to losing weight and preventing health problems. While bad fats can wreck your diet and increase your risk of certain diseases, good fats protect your brain and heart. In fact, healthy fats – such as omega-3s – are vital to your physical and emotional health.

Each day I eat a spoonful of coconut oil. Kept in the fridge it hardens and is much tastier to eat. I have a friend who adds coconut oil to hot chocolate and if I decide to have porridge for breakfast, I add a tablespoon of coconut oil and put fresh fruit on top.

I like to live by the mantra of "living foods for a living body". Pre-packed processed food is dead, so cannot give life. I buy fresh organic fruits and vegetables and although I am not a vegetarian, I have cut back quite a lot on meats. I love fish so quite often for my main meal of the day I will have a jacket potato, salad and either fish, meat or perhaps cheese or egg. As a substitute for potato I love to prepare quinoa.


One "food" which really is a superfood is wheatgrass. Wheatgrass juice is an affective healer because it contains all minerals known to humanity, and vitamins A, B-Complex, C, E and K. It is extremely rich in proteins, and contains 17 amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

Taken by itself I mix Wheatgrass powder with water. To mix well, I put a heaped spoonful of the powder into an empty glass jar, fill to the top with water, put the lid on and shake. If mixing with my fruit and/or veggies I just put a spoonful into the Nutribullet and blend. I buy mine from a small health-food store but Holland & Barratt stock it. You can also purchase it online.

When juicing, it is necessary to control the intake of sugar as with so many fruits the high sugar content could prove to be a problem. People who have been diagnosed with diabetes have to be especially careful. You can find many suggestions online for combinations of fruits and vegetables which make delicious healthy drinks. When you purchase a juicer, a recipe book is usually included for those who do not use a computer or do not have an internet connection.

Here are some recipe suggestions for people with diabetes or anyone who wishes to reduce their sugar intake. These drinks are called "smoothies" because soya milk is used, replacing water. Also they suggest the use of an artificial sweetener. Personally I do not use sweeteners or soya milk but they look absolutely delicious so I am extremely tempted!


If you have diabetes, you can find specialist advice about fruit juices and smoothies from Diabetes UK here.


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