Are potatoes bad for you?

Yes and no.

Yes, because usually we eat them in the form of chips or crisps which means they are fried in the doubtful quality oil and have loads of salt. If you’re buying frozen chips or eating them in the pub or restaurant, the chances are they will be highly processed and with lots of additives. Either way, most of the time we have them cooked at high temperatures (too high for too long and carcinogens, such as acrylamide, start forming). Also, many potato products have high glycemic index. And almost always we peel the skin. For these reasons, potato is not even considered a vegetable by many nutritionists.

But no, they are not bad for you. It just depends on how you prepare and eat them. The best way to cook potatoes is lightly steaming – using a minimum amount of water and not throwing it away if there’s any left (water soluble compounds stay exactly there – in the water). Ideally, don’t fry or microwave them and don’t eat them mashed, especially don’t use instant mash (higher GI). Baking is the second best thing but try using lower temperature. And don’t get rid of the skin – that’s where all the fun is! Oh, and don’t eat green potatoes.

The humble potato actually contains a good amount of vitamin C (yes, that’s right!) and a great amino acid profile (surprise – potato has protein!). On top of that it contains B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, iron and obviously fibre. Spuds have lots of energy-giving carbohydrates, and contrary to common belief, not a lot of sugar (as long as you don’t overprocess it)! It fills you up and it’s cheap! What’s there not to like?

There’s even someone eating only potatoes for the whole year – and losing weight! Fair enough, he’s also eating sweet potatoes which are also great. Not that I recommend this particular diet [it’s just interesting as an experiment]! Variety is the key, and there are so many healthful foods out there. Are potatoes better than kale? Hm, probably not. But it doesn’t mean that potatoes don’t belong in the healthy diet.

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Fat is good or fat is bad?

To live we need to obtain certain types and amounts of nutrients from our diet. For example, we need fat. Actually, we need essential fatty acids. How much? Not that much. Around 3% of our total calories of omega-3 and omega-6, preferably in the ratio of 1:1 to 1:4 . Probably way less than what we are consuming now.

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Around a week ago National Obesity Forum released a report encouraging to reduce carbohydrate and increase fat consumption (including saturated fat). Generally, we are advised not to eat too much saturated fat (and limit total fat), so this goes against healthy eating guidelines. NOF report’s authors’ reasoning was that “Current efforts have failed – the proof being that obesity levels are higher than they have ever been, and show no chance of reducing despite the best efforts of Government and scientists.”

And that sort of makes sense. If we live in the society where 71% of people are predicted to be overweight or obese by 2025, if we need charities specifically to tackle obesity AND we’ve been implementing weight loss and health promoting strategies for the past four decades it means we are in trouble and something is not working.

However, I don’t think it’s the guidelines. Quoting dr Mike Knapton from British Heart Foundation (BHF): “This country’s obesity epidemic is not caused by poor dietary guidelines; it is that we are not meeting them.” We are simply not following the advice we’re given! And it’s not just the high levels of fat we’re consuming. It’s also sugar and other junk foods and soft drinks. However, carbohydrates from whole foods and added processed sugar are completely different and shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

Can’t you remember what happened with the last widely popular low carb diet aka Atkins? It’s the same fad all over again. It’s no surprise medical community didn’t approve of this “evidence”. As I mentioned, we do need some essential fat but going high fat is not going to help anyone’s health.

 

 

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Low in iron? See what you can do

In nutritional therapy we try to improve client’s symptoms but more importantly, we want to figure out why they are there. If you have low iron levels in body, you should consider possible reasons.

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  • Do you eat lots of processed foods and dairy? Fast and junk foods are low in nutrients such as iron while dairy (as well as high calcium) can interfere with iron absorption.
  • Do you drink tea and coffee with meals? Both of them can significantly reduce iron absorption.
  • Not enough greens, beans, nuts and seeds and other iron sources? If you’re on a veggie diet, is it well planned?
  • Could it be absorption issues (so many possible gastrointestinal conditions)? Especially suspect it if you’re not vegetarian/vegan, as heme iron in animal foods is generally absorbed easily. If you’re a man with low iron, investigate it, as iron is usually well recycled in the body and you don’t have monthly losses.
  • Could you have internal bleeding that depletes your stores (e.g. long term aspirin use) or do you suffer from heavy menstrual flow (again, why could that be the case?)?
  • Do you donate blood too often (yes, that does happen)?
  • Do you take high doses of supplemental zinc (or calcium)? It can reduce iron absorption.
  • Could it be low thyroid function? Hypothyroidism could be suspected and vice versa when iron levels are low.
  • Do you have an active infection or are you under high level of stress? Are you pregnant? This could show lower Haemoglobin levels but doesn’t necessarily mean you’re iron deficient. You should still look into it!

Either way, make sure the tests investigate not only your Haemoglobin but also serum Ferritin (ideally, serum Transferrin saturation, serum Iron and Total Iron-Binding Capacity as well).

If you’ve been recommended to take iron supplements, find a good quality one and have your levels re-checked in 3 months. Don’t just look for 1-a-day tablet – see what (elemental) iron levels are in it and what form of iron it is. Iron bisglycinate is generally well absorbed but you can also find food state iron (which I personally prefer).

Diet-wise, make sure you consume iron rich foods with vitamin C rich foods. And remember, vitamin C is not just in oranges! Greens, bell peppers, berries, fresh herbs and other fruit and veg are great sources. Green smoothies might be a good idea – you can chuck anything you like in there!

Cooking in cast iron pots and pans can also increase iron levels in the meal, especially if the food is quite acidic (e.g. cooked using tomato sauce).

Have a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses once in a while – it’s rich in iron as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium. I encourage using it as a sweetener (instead of sugar, not on top!) rather than a food – in porridge, when making your own granola, sweetening beverages or in baking.

Avoid eating iron-rich foods with dairy, tea, coffee, bran or other isolated fibre.

And ideally, address the root cause!

P. S. Check out the Lucky Iron Fish

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Update: Plantiful Nutrition available in person!

I’m happy to announce that from now on you can book nutritional consultations in Cirencester Ashcroft Practice. It’s a pleasure to join a team of qualified natural practitioners with a wide range of therapies and knowledge. The appointments can be made by contacting me or the practice.

Look out for some special introductory offers!

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Plantiful Nutrition meets Dr Greger

It was a truly inspiring talk with Dr Greger this past weekend. Dr. Michael Greger is a nutrition-focused medical doctor and an international speaker, known worldwide for his nonprofit website NutritionFacts.org and now his best selling book “How Not to Die” (of which all proceeds go to NutritionFacts.org). He’s showing us how to combat the most common causes of death with a healthy diet.

Aurelija and the Doc

We need more honest and knowledgeable people like him in the medical community. Hopefully he’ll come visit UK again soon! And if you haven’t watched his videos yet, they are short, simple but educational and really funny.

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Healthy eating is for rich people?

It depends how you define healthy. If it’s buying Ella’s or similar books and trying to source all the fancy ingredients, it can be quite pricey.

But as healthy as quinoa is, it is not essential. As is not coconut sugar, raw cacao, shelled hemp seeds, acai powder or coconut water. It’s about choosing whole or less processed foods that have high nutrient content.

Very often, it actually depends on our priorities. I’m not talking about people who live in poverty though, there are some who cannot choose. However, to many of us, it’s a matter of choice – going out for a coffee (or going out in general – including the costs of make up, outfits, taxi or car drive, parking, restaurant meals etc), a glass or a bottle of wine here and there, a cigarette, a holiday trip, a cinema ticket, a lottery ticket, a new bag, a magazine, a book, a piece of chocolate, an ice cream, a take-away… You could say that any of these things are a part of life, but for some people it’s the chia seeds instead of a few cups of coffee.

You can always save money choosing healthy food over something else (I mean indulgences, not bills or things you really need). It’s about what’s more important to you. And if it’s a new bag, that’s fine – but it doesn’t mean you can’t afford healthy food – you just can’t afford to buy healthy food AND the bag, therefore you choose the bag. And I’m not judging you – just saying that healthy foods are not just for rich, privileged people. I believe we should make healthy eating one of our priorities though and see it as an investment (in ourselves).

So you’d like to eat healthy but don’t want to break the bank?

1. Buy in bulk – whole grains and their flour, beans, seeds, nuts, powders, spices and other dry stuff store well. Also, choose foods that still have nutritional benefits but are cheaper – e.g. instead of quinoa go for buckwheat, instead of chia – try flax. My favourite website for bulk foodstuff is probably www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk but there’s also www.realfoods.co.uk and www.healthysupplies.co.uk. Please let me know if you have any favourites!

2. If you have freezer space – same goes for veggies and some fruit that you can order in bulk, chop and freeze (or dry if you happen to have a dehydrator). Or look for fellow-minded people and group up. Search for organic fruit and veg wholesalers (or farmers) in your area and ask if they’d deliver to individuals. You might have to buy whole cases but a box of apples, oranges or a sack of potatoes can easily sit and wait until you’re ready to eat them, while blueberries can be quickly frozen.

3. Don’t buy processed (or even peeled, chopped, sliced, partially cooked) foods and cook at home (obviously!). Bring your own lunch to work. Make your dressings and sauces, pesto and hummus. Bake your own bread or wraps. Don’t buy cans of beans – soak and cook them yourself. Give a go at making snack bars (they can be quite expensive but not if you produce them yourself!). Try mixing your own breakfast cereal/muesli mix or granola. If you can’t be without chocolate – why not make your own with quality ingredients (it will be cheaper than most raw organic bars in the shops)? Blend your own almond/cashew milk (it’s even tastier) and if you have a good blender/food processor you could make nut/seed butter. Whenever you see something on the supermarket’s shelf, think: could I make it myself? Would it be cheaper and/or healthier?

4. Look for discounts (and use the coupons, loyalty cards and any points systems). Compare prices and shop around (e.g. through www.mysupermarket.co.uk). Check your local Lidl, Aldi and Asian/Caribbean/Eastern European shops. You could even have a separate email address and sign up for many retailers’ newsletters, just to get their special offers.

5. Grow your own – I know I know, you don’t have time or space. Then grow on the windowsill – at least have a pot of parsley or basil (fresh herbs can be quite expensive yet way superior to dried). Sprout seeds (you only need to rinse them twice a day). Grow micro-greens. Look into community gardens and allotments. Or even guerrilla gardening.

6. Have you ever heard of freeganism or similar ideas for free food?

7. And look for friendly and free health tips online, e.g. on Plantiful Nutrition! 🙂

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God made food, the devil [made] the cooks, or why gourmet food is not healthy

Nature provided us with plentiful sources of food, and yet somehow we’re as far from it as possible: starting with hybridisation of crops throughout the history, now GMOs, continuous intensive agriculture (not even talking about battery animal farms!), and ending with highly processed, “molecular” and junk foods. But it’s not just the obvious junk foods that cause concern.

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The problem is (and I won’t be popular for it): many people think they eat healthily, when in fact very often they’re not! We’re so used to our ways (parent influence, traditions, recipes, TV cooking shows, restaurant meals) we don’t realize that just because we cook at home, from scratch and include some vegetables, it does not automatically make it healthy.

And when it comes to eating out, it’s even worse. This quote of dr. Klaper describes it quite well: “When my friends ask me to go out for dinner, I say, hmmm, do I want Italian flavoured salt, sugar and fat? Or maybe Chinese salt, sugar and fat? I haven’t had East Indian salt, sugar and fat in a while! Ooh, Thai flavoured salt, sugar and fat is really nice…”

Due to food shortages common in the past, we naturally lean towards calorie-dense foods, so it makes sense that we are attracted to sugar and fat. And then comes their little buddy salt! There is no one opinion on why we’re addicted to it: it might have something to do with electrolyte-water balance or need for minerals (either way, it’s addictive).

Have you ever tried quitting sugar? I bet that was hard. Not only it’s seriously addictive, sugar is in so many products! And it’s not just the obvious sweets, chocolates, cakes, jams and soft drinks (and syrups in your coffee!). It’s also in breakfast cereals, ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad cream and various other sauces and dressings, chutneys, baked beans, bread, yogurt, snack bars, many alcoholic drinks and hundreds of packaged meals that otherwise would seem savoury (soup, chicken and rice, sushi, sandwiches and salads). Why is it there? Because it tastes good. We like it – we’ll buy more!

When it comes to salt… Health nutters use pink Himalayan or Celtic sea salt, regular people use regular table salt but we do use it. It can make the plainest salad or soup into a tasty meal, and it also adds a nice touch to a chocolate or caramel. Salt actually irritates our mouth and stimulates saliva production, so we can taste our food better, and our appetite grows as we eat (even when we might already be full). And after a while we get thirsty – it’s a natural body’s response, trying to dilute the salt as in high concentrations it can be toxic to the body. Sadly, many people confuse this thirst with hunger!

And my favourite – the fat. It has the most calories of all macronutrients (9 kcal per 1 gram) and is very easily stored in the body (unless in ketogenic conditions). There are essential fats that our bodies can’t do without but we learned that a bit of oil or other fat here and there adds some nice flavour and makes us fuller (who doesn’t like the smell of onion frying in some olive oil?). Not only it slows down the digestion, high-fat meals have been shown to impair arterial function and blood flow, and many fats (rich in omega-6, saturated and trans-fatty acids in many vegetable oils and animal products) increase inflammation in the body and predispose us to many illnesses, e.g. cardiovascular disease. Even olive oil can affect arterial lining!

Are you sure you’re not using some of them or a combination to make foods tastier? We are taught to eat that way through our life experiences (starting with parents feeding us!), and if we try to switch to “healthier” foods, they just don’t taste good, something’s missing!

The good news is: our taste buds adapt. If you haven’t had sugar for a while, you can notice straight away that something is too sweet (or even sickly!). If you’ve been avoiding salt for some time, a slice of bread or any meal in a restaurant might taste incredibly salty. If you haven’t had much fat lately, a high-fat meal might not digest very easily and can make you feel heavy.

What we often do, is blame one of them and use the others. Most of us know what happened when Western populations were advised to eat less fat: low-fat (but super high in sugar!) foods arose. When we want foods low in sugar, most foods will be heavily based on protein and fat (and most likely lots of additives and sweeteners which has problems of its own; plus diet coke is not diet at all!). And when the doctor recommends reducing salt intake for our blood pressure, we go for low-sodium salt that is highly processed and carries additional dangers to our health. We can survive on many ways of eating and restrictions/overconsumption of multiple nutrients because our bodies use their regulatory mechanisms to reduce the damage, but at some point they can’t keep up, and that’s one of the reasons we see so many illnesses in the ageing population.

OK, now seriously. Life is not just black and white. Food is and should be a pleasure in our lives (maybe not the main one though?). And it is hard to leave old habits behind. Start small in making healthy choices. Incorporate more healthy foods. Reduce the amounts of health-damaging products that you consume. As on of my favourite gardeners/health promoters John Kohler says, there’s always good, better and best. If “good” is what you can achieve, good. However, if you’re one of those people who strive for the “best”, go for it. And if you need any support on your journey, I’m here for you.

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What’s so good about protein powder?

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I love food! I love food shopping, cooking, eating, sharing it with other people, talking about it, learning new things, researching its health benefits, challenging myself to make tasty AND healthy dishes. That’s why I do what I do. But to me, food is first of all whole food (a piece of fruit, vegetable, nuts, grains…), or dishes made using whole ingredients, not just their components.

For example, sugar is an extracted carbohydrate part of the food. And we know it’s no good for us. Oil is another example of extracted substance – fat. It’s very high in calories (1 gram of oil contains 9 kcal, whereas 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein has 4 kcal) and most oils have low nutritional value (and possible downsides – I’ll tell you sometime later). When you think about it, protein powder is similar to those two in a sense that it involves a certain amount of processing and has lost its water, fibre and most nutritional value – vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

I mean we could reconstitute them all into food: add sugar, oil, protein, fibre, water and some multivitamin, make a shake and have a “balanced” meal (and they do exist!). But doesn’t it make more sense to eat whole foods and enjoy their beneficial properties as they appear in nature (some of them can’t possibly be squeezed into those components)?

For some reason most people in our society believe that protein is somehow special and we need more of it than anything else. And we do need protein. A huge part of our bodies are made of protein – our skin, hair, bones, eyes, internal organs and structures, some hormones and enzymes etc. Well, to be more precise, it’s made of the amino acids, as body generates its own protein from dietary and recycled amino acids. And our clever bodies are actually very good at absorbing and then recycling amino acids!

OK, so how much dietary protein do we need? To be honest, no one knows for sure, and there are many theories, but the most accepted general rule is that we should get 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (or 0.36 g per pound) of body weight (maybe a bit more in recovery, for athletes, children or pregnant women – when there is more growth happening). It is very easily achievable, and most people eat in excess of that. If you’re eating whole foods and you’re getting enough calories, it’s almost impossible not to get recommended amount of protein. Every food contains protein, even potatoes, avocados or oranges, while beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, mushrooms, greens and many vegetables have good amounts of it. And actually, too much protein can be a problem as your body has to get rid off it which creates toxic waste and puts pressure on your kidneys (I won’t go into acidity side of it just yet).

So, the big question: do we need protein powders?

Some of us might, for example, people with degenerative illnesses or in recovery, not able to consume enough calories and protein. Not getting enough protein means your body breaking down its own protein – starting with muscle and finishing with internal organs (heart is also made of protein!). Same can be applied if you’re eating lots of processed foods, mainly carbohydrates and fat (you’re probably OK  for protein if all you’re eating is chicken nuggets or bacon and eggs; in that case, the question is, are you actually OK?).

Some of us could do without it, but it can be convenient in certain situations, for example, for people who want to build muscle and want to consume their protein at certain times when food might not be available (e.g. straight after workout). Or if you generally don’t have time to cook and eat. It’s not ideal but it’s better than nothing!

However, most of us probably don’t need extra protein. If you’re not sure, go to cronometer.com and check how much protein you’re already consuming. You can even expand and see if you’re getting enough of all essential amino acids.

Now here I have to acknowledge that I do use some processed foods, as it is hard to avoid them (and they make life easier). Flour is already processed (even if it’s buckwheat, quinoa or what not) and has lost some of its nutritional value (that’s why wheat flour in UK has to be fortified). Sundried tomatoes or dried fruit (or anything dried, really) is processed. It’s extremely difficult to avoid oil and quite hard not to have added sugar, both of which are heavily processed, as mentioned earlier.

So, some processed foods can still be incorporated into a healthy diet. For example, cold pressed flax seed oil contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids (just make sure to keep it in the fridge or even freezer), and coconut sugar contains some vitamins and minerals (unlike cane sugar, beet sugar or heaven forbid high fructose corn syrup), extra fibre might help some people with their bowel motility, vegetable or green juice can give you a nutrient boost, and protein powder… well, it can have benefits too (for instance, protein brownies: if you’re going to eat this dessert, you might make it a little bit more complete).

It’s all about making choices, as they are so widely available in our world. Make sure to pick a good brand of protein powder, if you’re going to use it, and I of course recommend a plant-based one! Or maybe even some sort of green powder (e.g. spirulina is almost 60% protein)?

 

 

 

 

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Why I’m not a Paleo diet fan

If you eat Paleo and you’re happy, I’m happy for you. If you heard of it and unsure if that’s something for you, get a few different perspectives.

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For those of you who don’t know much about Paleo diet it’s based on the foods that have been consumed by early humans in Stone Age, prior to agriculture, consisting mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and excluding salt, dairy, legumes, grains, potatoes and processed foods.

However, I find a few issues in it. First, it’s called Paleo (also primal or caveman) diet because our paleolithic ancestors ate a certain way, therefore we’re trying to mimic that. Why go to Stone Age? Why not go even beyond that when our digestive system as we know it formed millions of years ago (which resembles the big apes the most that are meant to deal with huge amounts of plant matter, mostly leaves, fruits, nuts and seeds)? http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/human-ancestors-were-nearly-all-vegetarians/ (It’s a long but very interesting article that also touches a bit on our and our ancestors’ gut microbiome and its effect on us). Who decides which period of our history is “the best”?

Even if we try and live like Paleolithic people, we simply can’t. The foods now are so different – factory farm (or even grass-fed organic) bred animals are nothing like wild animals back then, and your regular supermarket mono-culture grown broccoli or carrot (even if organic) is nothing like their wild “ancestors”. Also, the food was ripe and fresh, no preservatives were used, no chemicals sprayed. Not even talking about the fresh air and water that they enjoyed, nature they lived in and our modern time stress-free life they had. It’s impossible to re-create that environment. And would you really want to? It had negative sides too.

OK, so we’re trying to come as close as possible to their diet? Archeological evidence shows that there is no one Paleolithic diet: people were eating what was available in their region (if you’re really interested in what your ancestors ate, you can do some genetic testing). Of course, they ate wild animals, but it wasn’t the predominant source of calories (especially in more temperate climates where plant foods were abundant). They did however eat grains, legumes and tubers that Paleo diet doesn’t involve, and there was no oil that is eaten liberally in today’s Paleo diet. The plant foods were hard, fibrous, bitter and low in calories (but very high in phytochemicals!), the animals were lean and all parts of them were eaten (guts, organs, bone marrow). Eggs were hard to come across. Listen to the archaeologist talk about true Paleolithic diets.

I guess, to be as close to Paleo as we can would mean eating lots of vegetables, fruits, greens, nuts and include some animal foods once in a while (some insects, anyone? frogs? or mice?). But that’s not what’s advertised in Paleo movement – it’s very heavily based on animal products. Actually, in this short video Mic. the Vegan shows how his whole food plant-based diet resembles true Paleolithic diet more than modern Paleo diets when broken down into nutrients. Or if you prefer reading, that’s what dietitians Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina say.

What is more, why do we focus on the ancestral nutrition so much? We say because Paleolithic people were fit, healthy and had no heart disease. Well they were fit because they were very physically active – they had to walk and climb in search of food, run from predators etc. All for survival! Sometimes they starved, too. However, most of them were not very lucky to live until old age – that’s when heart disease usually switches on. Don’t we know better now, with all the science and stuff? We live comfortably in most climate zones, with central heating, clothes, supermarkets, ovens, blenders, nutrition and recipe books and TVs that show the Discovery channel…

When it comes to foods like grains and legumes – they are full of nutrients that we suddenly would be cutting out. And these are some of the healthiest foods that are associated with lowest rates of disease! Potatoes (not in the form of chips or crisps) are also full of nutrition. Of course, you can have a “modified” Paleo diet and include some of these “forbidden” foods, but what’s the point then (there’s also “modified” Atkins, it doesn’t mean it’s any better)? Shouldn’t we just eat healthily? And with the environmental pollutants so widely spread and concentrating in living tissues (especially fish and seafood) doesn’t it make sense to eat as low on the food chain as possible, I mean, eat more plants?

So is there anything I like about Paleo diet? Of course: it does get rid of processed unhealthy foods, salt, sugar and dairy products (although I have met “Paleo” people that still use butter/milk/whey protein powder) and it does encourage exercise and eating vegetables: that alone is a positive step from a standard Western diet. And truth to be told, some people can be sensitive to grains or pulses (a radical example would be Coeliac disease but there are many milder sensitivities), in which case avoiding them might be a good idea. That’s why we need an individual approach to nutrition and not to follow diet trends on the media that might have doubtful long-term effects on health.

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Why I don’t peel my veggies

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Once I had a guest staying for a few days who kindly offered to cook dinner one night. However, I had to painfully watch how he was “peeling” the carrots – chopping off four-five thick slices that were considered peels. At that time I suggested using the peeler or just scraping off the thin layer, and he was impressed: “I never thought of that”.

However, since then I started wondering, why are we peeling vegetables at all? It kind of looks simple: there is soil and dirt on the top layer therefore it’s inedible. It must be safer that way. But we are becoming so meticulous about it, don’t you think? Mostly, we do it out of habit.

There are a few reasons I don’t peel most of my vegetables (and fruits) anymore:

1. I see it as waste. So many people in the world haven’t got enough food, and I know it doesn’t make them any fuller that I don’t peel vegetables but at least I know I’m not wasting precious food, even little bits of it.

2. I am lazy. I eat a lot of vegetables, so peeling all of them would just take too much time and efforts.

3. I like the taste and texture better. I actually prefer potatoes or squash in their skins – it adds a little crunch and firmness.

4. Extra fibre! Most health specialists advise us to eat more of it – there’s your chance!

5. Finally and most importantly, most antioxidants and phytonutrients are actually in the skin. Peeling it is robbing yourself of those wonderful nutrients, more so if the skin has colour pigments, e.g. aubergine. We’re throwing away the best part!!!

Now what do I do with those veggies?

I buy organic – so there are no harmful chemicals that might lurk on the skin (and inside) of the produce (if I got something non-organic in most cases I will peel it). I wash them well and scrub thoroughly (especially root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, beetroot, parsnips). I still cut off bits that are damaged, dried up, truly inedible or hard to clean (e.g. onion, celeriac). I make sure I cook them properly, and if I’m eating them raw, I double wash them. And of course, chew properly!

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