Thursday, 28 February 2008

E is For Eating

Hmmm! Coming up with a pertinent vegetable or fruit starting with E to prepare a recipe proved more difficult than I imagined. Elderberries were a possibility, but wines, jams and herbal concoctions are out of my league. Besides, the red varieties are reputed to be poisonous and my preference runs to blueberries, huckleberries or blackberries. My second hope was eggplant. I’ve had eggplant moussaka, however never made it. On a couple of occasions, I’ve had it cooked on the barbecue: slice the eggplant into 3/8” slices, salt generously and set aside for 20 minutes to allow the moisture to bleed out, lightly brush on olive oil and grill on both sides for two to three minutes. Great with lamb chops.
And then the thought floated across the face of the screen – E is for Eating – which made me consider the loose rules I follow for nutrition and the intake of gastronomic delights.

• Try not to eat alone. Dining is one of humankinds social functions, both the preparation and consuming is eminently more pleasurable when in the company of family or friends.
• Breakfast is important. Running through the morning on an empty tank heightens stress. Apparently, eating some whole grain products in the morning can also facilitate the regulation of blood sugar over the balance of the day.
• Three meals a day minimum. Even better idea is to reduce the size of meals and spread it out during the day – also known as grazing.
• Varied food sources. While some may scoff, using the government food pyramid guides provides an excellent template to ensure a balanced diet.
• Nutrients. Not easy to ensure proper uptake of vitamins, minerals, fibre etc. so here is a site chock full of info.
• Caloric intake. Touchy subject, so the only suggestion is the 15-30-55 (protein, fat, carbohydrates) rather than any fad method. As people age the tendency rises to decrease protein, so a good way to avoid this problem may to make more use of plant protein in the form of peas, beans or other substitutes. Every once in a while when I’m checking my calories, I’ll use NATS to keep track for a week.
• Fatty acids. Trying to maintain the correct 2 to 1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids presents a challenge. Either indulge yourself in a lot more fish or drastically reduce reliance on pre-packaged foods plus kick out the trans fats.
• Slow it down. Reliable evidence suggests taking your time, chewing food thoroughly and some conversation will aid in digestion. Not only will this aid in reducing digestive problems, but also allows the fullness receptors to signal stop before you have a chance to overeat.
• If you really don’t like it, don’t eat it!
• Moderation. Follow the French notion – leave some of the éclair on the plate, the bakeries will bake plenty of fresh ones again tomorrow.
• Good eating is habit forming.

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