More Sun – Is It Good For You?


Kids Getting Rickets?

Adults with bone problems?

A lack of Vitamin D.

The Medical Discovery of the Century

Fish Tacos

For one thing, in the developed western world more of us are spending more time indoors. Parents tend not to let their kids outside as much as previous generations did. They cite fears of perverts, and the dangers of much increased traffic.  Their fears aren’t entirely groundless, particularly when it comes to the dangers of traffic.

Also, we hear time and time again about the danger of exposure to too much sun.

Most of tend to dover up a bit more, and lather on the sunscreen.

What about food?

Black And White Sun

There’s not a lot of foodstuff that contain much of it. Oily Fish, and food fortified with it, such as some milks.

Recently,  it was suggested that we should go outside, in the full sun, for twenty minutes, before we apply any sunscreen. Is that a good idea?

It could be, except that there are so many factors involved. What kid of complexion do you have? Paler skin absorbs UV (which the skin converts to Vitamin D) a lot quicker than darker skin, as a rule.  What time of day are you in the sun. It’s obviously more powerful at noon, than at sunrise or sunset. What part of the world are you in? The sun is often more powerful at lower latitudes (although those that live in the higher latitudes, will certainly testify to sunburn).

A team of scientists at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research have built a sunlight calculator for this purpose. It takes into account  all the factors mentioned above, and from it you can work out how many minutes you need to stand outside without sunscreen to get your recommended daily dose of D.

Soy – It’s in Everything!

Now it’s true that soy in one form or other is in most processed foodstuffs.

Consequently, it’s got a bad rap from some quarters simply die to its ubiquity.

However, soy is a complete source of protein, and is, in fact, good for you. It’s not just tofu, or miso. There are now some good organic products out there too, such as the Publix Greenwise range of Organic Soy Milk, in a number of flavors. Unlike some soy milks this doesn’t have an overbearing taste of soy; in fact, the vanilla flavor is reminiscent of half and half!

If you have a Publix store nearby, TFGC recommends you try it!

Processed Food Carries Higher Cancer Risks

The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research recently looked at how food affects cancer rates. The study showed that added salt and chemical preservatives and colors increased cancer risks.

Many processed foods can be directly linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer, and too much salt, leads to other complications such as hypertension. Processed foods can often lead to obesity too, which can increase the risk of some cancers.

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Other research has shown that about 30% of all cancer deaths can be attributed to poor diet and exercise routines.

Eating as much fresh fruit, vegetables and lean white meat and wild fish can help in reducing these risks.

Processed Food

We at TGFC shy away from much processed food.

However, not all processed food is bad by any means.

After all, when we cook food at home, we’re processing it. When we make our own sauces, gravies, and dips we’re processing food.

Artichoke Relish

What we mean at TGFC, of course, is food that is highly processed, usually on an industrial scale. This kind of processed food often contains extra sodium to make it taste better; added colors to make it look better, and chemical preservatives to make it last longer.

While we don’t want everything to go bad in five minutes, if we prepare food as we need it, that’s not going to happen in any case. Of course, we can also prepare dishes in advance and refrigerate or freeze them. That way, we don’t need to add extra preservatives anyway!

Some good examples of home produced processed food:

  • Ketchup
  • Sausage
  • Salad Dressings
  • Pickles
  • Jams
  • Bread

Much can be made from locally sourced fresh produce too, often organic. Food that’s in season is often less expensive, and tastes better. You’re also helping the environment by not buying something that has been transported half way around the world, and you’re helping your own local economy at the same time!

Save Money and Do It Yourself

Of course, that is usually said to those who want to maintain their homes, or their car.

It equally applies in the kitchen though.

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Save money by eating out less, and eat more healthily.

Save money by cooking from scratch, and eat more healthily too.

It’s not a lot of use eating at home if all you do is eat take-out items or frozen TV dinners. For one, it won’t save you much money, and secondly, most take out food and packets of TV dinners are highly processed, with lots of added preservatives, colors, sodium and other junk like HFCS.

If you cook from fresh ingredients at home, you know exactly what you’re eating.

If you can buy organic meat, fruit and vegetables, it’ll still be less expensive, far healthier and much more nutritious than buying junk food.

Try planning ahead and you can save even more. For example, a larger chicken can last two days, and you oonly need to cook it once. As long as you properly refrigerate the leftovers you can have a healthy chicken salad the next day, or perhaps make some chicken fried rice (which will have a lot less sodium in than that from the Chinese take out). You an also use wholegrain rice, for added vitamins and fiber.

Try to work out what you’re going to eat for at least a few days, and then you won’t buy too much, and have it go bad before you eat it, particularly vegetables and fruit (as fresh meat can more easily be frozen as-is, whereas vegetables need to be prepared and blanched first before freezing).

Kids Should Be Messy Eaters Sometimes

At TGFC we think it’s important for yourself, and important for your kids to make healthy food choices. Of course one is bombarded with advertisements, some of which are quite misleading in their claims. That cereal may well have extra fiber, but it’s also full of sugar for example.

This makes it difficult to know what to eat yourself, let alone for the kids.

Still, remember that food is meant to be eaten for nourishment, and it’s also meant to be enjoyed. That’s why there are so many recipe books out there.

Check these out from Annabel Karmel.

Good Food For Kids

Don’t become neurotic about food. You’ll pass that on to your kids. They need to experiment. Let them get messy with food. Don’t keep wiping them clean every two seconds either. Certainly train them not to throw their food about everywhere, that’s it’s not a game to do that, but also let them dip their fingers in, and get it around their face a bit. It won’t hurt, and it’ll make meal times more relaxed for everyone involved.

At the end of the day, nothing horrible is going to happen to junior because they ate something solid at seven months, or someone fed them a spoonful of baked beans, and they’ll be on their way to becoming well-adjusted towards food, but with some help from you, able to make good healthy choices, and minimize the consumption of junk processed food products as they get older.