Need-to-know tips for healthy eating
Question: I am an active 24-year-old, with a mainly plant-based diet, who consciously watches the types of food I put in my body. Over the past few years I have seen a dramatic difference in the thickness of my hair (hair loss), a change in nail quality and the feeling of constant tiredness. I was wondering if you had any suggestions that I can incorporate into my dayto-day living to improve my overall health. Thanks, Nicola.
Hi Nicola, the symptoms that you are describing can be attributed to iron, zinc or protein deficiency.
When following a plant based diet with small (or no) amounts of animal proteins you need to ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of these nutrients.
Increasing your intake of organic lean red meat (beef or lamb) and eggs will help you achieve a higher absorption of these nutrients.
Otherwise increasing the following plant-based sources will help too: Iron: Leafy greens, broccoli, dried apricots, pumpkin seeds. Zinc: Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews. Protein: Lentils, chia seeds, quinoa, brown rice.If you wish to exclude animal products from your diet completely then it can be helpful to see a qualified practitioner who can monitor your dietary intake of these nutrients and help you to supplement if necessary. Question: Can I get your help on tips and example week planner for how to eat healthy while on a budget. I have $140 to feed two people a week. Many thanks, Jo.
Hi Jo, $140 per week for two people is more than enough to purchase whole foods that serve your health.
When shopping, focus on filling your shopping cart with plants – plenty of inseason vegetables, some fruit, legumes, eggs, small amounts of meat and fish, and nuts and seeds.
A diet high in plant foods and low in processed foods and animal products saves money and is great for your health. It is often the purchase of foods like fizzy drinks, packaged snack foods, takeaway coffees and other convenience foods that can tip the budget, and these foods don’t offer nutritional value for their price.
If you can, try to shop locally at farmers’ markets or fruit and vege stores to get deals on local and in-season produce. Try to purchase meat in bulk and store it in the deep freezer for use in slow-cooked casseroles throughout the winter. When you slow cook meat you don’t need the more expensive cuts.
Include some meat-free meals each week, too, lower your food costs.
Make sure your shopping trolley contains plenty of plant-based produce. Libby to ask.drlibby@ fairfaxmedia.co.nz. Please note, only a selection of questions can be answered.