Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby, particularly during the first few months. It’s designed to contain all the nutrients your baby needs; its growth factors build muscle and promote healing. It helps fight against viruses and bacteria and builds healthy bacteria in the gut. It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory.
In the first few days of life, your mammary glands produce colostrum, one of the most important immune tonics ever discovered. It helps to guard the baby against colds, flu, polio, staph infections and viruses.
However, the quality of breast milk can vary, depending on your diet. The right nutrients in your diet will ensure that your milk contains the vitamins and minerals your baby needs to thrive. It’s also important to eat organic food, as the toxins and pesticides in food will transfer to your breast milk.
While you can read very prescriptive advice as to how to introduce foods to your baby, you should also follow your instinct when introducing your baby to solid food. Give your baby tiny tastes, and encourage him/her to explore. Leaning new tastes is a great adventure that can be a life-long journey if the child is encouraged. You can give a bone to suck on, as bone marrow is an important source of readily-absorbable fats for growth. Organic, free-range eggs are also a great source of nutrients.
There are some foods you should never to give your baby. You should avoid all grains, as babies don’t develop the amalyse that helps them digest grains until after their first year. When you do introduce grains, it’s a good idea to mix the grain with a mashed ripe banana, as this helps with digestion. You should avoid any foods containing soy, which has been shown to be an anti-nutrient, that is, it reduces the body’s ability to absorb minerals from food.
Above all, it’s important to help your baby develop a taste for a wide variety of nutritious food. Avoid eating sugar and processed food while you’re breast-feeding. Make sure you have a wide variety of highly nutritious, tasty food available as your child grows, and keep processed foods and sugar out of your house.
We all know that fruits are good for us. They contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fibre. But can you overdose? Yes! Too much of anything will overwhelm your body. Fruits have about three times the average calorie count of vegetables, and because of their flavour, it’s easy to go overboard.
Fruit is best had in season – this is the best way to know that you’re having the right fruit at the right time of the year for your body’s needs. Check out our seasonal fruit and vegetable chard for more information.
While all fruits contain nutrients, there are some really powerful fruits:
- Kiwi fruit is a vitamin C powerhouse. It also contains enzymes that break down proteins, so it’s a great contributor to bowel regularity without being a laxative.
- Blueberries are little nutritional powerhouses. They have the highest antioxidant value of any fruit, and also contain serious quantities of vitamin B6, C and potassium. Studies have linked their anti-inflammatory and free radical fighting properties to helping decrease blood pressure and protecting against a range of illnesses.
- Pomegranates have been famous for thousands of years as a ‘super fruit’. Not only are they a great source of dietary fibre, but they help boost your immune system, improve circulation and offer protection from cancers. They’re rich in vitamin C, many of the B-complex groups of vitamins such as pantothenic acid, folates, pyridoxine and vitamin K, along with minerals such as copper, potassium and manganese. Best of all, they have a wonderful ‘tangy’ taste that complements both sweet and savoury food.
- Avocado: Yes, it’s really a fruit! It’s high in healthy fats, and it contains nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. It actually contains a substance (beta-sitosterol) that has been observed to help maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels. It also has phytochemicals that may help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, along with vitamin K to help support bone health.
So, if fruit is good, is fruit juice better? Our recommendation is that you should consume whole fruit wherever possible. Click here to read more.
Your basic body shape is genetic. This means you can’t change your fundamental shape, and you will feel best, and maintain the best balance of wellness when you eat the foods that suit your body. Different body types store fat differently, and in different areas of your body.
Eating certain foods to change body structure is futile. Traditional Tibetan Medicine advises that you eat for your particular constitution rather than your body shape. Then your body will go to its natural, healthy shape.
Answer these questions to find out which body type dominates for you. You will probably have some answers in each column, but usually one column dominates.
Discover Your Body Typology
Traditional Tibetan Medicine questionnaire
|Wind||BILE (FIRE)||PHLEGM (WATER)|
|I have thin, small body||I have medium size, athletic body||I am stout, full-figured|
|I have dry, rough skin and hair||Warm skin, strong smelling sweat, greasy hair||Soft smooth, moist skin, thick strong hair|
|I often feel cold, I don’t like windy and cold places||My body temperature is hot, I don’t like sunny and dry places||I feel cold, I don’t like humid and cold places|
|I am creative and communicative person||I am a good leader, decisive, energetic and goal oriented||I am calm, quiet, introverted person|
|My mood changes often; I can be hypersensitive, anxious and insecure||I lose my temper quickly, can be aggressive or proud||It’s difficult to get me out of balance, but I can be obstinate|
|I have light, short, easily disturbed sleep or insomnia||Good sleep, wake up in the morning easily, vivid dreams||Heavy sleep, difficult to get up in the morning, don’t remember dreams|
|I have unstable, irregular appetite||I have good appetite, fast digestion||I have slow digestion|
|I like warm, spicy and heavy food||I don’t like too hot and oily food, prefer bitter and sweet taste||I like sweet, salty and spicy food|
|I suffer from constipation, bloating, pain in the lower back||I have tendency towards food intoxications, diarrhoea, headaches, inflammation||My Main complaints are indigestion, water retention, chronic metabolic disorders|
If you have a Bile body type, you probably have hyper-metabolism – excess bile and heat condition. If you eat very spicy foods, sugar, citrus, or drink alcohol, this will tend to create more heat in your body. This can contribute to feelings of anxiety, anger and a challenging attitude. These foods can lead to inflammatory disorders, ulcers, gastric and liver problems and hypertension.
If you have a Phlegm body type, you may have a tendency to overeat and oversleep. You have a preference for sugar and dairy food, and you like raw food as well. This can cause problems such as hyperthyroid disorders, diabetes, insomnia, kidney problems and congestion of the lymph system.
The Wind Digestion body type tends to fluctuate, and can be dominated in turn by wind or bile. Food lacking in nutrition, such as sugar, wheat, night shade fruits and vegetables, pork and dairy, along with drinks containing caffeine, can cause problems.
Below is a general guide to favourable foods for the Three Constitutions according to TTM. However, this is not an exhaustive list and the recommendations of a qualified practitioner may be needed for a therapeutic diet.
|Typology||Wind (rLung)||Bile (Tripa)||Phlegm (Badkan)|
|Beneficial Potency / Texture||Oily, Heavy, Smooth||Cool, Liquid, Bland||Light, Sharp, Course|
|Beneficial Taste||Sweet, Salty, Sour||Bitter, Sweet, Astringent||Bitter, Sweet, Astringent|
|Meats||Heavy warming meats such as Dehydrated meats (nutrient dense), Mutton, Fish.||Cool and light meats such as Pork, Beef, Goat meat.||Heating/warming meats such as Mutton, Fish, Chicken.
|Vegetables / Legumes||Cooked vegetables.|
Onion, Garlic, Black chickpeas, Daikon, Nettles, Lettuce, Carrots, Beets, Green beans, Okra, Potatoes, Zucchini, Asparagus.
|Dandelion, Celery, Bitter vegetables such as Endives, Bitter melon, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cucumber, Sprouts, Leafy greens||Avoid raw (cooling) and Starchy (heavy) vegetables. Eat plenty of legumes except soy beans and mung beans , Aged Daikon, Rhubarb, Green and hot peppers, Mushrooms, Cabbage, Asparagus.|
|Fruit||Bananas, Coconuts, Grapes and grape fruit, Figs, Papaya, Mango, Plums, Peaches, Avocados.||Melons, Apples, Pomegranates, Mango, Prunes, Raisins, Figs,||Pomegranate, Pineapples, Berries, Tomatoes, Figs, Apples (green) , Pears|
|Grains||Only well cooked and in moderate amounts.|
|Unfavourable. If eaten, couple with hot and spicy natural ingredients and condiments.
|Dairy||Hot milk||Yoghurt, Cow’s milk||Liquid Whey and yoghurt|
|Oils||Most oils are favourable. Seed oils (sesame is best), Aged Butter, Ghee||Fresh butter. Avoid Mustard oil||Oils in moderation.
Sesame, Ghee, Sunflower oil.
|Spices and Condiments||Black salt, Asafoetida, Nutmeg||Saffron||Black Pepper, Ginger, Raw Honey|
|Nuts/Seeds||Favourable||Unfavourable due to their heating nature||Minimal amounts|
|Beverages||Grain beers, Bone broth, Warm water.||Cold water, Boiled cooled water||Hot boiled water, Aged wine.|
On a scale of good to bad, fruit juice is better than soft drink. Then again, just about anything is better for you than soft drink! But fruit juice should be consumed with extreme care. For example, many fruit juices sold in supermarkets contain only a small percentage of fruit juice, and contain added sugars (either sucrose or high fructose corn syrup). Juice of this kind is very bad for you. But even whole fruit juice, produced at home in your juice extractor, can be second best to eating whole fruit. This is because the important pulp and fibre from the fruit is discarded. You always consume more fruit when it’s in juice form, and therefore you are taking in more fructose (a form of sugar).
On the other hand, some machines pulp the whole fruit and skin, and this allows you to retain most of the nutrients. If you combine fruit and vegetables in a pulping machine, you have a way of increasing your intake of vegetables, as well as overall nutrients.
However, there’s still one other matter to consider. Digestion actually begins in your mouth, as you chew your food. Researchers have demonstrated that the taste, texture, smell and appearance of food may affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Even before you put food in your mouth, your brain starts to send signals to your digestive tract. Saliva is secreted in your mouth, and gastric juices, pancreatic juices and digestive enzymes prepare your entire digestive system for what you are about to eat. Even the appearance of food affects the way your body digests it.
Chewing is a very important part of digestion. This is where your body begins to break down the food so it can be best absorbed; but it does more than that. It actually contributes to optimising the entire digestive process. So, juice should never take the place of eating whole fruit or vegetables.
Herbs and Spices as Medicine
Herbs and supplements should be tailored to your specific needs and should be as close as possible to their original state.
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