Super Charge Your Health:

Avoid chemicals and fill your diet with foods that protect you from disease and maximise your health

Life in a busy city has many rewards; great restaurants, cool coffee shops, exciting opportunities and fun experiences. However, this busy and trendy life can make it hard to follow a healthy life, as we are exposed to pollution, social activities often involve alcohol consumption, modern food contains chemicals and toxins, in addition to this a modern professional life comes with stress and long hours.

To combat these unhealthy factors of our life we must eat a diet packed full of vitamins and minerals. Foods that contain a high source of nutrients are the life force of your body, as they are the substances that keep you free from illness, highly energised and thinking clearly.

When health and fat loss are concerned, too many people are counting calories when they should actually be counting chemicals and nutrients. Calories are simply a representation of energy, which does not provide any health benefit. Modern diets are full of processed food, harmful chemicals, empty calories and lack adequate essential nutrients and fibre to help our bodies thrive.

Veggie Power

The power of food is quite amazing and vegetables are at the top of the chomping order! However, they often don’t take their rightful place as the ‘king of the plate’ at every meal. Most people lack variety, quality as well as plain and simple quantity of vegetables in their diet. If you want to regain health, lose fat, and perform optimally your first action on the list should be to eat more fibrous vegetables.

What Veggies Do For Us

The colours of vegetables are derived from a variety of chemicals called antioxidants. Antioxidants are almost exclusively found in plants. Animal-based foods do contain trace amounts due to the fact that animals eat plants and therefore store these chemicals, the same way we do, in their own tissue.

Plants produce antioxidants to fight compounds that destroy healthy cells (called free radicals) and protect healthy cells. Here’s the thing… Humans do not naturally build shields to protect ourselves against free radicals.

Fortunately, the antioxidants in plants work in our bodies the same way they work in plants. Therefore, we need to eat plants to borrow their antioxidant shields for our cells… our health. In essence vegetables provide us with a “life-force” by giving us both energy as well as substances to protect us from illness and premature aging. This is why vegetables should be the cornerstone of a healthy existence.

Chemical Combat

To super charge your health you must aim to do two things 1) eat as many foods high in antioxidants as possible to protect your cell and 2) avoid chemicals and ‘non-food’ food, as well as boost your detoxification processes.

Combating chemicals is difficult because so many ‘household’ products are crammed full of chemicals to enhance taste and the shelf life of the products. The first step of avoiding chemicals is to read labels. This is essential for your health. Lets take a common product that most people have… peanut butter for example. What should the ingredient list be to make peanut butter? One item is all that is needed… peanuts! But we live in a society where advertising makes false promises. Food packages make amazing claims… most reduced fat peanut butter promotes 25% less fat. Must be healthy right?? Far from it… instead of having just one ingredient they can contain up to 20 items in the ingredient list, the majority of which are hazardous to your health!!

Here is an example of the ingredient list of reduced fat peanut butter: Roasted Peanuts, Corn Syrup Solids (sugar), Sugar, Soy Protein Concentrate, Salt, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Trans Fatty Acids – Cottonseed, Soybean and Rapeseed Oil), Mono & Di-Glycerides, Minerals (Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Ferric Orthophosphate, Copper Sulfate), Vitamins (Niacinamide, Pyrdoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid). The tragedy of these reduced fat products is that the tastiest ingredient is removed – natural fat. Artificial sweetener, corn syrup, soy protein, hydrogenated oils (trans fatty acids – bad fats!), mono & di-glycerides as well as chemical preservatives are added to replace the flavour the product has lost from removing the fat. All these chemicals to save approximately 10 calories – I would rather eat 10 extra calories than be poisoned!

All these chemicals build up in your body. Your internal system can only process and eliminate so much at a time, so the excess chemicals are pushed to and stored in body fat. If toxins and chemicals remain at higher levels than your body can process you acquire more body fat to take these harmful substances out of circulation. Our bodies can take a lot of punishment before we get into the red-zone and develop chronic diseases. Gaining health and effortlessly staying lean has a lot more to do with the quality of our food rather than the quantity… when was the last time you heard of someone getting fat and becoming sick from eating too many vegetables?

These chemicals upset the body’s hormonal balance and overload our detoxification processes. The toxic load needs to be addressed if you want to achieve optimal health and body composition. When there are no longer toxins entering the body, those stored toxins will then be processed and expelled along with the fat that is storing them. When your body no longer has to produce chemical reactions against a background of toxic ‘static’ you will find that you are able to extract a greater amount of nutrients from the foods you eat and eliminate the toxins from your body even better.

Below are some simple tips and actions for dealing with internal pollution:

1. Detox Regularly: Support your natural detoxification and biochemical processes by eating foods and drinking beverages that do not block your body’s natural system of eliminating toxins. Do not get suckered into gimmicks like starving yourself, eating only one or two foods or spending thousands of dollars on a fancy spa or unnecessary products. Whatever method you choose to detox it must, first and foremost, be healthy. Detox protocols can be different for everyone. The best detox is to stop consuming chemicals and simply let your body perform its natural elimination processes

2. Increase Antioxidant Profile: The stronger your immune system, the easier it is to develop and maintain energy levels and health. If you live in a polluted city, add on top of that stress (mental, environmental and exercise) and your immune system is under pressure. Again, we do not naturally build shields to protect ourselves against free radicals. We need to eat plants to borrow their antioxidant shields for our cells… our health

3. Eat Grass Feed and Free Range Produce: Consume the best quality of food available to you. Ideally organic and/or wild produce

4. Improve Liver Function: The liver has two main jobs 1) to eliminate harmful substances from your system and 2) metabolise (burn) fat. If your liver is too busy cleaning your blood it doesn’t have time to burn fat!

5. Use Natural Cleaning & Personal Products: Chemical cleaners contain toxins and estrogen-mimicking compounds. Opt for plant-based cleaners. Don’t trust it just because it says “green” on the label. Check ingredients. Furthermore, use natural personal care products such as liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner. These are the same as cleaning products—don’t trust it just because it says “natural” on the label. Look for DBP, DEP, DEHP, BzBP, and DMP in the ingredients

6. Exercise: Our bodies are design to move! When the body is stagnant, its components tend to be stagnant as well. A significant role in natural detoxification is performed by the circulatory and lymphatic systems. If we don’t move these systems don’t operate to their potential. The lymphatic system especially requires movement to enable lymph flow, because it doesn’t have an organ like the heart (like the circulatory system) to drive it. Exercise also encourages improved oxygen delivery and aids the elimination of toxins through the lungs.

Super Charge Your Diet

Antioxidants are the cornerstone of our health. The prefix ‘anti’ means against, in opposition to, or corrective in nature. In this case, the ‘anti’ in antioxidant describes the effect these chemicals have against oxidants.  Oxidants or  ‘free radicals’ are produced as a natural by-product of the millions of biochemical processes undertaken by the body every minute. The same life-giving oxygen that supports all the functions of the body creates these harmful by-products that cause cell damage, usually to DNA, fats and proteins.

Free radicals also enter the body through external influences such as exposure to the sun, pesticides and other kinds of environmental pollution. In addition, their levels are increased by mental and physical stress, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, unhealthy foods, and cigarette smoke.

In much the same way as oxidation causes rust on cars, oxidation inside the body causes a breakdown of cells. If the amount of free radical oxidation in the body is allowed to rise to an unhealthy level, it can result in extensive damage to cellular components leading to serious illness and disease as well as accelerating the ageing process.

Antioxidants counter these effects by binding with free radicals before they can cause damage. They then convert them into non-damaging biochemical substances, assisting enormously with the reduction of cellular damage.

Foods containing a lot of antioxidants are considered “Superfoods”! Therefore, to super charge your health you should aim to include as many superfoods as possible into your diet. 10 great Superfoods that are available in Vietnam and, in my opinion, should be apart of everyone’s diet are:

Bok Choy

A great source of Vitamin C & A as well as bone healthy vitamin K. Bok Choy is a must have readily available vegetable in Vietnam containing a very rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and many vital phyto-nutrients. It also contains moderate levels of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium.

Broccoli (Cai Xanh)

Broccoli is one of the true vegetable powerhouses. Great for helping with blood pressure, sun damage, bone health, immune system function, cancer prevention, just to name a few. Add more Chinese broccoli (Cai Lan) to your soups, salads, hot pots and stir-fry’s to increase nutrient levels and flavour of the meal

Kale (Cai Xoan)

If Kale were a superhero it would be the Incredible Hulk! This green bad boy could almost protect you against bullets… well if not bullets then a very wide range of diseases. The nutrients in Kale play a vital role in both phases I and II of the body’s detoxification process. Making it a crucial food in Vietnams growing pollution levels. One cup of ‘Kale Hulk’ provides approx. 10% of the RDA of Omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation… one of the major causes of disease

Other Green Leafy Vegetables

Green vegetables of all kinds come loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which help nourish the liver. Many also increase levels of glutathione, a vital element in the destruction of free radicals within the body. Vietnamese green leafy vegetables that are great to include and increase in your diet are water spinach- morning glory (Rau Muong),  cabbage (Bap Cai), kohlrabi (Su Hao), and ceylon spinach (Rau Mung Toi)

Avocado (Trai Bo)

Some label avocados as the world’s healthiest food. How can I top that statement? Dr Merola thinks so highly of this superfood he recommends using it as a fat replacement when cooking. In addition, adding it to soups, smoothies, dips, etc while also recommending it as a baby’s first food. Technically a fruit… I just couldn’t leave it off this list because of its amazing benefits and availability here in Vietnam

Coconut Oil (Dau Dau)

One of the best sources of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), coconut oil contains beneficial healthy fats, including lauric acid. Acids found in MCFA have antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral properties that help the liver detox, reduce cravings for unhealthy foods and support energy levels.

Okra (Dau Bap) 

Okra is a favourite of mine. It’s easy to cook, tastes great and is super healthy. Dau Bap contains potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid, and calcium. It’s low in calories and has high dietary fibre content, so it fills you up before it provides too much energy to make you fat. Okra has been advocated to help manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Durian (Qua Sau Rieng)

One of the most nutritious fruits in the world! This super fruit is high in fibre, contains good fats, great source of vitamin C, B, thiamin, potassium, iron, copper and folate. It is packed with nutrients and perfect to be used as a desert in the evening because it also contains tryptophan. Tryptophan is a chemical that is metabolized into various neurotransmitters that aid in sleep induction. That makes Qua Sau Rieng excellent to eat at night to help de-stress and promote a better nights sleep.

Green tea (Tra Xanh Matcha) 

Green tea, especially concentrated, powdered matcha green tea, is known to contain powerful nutrients known as catechins that act as antioxidants in the body, combatting free radicals within the blood, reducing liver inflammation and lowering the effects of oxidative stress on the digestive organs. For fat loss this is great as the liver plays a big role in the breakdown of fat within the body. Matcha tea also improves insulin sensitivity. Green tea elevates glucose uptake and supports fat burning making it a must have before any big meal/occasion, as it helps prevent carbs being converted to fat and stored. Green tea also detoxifies effectively and naturally, enhances mood and aids in concentration, and lowers cholesterol and blood sugar

Fresh herbs (Thao Duoc Tuoi)

A lot of people think that eating healthy doesn’t taste good… eating healthy actually tastes amazing! Most of the fresh spices and herbs provide excellent antioxidant levels and health benefits. Oregano, parsley, turmeric, coriander and cilantro are great to boost glutathione production, which many experts call “The Mother of All Antioxidants”, and also lower inflammation. For example, turmeric contains curcumin, a compound helpful in restoring healthy blood pressure, improving circulation and fighting chemical accumulation. Raw garlic is another great natural flavour enhancer that contains excellent health benefits. Garlic contains a compound called allicin that has long been regarded as a powerful agent that lowers inflammation, helps strengthen the liver while also increasing circulation and healthy blood flow.

To maximise the health of your diet it really is as simple as not eating foods that contain chemicals or artificial ingredients as well as including foods that have lots of nutrients contained in them. As you can see a healthy diet can taste very good… but nothing tastes as good, as healthy and lean feels.

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