Last week I had the pleasure of attending a seminar by vegetarian chef and health food guru Sarah Britton. After studying Holistic Nutrition and becoming a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Sarah founded her blog, “My New Roots,” in 2007 and it has since become a mega hit in the world of healthy eating.
“A lot of people want to know ‘what I am’ – vegetarian, vegan, raw foodist, fruitarian, macrobiotic … guess what? I am a person who eats!” says Sarah. “I eat almost entirely organic food. My diet consists mainly (like 99%) of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. I probably eat an egg once every couple weeks if the mood strikes me, and sometimes I will enjoy some goat or sheep dairy in very small amounts.”
Sarah lives in Copenhagen but visited Amsterdam earlier in October for an amazing week-long program of special events including cooking classes, a dinner at De Kas, and seminars about healthy eating, digestion, detoxification and boosting immunity.
During the seminar Sarah gave us a run-down on how the digestive system works. “It’s not just about breaking down food, it’s about how we absorb the food,” she said. So, what are the top 10 facts I learned at Sarah’s presentation?
1) CHEW your food! Your digestive system can work a lot more effectively when it’s processing food that has already been broken down by your mouth – this is why we have teeth! When food hits your stomach and is still in chunks, your digestive system needs to work much harder to break it down.
2) “Eat only when you’re hungry,” Sarah says. “When we put food on top of more food, our digestive system can’t work properly.”
3) Don’t drink while eating! Liquids dilute the hydrochloric acid in your stomach, which works to break down food. When it becomes diluted, it can’t do its job properly.
4) We should have one to three bowel movements per day.
5) If you’ve taken antiobiotics, you should ALWAYS replenish your digestive system with priobiotic supplements. Your colon has about 100 trillion types of bacteria (80% good, 20% bad). Foods that are high in priobiotics are tempeh, fermented dairy, sauerkraut, Jerusalem artichokes and kimchi.
6) Detoxification is the oldest known medical treatment in the world.
7) The benefits of detoxing range from rebalancing your system and healing disease to increasing energy and vitality.
8) Start every day with a glass of warm water with 1/3 of a fresh lemon squeezed in it. “It will flush your kidneys, alkalize your liver and rehydrate your body,” says Sarah.
9) Sarah’s tips to prevent disease? Eat more garlic, onions, berries, green foods, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and coniferous vegetables.
10) Any step towards healthy eating a positive step. It’s unrealistic to go from a processed food diet to a juice cleanse for 10 days. Start with gradual steps and treat your body with love and respect!
Text: Lydia Parafianowicz