p17 Development of a healthy sustainable diet.

Requirements of our bodies.

Our bodies need six basic ingredients:

Protein for building soft tissues such as skin, connective tissues, muscles, organs, etc.

Carbohydrates for energy storage in muscles, liver, blood, etc. and for rapid surge of energy supplies and as part of our central heating system.

Fats for muscles, organs, sub-skin tissues, brain, etc.

Minerals & Vitamins for part of the construction phase of all body materials.

Water is used for internal transport of all materials in cells, between cells, between organs all around the body, carrying materials for building, maintenance, modifications, feeding, heat control, breathing and taking away waste. Insufficient water intake will allow a build-up of those waste products, slowing down the jobs of all the other ingredients.

So for the body to function successfully, we must supply these needed ingredients regularly.

A snake will eat a large quantity of food at one time, then sleep, rest, laze about for weeks at a time, before looking for something else to eat.

A bison seems to eat more or less all the time it's awake.

But humans cannot have these life-styles. They are busy things - going here or there, working, exercising, walking, driving, talking, swimming, singing, socializing, dancing, surfing. And when we are asleep we are often dreaming.

This type of living requires a much more regular supply of food - we can't possibly carry supplies of all we need - about 25kg per week.

So there are three types of eating:

Eating and drinking as well as possible when supplies are available.

Designed eating and drinking at fixed meal times, allowing for the estimated body requirements.

Demand eating and drinking, where food and drink are taken when the body's energy/liquid reserves indicate they are low and need restored.

The first is not by choice, survival being the only criteria. The second takes thought and planning and may need on-the-spot adjustment to avoid hunger on one side and obesity on the other where eaten food was not later required. The third is often the most satisfying - building up hunger and thirst, then quenching it with whatever seems most rapid and tasty.

From a medical and nutritional point of view, I don't know which of these are best. You'd have to ask experts of those professions.

From a dental point of view, the second choice is very preferable to the third - the body needs regular energy supplies whilst awake. The Demand feeding of the third guides the person by the most quickly attainable energy intake, the sharpest (or most exhilarating) sensation and the most readily available. This almost always means heavily sugar-based foods, as sugar is the most quickly converted to energy, giving an energy 'high' within minutes; and an effervescent, acid drink to give the sensation - both great for speed of effect - both destructive for teeth, gums and bone. The longer this type of eating/drinking continues from 5-10 years upwards, the more it becomes part of that person's culture and the harder it is to give it up.

Look back to pages 8-10, (page8 page9 page10) read again what happens with sugar alone and then sugar and acid - the teeth haven't a chance.

So what to do?

The opinions below relate to day-time working and education. For other routines, just alter the times to suit.

The most logical diet is to start the day with a substantial breakfast (6 - 9am) with plenty of non-sugar/acid drink, the same routine again at midday (12-2pm) and a much smaller meal in the evening. Sounds good, doesn't work very often though.

Many people find they cannot cope with a big meal at the start of the day or don't have the facilities - or don't allow enough time - or there just isn't time.

But if you plan to avoid the sugaries and the acids in Demand feeding above, you will have to give your bodies something to work with.

So first thing in the morning is the time to have the "forbidden" weight-producing foods. Try to forget about the 'traditional' first meal of the day. If you're using the Internet, you're already moving away from 'traditional'. Try to use the complex carbohydrates - pasta, potatoes, rice, bread, oats. Or the fatty ones - cheese, cream (ice-cream on your cereal sounds tasty - cheese and ice-cream might be different!), chocolate. As long as you can get any sugar out of your mouth afterwards, anything goes. Remember, you're off to work or school - you are going to burn all this stuff away in a few short hours!

Midday. It's a long way to go to the end of your day and there's a lot of work to be done yet. So don't cramp your style - now have more of the complex carbohydrates with simpler fats, like milk, but make these foods spicier - it will 'lift' your foods allowing you to eat more than the little snippets so many do.

So a plate of pasta, a pizza, a couple of thick sandwiches - the bakeries, delicatessens and the patisseries produce a wealth of food variety.

When you arrive home from school, if it's mid to late afternoon, but an hour or more before your evening meal, please don't have a snack bar or a big bag of crisps or a fizzy drink - you and your teeth are very vulnerable at this time, so don't blow all the good things you've done during the day.

I know you need something - try a jam sandwich or a banana or a pint of milk. Those first things will ruin your body's food demands when you do have the evening meal - you then won't eat right and you'll be snacking all evening, ruining your sleep and your teeth. Those somethings I've suggested you need will quickly raise the blood sugar level that your body is asking you for but it won't spoil the rest of the day.

After work, for the evening meal, keep the fatty stuff away -its breakdown products reduce depths of sleep - but it's a good time for proteins: meat, fish and complex carbohydrates: potatoes, rice, pasta. Your body needs sufficient energy to last through the evening and the night while asleep.

I realize that the foregoing suggests great appetites, money and time. Please don't take it as that - different countries have different styles of eating, working, food supplies - the above is a guide to how to construct the things your body needs, not what a particular person in a particular country should eat.

But overall - try to drink plenty of water - on its own or as unsweetened tea or coffee. Your body uses a lot of water in a day - give it to it - water!

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