Before I started feeding my mind, body and soul with this glorious bowl of soup today, I couldn't help but take an extra nourishing moment to fully appreciate the colours, textures and heart warming aromas heading in my direction. Before I reached for the first spoonful, my mind started wandering and I found myself thinking about the number of nutrients that make up this bowl of nutritional joy and perfection! Of course, as a Nutritional Science guru I could write a page on all the vitamins, minerals, good fats and amino acids just waiting for my body to be fed, healed and cared for in the most beautiful way. However, what really got me excited was that I couldn't help wondering about the number of nutrients we don't yet know about. I dare say I could write several pages on nutrients that science has not yet (and indeed may never!) catch up with, if I did but know! Wow!! What a wonderful and inspiring thought!
This also got me to thinking about the fact there are so many people out there who rarely engage with a fully authentic, freshly prepared, God given nutrient. Instead we all of us are tempted to cut corners with a type of modified food, known as 'processed food', not realizing that those nutrients which are the stuff of life have been either totally removed or reduced to a level well below our body systems' requirements. Add to that all those unnecessary ingredients which have been added in to disguise the fact that not only have the nutrients been removed/modified, but all that nature provides in abundance has been most cunningly and mischievously replaced by the food processing industry! Colour (artificial dyes!) smell (weird chemicals!) and taste (sugar, dodgier sugar and dodgy fats!) are well provided for with a plethora of interesting and unpronounceable ingredients which may con us as consumers but which WILL NEVER con us as biological entities! What our taste buds fail to recognise as they stand on guard at the entrance to our digestive system, our cells most surely do! If only our cells could do the shopping for us!!
This also got me to thinking about the supplement industry. Don't get me wrong. Good quality nutrient supplements are an essential part of the Nutritionist/Functional Medicine practitioner's tool kit. However, supplements should never be used as an excuse for poor eating choices. It is all too easy nowadays for people to run through a supermarket and buy pizza and a litre of coke along with a mulitvit and think that all their problems are solved just because they've taken the noble decision to buy something they think will do them good. Of course, sometimes life catches up with us all and during periods of high pressure, exam stress etc., a bag of something we fancy and some supplements may be warranted just to keep our heads above water.
However, take a moment to think about the wider benefits of food. We know that essential oils such as lavender can calm and soothe our nervous system. We know that peppermint oil can calm and soothe our digestive system. Similarly the smells of herbs and spices can provide for a profusion of health needs, from anti-inflammatory Rosemary, ginger and turmeric to diuretic and detoxifying parsley and don't forget all those benefits as yet unknown!
Interestingly, the inability to detect aromas in food has been linked to many health conditions including obesity. Studies have also suggested that eating a junk food diet can result in a loss of this important olfactory ability.
In addition, studies have shown that those who have the greatest number of taste-buds and therefore the greatest sensitivity to both smell and taste had the lowest Body Mass Index. Interesting!
I could go on...... but I hope my musings over my bowl of soup with all that Mother Nature has to offer has given you some food for thought. Remember, it's not just the stuff we do know about food that creates health in all it's facets but also those micro, micro nutrients which are, and probably always will be beyond the wit of man to identify but thankfully are not out of reach to us as we prepare and enjoy REAL food. Bon appetit!
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