Tag Archive | healthy lifestyle

Organic veg to your door step

On the search of finding options that will make it easier to eat healthier and life a better lifestyle, we came across a leaflet through our door a few month ago. It was from Abel & Cole and offered local and organic vegetables and other fresh produce for home delivery – and we gave it a try.

First of all, we compared the prices of organic produce in the supermarket and Abel & Cole and found that it more or less does not make a big difference. The charge for delivery on adds another £0.99 on your overall bill which is really cheap when you compare that Tesco wants you to pay about £5 for each delivery.

Another great things about Abel & Cole is that you can have your seasonal fruit and vegetables put together and chosen for you in a weekly box. The company will put the things together and you can easily add your likes and dislikes. When you go on holiday or still have enough for the next week, just let them know on time and you can skip a week.

We decided for the smallest vegetable box for the moment and are really impressed. Check out this lovely picture of our first vegetable box with some fair trade bananas and organic lemons!

I really love the colours and everything we tried so far, just tastes so much better. I also like that in coming weeks there will be some vegetables in this box that I have not used for cooking before, such as fennel. This ill add some fun in the kitchen and we can explore some new recipes with some lovely produce.

A few more things I like: you can check out the farmers that contribute most of the produce online. They take the box back on your next delivery – perfect recycling or even reusing! Very easy to use website and fantastic customer service. Delivery is usually very early morning and they leave the box at a place where you ask them to. Additional great produce including milk, cheese and lot’s more.

Therefore, if you live in London and want to eat healthy or spice up your cooking, try Abel & Cole. And if you do not live in London, I am sure that there is something similar on offer in your city.

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We need better food labelling…

This morning, we (my girlfriend and I) were going shopping at the big Tesco Extra supermarket at Canada Water. This was actually the first time that it was really quiet and not many people were around. Shopping between 9am and 10am seems to be the way to go if you like space, take your time and actually do not have to wait at the tills. I will definitely do that more often.

As we were in a great shopping mood and had the space in front of these never ending product shelves, we decided to take a look at what we buy comes from and if we can find products that are produced locally or at least are not imported from some country ont he other side of the world. This is a really great thing to do as you will discover where the product actually comes from and you will be surprised! We are not just trying to reduce our environmental impact with this little change in buying behaviour, but I think it will also help the UK economy and your shopping basket a little bit healthier as you are more likely to buy seasonal products and reduce the carbon footprint enormously. Additionally, I really do believe that the consumer – meaning all of us – has the power to change things for the better.

speed shopping by {foto obscura}  (foto-obscura)) on 500px.com
speed shopping by {foto obscura}

But back to food labelling and the difficult task with some products to find out where they were produced. For example, we were looking for some lentils  and you can imagine that there was an amazing diversity of colours, shapes and labels to buy from. However, all of them did not mention on the packaging the country of origin. We could find out that there were packaged in the UK, but that was all. And this not the only product where you will have difficulties finding the actual source. It looks a bit better in the meat and fruit & vegetable section as most fresh produce will have a label that at least shows the country of origin.

Another thing that makes it difficult for buyers is that most products coming from different markets and are packaged in various countries. Therefore, you will have all sorts of labels claiming different things. If you just think of the organic food labelling. There are a few bodies that can certify in the UK, some more in Europe and everybody has their own label. This is very confusing and you never know what think of if you don’t know the label. This has lead us to do a bit more research on some of the labels, but this again time consuming and if you have a busy lifestyle it is hard to do. However, I do argue if we would all inform ourselves a bit more about food labelling and start changing our buying habits, I am convinced that we can change it for the better.

Please share your thoughts.

PS: If you like to read more about where your food, cloth and other things in your life come from, read: Confessions of an eco sinner by Fred Pearce. A really good read! For more information on the environmental impact of food production, watch: HOME on youtube for free. Pictures you will not forget.

Vitamin D

This post will be the start of a new series of blog posts about vitamins and minerals, about their function in the body, sources and benefits. Due to the time of the year and some articles I came across in newspapers and other media, I would like to start this series of posts with Vitamin D.

But why do we need vitamin D and what are the health benefits?

Vitamin D has several important functions within the body, but mostly promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphate and therefore has a direct impact on bone and tooth health. Additionally, together with Calcium vitamin D can prevent osteoporosis. Furthermore, according to leading scientists, vitamin D shows breast, colon and immune health.

What are sources of vitamin D?

According to the NHS, most of the vitamin D is produced under the skin when exposed to sunlight. However, this is not the only source. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) in the US, vitamin D can be also found in the following foods:

  • oily fish, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines
  • eggs
  • milk
  • fortified cereals

Sardines at Amanzimtoti in June 2007

However, with a balanced diet and enough sun exposure it is possible to maintain a healthy amount of vitamin D in our bodies.

Who might be at risk not having enough vitamin D?

According to the ODS, they are certain groups of people who are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency.

  • breastfed infants
  • elderly people
  • people with dark skin
  • people with a lack of sun exposure
  • obese people

Looking at all the above facts that I have obtained from various reliable sources, it seems like that people living in Britain might be one of the risk groups to have a vitamin D deficiency, because I am sure that there are not many people who eat the above mentioned foods regularly and get enough sun exposure during the autumn and winter month. Therefore, why not give it a try with supplements…

Finding glass bottled water in super markets

Here we go! After an absence of about 9 days from blogging due to life happening, I finally managed to write my next blog post. I am really behind with my 365 project, but I will catch up during my holidays in October when I will be off to Germany for 2 weeks and can spend all the time I want for blogging and other things that sometimes don’t fit into a busy schedule.

Street view down to Covent Garden Market.

Image via Wikipedia

But back the actual issue of me trying to find glass bottled water in a Marks & Spencer on Sunday last week while having a little walk through London in the Covent Garden area.

It was a great day and it was just great to be out with my baby and discover some new areas that I did not manage to see in the past 6 years in London. After some extensive shop hopping we were looking to get a bottle of water as a refreshment and went into Marks & Spencer. In my opinion, Marks & Spencer stands for the more environmental kind of super market with a lot of good ideas to minimise the impact on the environment. However, it was very difficult to find some glass bottled water. We found all kinds of plastic bottled water from all different brands, but nothing really bottled in glass. We asked a very friendly customer service agent who gave us a really astonishing look when we were asking for water in glass bottles. But he managed to find us the only water in a glass bottle that was in the lower corner of the last row on the bottom shelve, which was San Pellegrino.

To my shock it was the only glass bottles water. I was really under the impression that are more companies that still fill their beverages into glass bottles. Having been glad to find at least one brand of mineral water in a glass bottle, we enjoyed the healthy refreshing water and continued our walk.

However, the next challenge was coming up on the horizon. Recycling. It took us several streets to find a recycling bin that would take glass bottles. We did not really want to use any available bin. Anyway, there are not many bins around in London when you compare it some other major metropolis in Europe, but there is a relatively small amount of recycling bins in London as well. Still much to do when we really want to make a difference.

I really hope that in future we will have more people asking for glass bottles water and make retailers change their product offer, because at the end we as customers have a great power with our buying decisions.

I will also have a look in a German supermarket when I am back home and will try the same thing, os watch this space for a comparison!

Phytonutrients – eating colourful

Healthy eating is probably one of the most discussed topics in the past 2 decades. The media and scientists constantly come up with new things to avoid and other things to do. Additionally, we have been taught about vitamins, antioxidants, 5-a-day and many more, which became words most of us understood and know. In recent years, some of you might have heard about a new term in healthy eating – phytonutrients, also called phytochemicals, which according to Wikipedia “are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants. The term is generally used to refer to those chemicals that may affect health, but are not established as essential nutrients.”
But what does it mean for our diet? It means that it is recommended to eat a balanced diet based on fruit and vegetables. In the UK, the NHS recommends to eat 5-a-day, which is based on a suggestion from the WHO (World Health Organisation) to eat at least 400g of fruit and vegetables each day. The 5-a-day project is widely spread and you can find labelling on many products in supermarkets and even in some restaurants. However, according to the BBC the average for the UK is about 2 to 3 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, which is still considerable short of the target. In the US, the National Cancer Institute suggests to eat even more plant-based food and recommends 5 to 9 portions a day to prevent diet related diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some types of cancer, and diabetes. According to the movie Food Matters, some nutritionists believe that the most common diseases that amount to about three-quarters of all death are based on an unhealthy lifestyle and could be healed by turning to a health and balanced diet. But the pharmaceutical industry does not want us to know as there is no money to make from healthy people.
Additionally, Nutrilite Health Institute looked at the intake from fruit and vegetables in regards to phytonutrients and recommends to eat colourful to get the best out of your fruits and vegetables intake a day. To make it easier fo the consumer, they grouped most fruit and vegetables into these 5 colours: red, purple, white, green and orange. Please find below a list of examples for each colour group:

Red Fruits & Vegetables

  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Red Apples
  • Pomegranate
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries
  • Tomatoes

Purple Fruits & VegetablesVegetables by rightee, on Flickr

  • Black Currants
  • Eggplant
  • Plums
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
Green Fruits & Vegetables
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Soy beans
  • Green Tea
  • Green Peppers

White Fruits & VegetablesVegetables by jackol, on Flickr

  • Pears
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • White Kidney Beans
  • Horseradish
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions

 Orange Fruits & Vegetables

  • Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Lemons
  • Passion Fruit
  • Oranges
  • Carrots
  • Papaya

For more information about the phytonutrients and the health benefit of each group, please visit Nutrilite. If you are not sure if you are eating enough fruit and vegetables in the correct balance, please visit Nutrilite.com/color to make a free online ‘Daily Phytonutrient Snapshot’. Really great tool and I promise that it will surprise you.

But how can we eat even more fruit and vegetables when we are not even managing 5-a-day? Is it possible to have a busy, but healthy lifestyle? I can recommend to use plant-based vitamin supplements that will give you vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients additionally to your healthy and balanced diet, but it has to be said that it is no substitution, merely a little aid to make it easier for people who have a busy lifestyle.

Let me know, what you think about the subject. Are you eating your 5-a-day or even more? How do you make it fit into your lifestyle? Are you taking supplements?

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