Newsletter 11, September 2007

This issue of the Good Diet Good Health Newsletter includes...

  1. Avoid the triple diet killers of boredom, cravings and lack of convenience
  2. What's in your cosmetics and toiletries
  3. Did you know?
  4. Your successes, requests and questions
  5. Tell us what you think
  6. Visit our newsletter archive
  7. Free resources

1) Avoid The Triple Diet Killers Of Boredom, Cravings And Lack of Convenience

What is the hardest part of keeping to a diet? Well, it turns out that there are three real diet killers. One is boredom. The second is cravings for the banned foods and the other is lack of convenience. Whether it's a low carb diet for weight loss, a Stone Age-style diet to control food allergies or candida, or a ketogenic diet for severe childhood epilepsy, these are the three issues which are most likely to cause us to give up before the diet has had a chance to do its work.

Unlike other diets, where eating a little of everything is the general rule, these diets cut out foods such as wheat, corn and sugar entirely. Now, from a health and nutrition point of view, that's not a problem. It is not difficult to get the nutrients and fibre they provide from other foods. And after all, if we eliminate these foods, we are only going back to the diet that is likely to be most healthy for us from an evolutionary point of view - the diet our cave man ancestors ate.

The difficulty arises from the fact that we have become used to the taste, texture and convenience of the foods we have learned to make with wheat, corn, sugar and other highly processed, carbohydrate-dense foods. These have become our staple foods, and we miss them when we eliminate them from our diet. Take wheat, for instance. Obviously the main ingredient of bread, pasta, pizza, biscuits, cookies, cakes, pastries, pies and other baked goods, it is also a hidden ingredient in many other foods and dishes. Here are just a few: gravy and white sauces, sausages, burgers and other processed meats, soups, stews and casseroles, cereals, hash browns and roast potatoes, savoury snacks and coated nuts.

So when we go on a diet which eliminates staples such as wheat or sugar, we have two basic options. Just leaving the banned foods out of our diet might seem the easiest option, until we realise that we no longer have the convenience of bread for our lunchbox sandwich. We soon start to crave the springy texture of bread, too, the crumbly, crunchy texture of crackers, biscuits and cookies, and the sweetness of cakes and desserts. If we have eliminated a significant number of different foods, this can also expose us to the risk of developing nutrient deficiencies and food allergies or sensitivities.

On the other hand, we can substitute the banned foods with ingredients which provide us with equal or better nutrition and variety of nutrition, taste and texture. In this way, we can prevent boredom, cravings and feelings of deprivation from derailing our special diet, and we can continue to enjoy the convenience of bread.

There is one very big problem, though, if we go for the second option. Wheat, sugar and many of the other ingredients we may be avoiding lend particular characteristics to a recipe when cooked or baked. This means that it is not usually possible to simply replace one or other of these ingredients in a recipe with a substitute. Additional ingredients may need to be added, and liquid quantities and cooking times adjusted. What works as a substitute in one recipe may not work in another. Wheat-free and sugar-free baked goods are becoming more available now in supermarkets, but they usually contain alternatives which are unsuitable for those on low carb or Stone Age-style allergy or candida diets. Making our own is often the only real alternative.

That's all very well, but how do we start? If substituting one or two ingredients in the recipes in our traditional cookbooks is no use, we need a specialised cookbook. But which one? Well, it depends upon two things: the particular foods we need to avoid, and the type of recipes we wish to enjoy. It is all too easy to find a cookbook which avoids the banned foods by offering recipes or dishes which do not contain these foods in the first place. But what if those are the very foods we wish to have on our diet, to avoid those feelings of boredom, cravings and deprivation? To ensure that we achieve the variety of foods that is necessary if we are to avoid developing nutrient deficiencies and food allergies? Cookbooks which tackle the recipes and dishes which require more expert knowledge of substitute ingredients and how to use them successfully, such as breads and other baked goods, are few and far between. For cookbooks that do just this, with recipes that are quick and easy to make, check out the following:

2) What's In Your Cosmetics And Toiletries

A recent news item claimed that using make-up and other toiletries on a daily basis can mean up to 5 pounds of chemicals being absorbed into your body in a year. Biochemist Richard Bence said: "We really need to start questioning the products we are putting on our skin and not just assume that the chemicals in them are safe." He also believes that absorbing chemicals through the skin could be more dangerous than swallowing them - whereas lipstick getting into your mouth is broken down by the enzymes in saliva and in the stomach, chemicals in products which are absorbed through the skin get straight into your bloodstream.

The US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has reported that nearly 900 of the chemicals used in cosmetics are toxic, although other groups believe that the real number is much higher. The chemicals most often cited as giving cause for concern include:

Using cosmetics may not just be a risk to the person who uses them. For instance, the ingredient nonoxynol (or nonylphenol ethoxylate): breaks down in water treatment into nonylphenol, a synthetic estrogen that feminises male fish, and triclosan, an antibacterial widely used in soaps, may be contributing to the general problem of antibiotic resistance

When we think about the damage that chemicals may be doing to our health, we tend to focus on our food and drink, and the air we breathe. It is easy to forget that the cosmetics and toiletries we put on our skin every day may be equally responsible for polluting our bodies and the environment.

3) Did you know?

Did you know that ...

4) Your successes, requests and questions

This is your spot. Whether it's your dietary success story, a request to cover a particular topic in a future newsletter or a question you would like answered, we would love to hear from you. Please do contact us.

Here is a question we answered recently:

5) Tell Us What You Think

Your opinions matter to us. If there is something you particularly like or don't like about our newsletter or website, please let us know.

6) Visit Our Newsletter Archive

Did you miss an issue? Want to review an issue you really enjoyed? Be sure to check out our newsletter archive.

7) Resources

With best wishes for your continued good health

Jackie Bushell
Founder Director, Good Diet Good

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All rights reserved.