Ensuring good immune system health also requires paying close attention to your diet, this aspect with regards to improving your immune system health is extremely important and cannot be ignored.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are not intended to replace a nutritious diet, but to complement it by providing you with the vitamins and minerals that your body is unable to produce naturally.
They also give you a much-needed boost dependent on need, circumstance, age, lifestyle, deficiency or illness.
If like me, healthy eating was never something you really took seriously, in the sense that as long as you were eating a varied diet which included lots of fruit, vegetables and salads you were all good.
Holding On To Weight Can Be A Struggle For Some
I lose weight quickly and often especially when stressed and have struggled to hold on to it most of my life, I have never had to watch my weight or count calories, this side of the weight spectrum is not discussed as much.
“Being slim does not necessarily equate to good health”
My work environment didn’t help much either, working in a fat paced environment within Children & Family Services.
Working for many years in children’s residential homes meant I was on the go constantly, running on empty most time.
I relied on sweet coffee, Lucozade (a popular glucose drink sold in the UK), crisps and chocolate to keep me going, I was literally getting most of my energy from sugar.
Long shifts and overnight sleep ins meant I grabbed anything that was quick and convenient to eat, something that I could chuck in the microwave and its ready.
It’s effected my appetite and diet terribly, this was my lifestyle for over 20 years.
Until I Had A Health Scare!
At 46 my cholesterol levels were sky-high and I was prescribed a 40mg daily dose of “Simvastatin” by my doctor, a dose usually given to patients with severe hypercholesterolaemia or have a very high risk of developing cardiovascular complications.
This revelation was such a shock, I had no previous indication that there was a problem with my cholesterol levels, didn’t even consider it.
I wasn’t overweight and I did not have high blood pressure or Diabetes, two illnesses that usually go hand in hand with high cholesterol.
This Was A Real Game Changer For Me
This was a real game changer for me, I had to cut out full fat milk which I drank tons of (love the stuff, still do), chocolate which I ate tons of, (love the stuff still do), Lucozade (a high glucose drink, love the stuff still do) and alcohol which I had to also seriously cut down on.
The saying “everything in moderation” really hit home for me and by cutting out and cutting down on these few things meant that I quickly brought my
cholesterol levels under control and right back down to normal and that’s how they have been ever since.
My whole way of cooking and what I eat over the past 5 years changed drastically, because of this particular health scare, I began to take heed of my body’s alarm bells.
It didn’t happen overnight, it was tough at the beginning, I am not perfect and I still have elements to work on.
Now at 54 in the midst of this COVID 19 pandemic, I stepped up my game big time.
I am more concerned about having to take a trip to the doctors, than I am about catching the corona virus.
I now take what I eat, drink and certain lifestyle habits extremely seriously.
Children Live What They Learn
I was born and raised in the East Midlands, England, in a Jamaican household which meant lots of rich foods and plenty of it, we ate a varied and well-balanced diet, including all the good stuff such as meat, fish, salads, greens, vegetables, rice, pulses and fruit etc.
However, the issue wasn’t around the content, it was more to do with some of the cooking methods back then, which I naturally carried with me into adulthood.
Meat and fish was and is generally either deep-fried, (gotta say I love my fried chicken), unless steamed.
Food was always well seasoned, key to flavor and taste, however they many seasonings contain high levels of salt which is really bad for you.
Vegetables were usually over cooked, more than we tend to cook them nowadays.
These types of cooking methods although tasty cancel out many of the essential vitamin, minerals and nutrients they contain, ‘al dente’ back then was unheard of.
A continuation and the combination of both an English diet, stodgy school dinners, big Sunday roasts with all the trimming and unhealthy cooking methods with regard to both English and Jamaican cuisine, by the age of 46 had done me did me no favors.
The Time for Change
Healthy cooking over the years has been promoted and encouraged, even school dinner menus were changed to include, healthier choices this particular project was Speer headed by one of the most well known UK celebrate cooks, Jamie Oliver.
The nation as a whole were encouraged to use less oil, less salt and sugar, to grill, roast, bake, steam.
To eat more greens, fruit and to cook our vegetables less to maintain the integrity of the vitamin and minerals, this was a government priority.
These methods, I have gradually adopted, I also began to pay more attention to the healthier things my culture had to offer that I had grown up around.
In particular the Aloe Vera plant, otherwise know as the ‘doctor plant’ or ‘Sickle Bible’ and from there I never looked back.
I also left my job working with Children & Families and embarked on a whole new life, traveling back and forth from the USA, Grand Cayman, Bermuda and Jamaica.
This has been a great opportunity for me, I’ve been exposed to all the wonderfully fresh, organic, and nutritious foods each country has to offer.
Taking Advantage Is Not Always a Bad Thing
On my quest to create a healthier, happier, newer me, I took advantage of all the glorious foods I came across.
I became obsessed with home made smoothies, well with all those beautiful, colorful fruit and veg at my disposal, how could I resist.
I had discovered a new healthy go to, deliciously, exotic and sweet without the need to add sugar, perfect.
I would check out YouTube for is ideas and inspiration, I learnt a lot too and began experimenting with different type of ingredients.
I use Aloe Vera, spinach (a heavyweight in the world of nutrition), carrots along all kinds of fruits including the seeds and the peel, these bits contain the most nutrients which unwittingly we usually throw away.
Healthy Cooking Methods
On my travels I was also introduced to the “Ninja”, no not a Chinese martial arts expert, but an air fryer, and oh my, what a revelation!!
It allows you to quickly and easily cook all kinds of foods using very little to no oil what so ever, you can fry, roast, bake among other things to create healthier snacks, sides and full meals.
Meat tastes absolutely wonderful when cooked in a Ninja, all the juices are locked in making the meat juicy and tender, I was skeptical at first but I quickly became Ninja’s biggest fan.
I Am Now A Fully Fledged Ninja Foodi Warrior!
Whilst in the UK I had to make sure I had one there too, so I went out and got
myself the mother of all air fryers, the Ninja Foodi Max, which is not only an air fryer, but is also a steamer and a pressure cooker too.
Gone are the days of cutting out the foods that I love because of the oil content, no more deep fat frying, the Ninja also steams vegetables to perfection, it can even make home made yogurt.
I now have a much healthier way of cooking everything me and my family desire because of it, I can eat anything I fancy, because I have a much healthier cooking method that doesn’t fall short on texture or flavor, if anything it actually enhances the taste.
You Don’t Have to Compromise on Taste
Preserving the integrity of the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients during the cooking process is vital.
It’s a real shame to waste them in this way, when they are so essential to you and your immune system.
If all the nutrients are being cooked out and you are not supplementing with vitamin and minerals, it is likely that you have one or two deficiencies, maybe more.
However, enjoying the foods you love without having to cut them out of your diet completely or having to compromise on taste and texture is important too.
You really don’t need to turn into a rabbit to enjoy healthy food, just a few changes here and there and you will see the process in changing bad habits and lifestyle becomes easier and better over time.
Please as always, feel free join the discussion, your contribution is encouraged and always very much appreciated.
*Please note the information contained in this post is intended for the purpose of general information and should not be used as a substitute for the individual expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals.