Meal Planning for Maximum Nutrition


It’s a busy life! We generally work hard, play hard and tax our bodies to the max. The days when mum had time to spend preparing at least two wholesome meals per day are mostly a thing of the past. As a result many today suffer the consequences of nutritional deficiency. Modern farming techniques, chemicals, irradiation, long term storage, refining, processing and standardisation have all contributed to a significant drop in the nutrient levels in most foods. Fast food has also taken its toll. In order to sustain good health we need to maximise nutrition and minimise exposure to toxins. With proper meal planning this can be achieved.

Effective meal planning requires knowledge of basic nutrition, some good cook books and time. It is helpful to use a weekly meal plan chart and notebook to record ideas, successes and failures on a day to day basis. In no time you can be a Master Chef in your our kitchen.

Use organically grown produce wherever possible. The nutrient levels are generally much higher and there are no chemicals. The next most important part of the plan is to cater for all the essentials, making sure that the ratio between protein, fat and carbohydrate is in optimal range.

PROTEIN is the most important of all. It provides over twenty amino acids that are all individual nutrients in their own right. Corporately, they contribute to just about every physical and mental function. Excessive protein can cause a range of sub-clinical defects including inflammation, however, insufficient protein can initiate depression, iron deficiency, fatigue, poor growth in children, muscle wastage, cognitive dysfunction and sleep disorders, to name just a few.

There is a protein window that is right for each individual, depending on body size, lifestyle and activity levels. A simple formula is to take one’s height in centimetres minus 100. This will give the minimum grams of protein required each day by a relatively sedentary person. Another proven formula is to eat one gram of protein per day for every kilogram of one’s ideal body weight. Both these formulas usually arrive at the same answer. These are not huge amounts of protein. A physically active person, a pregnant woman or one with certain health issues would require more. Vegetable based proteins rarely provide all the essential amino acids and are generally very low on the protein efficiency ratio scale. Most meats, however, yield around 25% protein, which is complete, having all the essential amino acids. A medium sized egg has seven grams of perfect protein. Get to know how much complete protein is available in all the foods you use. Protein gram counters are accessible on the Internet.

FATS are also vital for good health and longevity. The highly respected Dr. Weston Price travelled to hundreds of cities in fourteen countries over ten years in search of the secret to optimal health and longevity. Instead of looking at people who were afflicted with disease, he focused on healthy individuals and challenged himself to understand how they achieved such amazing health and long life. He observed perfect dental arches, the absence of tooth decay, high immunity to disease, faultless physical structure and facial symmetry, easy birthing and overall excellent health in those groups who ate their indigenous foods. He found when these people were introduced to white flour, white sugar, refined oils and canned or processed foods, signs of degeneration quickly became evident. He also documented that those groups that enjoyed abundant health and extra long life consumed a diet that consisted of 50-65% fat, the majority of which was saturated. Dr. Price recorded this ancestral wisdom in his book, ” Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”. This book is a must read for the knowledge base essential for the best possible meal planning. It is available locally from Living Valley Springs.

Another advocate of the high fat diet is Dr Jan Kwasniewski of Poland, a medical doctor who focuses on nutrition as the prime form of medicine. Author of six books and nominee for the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1999, Dr Kwasniewski has achieved world prominence for his “Optimal Diet Plan” which has restored health to thousands who were considered incurable by contemporary medicine. He recommends three basic guidelines for daily meal planning:
1. Eat one gram of protein per day for every kilogram of your ideal body weight.
2. Eat 2.5-3.5 grams of fat for every gram of protein.
3. Eat 0.8 grams of carbohydrate for every gram of protein.

These guidelines are consistent with many traditional diets in countries where heart disease, stroke and obesity were unknown. As a successful meal planner, it is crucial to avoid the bad fats such as trans fats, margarine, refined or heat pressed oils and poly unsaturated fats.

CARBOHYDRATES are necessary for energy, but should be controlled. Through digestion they break down into simple sugars, which in turn produce an insulin response. Insulin then stimulates receptors in the muscle and fat tissue so that the sugars can be used for energy or stored as fat. Excessive consumption will obviously create a weight problem in many people. However it can do much worse. When carbohydrate is the prime dietary constituent over a long period, the receptor sites become resistant to insulin, creating a situation where the sugars cannot all be used for energy or stored as fat. The result – diabetes – too much sugar in the blood. For long term health, therefore, it is best to control carbohydrate consumption, keeping it to 80% of protein intake. Vegetables (cooked and raw) should constitute the prime source of carbohydrate with moderate amounts of fruit and minimal grain foods, nuts and seeds. There is a mechanism in the brain that tells us when we have consumed adequate protein and fat. We know when we have had enough. However, carbohydrates stimulate that part of the brain that creates desire for more carbohydrates. At Christmas dinner, for example, we can be totally full on protein and fat, until Grandma brings out the sweets.

Other proven keys to successful meal planning include:-
1. Respect your body clock. Eat meals at the same time every day.
2. Eat a king’s breakfast – high protein and fat.
3. Lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
4. Space meals at five hour intervals and don’t snack in between.
5. Be adventurous. Try new things.

A king’s breakfast might include a Greek salad with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing accompanied by two or three organic eggs and an organic lamb chop. Include feta, avocado and olives to increase the fat. Try plain yoghurt as an alternate dressing. This type of breakfast is ideal for the diabetic or those trying to lose weight. Occasionally and sparingly, include berries, pineapple, paw paw or kiwi fruit. Experiment and evaluate your increase in sustained energy and mental clarity.

For busy people lunch can be prepared the night before. Try a simple salad with organic chicken or slices of roast lamb. Dinner should be light and may include a small helping of chicken, lamb , beef, etc with a few buttered vegetables. Soups are an excellent dinner option. These are just a few ideas. The subject of meal planning really has no limits. Use your imagination. Experiment. Set aside half an hour each week to plan nutrient-rich meals and a shopping list.

“While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us.” – Benjamin Franklin

Gary Martin

Author Gary Martin

Co-Founder and General Manager of Living Valley Springs - Australia’s premier health retreat. Backed by a team of natural health professionals, Gary has played a pivotal role in transforming lives and is passionate about advancing a major health revolution in Australia!

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