Guildford born and bred health guru Elizabeth Peyton-Jones, food expert and author of Eat Yourself Young reveals the latest trends in healthy eating
2014 is going to be the year that people start to change their relationship with food and focus on what they are eating and the effect it is having on their health, says Elizabeth Peyton-Jones, food and health expert and author of Eat Yourself Young. Reading labels, buying and cooking fresh food instead of ready-meals, taking control of our eating habits and educating ourselves about good food will be more important to most of us than trying the latest fad diets. Here Elizabeth explains further about the concept of "we are what we eat" and how understanding a few simple principles can change our bodies and lives for the better.
1. Know what you are putting into your body: 2014 is about making sense of confusing information regarding diet, food and labels. It's about learning to create dishes that are less complicated, addictive, fatty and compulsive. It's about finding an everyday diet that you can follow for most of the time without getting into a binge/deprivation cycle.
2. Indulging is ok: There is going to be more interest in finding a general healthy eating plan that doesn't make you feel as if you are going back to ground zero whenever you break it, or that you're a loser who will never be able to manage your weight or health properly. The new eating regime is about finding principles to follow for life, and building in indulgences that won't ever send you off on a guilt trip.
3. Prevention is better than cure: This year is also about bringing health awareness to the table, taking control of our health and wellbeing and relying less on doctors, hospitals and medication. Instead of treating the symptoms we will be trying to avoid getting ill in the first place with a balanced and nutrient-rich diet.
4. Good health is for everyone: Consumers are starting to realise that the tools to good health and optimum weight are in your kitchen and on your plate. It is your choice - good health is not for a select few. Make good food a gift you give yourself every day because you want power, concentration, good self-esteem and a passion for life rather than exhaustion, illness, lack of focus and depression.
5. We are what we eat: This year, we start to understand that the food we eat has profound consequences on our bodies (physical), attitudes (mental), and impacts on both our short and long term health. For example: if you have a headache, maybe your liver is congested and needs a light detox, or maybe you are dehydrated. Stomach pains normally occur because of a low grade inflammation or intolerance. Try and find the source and change your eating and drinking to help sort it out.
6. Ditch the sugar: We will start to cut down on sugar as we begin fully tounderstand its detrimental effect on our health and weight. Not all sweet was created equal: sugar is complicated and made more so by scientists who have created synthesised sweet yet low calorie tastes, thus fooling us into believing there is no detrimental impact to the body. We'll all be learning how wrong that viewpoint is!
7. Spice it up: Herbs and spices make a comeback having been downgraded over the years to a garnish or flavouring. Yet for thousands of years before they were used medicinally. As we come to understand the benefits of ginger, cinnamon, fennel, turmeric, basil, mint and parsley, we can learn to use the kitchen as a pharmacy to good health and a healthy weight.
8. Doesn't have to cost the earth: Anything you make yourself from scratch is going to cost less than ready-made food. So you will notice the difference in your pocket as well as your physique. Additionally, when your health is robust and you are feeling good about yourself it's true that anything can happen: you can make friends more easily, fall in love, have more fun and get better rewards for everything you do. The knock-on effects of healthy eating cannot be measured only in the pennies you save.
Eat Yourself Young (Quadrille, £12.99) has been updated and reprinted this December and is available from good bookshops or online from epjhealth.com. In the book, Elizabeth promises to show you how to become more vital, look younger, have a leaner body, sleep better, feel calmer, sexier and more alive, by gaining control over your health and nutritional well-being.