Shopping For Healthy Food

When shopping for food try to avoid buying processed foods and buy your fruits and vegetables in season and fresh every 2–3 days so they do not lose their nutritional qualities.

“I really adapted my diet. I eat tomato soup with garlic almost every day. I also eat less fat and other vegetables good for the prostate. I feel better with all these changes in lifestyle.” Willy, aged 68

Long Live The Market!

It is at the market that you are most likely to find fresh, seasonal products, sometimes sold directly by the producer. Organic is all the more advisable as many organic products (e.g., tomatoes, carrots, apples, strawberries) are infinitely more tasty than their counterparts which are intensely cultivated.

  • Fruit. Some fruits (strawberries, peaches, apricots) do not ripen once they are picked. Buy them ready to eat. More generally, choose firm, shiny, fruits, bright green at the stem. Less expensive damaged fruit are useful for sauces but remember to protect them on the way home.
  • Vegetables. Those found in spring and summer are less robust than their winter counterparts. Do not buy damaged or split vegetables and be careful when transporting them. Leaves and stems should be bright green, the skin very shiny and always firm (e.g., beans, artichoke, strawberry, cucumber, aubergine, tomatoes, radishes) or flexible (e.g., spinach, figs, apricots). Melon, artichoke and watermelon should be heavy and full. Radishes and marrows are best small. None should show signs of damage. Feel free to ask the assistant to let you taste what you want to buy.
  • Frozen and canned. Contrary to popular belief, freezing or canning does not unduly affect the nutritional qualities of foods. That said, thawed products can upset some sensitive stomachs and some fruits and vegetables often lose their crunch en route. You are recommended to avoid pre-cooked food, which often contains unnecessary additives (e.g., salt, preservatives, acidifying agents). Avoid those grown abroad, particularly on the other side of the world. Watch the sell-by dates and never refreeze a product.
  • Eat greens at every meal. If you were not previously used to eating so many vegetables, do not look upon it as a necessary evil! The programme does not force you to eat boiled carrots or salad without dressing or other vegetables that you may dislike. There are dozens of vegetables and thousands of ways to prepare them. The bookshops and the Internet are full of books, websites and blogs of food lovers in general and on the preparation of tasty vegetables in particular. Making courgette bread may reconcile you with this somewhat bland vegetable perhaps. Cooking in a wok or trying new cuisines (e.g., Thai or Vietnamese) may be something new to try. Be daring!
  • A diet? All cultures and civilizations advocate periods of dietary restriction, especially with the approach or the end of winter. It is not fasting, but a period when you give your stomach a rest and try to cleanse the body. A week from time to time when you restrict meat, sugar and starchy foods, and you drink plenty of juice and water are good for you and your wellbeing.

Go Shopping On Foot

Physical activity has good effects on the heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight: we can never say it enough, walking is good for you! We should all walk a minimum of 6000 to 9000 steps per day. A half-hour walk at a brisk pace equates to 3000 to 4000 steps. Thirty minutes is a minimum standard and your outings must quickly become longer. However, walking “a little at a time”, is excellent if repeated. 

Josef, for example, does his shopping on foot, with a trolley on wheels or a rucksack. “I replaced small car trips with cycling, and cycling with walking, because a quarter of an hour’s walk is worth 45 minutes by bike!”

Eating Out At A Restaurant

Those who, perhaps during their professional lives, have noted the damage of a daily restaurant on their weight are aware that they eat more and generally richer food there than they do at home. This is not a reason to deprive yourself of eating out at a good restaurant; it is an opportunity for careful gourmet selection. Look out for restaurants that serve lighter dishes.

If you decide to feast and to follow your desires, why not! Avoid alcoholic spirits and drink wine moderately. The next day, go ‘thin’, eat fibre (vegetables), drink plenty of water and limit meat and carbohydrates, so that your stomach can recover from these delicious excesses. This recommendation obviously applies after family celebrations too!

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