Carolyn Herriot

Keep Super Computer Humming

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Carolyn Herriot is a food activist, author, passionate gardener and cook, who believes that healthy eating is the path to healthy aging. She encourages local food security through her books ‘The Zero-Mile Diet’ and has travelled extensively as a lecturer and workshop leader. After operating The Garden Path Centre in Victoria for 25 years she recently relocated to Yellow Point south of Nanaimo, where she has been trying her hand at farming in a rural community. She is currently enrolled as a student at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and still writes regularly for local publications under the heading From Farm to Table.

It’s a fact that as you get older bodily functions slow down and parts don’t work as well as they once did. As I approach my ‘golden years’ I want to make sure that the years ahead are indeed golden, so I recently signed up for a one year diploma at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Nanaimo. I support their credo that the body is qualified to heal itself with a healthy whole foods diet and good lifestyle choices and I want to find out more. The 80:20 ratio of healthy to not that healthy works best for me. Fanaticism is no fun. It is recommended to limit intake of stimulants – caffeine and alcohol, but it is also recommended to eat healthy dark chocolate, so it’s not all bad!

Nowadays doctors regard pharmaceutical medications as ‘tools’ to manage health. It’s hardly surprising that with cardiovascular disease the number 2 killer in Canada, doctors prescribe statins and ace-inhibitors to control cholesterol and blood pressure. I consider I made good choices by avoiding the birth control pill in the 70’s, replacement hormones in the 90’s and antibiotics in between, so drugs with proven side effects, that you have to take for the rest of your life, naturally goes against the grain.

We are miraculous organisms, in charge of ‘super computers’ made up of trillions of highly-differentiated cells working synergistically to keep the body in a state of balance, homeostasis. There are 10 times the number of bacterial cells in the body than human cells, which makes us more bacteria than human, and we are only just discovering how microbes work and the important role they play in good health. Make friends with friendly bacteria, these microbes in our gut determine our overall health and even how we think and feel. Protect your gut flora by adding cultured (fermented) foods to your diet, such as miso, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kim chi and sauerkraut.

Drink more pure water (preferably reverse osmosis treated). Body cells consists of 60% water. The body relies on fluids for many functions and needs 12 cups of water per day. 4 cups comes from food and 1 cup from the processes of digestion, so we need to drink 7 cups a day of fluids. Most of us are dehydrated which causes stress to bodily functions.

Pasture-fed meat and free-range chicken are the best source of healthy animal protein. Get high fiber plant protein by eating pulses, lentils, beans and split peas, and nuts and seeds on a regular basis. Keep your body pH alkalized (the pH of blood needs to be in a range of 7.35 – 7.45). Acidic foods include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, alcohol and most grains, while alkaline foods include certain fruits, nuts, legumes and vegetables.

Get healthy omega 3 fatty acids from enjoying wild cold water fish (halibut, salmon and tuna) or oily fish, (sardines, mackerel and herring) once a week. Get healthy fats from cultured butter and cheeses, olive oil, avocado, flax and coconut oil.

Give your pancreas a break from pumping insulin (and avoid diabetes) by watching your intake of processed carbohydrates that spike blood sugar; especially avoid sugar in sodas and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) found in many processed foods. Eat nutrient-dense carbs high in fiber, such as whole grains, that release glucose gradually as they break down in the digestive system (and keep you regular!) 

Get micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, from eating a diet high in organic fruits and leafy greens (B vitamins), and add seaweeds rich in minerals we may not get from the rest of our diet. As you get older it’s wise to get tested for deficiencies, as it may be necessary to supplement your diet with a balanced multivitamin/mineral complex. (See the chart for the most common deficiencies). By taking better care of your super computer it will take better care of you.

Farmers markets Blog, Restaurants, Crafts, Hobbies, Recipes, Pets, Shop on-line. Women's Fashions, Woman to Woman.  Island Woman magazine, inspiring the women of Vancouver Island, BC.


Farmers markets Blog, Restaurants, Crafts, Hobbies, Recipes, Pets, Shop on-line. Women's Fashions, Woman to Woman.  Island Woman magazine, inspiring the women of Vancouver Island, BC.Carolyn Herriot is author of The Zero Mile Diet and The Zero Mile Diet Cookbook Available at your local bookstore. She grows IncrEdibles! in Yellow Point.





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