The era of the fad diet is slowly coming to an end. The journey to a
healthier body has taken a more holistic approach, involving a change
in perceptions and lifestyle.

A healthy balanced diet accompanied by exercise will lead to an improvement in mind, body and soul.

But how does one implement and maintain these changes?

It is essential to be realistic – a few simple adjustments could mean all the difference.

Make the following part of your daily routine:

•    Eat early (your metabolism slows down as the day progresses and food is stored when you sleep)

•    Avoid refined and processed foods

•    Drink 8 glasses of water a day (not only does it
help flush out toxins, it is also a natural appetite suppressant)

•    Start walking (take small steps to a better life –
alight the tube/bus a stop or two away from yours and cover the rest of
the distance on foot)

There are five basic food groups:

Breads, cereals and potatoes make up the main food group and needs to
make up 50% of your diet. The key to carb joy is to opt for wholegrain.
Replace refined with unrefined – brown rice, oats, basmati rice,
barley, buckwheat and bulgur wheat.

Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre and low in calories. To ensure
you fit in 5 a day, one portion equals a medium sized fruit e.g. orange
or a slice of large fruit e.g. melon. If you eat out a lot, order a
glass of fresh juice to accompany your meal, a side salad with your
entrée and berries for dessert to fulfil three portions.

Meat, fish, eggs and pulses (beans and seeds) should make up 15% of
your diet to fulfil your body’s protein quota. Soy and quorn products
can be used as a substitute for vegetarians.

Dairy products need to make up a small part of your diet which can be
easily fulfilled by consuming a pint of milk a day or two small tubs of

Fats and sugars are the most controversial of food groups. Indulge in healthy options e.g. salmon and fruit.

But what of the new trends towards organic foods and the ever popular wheat free, sugar free and lactose free diets?

According to Dr Gillian McKeith (of “You are what you eat” channel 4
series fame), wheat and bread should be avoided as most people are in
fact gluten intolerant.  

Other foods she would have eliminated from our diets are sugar (it
lowers your metabolism) and most full fat milk products which are
harder to digest (she favours grain milks). She recommends starting the
day with a cup of warm water with a squeeze of lemon and encourages us
to “eat the good fats and rubbish the bad”.
Most supermarkets have caught on to the growing demand for organic
products (the UK boasts one of the fastest growing organic sectors in
the world). Consequently, there has been a rise in the amount of
speciality food stores such as Fresh & Wild.

Their in store café and supermarket offer products free of chemical
colourings, preservatives, flavourings and hydrogenated fats and in
line with the holistic approach, they also dedicate part of their store
to natural remedies including skin care and supplements.

They have a Naturopath (Cherie) and Nutritionist (Christina) on hand to
assist your lifestyle change and all staff members are qualified to
enhance your organic experience.

But what are the benefits of organic products?

According to the Whole Foods Market (Fresh & Wild has recently been
acquired by this brand) there are far more reasons other then the
superior taste and flavour of their products to start shopping

By purchasing locally grown food not only do you support local farmers,
but you also get fresher produce as it is likely to have been picked
only two or three days prior.

Fresh & Wild
The Real Food Store
Notting Hill

Organically grown produce are cultivated using environmentally friendly
farming methods, thus conserving nature and avoiding the use of
chemical pesticides especially harmful to children.

If the higher cost dissuades you, think of it as treating yourself and
fulfilling your social responsibility (by helping to conserve the
environment and energy).

While visiting the Notting Hill branch of Fresh & Wild I managed to
catch up with some consumers to hear what motivates them.

“I never thought I would be one of those people who would be following
a wheat free, sugar free diet!” says a very rock ‘n roll looking
man,  “but the truth is, I care about my body and this makes me
feel good about myself.”

Another shopper says “I gave up sugar a year ago and have just recently given up wheat. I still eat loads of chips though!”

A fairly young lady mentioned that she had recently started a detox to
“initiate a change in my eating and cleanse my system. Now I limit
myself to one treat a week as I love chocolate, but to tell the truth
replacing the biscuits and sweets with fruit hasn’t been that bad

The benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle are numerous and can be
achieved by sticking to a few basic principles on a daily basis.