Healthy Eating

It’s not fat that makes you fat. It’s the amount of carbohydrates you consume. Because carbohydrates are the only food group broken down into sugar. One day I realised that the health advice I was giving to people was wrong. I was following a set of rules that didn’t work.

The day everything changed for me was the day I experienced what effect foods have on my blood glucose levels. I wore a glucose monitor (this monitor is used in people with type 1 diabetes and measures the glucose in your interstitial fluid – the fluid in and around your body’s cells), and noticed that my blood sugar would rise after eating ‘healthy’ cereal such as bran flakes and shredded wheat. This got me thinking…

Metabolically the only foods that are broken down into glucose (or sugar) are carbohydrates.

Protein, fat and vegetables are not broken down into sugar. So why do we tell people to start their day with cereal? When essentially cereal is broken down into sugar? And yes porridge is a high carbohydrate meal and so is coco pops. Though Coco Pops has added table sugar too it.

For years, I believe we have been telling people the wrong health messages (and we still do!). It’s about time we correct this.

Read more about about Why I Believe The Fear of Fat has Made Us Fat. Click here. 

 

The 1-2-3 refers to, in my opinion, the main food groups (carbohydrates, protein and vegetables). I advocate including these at every meal but to ensure carbohydrates make up the smallest proportion.

I do not consider fruit as part of the vegetable group since fruit contains fructose (fruit sugar)  and contributes therefore to overall carbohydrate intake. I generally suggest no more than 2-3 portions of fruit a day (one handful = one portion). I also educate on fat and dairy separately since I consider cheese to be protein. I also educate on fats separately and encourage mono unsaturated fats as the main source of fat of course.

So the 1 refers to carbohydrates, protein the medium (2) and vegetables make up the largest portion (3). One handful being one portion approximately. So let me explain this in context. Most people in the UK have a lunch that consists of a low fat sandwich, baked crisps and a piece of fruit. In my opinion, this is not a balanced diet. The way to make this a 1-2-3 meal would be to do the following: 2 slices of wholemeal bread, protein of choice (tin of tuna or ham and cheese etc) and a large side salad. 

 

How did the 1-2-3 Healthy Eating Approach start?

It was initially an educational approach I first started to use in women with gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy). I found that people struggle to understand what and how much to eat with each meal and how important it is to combine food groups to avoid a post prandial rise in blood sugars. Most Government guidelines don’t state how to eat with a single meal but rather what a total diet should be like. From working with 1000’s of people I have found that they don’t know how to eat with each meal. I wanted to make it practical and easy for people to understand healthy eating since the 1-2-3 DOES NOT involve calorie counting or even carbohydrate counting. The feedback I have had from people so far is that it is straightforward to use and it gives flexibility to still enjoy food.

The 1-2-3 Healthy Eating Approach is not a low carbohydrate diet, it is a healthy diet made easy to follow. It specifies the use of low glycemic carbohydrates, plenty of vegetables and healthy protein sources such as oily fish and lean meats. Meals are still based on carbohydrates but the portion has been specified.

Let me show you some typical meal examples and how we can make it 1-2-3!

It’s so easy! All it takes is understanding the food groups and challenging the way you were taught about food and how to combine the food groups.

 

 

1-2-3 Breakfast

Swapping from:

Try out:

2 slices toast and margarine/butter

1 Slice of toast with 2 scrambled eggs and tomatoes/mushrooms.

A bowl of cereal with milk.

No added sugar muesli with  Greek yoghurt. Add some nuts.

Fried bacon, sausage, egg, baked beans, hash browns tomatoes and toast.

Grilled bacon, 1 grilled sausage, eggs, baked beans, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Croissants with jam

Croissants with ham and/ or cheese.

1-2-3 Lunch

Swapping From: Try out:

A meal deal: Sandwich, packet of crisps, fruit pot and a fruit drink.

Homemade sandwich packed with protein (e.g. cheese or sliced meat) and salad.

A piece of fruit

Water/sugar free drink.

Jacket potato with baked beans and cheese

Jacket potato with Cheese/ Tuna mayo and a side salad.

1-2-3 Dinner

 

Swapping from:

Try out:

Lasagne and garlic bread

Lasagne and salad

Vegetable Curry containing potato with 2 chapatti

Vegetable curry without potato and 1 and ½ chapatti with some Greek yoghurt.

Burger in a bun with chips and baked beans

Either:

Burger in a bun with a salad

Or:

Burger without a bun with around 6 chips and salad/vegetables

Don’t forget plenty of fats!

Fats are essential to your health! Make sure you include plenty of healthy fats. The average adult would need 70g of fats a day. That would be equivalent to:

1 x avocado

1 x tbsp of olive oil

Handful of walnuts

Portion of salmon

Please see this table of foods I have created. It shows you various foods and the fat content. Click here.  

Intuitive Eating

As much as 1-2-3 is a strategy to help people with their weight there is nothing which will ever replace the message our body sends us. Therefore, listen to YOUR body. I don’t listen to anyone expect my OWN BODY and the messages it sends me.

We are constantly bombarded with health messages and never have we stopped to ask: ‘What’s the right choice for me?

We are all born with the wisdom of what is best for us. I see it in children. Children who prefer protein will eat more protein and children who don’t want to drink milk don’t want to drink milk (underlying food allergy is always likely to be the reason). Their parents will come to me all worried about their child’s nutrition when in fact there is nothing to worry about; the child is in tune with themselves, unlike most adults.

I want to emphasise the following: I always encourage my clients that more carbohydrates are often needed if they are very active. I also specify that eating 1-2-3 is a life style and not a diet. It’s supposed to be fun, no sin or guilt is allowed and I always bring in the importance of mindfulness. Personally, I eat more carbohydrates according to my visits to the gym and the amount of yoga I manage to fit it. 

Honour Your Body

Breaking a long standing habit can be difficult; especially when you have been brainwashed into believing that fat is the issue. So take it one step at the time. Try it out for yourself if you don’t believe me. Try listening to your body, try watching your carbohydrate intake and please don’t hesitate to get in touch, even if you don’t agree with me as I don’t expect everyone to agree.

 

 

Please like or share this blog. If you want to leave a comment, please feel free.

 

 

Please note that this information neither is medical advice, nor is it meant to replace the advice of your doctor or dietitian and I assume no liability for the use or misuse of this information.

2 Comments

  1. Hi, we met today when I came with my daughter to you for dietary advice for my grandson Ben. Chatting with you was really helpful and I intend to follow your advice. Thank you do much. Sandra Robinson. (Ben Griffin’s nan)

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