Let’s get naked

Well that got your attention. But before you undo another button on your shirt, I have to clarify – I’m talking about food… Nude food. Oh, I’m sorry to have disappointed you, but you might find what follows to be of interest. Before I can go any further though, do you think you could pull your pants back up? It’s very distracting.

Some months ago I paid a visit to my doctor – a fairly straight forward occasion I’ve embraced numerous times before – so they could check up on my general health and well-being. Call me crazy, but I am not one of those people who puts of visiting their general practitioner (or even the dentist for that matter) because the encounter is displeasing. On a professional level, I happen to like my doctor.

That’s not to say I’m the Poster Child of Health though. In fact, I’m very honest about my family history being ‘not so great’, my diet not being perfect or my exercise levels being less that what they should be,  and the fact that I could probably afford to lose a bit of weight, which is why I ‘keep in touch’ with my doctor at least a couple of times a year. All things considered, these visits are genuinely (and generally) positive, so it was with somewhat of a shock that this visit did not yield a similar result. I took the news with all the dignity and grace of crowd of tweens being advised Justin Beiber was cancelling his Australian tour, minus the aggression.

But here’s the good thing: rather than prescribe me a ‘medical cure’ in the shape of a tablet I’d no doubt have to take for the rest of my life, my doctor lobbed the ball back into my side of the court and provided me with a single chance to turn my health around. I know what you’re thinking, this is almost unheard of.

Regaining my composure and absolving anyone other than myself of the responsibility for making a change, I started doing my homework. This might not come as a surprise, but diets don’t work. I learned that the hard way. What I needed was a lifestyle change and that required a change in attitude. Years of representative sport has given me the tools, so upping the exercise ante wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Food on the other hand appears to be my nemesis. But it isn’t fast food that is my problem (I haven’t touched McDonald’s or KFC or any of that other crap in years), it’s food in general. I enjoy food; cooking it, eating, reading about it AND writing about it. My enjoyment for food is what allows me to make informed (and hopefully entertaining) posts here.

I grabbed a copy of Natalia Rose’s The Raw Food Detox Diet and started treating my body with the respect it deserved. Rose is a United States-based nutritionist whose straightforward and simple plan to detoxing the body and eating ‘raw’ foods not only appealed to me but to a number of celebrities, sports personalities and others.

So what’s nude food all about? In a nutshell, nude food is food eaten as close to its ‘source’ as possible. Many experts believe that nude foods restore the balance in our hormones, will speed up our metabolism, and cleanse and alkalise our bodies. Now before you roll your eyes and turn the other way, eating ‘nude’ does not mean eating less. In recent months I have been exposed to unlimited amounts of fruits and vegetables, nuts, eggs and fish (sometimes uncooked and always unprocessed). It has been eye-opening, but the change in my mental and physical state has got me wondering if this is how it’s supposed to be… For me.

There are a great many studies and articles stating a diet of only uncooked, unmeaty foods is too much of a good thing, that those following a strict ‘raw food’ diet are undernourishing themselves.

I’ll be upfront here and now: I have never been a big red meat eater, so I don’t believe that removing red meat from my diet for a period of time has had a detrimental impact on my health. I enjoy fish and seafood and I continued to eat it. But instead of my diet being made up of 50-60 percent of fruits and vegetables, I increased that to around 80 percent of nutritional foods (including fruit and vege). I said ‘good bye’ to coffee, cakes and the weekly takeaway and said ‘hello’ to green tea, sweet potato and a new repertoire of healthy, home-cooked meals. I cut out bread, and if I wanted pasta, I made it myself.

If anything, the last few months have made me more conscious of what’s going into my gob and where it’s come from. Only time and another trip to my doctor will tell if there are any true health benefits for me. It’s been worth it regardless…

Here’s a new favourite.

Roasted vegetable, lentil and brown rice salad*

INGREDIENTS

1 eggplant
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red capsicum (deseeded and diced)
2 carrots (peeled, halved and sliced)
2 zucchini (halved and cut into 2cm slices)
1 red onion (cut into wedges)
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup brown rice
400g tine of lentils (drained and rinsed)
75g baby spinach

METHOD

Preheat over to 180C.

Cut the eggplant in half and slice into 1cm semi-circle pieces. Sprinkle with salt and set aside until juices bead on the surface (around 25 minutes). Rinse the eggplant and dry well with paper towel. Toss all the vegetables with oil, salt and pepper into a baking dish and put in the oven for up to 40 minutes (you want them to be tender and golden). Allow the vegetables to cool. Place the brown rice in a saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the rice is tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Mix with the vegetables, and add the lentils and spinach. If you want a dressing, try a light sprinkling of balsamic vinegar.

*Recipe from Weightloss Warrior: How to win the battle within, Tiffiny Hall

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