Keep it simple sweetieLess is more
Most recipes focus
on your tastebudsto the detriment of your digestion
I used to think I was clever as a kid, making my Super Salad Sammies! Between two pieces of wholegrain bread, I would pile high everything I could find in the fridge: butter, lettuce, cheese, onion, beetroot, tomato, gerkin, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper. I did this because I thought it was good for me. I imagined all the nourishment I would be getting from my creation. I believed the more ingredients, the better.
Now I know better (from both professional and personal experience). Less is definitely more when it comes to the number of ingredients in a meal.
Go with the digestive flow
When you pop food into your mouth, it gets mixed with saliva. And your brain immediately begins to analyse what’s in your food! It communicates with the gut and instructs it to prepare the most appropriate enzymes to meet this particular concoction once you swallow it. Our gut-brain connection is pure intelligence. This whole process happens without us even having to think about it. Just imagine how you could enhance the digestive process if you actually thought about what you were doing — beyond the tasting and the swallowing!
My clients and customers try to impress me by telling me that they make a home-made muesli using anywhere from 10–17 different ingredients. Or that they are having their own version of the ‘Super Salad Sammie’ for lunch. Usually I’m just concerned for them. I always tell them not to confuse their digestion systems – I tell them to K.I.S.S. regardless of how healthy each individual ingredient may be. It’s all about the net effect when it’s being processed by the body. To illustrate my point, I use the following analogy from the TV programme Master Chef:
Taste Test Elimination
On Master Chef, they do the Taste Test Elimination. There’s a big mystery pot of something like Minestrone, or Sri Lankin Curry, or George’s Mumma’s Moussaka. The judges have a whole host of ‘hidden’ ingredients lined up along the bench and the contestants have to guess what’s in the dish, based solely on their ‘discerning’ palates. If they guess wrong they are eliminated. The first lucky contestants get to pick the obvious ingredients: lamb, pasta, tomato, garlic, onion, cumin, salt, pepper… Then however, things start getting tricky.
It’s the same for your brain when you have too many ingredients in your meals. It doesn’t make for intelligent, quick and efficient determination of different food groups. This guesswork just makes for stress and confusion. Or you might know this as bloating, wind, pain… and a rather untimely ‘elimination’!
For improved digestion and absorption, you are better off having fewer ingredients per meal (3–5), and spreading out your nutrients across the day (no more than 15–20 ingredients per day). This way it is easier to track what food groups you eat too much of, or are not eating enough of, throughout the week. This helps to decrease food intolerance and increase specific nutrients in your diet.