As a Registered Nutritionist, once Vet, my role supporting our British food producers to communicate the health benefits of their produce, just feels good. Reconnecting our health with ‘real’ minimally processed food & farming strengthens communities, supports local, looks after our health (and nature too) and builds awareness around our fabulous high-quality produce and exceptional animal welfare standards too. Importantly, Farmers are reminded of their vital role producing food; it’s not just a commodity which leaves the farm for processing in a long food supply chain, but real food for our nourishment.
All too often this simplicity gets lost in a confusing mix of faddy diets and contradictions. The health message of our time is that we all just need to eat less processed, energy-dense food; our long-term health requires plant-based, ‘nutrient-rich’ foods. Let’s explore!
· It all begins with the soil. Healthy soils have countless microbes similar to those which benefit our own health - bacteria, yeasts and fungi. These ensure food, animal or arable, is richer in nutrients and a much more effective carbon-sink.
· Let’s recognise cows for the great up-cyclers that they are! With the help of our natural resource rain, they convert our plentiful grass (inedible to us) into nutrient-rich milk and meat for our best health, improving soil quality as they graze.
· ‘Nutrient-rich’ 101: food which remains ‘whole’ literally feeds our health – too much processed food is one of the main drivers of chronic diseases like Heart disease, Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity. Nutrients all work together for our benefit within their natural food. A great example is Dairy – its natural protein casein enhances our ability to absorb its calcium, meaning we can absorb calcium from milk, cheese and other dairy products better than any other food source. In order for food to be rich in goodness, ie ‘nutrient-rich’, it needs healthy soils, minimal transport time – think seasonal and local, and to stay whole or minimally processed – so it looks similar to when it left the farm!
· ‘Plant-based’ 101: A plant-based diet is a good thing – science shows our gut health, and our overall health, needs more fibre in our diet. BUT, and here’s the crucial bit – ‘Plant-based’ means just that – food choices based around plants – 70% of our plate in fact should be filled with them. The other third will do wonders for our long-term health if it’s based on animal sources like Dairy, Meat, Fish and Eggs. These foods provide a very rich source of easily absorbed nutrients & help to avoid nutrient-gaps in our diet. For example, Iron: poorly available from plants but vital for growth & brain development and every system in our body which requires energy. Vit B12: only available from animal foods and prevents anaemia, keeps nerves healthy and helps to preserve brain function in later life. Omega 3: fish gives us the type for its health-giving functions from heart health & stroke prevention to brain health too. Plant Omega 3 is different and difficult for our bodies to use in the same beneficial way.
Produce & Provide are doing a fabulous job embracing the positivity of simple, REAL food. If you’re interested in understanding more about the wonderful benefits this brings to our health, especially Gut Health – have a look at our September course on The Gut Project aiming to reconnect your health with real food and farming! https://lwnutrition.co.uk/gut-project/
Lucy provides affordable, evidence-based nutrition advice to enable farmers and food producers to communicate the health benefits of their produce effectively. She has also founded The Gut Project which aims to reconnect our health with REAL food and farming with the help of our microbes. Contact Lucy so her team can spread the word about your farming story to begin with:
Lucy Williamson Bio
Freelance Nutritionist of the Year 2020 & previously a Vet, Dr Lucy Williamson works with British farmers, enabling them to communicate the health benefits of their produce. Ambassador and Nutritionist for Love British Food and advocate for Dairy, Meat, Fish and Eggs within a plant-based diet, Lucy also runs The Gut Project, reconnecting our health with REAL food and farming.