Look sexy naturally for the summer

Too lazy for exercise? Naturopath Barbara Reale offers advice on reshaping your body from the inside out, naturally losing weight and reducing cellulite.

Barbara Reale is an Italian naturopath and nutritional practitioner with a passion for great tasting food. Motivated by the common misperception that healthy, gourmet food is hard to find, she has focused her research on identifying the healthiest ingredients worldwide and combining them in luscious recipes.

Here, she focusses on food combinations to help weight loss and cellulite reduction. Perfect for the summer!

Naturopathy makes a comeback

Naturopathy (or natural medicine) is an eclectic alternative medical system that focuses on natural remedies and the body’s vital ability to heal and maintain itself. Hippocrates, the ‘father of medicine’, advocated naturopathy in ancient Greece, before the term existed. Modern medicine has become farther and farther removed from these simple beginnings. In the last 20 years, however, things have started to reverse and researchers are now giving scientific credibility to the holistic approach.

Bruce Lipton is a biological researcher who stopped experiments on stem cells after discovering the delicate balance of the underwater world. While diving as a hobby, he realised that environment is more important than genetical predispositions for health: “Swimming in polluted waters is more dangerous than having gene imperfections.”

Dumped wasteNeuropharmacologist Candace Pert—whose pioneering research in psychoneuroimmunology has had an enormous impact on how we understand disease—found that modern food can poison the blood and lymph system, the ‘water’ our cells swim in. It means that many modern immunological diseases might be prevented by avoiding unhealthy eating habits.

For example, Pert discovered that some modern ingredients, like genetically modified foods, artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate (MSG), can poison our cells. Our immune cells recognise these products as dangerous and try to get rid of them through the lymph and blood system, where our cells breath, feed and reproduce. “It is like dumping waste into our internal water system,” according to Pert.

In other words, recent research confirms what naturopathy has always said: food plays a crucial role in our health.

Modern attitudes to food
Modern society has become accustomed to processed food—it’s cheap, tasty and easy to prepare—and advocates of healthy, low budget cooking like Jamie Oliver face an uphill struggle.

Yet healthy cooking is no more expensive than modern convenience cooking, no less tasty and can be prepared quickly, if you learn a few easy tips. What’s more, cooking the right ingredients in the right combinations can prevent ailments as well as combat cellulite and help weight loss.

Measuring waistFood combinations for weight loss
Correctly combining foods makes a big difference to proper digestion, cholesterol and metabolism. If food isn’t digested properly, nutrients often cannot be fully extracted and assimilated by the body. This often leads to indigestion, bloating, abdominal discomfort and inefficient metabolism, which are prime causes of cellulite and being both under- or overweight.

Opinions often differ over the best ways to combine foods. One way to find out what is right for yourself is to experiment. Try some simple recipes using these basic principles and see how you feel!

Group I (Carbohydrates): Potatoes, rice, bread, pasta

Group II (Fibres): Olive oil, vegetables, tea, salt or sugar

Group III (Proteins): Dairy products, poultry or meat, pulses, eggs.

* Combine only one food from Group I with one food from Group II or only one from Group II with only one from Group III. Do not combine foods from Groups I and III.
* Eat one kind of fresh fruit half an hour before or two hours after meals. Eating plenty of fruit in this way can reshape your body, flatten your belly and make your eyes sparkle. But eating a mix (as in a fruit salad) can give the opposite result! (Cooked fruits can be mixed.)
* Avoid canned food, sparkling drinks, monosodium glutamate, artificial sweeteners and preservatives.

Eat lecithin to fight cellulite
Cellulite is not only an aesthetic problem but a deep cell intoxication. The ugly orange-peel effect is caused by retention of interstitial liquids that cause oedema and intoxication of tissues. Cellulite creams and wraps are only temporary remedies, because they treat only the aesthetic symptom. But even liposuction may not actually eliminate cellulite.

So what’s left? True beauty comes from inside. Following some targeted diet tips can surprisingly reshape your belly, hips and legs.

Foods rich in lecithin help to prevent cellulite developing. A study conducted in Japan, led by Dr T. Iwata and published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, established that lecithin lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing good cholesterol. Lecithin also improves blood circulation and increases the skins elasticity.

Fruits and vegetables such as oranges, grapefruit, apples, spinach, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, fennel, bell pepper and avocados are rich in lecithin.

Other ‘natural remedy’ foods are papaya, soya products, seaweeds, poultry and all citrus fruits (to improve skin elasticity); mangos and bananas (to increase blood circulation); pineapple, onion, watermelon, cucumber, celery and asparagus (to decrease fluid retention) and blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, cherries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries (for anti-oxidation).

More tips for healthy eating

* Begin your meals with a raw vegetable salad or warm vegetable soup, followed by proteins with vegetables or carbohydrates with vegetables to increase your energy.
* Avoid mixing acidic foods with basic foods, e.g., coffee with milk can give you a swollen belly.

# Using fresh organic food–especially for raw foods–and substituting sugar with fructose, maple syrup or honey can reduce neurolological diseases, behavioural disorders and the risk of diabetis: sugar also destroys mineral intake and obstructs vitamin C absorption.
# Mixing olive oil with soy sauce (for cooking) and olive oil with lemon juice (for salad dressing) can help combat weight problems, heart disease and cellulite. (Ready-made salad dressings contain scary ingredients; read labels!)
# Using maple syrup instead of sugar can prevent diabetes and stop sugar cravings.
# Eating nuts instead of snacks may reduce risk of type-2 diabetes, triglycerides and cholesterol.
# Eating wholegrain bread and pasta can dramatically combat weight problems.
# Eating the correct proportion of proteins to veggies decreases risk of cancer.
# Drinking carrot juice as an appertif while preparing your meals boosts your digestive faculty and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

A healthy day
Healthy foodBreakfast: toasted bread with naturally sweetened jam (fructose), with coffee or tea.

Half an hour before lunch: 1/2 kg fresh fruit or one large glass of fresh fruit juice.

Lunch: one large wholegrain baguette stuffed with olive tapenade and flame roasted peppers or pasta with tomato and basil sauce.

Two/three hours later: ½ kg fresh fruit or one large glass of fresh fruit juice or (dairy-free) fruit sorbet.

Half an hour before dinner: ½ kg freshly sliced vegetables or one large glass of fresh carrot juice.

Dinner: mixed vegetable soup; grilled meat or fish fillet or mixed cheese selection; a crunchy salad (e.g., thinly sliced fennel, celery and carrot).

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