All about the (pizza) base

Try this – do a Google search for ‘Diet to prevent… ‘ and any disease you care to name. ‘Diet to prevent diabetes’, ‘Diet to prevent heart disease’, ‘Diet to prevent arthritis’, etc, etc, etc.

It all boils down to the same basic diet (if you need a specialised diet because of food allergies/intolerances, some things will be slightly different – but the basic principle still applies) –

  • Eat unrefined carbohydrates. Avoid the refined ones.
  • Don’t eat processed foods.
  • Don’t drink fizzy pop.
  • Eat lots of fresh fruit, salad, and vegetables.
  • Reduce the amount of red meat you eat.
  • Eat fish, particularly oily fish.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Have less salt.
  • Avoid saturated fat.
  • Drink less caffeine.
  • Drink less alcohol.
  • Control your portion size.

And that’s it.

It isn’t a fancy diet. There are no pills or potions. You don’t need to sign up to anything. It isn’t difficult to do. You will not feel deprived. You don’t have to cut out any major food group. It isn’t expensive. And it will help to prevent a lot of different diseases – so bring it on. Let’s do this!!

First I need to check how things stand at the moment.

Eat unrefined carbohydrates. Avoid the refined ones. Unrefined carbs (that’s wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholewheat pasta, unrefined sugar and wholemeal flour) tend to be a bit more expensive and sometimes a bit harder to source than the refined alternatives. Because of my extreme economising I’ve been buying white sugar, normal pasta and white flour – but now that there’s a wee bit more money coming in I’m going to start replacing them with the real thing as and when stocks get low again.

Don’t eat processed foods. I don’t buy much processed food – but I have been buying a bit. Sausages, principally. That’s going to stop. But where do you draw the line? I wouldn’t buy turkey twizzlers, but I like to have pizza in the freezer. Aargh – pizza has refined flour in the base. Bugger.

Don’t drink fizzy pop. I don’t drink fizzy pop. I actually can’t remember the last time I bought a can of pop to drink. Yay!!

Eat lots of fresh fruit, salad, and vegetables. There isn’t a veg that I don’t like. Apart from green beans – they make your teeth squeak, that can’t be right… But even green beans – if I came to your house and you served green beans, I would eat them. But I don’t buy them. Everything else, I will eat with gusto. Lots of colour, lots of variety. And I love a salad. I don’t eat as much fruit as I should. I don’t really know why, because I like it well enough. I suspect it’s something to do with the stickiness – I don’t like my fingers to be sticky. Time to get over that particular hang up and just eat more fruit. I will buy more fruit.

Reduce the amount of red meat you eat. I don’t eat a lot of red meat – I only have it once a week, usually either mince or a pork chop. I think that’s probably OK.

Eat fish, particularly oily fish. I have fish once a week. I need to up my intake of oily fish – in fact there’s a tin of sardines in the cupboard, so that’s a start. There’s a breaded haddock in the freezer – when I’ve eaten that, I’ll buy more oily fish. I sort of aim to have it twice a week, but generally end up only having it once a week. Must try harder.

Drink plenty of water. I don’t drink as much water as I should. I reckon I make up for it with the amount of tea I drink. I try to only have one coffee a day, but I do drink a lot of tea. Some experts reckon that’s OK – the water doesn’t have to be ‘just’ water. I’ll go with that. I don’t often feel thirsty, so I guess that means I’m well enough hydrated.

Have less salt. I have very little salt – I never add it at the table, and I only add it during cooking if I’m making scrambled eggs or an omelette. I don’t eat much processed food, so I’m not getting it from that source either. In fact, it’s possible I’m not getting enough salt, as I’m prone to cramps in my calf muscles, which might be due to a lack of it!! Takeaways, and things like bacon butties, are very salty – I can tell, because the only time I really feel thirsty is after I’ve had something like that.

Avoid saturated fat. This is where things get a bit complicated – some fats that we thought were OK turn out to not be OK, some are fine so long as you don’t use them for frying. I use sunflower oil for frying (I don’t do much frying) and butter for baking/spreading on bread. I know butter is a saturated fat, but it seems to me that it’s more ‘natural’ than all the spreads etc that try to tell you how healthy they are. The important thing to remember is that they’re all fats – so don’t have too much.

Drink less caffeine. I try to only drink one coffee a day, and I don’t bother with energy drinks. So I think I’ve got this one too.

Drink less alcohol. I have a couple of drinks a week – ideally a glass of wine on a Friday night and another on a Saturday night. Recently I’ve been working my way through the alcohol stocks, instead of buying more – over the summer that meant a G&T or a Pimms rather than a glass of wine. Now that we’re into the colder weather it might have to be a glass of port. I’m rather partial to a glass of port. Maybe I was an elderly Victorian gentleman in a past life…

Be aware of portion size. I think I’m good with this – I don’t like to feel over-full, and I have no qualms at all about leaving food on my plate if I’ve had enough. In fact I get quite cross with myself if I’ve ended up eating too much – I should know better.

So where does that leave me?? Not doing badly – but could be doing better. I need to ditch all the refined carbs and replace them with unrefined. I need to eat more fruit. I probably need to drink more water.

And mostly I need to think carefully about the processed foods that I buy – oh, but that might mean not having pizza on a Friday night!! That’s what Friday nights are for!!

What do you think – should I sacrifice my Friday night pizza? There’s refined flour in the base, but the topping is tomatoes, cheese and herbs so nothing much wrong there. Oh, but my favourite is Cajun Chicken – processed meat. Pizza – good or bad??

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. tjswebdesign says:

    Do you have Netflix? I thoroughly recommend watching “The Game Changers”.

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  2. tjswebdesign says:

    Do you have Netflix? I thoroughly recommend watching “The Game Changers”.

    Like

    1. No I don’t. I saw your Facebook post about this – I thought it was some variant of Game of Thrones??

      Like

  3. LittleDreams says:

    Your diet sounds really well balanced so I don’t think that Friday pizza is doing you any harm whatsoever, I would stick with it. You only live once and all that jazz! Or you could make your own? The dough can be made and frozen so you could make a batch and it wouldn’t take you long to whip up a pizza on Friday.
    But somehow that doesn’t sound like as much of a treat! Decisions, decisions…😁

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    1. I do quite fancy having a go at making my own. But there is something inherently pleasant in just sticking something in the oven without having to think too much about it…

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  4. Joan Mudd says:

    I don’t think that 1 pizza a week is doing too bad. Treat yourself. If you REALLY want to be virtuous you can try a pizza on a cauliflower base. Been there, done that and am only thankful that there are no emojis to insert in this reply window as it would have to be rolling eyes followed by barfing . That’s just me though LOL!

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    1. Hmm – no, not convinced. Don’t mind cauliflower – but it should be up front and honest about being cauliflower, not pretending to be pizza…

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      1. Joan Mudd says:

        Exactly. I quite enjoy a bit of cauliflower but not as a pizza base,

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Deirdré says:

    I make the fathead pizza. Google the recipe. Quite easy and lovely. I use whatever cheese I have on hand. Trying to make it less expensive.

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    1. Looks lovely – not keen on the keto diet though, as misses out entire food groups which I never feel is a good idea.

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  6. jmarie1974 says:

    I think keep the Friday night pizza, the rest of your week sounds fine,

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    1. Thank you!! I suspect that’s what will happen – although I fancy having a go a making my own.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. anglosvizzera says:

    Sounds like you’re eating far better than many people and doing fine on it. There is a lot of controversy about foods and the advice changes a lot, but often doesn’t get out into the public domain until much later.

    Take ‘saturated fat’, for example. It seems that natural fat, which comes in many forms such as animal fat (butter, lard etc) is now considered to be ok (unless you get your information from charities who are funded by the companies who make processed fats and foods) – in fact, most forms of saturated fat found naturally don’t have that much saturated fat at all (eg lard is 39% saturated and butter is 63% saturated.)

    Coconut oil is one that is very high in saturated fat (87%), but is now considered very healthy, and cold-pressed oils like olive oil are good too, but not good to use for high-temperature cooking as it oxidises easily. Rapeseed oil over here I think is ok and is fine for high-temperature cooking, if it’s organic and cold-pressed. In the US they have some kind of GM rapeseed oil called ‘Canola’ which isn’t good (for many reasons.)

    As for other plant oils, If you look into how sunflower and most other refined oils are made, you’ll see that those are extremely highly-processed and are considered unhealthy as they have too much of the inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acid.

    So your gut feeling about butter being better because it’s natural is spot-on. Some people have problems with milk protein so they can make clarified butter or use ghee, if that’s the case. I’d make clarified butter using organic unsalted butter, which is really lovely and keeps for ages.

    Wheat in general seems to be an issue for many people, not just when it’s refined (so has a high glycaemic index, stressing the pancreas), but due to the effect it has on their gut. I think that a lot of the problem is due to the glyphosate that is routinely used on wheat (and other crops too) just before harvest as it speeds up the ripening of the wheat.

    Glyphosate (aka “Roundup”) is now acknowledged to be carcinogenic (which is why councils have stopped using it for killing weeds) and there are plenty of animal studies showing how it affects them in other adverse ways. So if you are going to eat wheat-based foods, I’d suggest getting organic ones. Others have also pointed out that the modern forms of wheat seem to be problematic for many people too – IBS can be an effect of not only gluten (even for those without coeliac disease) but gliadin, another wheat protein. I’ve personally found that I feel so much better having cut out wheat most of the time, as have many people I know. But if you don’t suffer from it, then it should be fine – so have that Friday night pizza (organic, if poss!!)

    Don’t worry about the fruit either – according to Zoë Harcombe, who has now qualified as a certified nutritionist and is well-respected by those involved in Functional Medicine, says that fruit is highly over-rated. As most fruits are mostly water and fibre, the nutrients in them are more scarce and you can get all of the essential ones from your colourful variety of fruit. For some people the fructose in fruit can also be a contributor to insulin-resistance, especially the tropical fruits and starchy fruits like bananas. Berries are considered good though, although, at least in the US, strawberries are considered one of the most ‘dirty’ fruits when it comes to pesticides and herbicides – best to grow your own!!

    Salt seems to be another thing that has been exonerated unless you are known to have a sensitivity to it. Research seems to indicate that the advice to restrict sodium has the converse effect even on those who have had heart disease, despite what the conventional medical advice is at the moment.

    Refined salt, which is what is added to processed foods and is called ‘table salt’ is what should be avoided, but Himalayan (pink) rock salt (but there are some ‘fake’ ones out there) and sea salt have other minerals which are needed in our diet, as sodium needs to be balanced with potassium in particular. So they are now considered to be ok in moderation. There do seem nowadays to be some people who are actually deficient in sodium as they avoid it at all costs!

    Sausages can be ok, if they’re made with just decent meat and no fillers – some ‘grass-fed’ meat companies make excellent sausages although the are a bit pricey. Also farmers markets are a good source, and organic sausages from the supermarket. Just because it’s called a ‘sausage’ doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy – but you can read the rubbish that’s in those awful, pink, flabby things that are dirt cheap in the shops on the packet and you wonder why it’s even called a ‘sausage’ other than due to its shape… Could make your own too, of course.

    I have a great book recently written by the ‘Father of Functional Medicine’, Dr Mark Hyman. In the UK it goes by the catchy title of “Food: WTF should I eat?” whereas in the US, it’s called, “Food: What the heck should I eat?” I much prefer the UK title 😉 But it goes into different types of food and where problems may lie and the research behind the latest recommendations that haven’t yet filtered through into society in general. A great book to read through or just use as a reference.

    We recently signed up to the Riverford organic veg box scheme which we are having delivered every fortnight and which supplements the organic veg we can get locally. They invited us to a ‘pop-up feast’ which we attended last night – it was about an hour’s drive away, so we had a day out in Paignton, Devon to make it worthwhile (which is another story!)

    Anyway, the event was held in a community centre which was transformed into a lovely restaurant with tables, candles and soft music, that we shared with others, mostly of our sort of age, and mostly those who had recently started getting the veg boxes. The food was all vegetarian and was served in 6 small courses – and was absolutely delicious.

    Many of the people on our table had chosen to receive their boxes without potatoes, as we have, as it seems that many people are now actively avoiding potatoes (and wheat too, as it transpired from our conversations.) One woman was saying how she hadn’t realised that even basmatti rice had a high glycaemic index, meaning that it raises blood sugar quickly – and how when we were all young we hardly ate rice other than the occasional rice pudding. Same with pasta – I think tinned spaghetti and home-made macaroni cheese was the occasional venture into past when I was a child, although I do remember my mum buying the really long spaghetti in a blue paper wrapper for the odd spaghetti bolognese dish. But we certainly didn’t base our meals around pasta, rice, bread and so on like most people do these days, especially if you are relying on a school, work or hospital canteen!

    A little of the ‘wrong’ stuff now and again seems to work well, and some people have particular sensitivities or other issues with some foods, but you seem to have got it sorted 🙂

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    1. I think the problem is that this basic simple dietary advice can get very complicated very quickly. And there are so many conflicting ideas/fashions – red wine, coffee, butter, fruit, bread are all good or bad depending on where you get your information from. I suspect my Mother was right all along when she said ‘moderation in all things’!!

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    2. jmarie1974 says:

      That’s a good idea, that way you can control the toppings and the size! For ultra healthy you could try cauliflower pizza base, never tried it myself, might be interesting 😊 I use wholewheat flour when making my pizza dough, still calorific, but at least healthier calories 🤣

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  8. Yes, I fancy trying a wholewheat version. Trouble is, I’ll probably pile on more toppings than you would get on a shop-bought one!!!

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