I believe that we can eat what we want, that there are no such things as banned foods when you're eating healthily and that there are some so called forbidden foods that are fine in moderation. These are foods that I eat regularly, without feeling an ounce of guilt for doing so! It's not a revolutionary concept and the French do it so well without putting on weight, but the idea is that we don't overindulge on anything and that a bit of what you fancy is fine, combined with an active and healthy lifestyle of course. When something is forbidden, it is made all the more alluring and appealing. All deprivation does is breed temptation, which is why it's important to think of all foods as being on the menu. So here are some of my favourite so-called 'forbidden' foods that are fine in moderation.
Being Italian, I love pizza and it's often seen as a forbidden food. But what if I told you a slice of your favorite pizza was fine? It's actually quite nutritious with its balance of protein and carbohydrates. The cheese and tomato topping provides protein, vitamin E, calcium and phosphorous and yes, it will depend wholly on the toppings. To be honest, when you cut down on fatty foods, your body craves them a lot less, which is why a slice is usually enough for me. If I fancy pizza, I will have a slice or two, accompanied by a large dose of my favourite salad or a generous portion of veggies. That way I have satisfied my pizza craving and achieved a healthy balance of nutrients at the same time. If one slice isn't enough, go for a wholewheat or thin crust variety. So this is one of those publicised forbidden foods that are fine in moderation.
Pasta is another food that is sometimes seen as forbidden in diet circles and again, being Italian, I can't really eliminate this from my diet. Mainly because I don't want to! Pasta, and indeed any other food, isn't the enemy. In fact, pasta is not a high calorie food at all; it's low in fat and is a useful source of protein and complex carbohydrates. A moderately sized bowl of pasta with a delicious tomato sauce and an accompanying salad or side of vegetables will provide you with a nutritionally balanced meal. Wholewheat pasta is even better, of course. It helps keep your energy levels high, is rich in B vitamins and fibre and has a lower glycemic index than its white counterpart.
Who doesn't love chocolate? We all know about the many health benefits of chocolate and if you don't, here's a little reminder. Japanese studies have suggested that sipping natural cocoa can improve your cholesterol profile by lowering bad cholesterol levels and raising good cholesterol. It can lower your blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart. It's full of antioxidants too. To satisfy your chocolate cravings, opt for a square or two of the dark variety, which is higher in antioxidants and will give you all the health benefits.
I'm a big fan of coffee and there are so many health benefits of this brew. Obviously it can help keep you awake but that shouldn't be the sole reason for consumption. So next time you're enjoying that delicious cup of coffee, be safe in the knowledge that you may be helping reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease in later life, preventing the risk of certain types of cancer and lowering the risk of heart disease. As with everything, consuming to excess can counteract the benefits.
5. Peanut Butter
Mmmmmmmm, peanut butter. It's seen as calorie contraband for some. Yes, it's high in calories and fat and in vast quantities this is going to do some diet damage, but consumed in moderation it's fine. Peanut butter is full of protein and fibre and the fat is mainly healthy and unsaturated. Provided you don't overdo it, it's actually a nutritious addition to your diet. Studies have shown that it can also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. The American Nurses' Health Study conducted research in which they tracked the diets of over 83,000 women over a period of 16 years. They found that those whose diet consisted of most nuts, including peanut butter, were least likely to develop the condition.
When Monica from F.R.I.E.N.D.S said she wanted to live in a house of cheese, I could completely see where she was coming from. Yes, you might smell a bit and may lose all of your friends, but who cares? You live in a house of cheese! And the health benefits? Well, they're many and varied. Cheese is a great source of protein and calcium, which can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It is an important source of vitamin B 12 for vegetarians and may help fight tooth decay by preventing the formation of acids in the mouth, which attack the enamel on the teeth. Now, what cheese shall I make the door out of...
Wine is another beverage which is often frowned upon in diet circles, but if you completely eliminate this from your diet, you're missing something. In moderation, wine may decrease the risk of heart disease and when consumed with food, it can enhance the body's absorption of iron and help with digestion. Recent studies have also shown that a substance in the red wine may decrease the tendency for blood to clot and can also act as an antioxidant. And it goes so well with cheese!
So, these are just a few of my favourite foods and drinks that are not forbidden in my mind. Remember, a bit of what you fancy will do no harm. That's my mantra anyway! What foods do you like to eat that some people deem as being off limits?