The Plant Power Diet
Vitality is a favourite word for nutritionist Jenna Zoe (pictured right), reports Sarah Stacey. And not only does she feel fantastic, she looks enviably bright-eyed, clear-skinned and all-round ‘thriving’ (another favourite word).
But there was a time some years ago when Jenna, then working in fashion, almost gave up hoping she could ever feel really well.
Jenna suffered from candida and chronic hormonal imbalances, which, as every sufferer knows, make life a misery. Then, in 2009, she tried eating a vegan diet for a month and it proved a lightbulb experience. ‘I slept better immediately and my digestion improved so much that I decided to keep it up.’ She retrained as a nutritionist – she still works with patients – and started a website (www.foodstolove.co.uk) offering her favourite healthy but often hard-to-get foods.
As if that wasn’t enough to do, Jenna wrote her first book, Super Healthy Snacks and Treats (the best chocolate-chip cookies ever), and now her second, Plant-Based Paleo, launches next month.
But surely those paleolithic cavemen ate meat they had hunted? So how could a card-carrying vegan embark on a paleo diet? According to Jenna, ‘The healthy-eating world seems to split into those who promote a plant-based diet and those who swear by paleo. But where these two diets overlap – fresh fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts and seeds – is where the real magic is. Making these the basis of your diet leads to great health.
For many people, protein is a big issue when it comes to going veggie. But Jenna maintains that plant proteins, which should make up ten to 15 per cent of your calorie intake, are easier for the body to absorb than animal ones. ‘Nuts, sprouts, seeds, sprouted grains and leafy greens are protein-rich, and you can get your recommended calcium intake from broccoli, kale, sesame seeds and sprouted quinoa.’
Apart from the many healthy veggie humans, you only have to think of the healthy herbivorous animals from elephants to rabbits (via horses like my bouncy, gleaming trio) to see the logic of this argument. I still eat fish, cheese, eggs and a little meat (which Jenna says, ‘Is OK – just get to know which “extra” foods work for you’) but the majority of what my husband and I consume is plant-based, because it suits us best. And I only have to look at Jenna to be completely persuaded.
Listen up, everyone with weak, splitting, dry, fragile fingernails – which has been my problem for decades. Now, after trying umpteen nail strengtheners in vain, I have strong, supple oval-shaped nails (and polish lasts for weeks). And the secret is… almonds. I snack on a daily dozen of these nutrient-packed miracle workers. What’s more, a colleague who swapped cow’s milk for the almond version reports the same result.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
13-15 February at Olympia, London The UK’s biggest dance event for all ages and stages, with over 240 classes, spectacular performances and lots of shopping. Tickets from £15, from www.moveitdance.co.uk.
THE BABY SHOW
20-22 February, at ExCel, London Everything for bump, baby and beyond, with shopping and expert advice. Also incorporating The Work & Family Show, with solutions for managing work and family life and kickstarting careers post-baby. Tickets from £13.95, from www.thebabyshow.co.uk.
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK; www.mstrust.org.uk
The MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Trust has launched a new resource called Making Sense of MS, online and in print, via this website (under About MS). A friend with MS says, ‘It covers everything in a positive and helpful way. There is such a hideous amount of shock and fear with [a diagnosis of] MS that this resource is hugely valuable.’