It's nearly June and yet another big birthday is approaching - but I'm still here and enjoying life! However, as the years whizz pass I'm more aware than ever that "I am what I eat". And one important thing I have learnt over the years is that if I eat more slowly, with time to taste and savour my food I'll probably eat less of it - which in turn helps control my waistline!
What it is they say? "Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, and Dine like a Pauper..." Well I entirely agree, and speaking personally know that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for me. I MUST HAVE BREAKFAST! I cannot operate efficiently without it and my body needs to refuel after hours of sleep without food. Even when I was up every morning at 4.15am in preparation for my work as the Green Goddess on BBC TV's Breakfast Time programme, I couldn't leave the house without breakfast! It brought my blood sugar levels back up and ensured my brain and muscles were functioning properly, it helped aid my concentration and created energy. In short Breakfast sets me up for the day!
I have a similar breakfast every morning; it's nutritious and suited to my everyday requirements, it also provides much of my "five a day" beneficial fruits and vegetables.
So for me breakfast begins with freshly squeezed orange juice, and this is the moment when I take any supplements I consider necessary to keep me in tip top health. Presently, I am popping calcium tablets plus vitamin D, to help me maintain strong bones. As we get older bones become more fragile and more likely to break, and at the age of 50 about two in 100 women have osteoporosis. This figure rises to one in four women by the age of 80 (and a lesser number of men too.) I will do all that I can to help strengthen my bones in order to avoid falls and ensure my physical independence as the years continue to go by.
After my healthy cocktail I fill my bowl with my own pre-mix of muesli, bran flakes, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, currents, nuts and raisins. To this bowl I then add a selection of fruit, which contain vitamins to boost my immune system and antioxidants to fight cancer and disease. I'm fortunate to love both fruit and vegetables, and both contain fibre to help clean my gut and keep me regular! I aim to eat at least five (but usually more) portions a day.
My favourite breakfast fruits are from a selection of.....
• Fresh Blackberries, Blueberries Raspberries and Strawberries (anti-oxidants)
• Oranges, Tangerines, Kiwi fruit, Mango (vitamin C)
• Figs and Prunes (regularity and lower cholesterol)
• Plus... 1 small chopped banana (potassium)
This glorious mix is washed down with two cups of coffee. At weekends this will be freshly ground, but during the working week is more likely to be instant coffee! Breakfast provides me with the necessary "kick start" to my day - then I'm ready to face the world. The muesli mix of bran, raisins, and nuts contains complex carbohydrates which provide me with a constant drip of energy all morning - and usually right the way through to lunchtime. When I am away on my working cruises or relaxing on holiday, I still continue with the familiar breakfast, although I can be tempted to add something special on offer at the Breakfast Table. This usually takes the form of kippers or poached haddock and tomatoes.
Throughout my day I drink water, lemon tea, weak coffee or other fluids which are necessary to ensure my brain, blood and muscles are able to function efficiently. All of us need around six - eight glasses or cups of fluid a day to replace the two- four litres of water that on average each of us will lose in a day.
Although I'm not a vegetarian I only eat a little red meat which I like to think helps reduce my the risk of bowel and other cancers. My lunch or dinner usually consists of fish or poultry washed down with a glass of white wine! I love my food and I'm in no way a fussy eater - but breakfast is without doubt - my favourite meal any day!