The weather is getting wintery and everyone is beginning to feel it. The cold and flu season is upon us and we are all looking for some handy hints to help stay healthy.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Jason Shon Bennett from Lifestream to answer some questions for us about the massive impact we can have on our health with a few diet and lifestyle changes.
B&L: Jason, you are known for your work with Superfoods. Can you please tell us what they are and how they can benefit us?
Jason: Superfoods are foods that offer significantly higher nutrition levels, rounded and potent micronutrients (that are usually missing in the diet) and many additional benefits that support and feed the human body.
B&L: What is the best way to approach fasting, and can you tell us a bit about the benefits?
Jason: Fasting is simply the safest and most natural way to cure the human body of illness. It is a natural part of our evolution – feast or famine. When there was no food did we all die off or did we adapt? Was there always a fridge in every house and a McDonald’s on every corner? No. What do children and animals do when they are sick? They rest and stop eating. Our main problem is overeating – not under eating.
I am not talking about starvation/becoming anorexic/eating disorders as that is completely different. Occasionally not eating for a day or two and fasting intelligently for most people will do them an enormous amount of good. Much more to discuss on this but suffice to say giving the body a break by not eating is like treating tiredness with sleep, it works.
B&L: Raw foods is another of your well known areas of expertise and I’m guessing that not all foods can be eaten raw. What are the best foods for us to eat raw and what makes them better for us?
Jason: Raw foods contain very important elements that rebuild our health and protect us from disease. They contain probiotics to feed your gut microflora, living digestive enzymes, and carotenoids that convert into the most powerful antioxidants in the human body. Then there are the vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and so much more.
To benefit from the goodness found in raw foods, eat as many raw fruit and vegetables in-between meals as they are the ultimate snack. It’s also great to soak your muesli overnight and eat it raw for breakfast.
B&L: Coming into Winter, now is the perfect time for lots of colds and flu to start hitting. What are the best foods to focus on getting plenty of to help us combat these?
Jason: Grate ginger into warm water each morning to stimulate the circulation or take ginger capsules. You should also eat as many freshly made vegetable based foods as possible. The most important food group is leafy green vegetables and we eat around 2% daily, which is nowhere near enough! So make sure you are stocking up on your leafy green veggies!
You should also take a superfood supplement such as spirulina, chlorella or barley or wheat grass as they are packed with nutrition and rare elements that most of us are missing.
B&L: Winter also seems to be a time that asthma is exacerbated. What’s your advice for those of us trying to combat asthma?
Jason: 85% of your immune system is in the gut. Therefore by changing your diet you can change the health of your gut and improve your immune system and respiratory system.
I cured my chronic asthma 17 years ago and have never looked back, by regular fasting, changing my diet and cleaning out my constipated and sick gut.
B&L: What would you say is the most important piece of diet advice that you can give that will benefit everyone across the board?
Jason: Eat more plants.
B&L: Bowel Cancer Awareness Week is coming up from 5-11 June. Can you tell us about the importance and benefits of looking after our bowel?
Jason: Your bowels love bulk fibre that can only be found in plant foods. Fibre moves matter easily through the bowel, removing waste and feeding beneficial bacteria. Vegetable fibre lowers inflammation and causes – the death of cancer cells.
Australia has one of the lowest fibre intakes in the world and one of the highest bowel cancer rates in the world. We consume between 5-15 grams of fibre daily and it is NOT ENOUGH.
Australians in general eat far too many nutrient-void diet of fibreless foods such as processed meat, which is possibly the biggest direct cause of bowel cancer, refined sugar-rich carbohydrates and rancid fried fats.
B&L: What are some of the ways we can achieve this?
Jason: You can increase your fibre intake by eating more fresh raw plants and basing your diet around vegetables, whole fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and wholegrains. I take Lifestream Spirulina daily and have done for 25 years as it is, I believe, the best food available alongside fresh vegetables. Some other supplements you can take to help your bowel include:
- Taking a fibre supplement such as Lifestream BowelBiotics+.
- Lifestream Aloe Vera juice in the morning with apple cider vinegar (a tablespoon of each) in warm water provides a great start to the day for the liver.
- Taking chlorella will also help remove toxins from the bowel.
B&L: Are there other areas of our health issues we can combat with diet and lifestyle choices?
Jason: Anything you do to improve your gut health improves the health of the whole system. The human body is not a random mixture of different areas acting independently.
We are living in one interconnected body and all systems work and influence each other so getting healthy means getting healthy everywhere.
Eat more plants, eat less meat, get more exercise, get more sleep, drink less alcohol, and obviously do not smoke.
B&L: Looking back on your career and the changes you’ve made to your lifestyle, how would you sum up what this path has meant to you?
Jason: My life is completely different now. I keep up with my kids, I have heaps of energy, I never need to take drugs and life is so much better. I remember days when I was in my 20’s where I literally thought I would die as I could not breathe properly.
Who would have thought that changing my diet, regular fasting and lifestyle changes would have such an effect? Now my life is dedicated to transforming the health of others.
For more information about Lifestream visit: www.planethealth.com.au
Please speak to your doctor before making any significant dietary changes.