Choose Health

This column is written by Stig Bengmark – Professor Emeritus, scientist, lecturer and writer. Read more of Stig Bengmark’s columns here.

My Choose Health programme aims to regain the ancient power of our ancestors’ lifestyles within the parameters of modern life. Good health rests on three foundations: plenty of exercise, stress control and healthy eating.

You can read more about the importance of exercise here. The latest experience can be summed up by this image:

You can read more about the importance of stress control here.

However, the purpose of this column is to discuss the importance of food. Three factors play the biggest part: the time of day when the food is ingested (read more here), the amount of food ingested, and what is ingested.

The general principles of my Choose Health programme have been summarised in 12 commandments:

• Limit/remove sugar and things similar to sugar: bread, pizza, pasta, boiled rice, boiled root vegetables from diet.
• Limit your intake of fruit sugar mainly by excluding carbonated drinks – soft drinks.
• Limit/remove dairy products from your diet.
• Limit your meat intake to mostly wild fish and game. Avoid pork and limit beef to maximum 300 g per week. Points 3 and 4 will reduce your intake of long chain fatty acids which create inflammation – especially in the few hours after a fat-rich meal. Instead, eat fats with shorter chain lengths, especially coconut and avocado fats.
• Limit/remove all foods that have ever been heated above 100 degrees from your diet.
• Limiting exposure to the bacterial toxin, endotoxin, and external toxins/pesticides which are also found in dust, for example.
• Limit exposure to medicines.
• As far as possible, remove inflammatory proteins such as casein (dairy products), gluten (wheat, rye and barley) and zein (corn) from the diet.
• Make the majority of your diet fresh raw vegetables and fruits with low sugar content, but preferably higher fat content, fresh or dried spices and teas that reduce inflammation (olive tea, yerba mate tea and green tea).
• Eat plenty of plant protein/fibre/antioxidant-rich grains, seeds, peas, beans, lentils, almonds and nuts.
• Add plenty of vitamin D, omega fat, turmeric and probiotics – the four cornerstones of anti-inflammation. 
• Practice daily fasting if possible, i.e. no food after 18:00 and before 12:00 the next day.

Some important foods are nuts, almonds, seeds, peas, beans, lentils, spices, and the like. Unfortunately, they’re quite hard to find and very expensive in Swedish stores. It should be possible to buy all of these in kilo packs and none of these goods should cost more than SEK 150 per kilo.

Martin Olsson and shops owned by/catering to immigrants are preferable to the supermarket chains

Unfortunately, our food chains love to sell more packaging than content. Peanuts, for example, are only available today in kilo packs at ICA, from what I can see, and only in small packs at CityGross. Such a policy leads to being miserly towards ourselves and not eating enough of these nutrients. There was a time, but it was long ago, when we would come home from holidays in Spain with about 15 kg of nuts and spices, which we’d bought at Spanish markets, and then deep-freeze them to keep us going for the next few months. We don’t need to do that – our saviour was Martin Olsson. We registered with them about 25 years ago, there were few formalities, I used my social security number and called myself Stig Bengmark Konsult (if I had written Stig Bengmark Professor, it would probably not have gone as well). I think everyone could do the same. From here we bring home large amounts of spices (for example, I love mixtures such as Five peppers, eight French herbs) but most of all, turmeric in kilo packs.

If you don’t have access to a Martin Olsson store, you probably have shops run by/for immigrants nearby, which are not fond of crumbling everything down like the big supermarket chains. In England, all the large grocery stores have set up a ‘Martin Olsson’ within their own premises and a large part of the store is taken up by a section called ‘World Foods’ – where most things are found in large – yes, really large packages.

A large part of the so-called Choose Health foods are found in what I call the food ‘Champions League’ – see the picture below! Without Martin Olsson and immigrant shops, they would be expensive – very expensive. I can’t stand shops that prefer selling packaging over contents! We need a change on this – maybe an English solution?


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