Thursday, April 2, 2015

Jacqueline Bisset / What's in your basket?

Jacqueline Bisset

Food & drink

What's in your basket?

The British actress Jacqueline Bisset is a leaf-eater at home in health-obsessed Hollywood, but can't resist scones, cream and jam back in the old country. Nutritionist Patrick Halford checks her basket

The Guardian
Sunday 12 August 2001 
'I could go on forever about my eating habits. When I was about 40 I went through a bad period in my life and decided I'd write down what I eat - it really helped. I try to stick to my healthy diet whenever possible and I feel much better for it. When I go for dinner I don't make a big fuss; I try not to go to many dinners though. I simply can't eat the amount my friends cook and when I eat big meals I fall asleep. I'll have little bits of meals throughout the day and I'll grab a few endive leaves from the fridge for a snack.
These aren't the only 10 items I buy every week but they are my basics. I'm sorry it's so healthy - even I found such a healthy diet dull at first but I actually grew to like it. You can make an unbelievable variety of delicious food with these healthy ingredients. For instance, coarsely grated carrot salad with a garlic dressing tastes like paradise after it's been left overnight, the flavour turns sweet.
I don't eat junk food. My one weakness is mayonnaise; I put it over wholewheat bread as a midnight snack. I try to resist but when I go to the shop I can't stop myself. I don't eat much fruit and I don't really eat a lot of carbohydrates but I get my nutrients from dark green vegetables like broccoli, beans and spinach and I cook them very al dente, not mushy. I used to do raw food a bit but I'm doing more steamed at the moment.
Each week I steam lots of vegetables, pour yummy vinaigrette over them, made with a good quality olive oil and lemon and I graze on it all week. Occasionally I'll buy skinned chicken breasts, boil them and break them up into sandwiches and salads, but I can't bear large pieces of it. I also make big vegetables soups because they are perfect for disguising ingredients like kale which is very nutritious but I can't stand it. I like to blend the soup very well so it tastes creamy. I don't allow myself cream in the US - only in Britain when I have to feast on it with scones and jam.' 

Interview by Chloe Diski
All green foods contain chlorophyll, but none as rich as spinach. Chlorophyll helps plants capture oxygen, and, by eating them, we too get the benefit of this most important of nutrients. Spinach is the second richest vegetable for anti-ageing antioxidants, the richest being kale, and is also exceptionally rich in iron. So Popeye got it right. But it's not all good news. Spinach contains oxalates which are an anti-nutrient that binds to minerals like iron and stops them being absorbed. But, in the case of iron, it's five steps forward and one step back.
Mayonnaise is hardly a weakness when applied to this superhealthy selection of favourite foods. Made from eggs and oil, the quality of mayonnaise depends on the kind of eggs and the kind of oil. There are good fats and bad fats and what's in an egg depends on what you feed the chickens. If you feed them seeds you get essential fats in the eggs. The same is true for the olive. My favourite mayonnaise is organic, made with olive oil.
As with all foliage, endive is very rich in folic acid, as well as other B vitamins. Green, leafy veg also provides the mineral magnesium, which has a calming effect.
Olive oil, extra virgin cold pressed 
Olive oil contains mainly mono-unsaturated fats. These are not as good for you as essential fats in seed oils such as flax or sesame, but not as bad for you as saturated fat. While olive oil contains only small amounts of the essential fats (8% omega-6 oils), you can get it 'cold-pressed' and unrefined. This makes it better for you than refined vegetable oils like the sunflower oil you can generally buy in the supermarket. Also, while there is a strong association between a high intake of saturated fats, (mainly from meat and dairy products) and cardiovascular disease, the reverse is true for olive oil. People in Mediterranean countries whose diet includes olive oil have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, this may be partly due to a number of other positive factors in their diet, including a high intake of fruit and vegetables and relatively more fish than meat.
These saved the lives of thousands of sailors due to their rich supply of vitamin C. The different colour adds a different type of antioxidant. However, its major plus is vitamin C. Lemons are also rich in citric acid, which adds a tangy flavour to cooking. Lemon juice is reputed to be a great detoxifier, so if you want to spring-clean your body, drink the juice of one lemon with water.
Wholegrain bread 
Why eat any other when the wholegrain tastes better and is better for you? Best of all is 'heavy' bread because this means there's less gluten. Old-style wheat strains that were stoneground had less gluten. Hard, high gluten wheat can only be crushed by steel roller mills and became popular post-Industrial Revolution. Gluten is an intestinal irritant, but helps make bread light and fluffy. Good for croissants but not good for you. Best of all is rye bread. Wholewheat bread is a great source of B vitamins and fibre.
Carrots do help you see in the dark because they're loaded with beta-carotene, the vegetable source of vitamin A (retinol) which is needed by the retina of the eye for black and white vision. So, eat carrots until, when you press your palm the underlying colour has a very slight yellow/orange hue. If it's white/grey you need a carrot a day.
Green beans 
Here's another protein rich vegetable. Why? Because green beans are a seed food and contain their own seed which is naturally rich in protein, zinc and other essential nutrients for aspiring seeds that want to be vegetables. Eaten raw, or lightly cooked or steamed, they provide a wide range of nutrients, including phytoestrogens that help keep your hormones balanced.
Red and green pepper 
Jacqueline really knows her vegetables. Peppers are another five-star food. They are exceptionally high in vitamin C and rich in antioxidants. Red are slightly better than green in this respect. Different colours in nature represent different types of antioxidants so, by eating a multi-coloured diet you get the best all-round protection.
This is the king of foods as far as health is concerned. A serving of broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and is one of the most protein-rich vegetables. Of the calories in broccoli, almost half come from protein. The magic is in the flowers. That's what you're eating with broccoli - nutrient- rich flowers containing lots of B vitamins and antioxidants. Broccoli could even cure a hangover. That's because it contains glucosinolates that dramatically increase the liver's ability to detoxify.
Tomatoes are the richest source of another rejuvenating antioxidant called lycopene. This accounts for the red colour and makes tomatoes another superfood. There have been reports that you get more lycopene from cooked tomatoes because the cooking, or blending helps break down plant cell walls, but other nutrients, such as vitamin C, are destroyed by cooking. But tomatoes are great raw - just chew them well.

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