Wow, the world of genetics is truly amazing and exciting, and my take-away exciting A-HA moment this week is that:
We can affect (positively or negatively!) our children’s (even future children) and future grand-children’s health.
At first, this doesn’t seem to be a ground-breaking statement, as we all ‘kind of’ know that don’t we? But did you know why?
Well, here’s the ‘Science Bit’.
Our inherited genes are fixed, and never change. But the ‘instructions’ (epigenetic tags) for those genes are changeable and are affected by the environmental factors we talked about last time such as diet, stress etc.
Studies have shown how women’s lifestyle decisions during pregnancy affects the health of their child - something we all know - but this is why. Health and lifestyle decisions made during pregnancy will send chemical signals through the blood stream to the foetus which create epigenetic marks which will affect the foetus’s genes and long term health. And these can be carried on for future generations.
However the good news is that epigenetic marks are reversible - but we just don’t know exactly how each and every gene is affected individually, and the consequences of this on other genes. Many studies are focusing on this with one of the main objectives being to find out how to use epigenetics to silence cancer cells and promote general cell health. A different approach to a cure for cancer - not by destroying the cancer cells but by restoring them to their original nature by removing the epigenetic tags that are corrupting them, and promoting cell health.
So what does this all mean?
Well for me, it just means that I need to positively influence my epigenome as much as I can by having a healthy lifestyle - and hopefully I can positively impact the genes of my children and future grandchildren!
‘The Challenge’ Update
As you may recall my challenge is to find a way to feed by family more healthily with clever meals that are tasty but packed with more nutrients and superfoods without them realising.
I feel like this is a never-ending challenge as every time I make a recipe I think afterwards of something else I could do to improve it!
My new gadget is my Spiralizer! I’ve heard of them and before thought ‘who would bother?’ but with the Challenge I thought I’ll have to find something to replace Spaghetti which my kids love. And I love making spaghetti out of vegetables - I got one potato spaghetti that was over a metre long!
So here’s the next recipe:
Turkey, Quinoa and Courgette Meatballs with Vegetable and Wholegrain Spaghetti
- Put the Quinoa on to boil in a little water.
- Grate or finely chop the courgette in a food processor.
- Chop the Turkey in a food processor.
- Combine all three ingredients together in a bowl and add a little soy sauce, seasoning and an egg to bind it together. I often find it is quite wet, which is ok as you don’t want them to be dry.
- Line a baking tray with some paper and teaspoon out large balls of the mixture. You don’t need to be precise.
- Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C for about 20 minutes.
- Now put the wholegrain spaghetti on to boil - you could leave this out completely and just used spiralized veg if you prefer. Wholegrain takes longer to cook than white, but worth it for the extra nutrients.
- Make the tomato sauce by chopping the garlic and onion together, and fry on a low heat in a little olive or coconut oil.
- Add the passata and sprinkle in some origano. I add a little spoon of tomato puree for extra flavour. Let it cook down a bit to be more tasty.
- Spiralize your carrots and courgette, or any other veg you fancy and add it to the spaghetti - it won’t take long to cook as it is so thin.