Yuliyana Doncheva: We should not stigmatize meat and foods with gluten

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Yuliyana Doncheva: We should not stigmatize meat and foods with gluten
Yuliyana Doncheva: We should not stigmatize meat and foods with gluten

Yuliyana Doncheva is a television journalist - a presenter on the Italian television Rai 2 and on the Bulgarian National Television. In 2001, he became a deputy in the 39th National Assembly. After leaving politics, he devoted himself to business. Juliana is a mother of two sons and has been interested in a he althy lifestyle and nutrition for years. Her first book "Code Red: My Truth About Food" is dedicated to this topic. Here's what he shared for readers

Ms. Doncheva, what provoked you to write a book with your truth about food?

- I accumulated a lot of information about he althy eating and at one point I decided to make a TV show on this topic. I have collected material for several shows and presented some pretty unflattering facts about what some of the food manufacturers are offering us in the commercial network. Some of the information I've been able to get my hands on is so disturbing that I've had sleepless nights. And this information is quite carefully kept secret. I think that the television was afraid that business interests would be affected, and suggested that I turn to another topic. But since there are foods on the market that are incredibly dangerous to human he alth, especially for children, my conscience would not be clear if I did not share this knowledge with people. That's how I ended up writing a book.

What is the most disturbing thing about the foods that are offered to us in stores?

- For example, palm oil in packaged foods. Some articles even say that it is useful. In fact, it is one of the most harmful supplements. It is put in almost everything, starting with baby food, biscuits, milk and everything packaged. I read in various European regulatory documents that palm oil is prohibited from being added to food or must be mentioned on the label. Only in Bulgaria and in two or three other countries in Europe, there is no obligation for producers to write on the labels that the food contains palm oil. Of course, if you eat food with added palm oil, you won't get sick right away. But with its accumulation in the body, it has a carcinogenic effect.

The World He alth Organization advises to monitor our daily intake. But if it is not reflected on the labels that the food contains palm oil, how can we even control our intake? This is an issue that needs to be talked about. And in Bulgaria it should become like in all of Europe - we should be informed by the producers what they put palm oil or other harmful additives in. Then everyone will decide for themselves what food to eat.

In Bulgaria, the content of palm oil is disguised with the term "vegetable fat"

What foods do you not give your child?

- I don't give him foods that contain preservatives and dyes. I don't give him soda, fast food. I try to have my child eat freshly prepared food to avoid preservatives. Even as a baby, my son developed an allergy to ready-made baby purees, and as research has shown, they are made to a quite different standard than in Western Europe.

Were the purees a famous brand?

- I bought purees from different brands but the child got a rash from all of them. I was wondering what they contained to cause an allergic reaction in my son. The same products, cooked at home, the child accepted without any problem. I guess the rash is from the preservatives. For days the child was burning all over in various spots on the skin. Then I did my food research and got all this rage. This motivated me to share in a book everything I know in this field. - What is good to eat then? - The thesis of the whole book is that we should not stigmatize certain food groups - for example "don't eat meat, don't eat milk". Foods must be divided into clean ones and those that contain dangerous substances or are improperly processed. A clean food, even if it was grown in the grandmother's yard, with improper processing also becomes harmful. He althy food is clean food and there is no point in fads: "I eat gluten-free", "I don't eat dairy", "I am vegan", etc.n. Each food group has its role for human he alth. We can give up a food group only with a doctor's prescription. Otherwise, we do our own body a disservice.

Is being overweight related to the quality of food we eat?

- Any food cooked improperly or with harmful ingredients cannot be digested well by the human body. It is designed to accept natural foods. We know that people 40 years ago, as well as our grandparents, ate much cleaner foods than they do today. New semi-finished products and manufactured products are more difficult to digest and begin to accumulate in the form of extra pounds.

The simpler, the cleaner our food, the lower the risk of gaining excess weight

In my book I have described how I gained more than 50 kg, the mistake I made and how I overcame it. But this is not a diet or cookbook. My goal is to change the perspective of our food.

What do you do in your daily life for your he alth?

- Here, for example, I am now on the stepper at home while I am giving you an interview. Every morning I set aside 20-30 minutes to move. It is best to train on an empty stomach, because then the subcutaneous fat is broken down. If we haven't eaten before training, subcutaneous fat is the first reserve that the body resorts to in order to release energy.

After the 30 minutes on the stepper, I make a very light snack of different superfoods. Includes, for example, cocoa beans, goji berries, flaxseed. I have described in the book different options for lunch and dinner. So that everyone finds a way to eat. My idea is not to exclude foods, but to arrange them in our daily menu in such a way that they are more easily digested by the body. I am against any kind of dieting because dieting is a stress for the body. Losing weight comes slower with the way I eat, but the result is better and lasting.

Thus my elder son lost 20 kg

At one point he was on the verge of giving up because he didn't see any effect. It had to take two or three months to change the way of eating and moving, for the first results to come. After that my son started losing weight very fast.

Have you been in a hospital and what is your impression of the he althcare system in our country?

- I have not been hospitalized for illness, thank God. My last hospital stay was when I gave birth to my second son three years ago. There are different hospitals in Bulgaria - there are many modern ones with modern equipment. There is also the other extreme - total misery. But it is imperative that hospitals in a state of disrepair be stabilized somehow. Sufficient funds are flowing into our he alth system and people across the country should be treated equally well. The he alth service in a city far from the capital should not differ from what you will get in a clinic in Sofia. Anyone who has been to other European countries knows that clinics even in the smallest villages are clean and well maintained. This is what he althcare policy should aim for.

What should be our personal responsibility towards our he alth?

- Here we come to the issue of prevention and prophylaxis. I keep doing preventive examinations. I know it involves extra funds and not everyone can afford it. But the state could make them at least for the risk groups, for people over a certain age. It is very important to take care of our he alth, monitor any symptom or deviation in the blood count and take measures in time. At one point I found out I had high cholesterol. The reason for this was that I was eating a lot of skimmed foods and crackers. Based on the medical research I've read, I blame the palm oil in them for the high cholesterol.

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