The Standard American Diet does not contain many nutrients. Foods are usually processed, genetically modified, grown in poor soil and sprayed with pesticides. Many people, due to time constraints, resort to fast foods from restaurants. Fast food meals are meat-based and high in simple carbohydrates.
In the United States, there is a lot of discussion and procedures centered around anti-aging. However, regardless of what steps we take, the date on the calendar assures us that we continue to get older each day. This is why in my practice, I focus on how nutrition and health as the basic tenets of thriving at any age.
- Start the day with a glass of water and the juice of half a lemon. This is an excellent liver cleanse.
- A teaspoon of barley grass powder, spirulina or chlorella adds nutrition to an otherwise quick breakfast.
- Use butter, milk, cheese, eggs and other animal products from grass fed or pastured animals.
- Buy bread in an open paper bag. Bread packaged in plastic is usually moldy, even if you don’t see mold.
- Get extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil in dark glass bottles since dark glass prevents rancidity from light passing through. When you cook with extra virgin olive, use medium heat only because the oil is heat sensitive. Nutrients are destroyed with high heat. Coconut oil has a higher burning point and is better for frying or stir-frying.
- Use herbs like parsley, cilantro, onions and garlic every day and other herbs whenever available. These add more nutrients, chlorophyll and flavor. Cilantro and parsley are cleansing as well. Garlic is antifungal and antibacterial besides its many other uses.
- Keep your recipes simple. Use only the best ingredients and meals will be delicious. Add variety and use produce that in season.
- Don’t forget to eat light-colored vegetables like potatoes, mushrooms, taro root and rutabaga. These are nutritious too and easily forgotten while concentrating on leafy greens such as kale, chard, mustard and collard greens.
- Buy at your local farmers’ market whenever possible. Some farmers sell meats as well. These farmers keep animals humanely and grass fed without antibiotics and hormones. There are also farm delivery services should there not be time to visit a market.
- Don’t leave the house without eating breakfast. Your brain and adrenals will thank you for it. You have no appetite? Eat anyway and you will get used to it.
- What shall I eat? A slice of bread with almond butter or cheese from grass fed cows will give you plenty of energy and nutrition. Boiled eggs, or an omelet if you have time, are good choices. Don’t use quick-cooking oats since these are too processed. Always add seeds or nuts for more sustainable energy.
- When you eat breakfast, a feeling of well-being will be with you all morning and you won’t forget where you left your keys. Eating breakfast is necessary for good brain function.
- Adhering to some of these points will guarantee better and sustained health. Make all of them your own and you are creating well-being, a joy of life and lots of energy.
Recently I became a grandmother. The event made me reflect on my first pregnancy, which is now the reason for giving birth to this post.
I was with an obstetrician who only wanted me to gain twenty pounds during the entire pregnancy. When I arrived at this number after only three months, she ordered me on a strict diet.
I watch the cooking channel for ideas on how to make their dishes nutritionally better. The Kitchen, a segment of the Food Network channel, had a recipe for sweet and spicy salmon – a thick coating of brown sugar and a dusting of cayenne pepper on both sides of the fish.
I could not wait to make this unusual combination. Just imagine, sugary fish! Remaining
The flu season is not here yet but, according to the CDC, the flu season never ends. Their “Flu View” still reports occurrences as late as May nationally.
Each year it is recommended that everybody get a flu shot. There are many vaccines from different viruses available and each year new viruses are detected and new vaccines have to be made. The safety of these vaccines, all with possible side effects, is not and cannot be properly studied because what a current year’s viruses are is not known beforehand.
Side effects can be severe, especially in children under three years of age, or in anybody for that matter.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a diagnosis given to 10% of all school children in America. In 1985, 500,000 children in the USA were diagnosed with ADHD. Today there are between 5 and 7 million. In a class with 30 children between 1 and 3 children are diagnosed with ADHD.
Often parents have an idea that their child may have emotional or behavioral problems because of an erratic behavior. They had assumed that this was simply their child’s kinetic personality coupled with a developing young mind. ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder, associated with difficulty in learning, concentration, inattentive behavior, impulsiveness and
The expression “senior moment” implies that we associate impaired memory with old age. However, studies have shown that neurons regenerate into old age and new synapses are formed all the time. The adult brain has 100 billion nerve cells or neurons, with branches that connect more than 100 trillion points. It is a neuron forest whose synaptic connections form the basis of memories, thoughts and feelings.
The round, green ball with an unparalleled inner sweetness is so much part of summer that without its presence we would never take our jackets off. As soon as we see watermelons on the stands, we know the season is here to head to the beach armed with cooling thirst-quenching watermelons.
The pink inside holds a ton of nutritional gems such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and one important amino acid, citrulline. And we thought watermelons are merely sugar and water with little black seeds.
Organic tomatoes have arrived at the farmer’s markets. One can tell by their distinct smell and taste so different from tomatoes we find for sale in the winter.
Out of season, tomatoes are grown in hothouses, hydroponically or imported from other countries. Some are genetically modified to withstand shipping and storage while others are picked green and allowed to ripen with ethylene gas.
Nutritionally, these tomatoes are inferior. They contain some vitamins and minerals, but their phytochemical profile is lacking because the plants grew without sun; therefore, they lost the opportunity to develop health-promoting antioxidants through photosynthesis.
Tomatoes on local growers’ stands are a far cry from these. They are the real vegetable, or fruit as far as the tomato is concerned, ripened by the sun on the vine and grown in healthy, well-fertilized, organic soil. These tomatoes offer their nutritional wealth to fight cancers, protect the heart and bones and prevent neurological diseases.
Tomatoes have numerous health benefits. In addition to vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E and manganese, tomatoes contain antioxidants such as lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, which are extensively studied.
Lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene protect eyes from macular degeneration. The benefit of lycopene for prostate health has been studied and substantiated in scientific literature.
To quote from PubMed’s study, “numerous other potentially beneficial compounds are present in tomatoes, and, conceivably, complex interactions among multiple components may contribute to the anticancer properties of tomatoes. They consistently lower risk of cancer for a variety of anatomic sites that is associated with higher consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based products adds further support for current dietary recommendations to increase fruit and vegetable consumption”.
Tomatoes also contain rutin and quercetin in their nutrient make-up. Rutin preserves and strengthens vascular health whereas quercetin is routinely used during allergy season to reduce inflammation. It is also used for conditions of the heart, gout, chronic infections and cancer.
All vegetables and fruits contain phytonutrients, in particular polyphenols, similar to the ones in tomatoes. Red, blue and purple colored fruits and vegetables are especially high in this group of antioxidants.
Phytochemicals are biologically active compounds in plants that have been found to have different actions. For example, isoflavones in soy, also called phytoestrogens, prevent natural estrogen from binding to receptor sites. As plant estrogens, isoflavones mimic natural estrogen and thereby can reduce the risk of cancer in estrogen-driven breast cancers.
Plant chemicals act as enzymes that make estrogen less effective and by that also reduce risks of breast cancer. Others prevent stimulation of cancer cells and strengthen the immune system by neutralizing free radicals. There are thousands of them, but the complexity of plants leads us to believe that there are even higher levels of these nutrients yet to be discovered.
Nature offers an abundance of plants to preserve and maintain superior health. To be adventurous and experiment is the only requirement necessary to find ways for incorporating their use as food when the seasons present them.
The food we eat fills all of the body’s needs. This includes the gamut of our emotions as well, both positive and negative. Chemical messengers and electrical impulses stimulate organ systems to produce different chemicals that affect our emotions. The release of endorphins makes us feel happy when we experience joy, but overstimulation of endorphins is never a problem. When the event has passed, the body stops the endorphin output and emotions have calmed.
Negative feelings caused by continuous stress, grief, anxiety, anger and depression will release adrenalin, cortisol and nor-epinephrin producing the fight or flight response. While these chemicals course through the body, we are on high alert causing blood pressure and heart rate to rise while breathing becomes heavy. When stress is reduced and conditions return to normal, these chemicals subside. But if stress remains, the process continues. Sometimes, even when normalcy has returned, the body cannot turn off because negative emotions are remembered and leave long-lasting scars.
Fear, anger, grief, shame and disappointment create lesions along neural pathways that disrupt normal energy flow. Holding on to these feelings eventually produces toxins, which lead to disease. It is easy to believe that all illnesses have their source in negative emotions and over time, if left unresolved, settle in the physical body as disease.
It is not a new way of thinking that negative emotions cause sickness and premature ageing. Galen, a physician during the Roman Empire called diseases from emotions “non-naturals” or “the passions or perturbations of the soul”.
Even emotions that we think of as having been created in some part of the brain are biological reactions of a chemical nature. The body uses food for its metabolic processes everywhere including the brain. Even in cases of dementia, food containing B vitamins is recommended and B vitamin supplements used as treatment.
Whether we feel happy or sad comes down to the kind of fuel put into the body. Sugary foods can make us temporarily feel good, but not for long. Vegetable and fruit carbohydrates, good proteins and fats sustain energy. When energy is produced with real food, the body works like a well-oiled machine. A well-fed body can weather negative emotions, resolve them thus avoid devastating diseases. Life does not always run smoothly. We are equipped to handle stress and even a little stress is good on a daily basis. But it becomes a serious issue when negativity lingers unresolved. Look to the power of real food as a first step toward healing.