What Do You Eat? [updated 08/21/13]

This page will be updated as new information, research, and ideas become available.

Colorful vegetables and fruits

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LET ME START BY SAYING, IF THERE IS ONLY ONE THING ON THIS LIST YOU TAKE TO HEART AND
ENJOY IN YOUR LIFE IMMEDIATELY —

NUMBER 28
SHOULD BE IT.

THEN — READ THE OTHERS AND START
NOW
BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY IN YOUR LIFE.

Even if you’ve never smoked or lived/worked with smokers; even if you’ve never lived near significant air pollution — #28 is the one that’s is too important and too easy!  Really.

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You may also want to remember these key words of advice:

THE MORE COLOR ON YOUR PLATE
–> THE BETTER

EATING WELL IS AN ART
*****

There are about 113 million bits of dietary and food advice on the internet.  Or more.

And about 98% of all that advice is crap.

51IU4HHu8RL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-69,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_So last year, inspired by A. J. Jacob’s book, Drop Dead Healthy, I went on a scavenger hunt for real, honest-to-goodness live-healthy/eat-healthy tips.  I read fitness magazines; major medical journals and research studies; the writings and blatherings of capitalist fitness gurus and personal coaches of every stripe…

— and what follows is the short form of that research, minus the craziness, the limiting decisions and crippling beliefs, and the footnotes.  I have culled out all the questionable crap I could identify — and most all of the really over-the-top claims.  However — there are a few real surprises and “GEMS” in the mix — things almost nobody has heard of yet that will really roll your socks down.  If you want to find the research that backs this stuff up — it’s right at your fingertips via google, your local medical library, and on your local newstand.

Some of these ideas are as old as the hills — and others are based on research so new it squeaks.  But be aware that these tips are concerned with health — not with dropping weight or fitting into those new jeans by next Tuesday.  If you eat this way — you probably will lose a little fat/flab — but these tips are meant to be permanent hints — not fly-by-night quackery or quick fixes.

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The bottom line is, there really are some good pieces of advice out there as long as you can take time to do the reading, and practice not falling for bullshit and crank fads or insanity.  And as I am still reading, listening, and keeping my ear to the ground on this topic — like everyone else — I will continue to add-to and update this page on a regular basis….

I’ve included some good starting points for your own research on many of these notes — but not links, because one single link alone won’t give you the whole story.  Reading multiple authors /sites give a more complete picture.

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  1. red wine — no more than 3 oz on any given day, but at least a couple of times a week.  It has anti-aging benefits, anti-inflamitory effects, and helps fight and/or prevent many cancers.  The key words to read up on here are: resveratrol and polyphenols.  (Resveratrol is the component with the big anti-aging punch, and Pinot Noir has the highest concentration of it.)  You’ll get a few of its effects if you cook with wine — but more if you just drink it. (Plus that nice, low-pitched buzz.)
  2. raspberries, blueberries, acai berries, purple grapes, plums/prunes, black raspberries, blackberries/ marionberries — basically any purple or dark red fruit or veg — fresh or frozen, raw, cooked or turned into juice or low-sugar jam, these fruits and veggies stabilize blood sugar via their high anthrocyanine level — and their fiber and Vitamins A and C; plus they are good for your heart, and your immune system because of their high antioxidant components.  The addition of purple/black/blue/dark red fruits and veg to your daily diet will lower total blood pressure by 3-5% in as few as 4 weeks, and promote insulin production to keep blood sugar levels steady, and thereby prevent or aid in the management of diabetes.  The key word to research here is anthocyanins.  Anthracyanins are going to come up often in this list — #1, #3, #12, #16, #30, #31…. [In an artist’s paintbox, the anthrocyanins are distilled out of foods and turned into deep blues, violets, and vibrant purples! So keep your eyes open for these deep, rich colors!]
  3. fingerling_potatoespotatoes — Not fried.  Not creamed.  Not drowning in cheese or bacon fat — but if you bake them, boil them, steam them, mash them or include them in casseroles with smart recipes that include the skins — they can help control appetite, blood sugar, and blood pressure.  The key word to read up on here is potassium. (and fiber)  And while you’re at it, look for “blue” potatoes that will also give you that big hit of anthrocyanins discussed in #2!
  4. Shrimp-jpgshrimp — besides being a source of lean, high protein — the combination of B12 and Vitamin D in shrimp offers unique protection for bones.  Shrimp are also one of the high-tryptophan sea food proteins that can help you relax and get a good night’s sleep! (Pacific cod, halibut, and tuna are also in this group.)  remember, however, that for tryptophan to do it’s job, you have to have both protein and carbs together when you eat it — So have a slice of  whole grain bread, a serving of brown rice, or a big salad with those shrimp!
  5. scallions — small green onions, complete with their green tops are great sliced up in omlettes, salads and soups (and a great garnish on almost any plate.)  But tasting great goes hand-in-hand with the quercitin — an antioxident that masquerades as a natural antihistamine and helps you defend against seasonal allergies.  Buy these locally if possible, to up their seasonal benefits.
  6. 2604_1029689387898_5507128_ncoffee — not decaf — and fresh is better than instant or canned/bottled.  4 cups a day — before 2:30 pm if possible.  It increases basic metabolism, increases mental clarity, decreases appetite, and fights depression.  Coffee contains significant antioxidants (one of the highest) — and — if you drink it iced with low-fat milk, it is a calcium delivery system that burns extra calories as your body provides heat to warm it to body temp!  [none of this is worth it, however; if you have been instructed by a physician to avoid caffeine.]  Here’s the real clincher, however –> recent research now tells us that drinking your 4 cups a day can lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Diesease by as much as 60%, and cuts the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by 50%.  Now that is impressive for such a humble cup!
  7. 30-35g fiber/day — really.  distributed throughout the day.  It not only keeps your system running clean, a consistent flow of fiber (all kinds, from a variety of sources) helps maintain level hydration, prevent bloating and indigestion — and all the health benefits associated with those advantages.  What’s more –> hold on to your hats for this one –> women who get at least 30 grams of fiber a day are half as likely to develop breast cancer!
  8. col1-2Extra Virgin Olive Oil — helps to reduce serum cholesterol.
    There’s so much out there on EVOO that I won’t even try to recap here — if you don’t already know, it’s time to do some reading.  If you’re going to saute using olive oil, you’ll do better by adding 1 t of real butter to the pan for every 2 T of olive oil because of the different smoking points.
  9. imagesgreen tea — 1-2 cups per day of green or white tea helps the body defend against colon cancer.  The key word to research here is catechins.  Additionally, green tea contains the polyphenol EGCG, which recent studies say boost resting metabolic rate as much as 17% — not a trivial number in anybody’s book.  Such an increase in resting metabolic rate means the average person can lose a pound every 2 weeks without any changes in diet other than the addition of 2 x 6oz cups of green tea a day!  While it’s always best to drink coffee w/ caffeine before 2:00 PM to get the “clear head” benefits, the best time of day to enjoy your tea  is, as the Brits have demonstrated for decades, mid and late afternoon.  –Just make it a green tea time.
  10. iron — helps stimulate hair and nail growth, and contributes to sound sleep and overall stamina.  As iron is a significant part of blood — iron deficiency is a very bad thing (called anemia.)  Find iron in spinach, [think Popeye] most legumes,  all meats/seafood, but more  in red meat, enriched flour & cereals, and brown rice.
  11. Omega-3 fatty acids — where to begin?  Helps stabilize metabolism of carbohydrates; helps defend against cancer; — it’s a long long long list.  Look it up.images
  12. carrots — fat soluble carotenoids help protect skin from harmful sun damage and skin cancer (people with a high d diet are 6 times less likely to develop skin cancer!)   Alternately, go the orange carrot one better, and seek out the “maroon carrot” developed at Texas A & M University, which has not only the carotenoids, but also a big hit of anthrocyanins as well.  It’s only been in the last 100 years that Western Civilization thought of all carrots as orange — our farmer forefathers opted for standardization over dietary variety while nobody was looking — and cost us the significant nutritional benefits of color variety, in favor of conformation to a standard.  (How boring)
  13. spinach, and its cousin, purslaneOmega-3s (see #10); folate for circulation and heart health; lutein for eyes, iron — see #9; magnesium and potassium to keep blood pressure level; and a big hit of calcium.  It’s important to remember that calcium isn’t just essential for bone health — it also helps the brain produce melatonin (which regulates circadian rhythms and lets you get a good night’s sleep.)
  14. yogurt (real, live yogurt — not that plastic, gelatin-based fake stuff) 6 oz per day.  Sweeten it with anthracyanine-rich berries or berry puree (see #3) —  it provides healthy digestive organisms (see probiotics) and boosts the immune system, plus provides essential calcium.  There is also recent research that the addition of fully cultured yogurt reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure by over 30% — which is NOT an insignificant number.
  15. tombotanyherbs-com-sweetie-cherry-tomatoatoes — 8 cherry tomatoes, or an 11.5oz serving of V-8 a day provides 20-25mg of lycopene.  Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants and vitamins A & C, folate, and trace minerals.  Helps protect skin from sun damage and wrinkles.  Possibly prevents macular degeneration, and protects/prolongs male fertility!  May also assist men to avoid prostate problems — especially when eaten cooked as in soups/stews/sauces.
  16. ark-prod-christmas_lima_bean

    “Christmas” lima beans

    dark red or black beans — (red beans, kidney beans, pintos, black beans, scarlet runner beans, soldier beans, rattlesnake beans, Christmas limas, persian limas…) Any beans are an excellent and uber-healthy choice, but if you go red, they have the kick-ass combination of anthrocyanins, isoflavones, metabolism-leveling fiber, mood boosting B-vitamins, carbs, and high protein contents, plus they have been shown to increase brain function. The isoflavones improve prostate health in men, and reduce the symptoms of menopause in women. Additionally, just the addition of beans/legumes to your daily menu lowers systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 4-5 points, and reduces the risk of heart disease by a full 1%. This is a painless way to pick up that advantage.   –1/2 c per day is sufficient to provide all the benefits — add a little dish of beans to any meal and it’s an automatic win!  Try baked beans on toast as a traditional breakfast borrowed from the Brits, — or try its Tex-Mex cousins where beans are part of a breakfast burrito!  Cook up some bean soups, bean dip, — or even use black bean flour baked into your next loaf of home-made bread or pan of cornbread!  Again, the words to research here are isoflavones (in all legumes,) and anthracyanins (in the red varieties.)

  17. walnuts(1)walnuts (black or English) — Polyphenols again.  High in omega-3s plus anti-inflamitory properties; boosts heart health.  Eat 7 whole walnuts (14 halves) after working out or after any healthy walk to help build muscle tissue.  There is a lot being written about walnuts right now, so a little digging may turn up even more beneits.
  18. oats — rolled, cracked, steel-cut, Irish, quick-cooking, whole…. just not sugar-coated breakfast cereal.  4-6oz of cooked oats, 3 times a week.  Again, it’s the combination of fiber, carbs, and protein that is the winner.  mccannsirishoatmealIt regulates metabolism, and provides a big hit of protein all at the same time.  You should be adding oats to any home-made bread or desert — try them added to pie crust, brownies, cookies, dark berry cobbler topping — even added to things like pudding in place of rice or tapioca.
  19. ice water — burns more calories than room temp water because your body has to heat it up to 98.6!  It has also been shown to increase stamina and endurance to drink lots of iced water.  In general, it slows down digestion and keeps you feeling full — longer.  All the water you drink should be cold or iced.
  20. pineapple and papaya8-pineapplethe words to research here are bromelain and papain.  They are digestive enzymes — with some really profound effects on your digestive system as a whole.  Plus, both these fruits provide anti-inflamitory effects.51FR1DcSdAL._SL500_AA300_PIbundle-12,TopRight,0,0_AA300_SH20_
  21. chocolate milk — specifically, Organic Valley 1% milkfat chocolate milk.  Better than any other chocolate milk on the market, Organic Valley’s 1% has  the lowest fat, lowest sugar, and highest cocoa content — all other brands fail on at least 1 count.  — Plus that hit of calcium, potassium, carbs and protein that milk provides.  Research has named it the best after-workout rehydration/electrolyte-replenishing/protein drink on the market.  It is the “ideal after-workout sports drink.”  And — it tastes really good and feels like a treat!*
  22. jalapeno-slcookchili peppers — all types, but the hotter the better.  The word here is capsaicins.  Capsaicins lift metabolism and cause natural endorphins to be released; and act as a natural pain-killer that’s also good for the respiratory system and circulation.  There’s also research being done on the potential for pepper/capsaicins as a natural mood elevator and anti-depressant.  In other words, you already win by eating lots of hot peppers/sauces — and more good news seems to be on the way!
  23. Brussel Sprouts

    Brussel Sprou

    Brussels Sproutsand Kale — and all other cruciferous vegetables to a slightly lesser degree. They boost the immune system, protect new brain cell growth, and provide a big hit of antioxidents. You should be eating 3-5 oz of at least one of these every 3-4 days.  Cruciferous vegetables include not only sprouts and kale, but also all varieties of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages.  The words to research here are isothiocyanate and glucosinolate.  And here’s one more: diindolymethane!

  24. pumpkin seeds — sometimes shelled pumpkin seeds are known as pepitas. They contain tryptophan.  –> which causes the body to produce serotonin –>which stabilizes mood; plus iron and magnesium to stabilize blood pressure. [for more on tryptophan, see asparagus, listed below]  Additionally, recent research has shown pumpkin seeds to be beneficial in reducing enlarged prostate in men.
  25. Organic-Apples-940x626organic apples — only organic, and only with the peel.  Eating one small apple 15 minutes before every meal has been shown to reduce average calorie intake by 180+ calories per meal. (not an insignificant reduction!)  Catechins help protect the body from the harmful effects of pollution — plus offers the added benefits of the natural fiber in apples.  Organic is very important, since the peel — even after extensive washing — will still carry 70%+ of the pesticides used on the tree.
  26. Excellent apple corer/slicer found on Amazon (links)

    Excellent apple corer/slicer found on Amazon (links)

    dark chocolate — the word to research here is flavonols.  Provides increased circulation and the highest concentration of antioxidants in any food.  Read that again if you didn’t get it.  The only higher concentrations of antioxidents are in a few of the aromatic wood spices.  It has the amazing effect of producing almost instantaneous vascular health improvements — which means lower blood pressure and a healthier heart.  (and explains the link between emotional stress and chocolate cravings….) AND, old wives’ tales aside, chocolate really is a natural mood elevator.  The chemical composition of cocoa is so complex that research is only beginning to uncover its  properties.  4-8g of 72% (or higher)-cocoa dark chocolate per day is enough to gain all the benefits (or at least all known so far.)  4 Grams of 72% cocoa chocolate is usually 30 calories — so guilt is not justified.  As long as you don’t buy chocolate with a milk content, the antioxident level is so high, that cocoa has an almost unlimited shelf life.  0003068484600_500X500That fact alone should be enough reason to consider adding it to your daily diet.  If it can keep itself fresh indefinately — image what it can do for you!

  27. barley — with the hull in tact (not pearled); buy them whole or rolled, or ground into flour.  Extremely high concentrations of all B vitamins, plus potassium and high fiber content.  Helps regulate blood pressure, mood, and provides sustained energy for up to 6 hours after eating.  2 oz of dried barley cooks into a full serving — best if eaten at least once every 5-7 days.  Besides being a delicious addition to bread and soups or stews, try adding rolled barley to your oatmeal /breakfast cereal blend, and as part of the flour used in deserts.
  28. 1320790715-grapefruit_slice-5492grapefruit — the word to research here is naringin.  While the mechanism is still unclear to researchers, eating 1/2 a small grapefruit three times a day appears to reduce the risk of lung cancer by such a significant amount that everyone doing the initial research added grapefruit to their diet before the research was even concluded.  Further research has born this out, and additionally shows that just 1 serving of grapefruit, oranges, tangerines per day (not juice) reduces the risk of mouth, throat, and stomach cancers by a whopping 50%.  Clearly there is something going on here that researchers are beginning to decode. And these foods are so good that there’s no reason to wait until all the data is collected.  Half a grapefruit, 3 times per day is a small shift in habit that will have a great impact.  Period.ADDITIONALLY (yes, there’s more) — eating just 2 grapefruit halves (that would be 1-whole) grapefruit a day is now known to lower total cholesterol by 8% after just one month — and LDL (the bad cholesterol) by a big ol’ 11%!  All those citrus farmers better start planting more grapefruit right away….!  And the researchers need to see how much difference there is from eating 3 halves (or 4) — because that’s what I’m eating every day. (for 10 months now, as of 8/2013….)*There is a list of drugs which interact with grapefruit available on several internet sites, and both your doctor and pharmacist should have an up-to-date list — and so persons taking any of those drugs should consult their doctor before adding grapefruit to their diet.
  29. eggwhole eggs — 1 egg per day, specifically at breakfast, reduces the calories eaten during the day by a significant amount.  The  complexity of the egg (not unlike the complexity of cocoa and the aromatic spices) is such that the leap to judgement about one component or effect — like serum cholesterol — is costing us a valuable nutrient combination that is only beginning to be understood.
  30. cherries — the key word to research here is probably already familiar — melatonin.  Aside from the obvious deep red anthracyanins, cherries are a big source of naturally occuring melatonin — a hormone we produce as well, and the key to a good night’s sleep.  Eat a cup of fresh cherries as a late evening snack, or drink tart cherry juice (about 3/4 cup is plenty.)
  31. 2011_10_12-Cranberrycranberry juice — everybody knows you drink cranberry juice if you’re having urinary tract problems.  Just buy a big bottle each morning and your system will thank you….  However — add the tart and tangy goodness  (just 4oz each day) permanently and you can drop your blood pressure several points.   This is another of those “as yet undetermined” cause/effects — but it’s consistent.   Be careful when you shop– read the label.  100% juice doesn’t mean 100% cranberry juice (it’s usually diluted with apple or pear t0 sweeten it up.)  If you get a juice blend, you’ll have to drink 3-5 times as much to get the cran effect — and you’ll be drinking a lot of sweet calories to do it, which probably negates any health benefits of the cran.  This is one case where reading the whole label pays off in net health gain.
  32. vinegar — apple cider or other fruit vinegar.  2T eaten with high-carb meals yields 23% lower blood sugar than without the vinegar; plus subjects report feeling “fuller” when vinegar is consumed with a meal.  This is one of those strange, not fully understood effects which continues to be tested and reported as accurate.  And so — worth doing, even if researchers don’t know why it works yet.  If you don’t get your vinegar via a salad dressing, try 1/2 shot glass of fruit or wine vinegar, pepper sauce (which will also get you the capsaicin) or Worcestershire sauce (which has much folk-remedy / anecdotal evidence to support its use — though it is possibly just the concentration of vinegar behind those remedies that produces the good results.)  It should be noted, however, that Worcestershire Sauce may eventually show up on this list as a single notation, because of it’s unique combination of ingrediens (aromatic wood spices, vinegar, molasses, peppers etc…)
  33. cinnamoncinnamon — 1/2 – 1 t or more per day.  Reduces blood sugar by 18-29%  Reduces total cholesterol by 12-28%.  Reduces triglycerides by 23-39%.  Plus, it is a natural anti-bacterial / anti-fungal.  Cinnamon should be used fresh, ground, stored cool and dry.  See penzeys.com for large quantities of very fresh spices.  There is no shortage of recipes that call for cinnamon — but the fine-powder grind of Vietnamese cinnamon is so naturally sweet that it can be used straight as a dusting on nuts, chocolate, fruit, and to make cinnamon toast — without the sugar!  *See hot chai recipe, and chai-spice recipe at the bottom of this page.
  34. nutmeg — ground fresh, 1/8-1/4 t per day with a meal.  Nutmeg is a natural anti-bacterial.  Aids digestion.  Mood elevator.  Natural sedative.   Use in pasta dishes, grated fresh on deserts and eggnog, or on top of the froth of cappucino and coffee drinks.  *See hot chai recipe, and chai-spice recipe at the bottom of this page.
  35. whole cloves — chew 1 each day after last meal.  Natural antiseptic and anesthetic helps protect gums from gum disease; helps with toothaches; aids in the regulation of blood sugar levels; recent research suggests it may also protect lungs against lung cancer, and may contribute to healthy bones and joints.  Key word here is eugenol. *See hot chai recipe, and chai-spice recipe at the bottom of this page.otto-pepper-mill
  36. black pepper — as strong and potent as possible, fresh ground. (extra strong black peppercorns can be found at Penzey’s Spices.)  Found to have trace copper; also has the biggest hit of anti-osteoporosis effects of any food available.  Grind it fresh on everything, and include cracked peppercorns in your chai tea blend.  *See hot chai recipe, and chai-spice recipe at the bottom of this page.
  37. sunflower seeds — the key word here is alpha-tocopherols.  Protects from UV damage.  Also, research phenylalanine.  Natural anti-depressant.  Boosts focus and alertness — and a source of plant protein.
  38. cardamom — ancient remedy (that works) to relieve tummy aches, bloating, and gas when drunk in hot tea.  *See hot chai recipe, and chai-spice recipe at the bottom of this page.
  39. imagesasparagus — provides high hit of folate; reduces systemic reactions to stress. It also contains one of the highest natural levels of tryptophan, which triggers our bodies to produce serotonin — also a natural stress reducer and regulator. (this is the same process triggered by turkey at Thanksgiving dinner that causes us all to relax and want to take a nap!)  Asparagus is also natural diuretic, so reduces bloating, and has been shown to reduce the severity of hangovers when consumed with alcohol, or within 2 hours of heavy drinking.
  40. avocado — the words to research is glutathione, and lutein.  Blocks absorption of bad fats; provides high Vitamin E and beta-carotine.  Also has the highest folate of any fruit or veg.  Eating at least one time a week helps keep hair shiny, and prevents dry skin flakiness.
  41. ginger — real ginger, and real ginger ale.  Not only does it help (often an outright FIX) morning sickness, sea sickness, motion sickness, and all forms of nausea including the fresh_ginger-1sickness associated with chemotherapy — it’s also a natural anti-inflammatory, helps reduce the intensity of migraines/ headaches, and it is a blood pressure regulator.  Recent research also showed it to kill cancer cells in laboratory conditions.  Who knows where that bit of discovery will lead! *See hot chai recipe, and chai-spice recipe at the bottom of this page.
  42. cashews — eat to fight anxiety and depression.  High in zinc.  Eating as little as 1/2 oz helps curb cravings of all kinds.
  43. almonds — 7 almonds a day is the rule of thumb.  This provides an extremely high hit of fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron and calcium,vitamin E and protein.
    Coriander seeds

    Coriander seeds

    Good for your heart, energy level, and in controlling hunger.

  44. coriander — helps with both anxiety and insomnia; also a natural regulator of blood sugar and cholesterol.
  45. chamomile tea — 1 cup before bed helps relieve stress and prevent insomnia
  46. garlic and onions — the word to research for onions is quercitin, and garlic is allicinAllicin boosts the immune system, is a natural anti-inflamitory, and fights heart disease, cancer, colds etc.  Both are rich in antioxidants.  Garlic and onions are from the same family — and, like chocolate/cocoa, are overflowing with more flavonoid compounds than most researchers are willing to put a number to — yet.  What they do know is that daily garlic can lower blood pressure by as much as 30 points and protect against ovarian, colorectal and other cancers; and daily onions prevent excessive blood clots.  Always crush garlic — and allow it to sit, crushed for 30 minutes before cooking, to get full health benefits from it.  As most of the quercitin in onions is in the peels, wash the peels and put them in a mesh or muslin herb bag so they can cook in soups/veggies and release their benefits.
  47. EDN-00025-2Sesame & rice bran oil — blended together (you can get them in health food stores)  This is another of the weird ones that isn’t fully researched yet — but the numbers are too good to ignore.  Instead of just vegetable oils, or only olive oil in your diet, use just 2T of the sesame/rice-bran blend a day (to cook with, in salad dressings, etc.) saw systolic blood pressure drop an average 16 points, their diastolic drop an average 12 points. Their total cholesterol also dipped 18%.  Big pay-off for such a tiny change!
  48. calciumkale2Besides its well known benefits in growing and protecting bones and staving off osteoperosis, a diet rich in calcium also helps regulate hormonal fluctuations and the “emotional roller coaster” associated with PMS and menopause in women.  Want another reason?  Studies in the last 3 years have proven that a calcium-rich diet produces more weight loss than a diet with little calcium.  Want another?  Recent research indicates that calcium is also a mood elevator and stabilizer.  There is also research evidence that it helps protect the heart from heart disease, and helps prevent ovarian, prostate, colon and rectal cancers.  Besides milk, yogurt, and cheese, find calcium in kale & other dark leafy greens, almonds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, tofu, brazil nuts, and almost all the green culinary herbs.  Getting calcium from foods is always the first choice, but if 1200mgs from food is not possible — make sure your supplements provide the necessary Vitamin D and K to process the calcium.Additionally — eating as little as 1/4oz of Monterey Jack, cheddar, gouda, or mozzerella cheese (semi-firm cheeses) alters PH levels enough to protect tooth enamel and prevent cavities.  So you get a double advantage from making these cheeses part of  your daily calcium plan.

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TIPS AND TRICKS

or

Rules to Live Longer By, Rules of Thumb, Best Advice in the World….

  • No partially hydrogenated fats/Trans fats — these are killers as bad for you as smoking and staying out in the direct sun with no sunscreen.  It’s just Russian Roulette.
  • No artificial/chemical sweeteners
  • Avoid artificial or added food colorings
  • Avoid chemical preservatives
  • Avoid flavor enhancers, MSG — and even excess salt.  These things not only cause migraines and headaches in a significant portion of the population — they will eventually blow out your kidneys and damage your liver.
  • Avoid nitrates and nitrites (used in curing meats)  These are also known to produce headaches and elevated stress levels (and high blood pressure) in much of the population.  Some of these occur naturally in food, but at very low levels and in a form that is easier to process — but adding more is never a healthy choice.
  • Since many (or most) of the vital nutrients/vitamins found in veggies are FAT SOLUBLE — this means you have to eat them with a little oil to get the benefits…. therefor– that healthy salad is only really effective if you’re eating real dressing or real cheese on it!  A fat free salad or plate of dipping veggies misses the boat without some olive oil, or the sesame/rice bran oil blend mentioned above (about 2T/day)
  • If you are a meat eater — here’s the basic rule of thumb:
    red meat — max at 6 oz per week;
    chicken/turkey — max of 8 oz per week;
    fish/shellfish — 9 oz per week. 
    And no serving of any red meat should be more than 3-3 1/2 oz in a given day.
  • If you do eat red meat, go for grass-fed beef from cows that have not been given growth hormones or preventative antibiotics.  Each of these 3 stipulations makes the beef you eat healthier, safer, and better for the environment.
  • Use small plates and smaller-than-“normal” spoons/forks whenever possible.  The plate makes reasonable portion-size look like more and slow down how much food you take at a time; and smaller utensils mean smaller bites, and therefore slower eating.  These 2 “tricks” help you eat slower and give your brain time to register that you’re full. 
  • Fruits and vegetables you eat with the skins/peels (like tomatoes and apples) should be purchased from organic farming sources; fruits and veggies you eat without the skins (like bananas and avocados) are more likely to be safe and healthy from non-organic sources.  All leafy & green veggies should be purchased from organic sources.
  • Aged, dry cheese (like the italian Parm and Romano, asiago, and even most aged cheddars and swiss cheeses) contain little or no lactose, and so can be used by those who are otherwise lactose intolerant!
  • Eat foods that contain as much color as possible.  White and light colored foods are generally lower in nutritional value than their purple, blue, black, dark green, bright green, dark purple-red, bright red, orange, and vivid yellow cousins.  The colors are the anthrocyanins, lycopenes, caratinoids, chlorophyls, and phyto-nutrients that represent so many of the health benefits we get from food.  Color is appealing because it’s so good for us! — And mixing colors is always better than eating a plate with only one color on it….

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*Notes on Low-Fat Chocolate Milk (8 fl oz)  Since this is usually the hardest one for most people to believe — I’ve included an excerpt from Men’s Health Magazine about it….

158 calories
2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
25 g sugars
8 g protein
iheartchocmilkDrinking a combination of carbohydrates and protein after a hard workout can help restore your energy and aid in building lean, metabolism-boosting muscle, but it turns out that you don’t need a fancy recovery beverage to reap these benefits. A 2009 article in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that after participating in a vigorous cycling session, cyclists who drank chocolate milk were able to ride 51 percent longer in a subsequent workout than those who drank a standard recovery beverage. Plus, chocolate milk is cheaper (and tastier) than anything you’ll find in a sports nutrition store.

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By my calculations, if you ate using all these suggestions — and just these suggestions — you would consume about 1500-1800 calories per day; 30-35g fiber; 55-65g protein — and a very limited variety of foods.

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This calculation includes daily consumption of :
3 apples, 3 grapefruit halves, an 11.5oz can of V-8, 3/4c yogurt, 1/2 c dark berries, 1 t olive oil, 1/2c dark beans, 1 egg, 1 clove of garlic, 2T vinegar, 8oz of chocolate milk, 4g dark chocolate, 1 c green tea, 1 c chamomile tea, 1 c of chai tea (see recipe below,) 3/4 oz cheese, 1 t cinnamon, 1/4 t nutmeg, 1 whole clove, and 1 slice of double-fiber bread per day.

Plus, 4-5 oz shrimp, 2/3 c  prepared oatmeal, a serving of kale or Brussels sprouts/crucerferous veg, 1/3 c red wine, 1/2 c prepared barley, each, 2-3 times a week.

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In an effort to find ways to eat as many of these healthy foods as possible, here are a couple of recipes that use many of them together.
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Chai Spice Recipe

Use this mix with a little sugar and salt to dust a fruit & nut mix made of almonds, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, dried pineapple, papaya, and blueberries.

4 parts ground Penzey’s Vietnamese Cinnamon
2 part fresh ground cloves
3 parts fresh grated ginger
3 parts sugar
1 part fresh ground nutmeg
1 part fresh ground black pepper
1 part fresh ground cardamom
1 part ground anise
1 part salt

This chai spice blend is also a great addition to fudge, dark chocolate-walnut brownies, and hot cocoa mix.    Use it to spice up your granola or Irish Oatmeal — or even as a great addition to BBQ or steak sauce.  Excellent in baked beans….  With the addition of cayenne pepper, it’s also very good on breakfast sausage, and when used sparingly, as a dry rub on baked or grilled chicken.

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Hot Chai Blend — to make 1 8-cup pot of chai

1 rooibos tea bag
1 honeybush tea bag
3 Ceylon black tea bag
1 t Vietnamese cinnamon
1 stick of Ceylon cinnamon, cracked with mortar and pestle
6 whole cloves, cracked with mortar and pestle
3 peppercorns, cracked with mortar and pestle
1 anise star, cracked with mortar and pestle
1 t grated ginger
2 cardamom pods, cracked with mortar and pestle
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
2 T Organic blackstrap molasses

4 c water, boiling
4 c milk, simmering — added after 10 minutes of steeping in just water

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Other recipes on this blog that use lots of these ideas/foods:

*Lynn’s Great Shakes: Apple Pie Smoothie

*It’s All Good: A Superfood Salad

*Barley-Oat Bread: So Healthy It Will Take You For A Walk!

*8 Servings of Fruit ‘n Veg A Day! …  How Big is a Swerving?

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Image links to the web page indicated

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Links to some good background reading:

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lagniappe:  Artichokes….

Artichoke3sm

  fresh spring artichokes are one of natures little gimmes…  Artichokes contain an enzyme called cynarin (and as far as I can tell, this is the only place  it occurs…) I include it here, not because it’s a medical miracle or some health guru’s addiction of choice, but — cynarin acts on your taste buds.  It doesn’t actually effect other foods, but it makes your taste buds taste other foods better.  Sweeter.  Stronger flavor.  It makes the bland into better  — which is good news in this age of the low-sodium/low-sugar revolution.    –>Once you steam your artichoke, take a leaf and scrape off the meat with each bite of other veggies or low-seasoned food….  It will just taste better!

Instructions for how to select, prepare, and enjoy an artichoke can be found –>HERE at What’s Cooking America.

Spring Onions, Scallions, Green Onions

Spring Onions, Scallions, Green Onions

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03/09/13 — Avoid the food additive Carrageenan, as it has been linked to inflamation.  It is found in most dairy products (milk, ice cream, and yogurt…) to help prevent separation.  Read ingredients lists carefully as  manufacturers begin to pull it from their product recipes.

03/09/13 — this note from the people at Organic Gardening Magazine: “Palm oil became the go-to replacement for partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) instituted trans-fat-labeling rules on processed foods, but that replacement didn’t do much for public health. A number of studies suggest that palm oil is as bad for your heart as the trans fats hidden in by partially hydrogenated oils. The most recent, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that it raised bad LDL cholesterol levels as much as partially hydrogenated soybean oil.” (you’ll find it in most cookies, crackers, and baked goods on the store shelf….)

03/21/13 — the news about salt / sodium is getting worse every day — which is bad news for taste buds, and will call for both kicking the prepared food habit even more — and developing some alternative skills in the kitchen.  Here’s the latest, lifted from Prevention Magazine:

“A diet of more than 2,200 mg of sodium a day may damage blood vessels, increasing the risk of developing high blood pressure by 21 to 32%, according to research published by the AHA. Consuming more than 2,200 mg of salt a day may be the cause of 20 to 40% of all cases of high blood pressure in the US.

Katherine Patton, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic specializing in prevention and management of cardiovascular disease says the current dietary guidelines for salt intake are:

  • Anyone under age 51 with no history of high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes, can have up to 2,300 mg of sodium a day.
  • Anyone age 51 and older or anyone with a history of high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes should limit salt intake to 1,500.
  • Additionally, any African American adult regardless of health history should limit their salt to 1,500 mg a day, says Patton.”

04/14/13  — There are research studies beginning to show up that attribute the prevention of the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps keep your memory sharp, to the mint family of herbs and greenery.  Not just peppermint and spearmint — but all the mints, including basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, lavender, sage, and lemon balm.  Botanically, this family has more than 200 species — so once again, it’s soup and tea time!

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2 thoughts on “What Do You Eat? [updated 08/21/13]

  1. Pingback: 8 Serving of Fruit ‘n Veg A Day!… How Big Is A Serving? | 7 BY THE SEA

  2. Pingback: It’s All Good — A Superfood Salad | 7 BY THE SEA

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