Welcome back to Active Life Health Clinic's May newsletter.Last month I wrote about getting back to the basics with exercise. This month I'm going to discuss the ABCs of Food.
Food is such an important part of our lives, and yet it can become such
a stress when we complicate things.
Congratulations to Sally Nicholson for her entry to win the bolster:
"My favourite activity is walking and always has been and the city of
Vancouver is beautiful with many walking trails. In order to
discipline myself I do not carry change or bus tickets on me unless
absolutely necessary in order to motivate myself to walk
everywhere in this beautiful city. I also purchased a few
more pairs of walking shoes to motivate me more."
If you would like to stop receiving my e-newsletters, please email me to let me know at email@example.com.
This month we're going to discuss the ABCs (Apples, Bananas, and Carrots) of Food.
Food is such an important part of our lives, and yet it can become such
a stress when we complicate things. Here's to keeping it simple!
||Just for fun, here are some links to some Wacky Food Stories.
||Spring Recipes. Both yummy and healthy. What a great combo!
Helping you help yourself!
To work in partnership with you to bring you to your optimal health.
Ongoing health, not just temporary relief.
This is active health.
If you learn about nutrition by watching tv or following fads, you are
probably confused. According to tv ads, Nutella (a chocolatey
hazelnut breakfast spread) and Fruit Loops are "part of a nutritious
breakfast"; Wonderbread white enriched bread is as healthy as whole
grain bread; and energy drinks containing ginseng and guarana are
healthy alternatives to coffee. Really?!
The ABCs (Apples, Bananas, and Carrots) of Food
According to the fads, a low-fat diet is the ideal way to eat; low-carb
is best; the DaVinci diet, called the Diet Code, would have you base
your meals on the golden ratio of 1.618; you need to eat like you are a
caveman; you need follow a Mediterranean diet; you need to follow an
Okinawan diet; you need to follow a French diet; you need to eat foods
based on your blood type; you shouldn't combine fruits with other
foods; and so on, and so on, and so on.
I'm not saying that all, or even any, of these fads are wrong.
But really, it's all so complicated and contradictory. Which diet
should you follow, if any?
I love food and I love to eat. But I'm not a good cook and I
don't like to have to think too much about how to put together a
meal. In fact, I really do believe "diet" to be a bad 4 letter
word. To follow a diet means being "tied" (if you have you read
or seen The DaVinci Code you know about the way that letters can be
rearranged to make new words) to a strict eating regimen. I
believe that a better way to eat it to "edit" your food choices.
Let's start with foods that we can indulge in. We all know that
we should eat more vegetables, so this tops the list. There are
so many options to choose from, so even if you are anti-veggie, there
must be something that you can find that will suit your palate.
If you crave salty foods, try celery, kale, dandelion, spinach, chard,
and sea-vegetables such as nori, kelp, kombu, and dulse. If your
sweet tooth is calling to you, try sweet potatoes, yams, squash, and
beets. Want something crunchy? Go for carrots, celery,
broccoli, or cauliflower. Prefer something juicy? Reach for
tomatoes and cucumbers. Need help with the greens? If you
can't find a way to eat enough greens (both quantity and variety), mix
a greens powder into your favourite shake or juice or keep it simple in
water. Genki Grains and Greens
The basics of nutrition require that you get a combination of
carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Despite their being labelled
as heroes or foes, all of these categories of nutrients are essential.
Choose complex carbs over simple carbs as they break down into sugar
more slowly and thus provide you with a more constant stream of energy,
rather than a burst of energy followed by a crash. Whole grains
(actually sprouted grains are better as they are easier to digest),
veggies, and legumes are examples of complex carbs. Fruit, while
rich in simple carbs, can also contain lots of vitamins and some
fibre. Goji juice is an energizing indulgence overflowing with antioxidants.
Lean sources of protein are better options than meats heavy in
saturated fats. Choose organic, free-range meats whenever
possible to avoid eating animals that were fed steroids, unnecessary
antibiotics, pesticides, and other diseased animals. You might
also try eating non-meat meals at least once or twice a week, such as a
Avoid processed and poor quality oils, but don't go all fat-free.
Why? Because fats are important! If you take all the water
out of your brain, it will be about 60% fat! All of your cells
are lined in fat. Fat protects your internal organs. Fat
keeps you insulated. But not all fat is good. Essential
fatty acids (EFA) are fats that you need to consume because your body
does not make them. EFAs are omega 3 fats (found in flax seeds
and fish), omega 6 fats (found in pumpkin seeds, almonds, and sesame
seeds), and omega 9 fats (found in small amounts in all of the
above). For fish oil, capsules are easy to take. To incorporate EFAs into your food, use EFAplex to make a salad dressing, drizzle it on your veggies, rice, or pasta, or add a spoonful to a blended shake.
And the Ugly.
At the other end of the scale are foods we should limit. I'm sure you can already guess many of them...
If you are generally healthy, you can occasionally enjoy these tempting
foods, but limit both the quantity and the frequency that you
partake. Why do we have this idea that we should supersize?
It is not economical. You will pay for it in other ways.
- Greasy, fried, fatty foods (e.g. deep fried anything, stuff that gleams with grease)
- Processed and refined foods (many packaged foods, canned goods, ready-made meals)
- “White” foods – white bread, white
pasta, white rice (not too many potato products either--the most
popluar vegetable in North America!)
- Sugar and excess sweet foods (watch for hidden sugars
– muffins, some cereals, etc.)--try natural, zero-calorie, blood
sugar stabilizing stevia leaf instead.
- Refined and poor quality oils (margarine, shortening, commercial foods with oil in them, hydrogenated oils/fats)
Bringing it All Together
Eating is important. It is more than just filling a void.
Enjoy your food. Chew your food well and savour the
flavour. Try to give some sort of schedule to your meal and snack
times. If you can eat 5-6 small meals a day, plan ahead. If
you would prefer, you can choose the standard 3 meals a day. But
don't skip breakfast (break the fast)! Eat at basically the same
times each day so your body can be prepared. Practice portion
control. Eat slowly so that your body can tell you when you've
had enough. Eat until you are no longer hungry rather than until
you are stuffed to the gills.
Still confused? When in doubt, use common sense. Does
taking the nutrients out of food, processing it, adding back in some of
the stolen nutrients, and adding colourants, flavourings, and
preservatives to make it look and smell and taste like yummy food
really sound healthy? We have so many options, so you don't need
to feel limited!
Wacky Food Stories!
To each their own, I guess. Here's a story about a man who loves to eat glass!
How did these guys get funded for their research? Their study involves getting worms drunk!
I know that the ingredients found in hotdogs are scary, but bullets?!
I was always told that eating fish will make you smarter (it's rich in omega 3 fatty acids), so I really have to wonder about this burglar!
Green Pea Soup
2 cups whole or split peas, presoaked
1/4 onion diced (optional)
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 bay leaf
5-6 cups water
1/2 cup dulse
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
2 Tbsp vinegar (optional)
Layer vegetables in a pot in order given. Add peas, water, and bay
leaf. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour (whole peas
require longer cooking time). Add dulse, mustard, and salt. Simmer 10
more minutes. Add vinegar before serving. Serves 6.
1/2 pound dandelion greens
1 clove garlic (optional)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp umeboshi paste
1 tsp oil (optional)
Blend dressing ingredients in a mortar and pestle until creamy. Toss with greens.
Spinach and Miso Sauce
1 pound spinach, cooked and drained
1 Tbsp white miso
1 Tbsp sesame butter
Combine ingredients and puree in a blender with enough water to make a
creamy sauce. Can use carrots, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
with, or instead of, spinach
Active Life Health Clinic
Dr. Melissa Carr, B.Sc., Dr.TCM, R.Ac.
Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Regent Medical Building
#410-2184 West Broadway
Vancouver, B.C., V6K 2E1
In appreciation of each of your referrals, Dr. Melissa Carr will offer you 10% off of
your health product purchase, so don't forget to tell your friends,
family, colleagues, and acquaintances to give us your name when they
book an appointment.