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Nutrition

Food Combining Explained

chart‘Food combining’ refers to the combination of foods which are compatible with each other in terms of digestive chemistry. Food combining is a basic component of optimal nutrition because it allows the body to digest and utilize the nutrients in our foods to their full extent.

The discomforts of indigestion are so common in today’s society that indigestion is almost considered normal. The fact that over 2 billion dollars are spent each year on antacids is proof of this. Rather than using drugs to suppress symptoms, wouldn’t it be wiser to remove the causes of indigestion?

Food combining is based on the theory that different food groups require different digestion times. Digestion is helped the most by using foods which have roughly the same digestion time. 

Correct food combinations are important for proper digestion, utilization, and assimulation of the nutrients in our diet. The principles of food combining are dictated by digestive chemistry. Different foods require different digestive enzymes to aid in the digestive process – some acid, some alkaline. As any student of chemistry will assure you, acids and bases (alkalis) neutralize each other. When acids and alkalines come in contact, they neutralize each other and this retards digestion.

Protein foods require a highly acidic environment for digestion while carbohydrates (starches, fruit and sugars) and fats require a more alkaline medium. Anytime 2 or more foods are eaten at the same time, and those foods require opposite conditions for digestion, the digestive process is compromised.

When starches and proteins are combined their stimulation to the digestive juices generates a conflicting response and produces a medium which does not digest either food very well. This situation often leads to indigestion, bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, and poor absorption of nutrients. Any quick digesting foods – such as fruit – must wait until the slowest digesting foods leave the stomach before they can leave – a process which can take up to 6 or 8 hours. While waiting, the fruit and some of the starches undergo some decomposition and fermentation, producing gas, acid and even alcohol along with indigestion.

Following principles of Food Combining:
The most important rule, is this: Don’t mix starch foods with protein foods at the same meal.

Here are the other principles which proponents of food combining adhere to:

1. Eat starches and acids at separate meals. Acids neutralize the alkaline medium required for starch digestion and the result is indigestion and fermentation.

2. Eat carbohydrate foods and protein foods at separate meals. Protein foods require an acid medium for digestion.

3. Eat only one kind of protein food at a meal.

4. Eat proteins and acid foods at separate meals. The acids of acid foods inhibit the secretion of the digestive acids required for protein digestion. Undigested proteins putrefy in bacterial decomposition and produces some potent poisons.

5. Eat proteins and fats at separate meals. Some foods, especially nuts, are over 50% fat and require hours for digestion.

6. Eat proteins and sugars (fruits) at separate meals.

7. Eat starchy foods and sugars (fruits) at separate meals. Fruits undergo no digestion in the stomach and are held up if eaten with foods which require digestion in the stomach.

8. Eat melons alone. Melons combine with almost no other food.

9. Forget the desserts. Eaten on top of meals they lie heavy on the stomach, requiring no digestion there, and ferment. Bacteria turn them into alcohols, acetic acids and vinegars.
 
Food combining: chew all food close to liquid consistency. We can assimilate only those foods which are the most liquified.

Try it for yourself
Food combining is a controversial practice. Many people swear by it, while others find it ineffective and frustrating. There is no detriment to the food combining diet – if it works for you, use it.Food combining is an area where everyone seems to have an opinion. One way to find out what is right for yourself is to experiment. Try it and see how you feel. Listen to your body. What works for one person may not work for another person.

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Being a Vegetarian

For much of the world, vegetarianism is largely a matter of economics: Meat costs a lot more than, say, beans or rice, so meat becomes a special-occasion dish (if it’s eaten at all). Even where meat is more plentiful, it’s still used in moderation, often providing a side note to a meal rather than taking center stage.

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In countries like the United States where meat is not as expensive, though, people choose to be vegetarians for reasons other than cost. Parental preferences, religious or other beliefs, and health issues are among the most common reasons for choosing to be a vegetarian. Many people choose a vegetarian diet out of concern over animal rights or the environment. And lots of people have more than one reason for choosing vegetarianism.

Vegetarian and Semi-Vegetarian Diets
Different people follow different forms of vegetarianism. A true vegetarian eats no meat at all, including chicken and fish. A lacto-ovo vegetarian eats dairy products and eggs, but excludes meat, fish, and poultry. It follows, then, that a lacto vegetarian eats dairy products but not eggs, whereas an ovo vegetarian eats eggs but not dairy products.

A stricter form of vegetarianism is veganism. Not only are eggs and dairy products excluded from a vegan diet, so are animal products like honey and gelatin.

Some macrobiotic diets fall into the vegan category. Macrobiotic diets restrict not only animal products but also refined and processed foods, foods with preservatives, and foods that contain caffeine or other stimulants.

Following a macrobiotic or vegan diet could lead to nutritional deficiencies in some people. If you’re interested in following a vegan or macrobiotic diet it’s a good idea to talk to a registered dietitian. He or she can help you design meal plans that include adequate vitamins and minerals.

Some people consider themselves semi-vegetarians and eat fish and maybe a small amount of poultry as part of a diet that’s primarily made up of vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. A pesci-vegetarian eats fish, but not poultry.

Are These Diets OK for Me?
In the past, choosing not to eat meat or animal-based foods was considered unusual in the United States. Times and attitudes have changed dramatically, however. Vegetarians are still a minority in the United States, but a large and growing one. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has officially endorsed vegetarianism, stating “appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, are nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

So what does this mean for you? If you’re already a vegetarian, or are thinking of becoming one, it means that you’re in good company. There are more choices in the supermarket than ever before, and an increasing number of restaurants and schools are providing vegetarian options — way beyond a basic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

If you’re choosing a vegetarian diet, the most important thing you can do is to educate yourself. That’s why the ADA says that a vegetarian diet needs to be “appropriately planned.” Simply dropping certain foods from your diet isn’t the way to go if you’re interested in maintaining good health, a high energy level, and strong muscles and bones.

Vegetarians have to be careful to include the following key nutrients that may be lacking in a vegetarian diet:
iron
calcium
protein
vitamin D
vitamin B12
zinc

If meat, fish, dairy products, and/or eggs are not going to be part of your diet, you’ll need to know how to get enough of these nutrients, or you may need to take a daily multiple vitamin and mineral supplement. Here are some suggestions:

Iron Sea vegetables like nori, wakame, and dulse are very high in iron. Less exotic but still good options are iron-fortified breakfast cereals, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, and baked beans), soybeans and tofu, dried fruit (raisins and figs), pumpkin seeds, broccoli, and blackstrap molasses. Eating these foods along with a food high in vitamin C (citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, and broccoli) will help you to absorb the iron better. Women need to be particularly concerned about getting adequate iron because some iron is lost during menstruation. Some women who are vegetarians may not get adequate iron from vegetable sources and they may require a daily supplement. Check with your doctor about your own iron needs.

Calcium Milk and yogurt are tops if you’re eating dairy products — although vegetarians will want to look for yogurt that does not contain the meat by-product gelatin. Tofu, fortified soy milk, calcium-fortified orange juice, green leafy vegetables, and dried figs are also excellent ways for vegetarians (and vegans) to get calcium. Because women have a greater risk for getting osteoporosis (weak bones) later in life, it’s particularly important for them to make sure they get enough calcium. Again, taking a supplement may be necessary to ensure this.

Vitamin D People need vitamin D to get calcium into our bones. Cow’s milk and sunshine are tops on the list for this vitamin. Vegans can try fortified soy milk and fortified breakfast cereals, but they may need a supplement that includes vitamin D, especially during the winter months. Everyone should have some exposure to the sun to help the body produce vitamin D.

Protein Some people believe that vegetarians must combine incomplete plant proteins in one meal — like red beans and rice — to make the type of complete proteins found in meat. We now know that it’s not that complicated. Current recommendations are that vegetarians eat a wide variety of foods during the course of a day. Eggs and dairy products are good sources of protein, but also try nuts, peanut butter, tofu, beans, seeds, soy milk, grains, cereals, and vegetables to get all the protein your body needs.

Vitamin B12 B12 is an essential vitamin found only in animal products, including eggs and dairy. Fortified soy milk and fortified breakfast cereals also have this important vitamin. It’s hard to get enough vitamin B12 in your diet if you are vegan, so a supplement may be needed.

Zinc
If you’re not eating dairy foods, make sure fortified cereals, dried beans, nuts, and soy products like tofu and tempeh are part of your diet so you can meet your daily requirement for this important mineral.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, vegetarians need to keep an eye on their total intake of calories and fat. Vegetarian diets tend to be high in fiber and low in fat and calories. That may be good for people who need to lose weight or lower their cholesterol but it can be a problem for anyone still growing and people who are already at a healthy weight.

Diets that are high in fiber tend to be more filling, and as a result strict vegetarians may feel full before they’ve eaten enough calories to keep their bodies healthy and strong. It’s a good idea to let your doctor know that you’re a vegetarian so that he or she can keep on eye on you and make sure you’re still getting adequate amounts of calories and fat.

Getting Some Guidance
If you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, consider making an appointment to talk with a registered dietitian who can go over lists of foods that would give you the nutrients you need. A dietitian can discuss ways to prevent conditions such as iron-deficiency anemia that you might be at an increased risk for if you stop eating meat.

Also, remember to take a daily standard multivitamin, just in case you miss getting enough vitamins or minerals that day.

Tips for Eating Out
Eating at restaurants can be difficult for vegetarians sometimes, but if you do eat fish, you can usually find something suitable on the menu. If not, opt for salad and an appetizer or two. Even fast-food places sometimes have vegetarian choices, such as bean tacos and burritos, veggie burgers, and soy cheese pizza.

Vegetarians can opt for pasta, along with plenty of vegetables, grains, and fruits. You may also find that the veggie burgers, hot dogs, and chicken substitutes available in your local grocery store taste very much like the real thing. Try the ground meat substitute as a stand-in for beef in foods like tacos and spaghetti sauce. Regardless of whether you choose a vegetarian way of life, it’s always a healthy idea to eat a wide variety of foods and try out new foods when you can.


The Zone Diet Explained

zone-food-pryamidRemember that in athletics, “the zone”, meaning the peak performance level of the human body, is believed to last only a few minutes. Dr. Barry Sears claims that eating a 40-30-30 ratio of carbs, proteins and fats at one meal helps the body reach and stay in The Zone for approximately five hours. A Zone snack is said to keep you in the Zone for two to two-and-a-half hours. With three Zone meals and two Zone snacks every day, according to Dr. Sears’ theory, someone could spend a lifetime in The Zone. That is why Zone Diet  is considered not only a weight-loss diet, but also a way of life.

What Is the 40-30-30 Ratio?
The USDA food pyramid mentioned before recommends eating approximately 55% carbs, 15% protein and 30% fat at every meal. Dr. Sears believes that this eating scheme, which is based on carbohydrates (especially processed grains), is completely wrong. It has led, he thinks, to the high rates of obesity and other conditions which are typical of modern America. Dr. Barry Sears’s Zone Diet Plan, he believes, is appropriate to our DNA structure. This is the 40-30-30 plan, the key principle of the Zone Diet  which leads to maintenance of the correct level of insulin. 

The Zone Diet Basics

  1. Eat the correct ratio of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat at every meal;
  2. Eat five times a day, whether you feel hungry or not: have three Zone meals and two Zone snacks;
  3. Don’t let more than five hours pass without eating;
  4. Eat preferably when you are not so hungry, and your brain activity and concentration level are good. When you are hungry, your insulin level is too low. You are not in the Zone any longer.
  5. Drink eight glasses of water every day (1 glass equals 8 ounces);
  6. Eat only low fat protein, keep fruits and vegetables as your favorite source of carbohydrates, and add a dash of mono saturated fat (e.g. olive oil) to every meal;
  7. A Zone diet meal should not lead to a calorie intake higher than 500kcal. A Zone Diet snack should provide 100kcal.
  8. Use pasta, bread and other grain-foods only as a “condiment” for your meals.
  9. Exercise moderately to keep your body in a good shape.
  10. Don’t worry if you leave the diet once, Dr. Sears says. With the next 40-30-30 meal you’ll get right back into the Zone.

More on the Zone Diet

What is The Zone diet? Besides being the title of a mega-seller diet book, Enter The Zone, The Zone is a place where we find ourselves “feeling alert, refreshed, and full of energy,” according to author Barry Sears, PhD. Sears, a former researcher in bio technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the book’s co-author Bill Lawren maintain that life in The Zone is what wellness is all about.

Like other popular diet books, Enter The Zone offers more than just weight-loss claims. By retooling your metabolism with a diet that is 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrates, The Zone diet contends that you can expect to turn back encroaching heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Another much-touted advantage is better athletic performance. Sears doesn’t come right out and claim he has found the cure for heart disease or diabetes, or how to win athletic competitions, but instead he provides glowing anecdotes from people who have taken The Zone diet to heart.

What The Zone diet does boldly claim is that much of the current thinking about good nutrition — a diet high in carbohydrates, low in protein, and fats — is “dead wrong.” What’s more, Sears contends, that type of diet has contributed to our risk of contracting serious, even life-threatening ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, and possibly cancer. His new book, The Anti-Inflammation Zone, takes a closer look at disease and how his diet combats the inflammation he says is an underlying factor behind the development of serious illness as well as weight gain.

As a former scientist, Sears devotes considerable time to discussion of the science on which he based his theory. Put simply, The Zone diet is a “metabolic state in which the body works at peak efficiency,” and that state is created by eating a set ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

What You Can Eat on The Zone Diet
The Zone diet does not recommend that you eat fewer calories than you’re currently consuming, just different ones. Although the book has a more complicated and exacting measurement of what to eat, it can be simplified as:

A small amount of protein at every meal (approximately the size of your palm or one small chicken breast) and at every snack (one in the late afternoon, one in the late evening)
“Favorable” carbohydrates twice the size of the protein portion — these include most vegetables and lentils, beans, whole grains, and most fruits
A smaller amount of carbohydrates if you have chosen “unfavorable” ones — these include brown rice, pasta, papaya, mango, banana, dry breakfast cereal, bread, bagel, tortilla, carrots, and all fruit juices.

Dairy products are not verboten, but The Zone diet devotes little time to them, except to explain how quickly they release glucose. Sears prefers egg whites and egg substitutes to whole eggs, and low-fat or no-fat cheeses and milk.

The Zone diet keeps saturated fats to a minimum but includes olive, canola, macadamia nuts, and avocados. Certain unfavorable carbohydrates are restricted because they release glucose quickly: grains, breads, pasta, rice, and other similar starches, a deviation from conventional definitions of a good diet. Overall, the diet is higher in protein and fat than traditional diets, which would have us eat nearly three-quarters of all calories as carbohydrates.

Sears is fairly rigid about the amount of protein/fat/carbohydrate each of us needs, and takes the reader through a short course in determining our protein need, based on size, age, and activity, which then determines the amount of fats and carbohydrates we should be eating.

Happily for those of us who would be depressed at the thought of forgoing desserts for the rest of our lives, his list of allowable foods includes, among others, high-fat ice cream. Why high-fat? Because the fat retards the rate of absorption of carbohydrate into the body, according to Sears. Alas, the recommended portion is a mere half-cup.

How The Zone Diet Works
The Zone diet’s eating plan is a combination of a small amount of low-fat protein at every meal, fats, and carbohydrates in the form of fiber-rich vegetables and fruits. The plan establishes a ratio for which Sears contends the body is genetically programmed (that 40-30-30 figure). And yes, we’ll be thinner to boot.

Sears claims that The Zone diet is based on his 15 years of research in bio nutrition. Although the book is full of success stories, including those of elite athletes, research that validates his specific claims isn’t there. That doesn’t mean that Sears’ theories are wrong; it’s just that no scientific evidence has proven that his program works.

Sears bases his theory on using diet to control the body’s production of the hormone insulin. Among insulin’s many roles, it helps regulate storage of excess energy as fat. The goal is to keep a balance between fat-storing insulin and the hormone glucagon, insulin’s opposite, whose job it is to release the stored glucose from the liver when it is needed. Maintaining the correct balance between the two is accomplished by watching the size and specific content of your meals. In other words, you must be mindful of what you put on your plate. Sears suggests that we think of food not as “a source of calories but as a control system for hormones.”

What the Experts Say About The Zone Diet
The Zone diet draws mixed reviews from nutrition experts. Researchers at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which rated several fad diets, recently put it on their acceptable list, unlike Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, Sugar Busters!, The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet, and Protein Power. “If you ignore the scientific rhetoric, the diet isn’t bad,” says Bonnie Liebman, MS, nutrition director for the center’s publication, Nutrition Action Healthletter. As a caveat, she points out the diet restricts carbohydrates more than necessary. “You are getting carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables on the diet, but a lot of the science is bunk,” she says. What she likes is that the diet is relatively easy to follow: “You have a piece of protein the size of your palm, and you fill the rest of your plate up with fruits and Susan Roberts, PhD, head of the Weight Regulation Program at Tufts University and a professor of medicine and psychiatry there, also gives The Zone a qualified thumbs up. “Like most fad diet books, The Zone diet takes one of the several known controllers of energy, blood glucose, and blows it up into a whole book,” she says. “It downplays the other factors that also determine how hungry we get and how much we eat, such as fiber and the caloric density of the food.”

Roberts also finds fault with some of The Zone diet’s food recommendations, such as that high-fat ice cream. Sears says it’s OK, because it won’t raise your blood sugar precipitously, but it’s not OK for other reasons, Roberts notes, such as the fact that the cream in the ice cream is saturated fat, which isn’t good for your overall cholesterol. (To be fair to the diet, Sears only allows a half-cup and certainly doesn’t suggest you make it a habit.) Yet Roberts likes the amount of vegetables and legumes recommended, and so, she says, “My personal rating for The Zone would be three stars out of five.”

Other nutritional experts, including some of Sears’ former colleagues, are critical of his conclusions from the scientific evidence, contending that he has distorted or exaggerated the meaning of much of the basic research. They point out that no direct studies to verify his conclusions have been performed.

The 40-30-30 ratio of The Zone diet applies to all meals all the time, and a broad range of foods are allowed, so there are no confusing schedules or conditions that need to be memorized.


Eat Healthy on a Budget

Healthy eating on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, once you develop a habit of shopping for and cooking fresh foods creativity you might never go back to packaged, processed or fast food again. For the athlete on a budget the following tips may help you make better, cheaper meals that taste fabulous and trim your waistline along with your food budget.

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1. Drink More Water and Less of Everything Else

picturegarden / Getty ImagesLet go of sodas, juices, soy lattes, alcohol and fancy energy drinks in favor of tap water and you will make an enormous dent in your grocery budget and probably improve your health in the process. Depending on where we live, most of us don’t need to pay for healthy hydration. 

2. Buy More Frozen Vegetables
Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as many fresh vegetables because they are frozen shortly after picked. In some cases and particularly during the winter months, frozen may be even fresher than what you’ll find at your local grocery store. The best frozen vegetable choices include broccoli, peas, carrots, spinach, and mixed vegetables ready to add to your next stir fry.

3. Cook Enough to Have Leftovers
One-pot dishes like stir-fry, soups and stews made at home with fresh or frozen vegetable, lean meats, tofu, olive oil and fresh spices are satisfying and inexpensive meals that go a long way. Package up leftovers for the next day’s lunch or freeze leftovers for later in the week.

4. Invest in Reusable Food Storage Containers
If there is one area to invest in that can help you save money and eat healthy it may be by purchasing quality, reusable food storage containers. Different size and shapes that are microwave-safe, and easy to pack and carry with increase the likelihood that you will bring food with you. Packing leftovers the night before or making several lunches at a time will ultimately help you control your portion size and eat fresh for less.
Compare prices on Food Storage Containers

5. Support Your Local Farmer’s Market
Not only will you support your local economy, but you will find high quality, fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables that are often organic. Local farmers can often provide a better price because they have less overhead and transportation costs. Talk with the growers and learn about their produce and favorite ways to prepare it and you may find some new favorite recipes and healthy meals.

6. Give Up Breakfast Cereals
Breakfast cereals are not only expensive, but most offer little nutritional bang for the buck. And although the label may say it has 12 servings, do you know anyone who manages to eat just “one serving” of cereal at a time? You’re far better off with homemade oatmeal or a simple hard-boiled egg with fruit and whole grain toast.

7. Limit Processed, Packaged and Single Serving Foods
It may be a bit more work initially to make your own sandwiches, soups or salads, but the effort will save you big bucks. The price you pay for one or two packaged sandwiches at the deli could buy the fixings for a week’s worth of homemade lunches. Additionally, you control what you put in it — and have a sandwich you love as a result.

8. Cut Out the Energy Bars and Drinks
RossLand / Getty ImagesEnergy bars and beverages may be convenient and nutrient-dense, but they are expensive and can easily be replaced by less costly “real food.” Consider as replacements: an apple, a banana, a handful of dried fruit & nuts, about 3 fig newtons, or a cheese and tomato or tuna sandwich. Wash it down with tap water and you’ve replenished your energy stores and saved yourself some cash.

9. Eat Out Less Often
Eating out is not only expensive, but frequently unhealthy. Restaurant food is often full of fat and calories hidden in sauces, oils and butter. And while fast food lunches may appear to be fast, convenient and cheap, the lack of nutritional value is the real price you’ll pay.

10. Share Entrees
If you like to eat out, or have a lifestyle that includes going to restaurants, you don’t have to give it up to save money. But think about what you order and how much you consume at one meal? Most restaurant portions are massive and far more than we need to consume. But face it, we tend to eat what’s in front of us and when dining out that means usually we overeat. Why not consider sharing an entree? Chinese, Thai and Italian cuisine is perfect for sharing. Another way to eat out and save money is by taking advantage of happy hour menus when the same meal is about half-price.


Kale, It’s a Vegetable

When you mention kale, the majority responds with raised eyebrows and mumble “Huh”? “What’s that”? Kale is an old, hardly noticed and powerful green food. Kale is a leafy green vegetable with a mild earthy flavor. The ideal season for kale is between mid winter and early spring where it can be found in abundance in most produce sections of local grocery stores. However, kale usually is available year round. Righteously so, kale is starting to garner well deserved attention amongst dieticians and other health care professionals. This is due to its natural and nutrient rich phytochemical content which brandish unparalleled health promoting benefits. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse.

Kale is overflowing with essential nutrients such as calcium, lutein, iron, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein. Kale is rich in chlorophyll and provides much needed fiber so lacking in the daily diet of processed food eating Americans.

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The key Kale benefit is the naturally occurring photochemicals sulforaphanes and indoles which research suggests may protect against cancer. Let’s not forget the essential antioxidant Vitamin E. Rest assured kale spares nothing in providing one with the required nutrients coupled with associated health benefits. This is not a shy leafy green by any means and certainly will assist one in achieving an alkaline body balance.

The naturally rich sulfur content of kale deserves a bit more discussion. Researchers have discovered that sulforaphane; helps boost the body’s detoxification enzymes, potentially by altering gene expression. This is turn is purported to help clear carcinogenic substances in a relatively timely manner. Sulforaphane is formed when cruciferous vegetables such as kale are chopped or chewed. This triggers the liver to produce natural enzymes which function to detoxify cancer causing chemicals, to which we all are exposed on a daily basis. A relatively new study published in the Journal of Nutrition (2004) demonstrates that sulforaphane helps stop breast cancer cell proliferation. Kale should be considered a regular part of the diet, especially for the ladies.

Kale descends from the wild cabbage which originated in Asia. Kale is thought to have been introduced to Europe by the Celtics where it remained a staple. Kale was an important food item early in European history and a crop staple in ancient Rome. Kale was eventually introduced to the USA during the 17th century by early English settlers. Unfortunately, we typically see kale used as decoration or garnishes for side dishes and salad bars. Once here twice forgotten, give kale the special attention it deserves. Your body is guaranteed to thank-you.

A leafy green vegetable starting to gain widespread attention, kale belongs to the Brassica family, a group that also includes cabbage, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts. Choose kale with small leaves as they will be tender and offer a slightly sweeter taste. Make kale leaves a regular addition to your salads. A sautéed side dish of kale, onions, and garlic drizzled in olive oil is second to none. If you are an avid juicer, you already appreciate the natural liquid vitamin content in plenty of green foods. By all means juice up the kale. One of nature’s best liquid vitamin drinks has never tasted so good.

Steamed Kale Recipe. Try it!!

Ingredients Needed:
    1 bunch washe’d kale–about 1/2 pound
    2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds to toast
    2 tablespoons tamari
    1 clove garlic to press
    2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
Toast sesame seeds in a frying pan with no oil, watch carefully so they don’t burn.  Get your steamer going full force while you roll several kale leaves up at a time and slice them into about 1/4 inch widths.  Drop them into the steamer, cover and time them exactly three minutes on high heat (this is on a gas burner; electric may not require this high of heat setting). Remove after three minutes and toss with the olive oil, tamari, pressed garlic and toasted sesame seeds.  Serve at once.

Serves: 3-4.


My Name is…and I’m a Fast-Foodoholic.

ronald-mcdonalds1That seems ridiculous, but I have a challenge for you at the end of this entry. The fast food industry has added every chemical possible that they can legally get away with to addict people to their food. In fact, if you eat fast food and you stop eating it, you actually go through withdrawal symptoms. It’s like a drug. Not only that, the preservatives are so high in these fast food burgers these days that the product does not even break down. Fast food has been linked in the increase in obesity in both adults and children. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in our country, particularly in children. Here are some startling statistics to consider:

• 65% of American adults are overweight
• 30% of Americans are obese
• According to the American Obesity Association, 127 million Americans are overweight, 60 million Americans are obese, and 9 million are “morbidly obese”: they weigh 100 pounds more than they should.
• In the last twenty years, the rate of obesity has doubled in children and tripled in adolescents and teens.
• As of September 2004, nine million American kids between the ages of six and eighteen were obese.

OBESITY: A KILLER
Obesity-related illnesses will kill around 400,000 Americans this year–almost the same as smoking. Americans have gotten so big that their coffins have to be supersized!
Related illnesses caused by obesity:

• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Heart disease
• Breast Cancer
• Colon cancer
• Gout
• Arthritis
• Asthma
• Diabetes
• Strokes

In 2003, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one out of three kids born in America in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes.

The life of a ten-year-old child who has Type II diabetes will be, on average, between seventeen and twenty-six years shorter than that of a healthy child.

Diabetes can lead to heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage in the lower legs which may result in amputation (82,000 of these cases occur every year).

Diabetes is currently the sixth-highest cause of death in America.

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Fast Food is Everywhere
The rise of the fast food industry plays a critical role in why our country is plagued with obesity. Fast food is everywhere: in big cities, small towns, shopping malls, the airport, the bus station, schools, and even hospitals!

There are 31,000 McDonald’s worldwide- almost 14,000 of them are in the U.S. 

People are Eating a lot of Fast Food
Fast food has become cheaper and easier to buy. In 2004, Americans spent $124 billion dollars on fast food. That same year, The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study showing that the percentage of fast food calories in the American diet has increased from 3 percent to 12 percent over the last twenty years.

Fast food culture was introduced to other countries around the world in the 1980’s. In countries like Japan and China, people have abandoned traditional healthy diets in favor of fast food and as a result the rate of obesity and other diseases has soared.

Fast Food Restaurants Serve More
Not only is fast food everywhere, but fast food companies encourage the consumer to eat more by supplying over-sized burgers, extra-large servings for fries, and buckets of soda.

Products like The Whopper, The Big Gulp, and Super Size meals pack in a whopping amount of calories, sugars, and fats. Let’s take a closer look:
• The Double Gulp soda at your local 7-11 holds 64 ounces of soda – that is half a gallon! It contains the equivalent of 48 teaspoons of sugar.
• A typical hamburger at a fast food restaurant weighs six ounces. In 1957, it weighed one ounce.
• According to one nutritionist, your average fast food meal is more like three meals.
• The average meal at a McDonald’s has 1,550 calories.

Fast Food is not Good For Us
We’re eating more food that is not nutritious. Most fast-food meals are high in fat, high in sugar, high in calories, high in starch, high in salt, and low in fiber and nutrients. Because fast food lacks nutrients, after we eat it we’re not satisfied. That makes us hungry for more soon after.

Why kids are at a major risk
Our children are exposed to an onslaught of advertising for fast food. Fast food chains spend more then $3 billion every year on television advertising. They intentionally campaign to kids so they become life-long customers. These are known as cradle-grave advertising strategies. Researchers have found that children can often recognize a company logo, like the Golden Arches, before they can recognize their own name.

In one year, the typical American child watches more that 40,000 TV commercials. Around 20,000 of these ads are for junk food: fast food, candy, soda, and breakfast cereals. This means that your child sees a junk food ad every five minutes when they’re watching TV.

To further motivate children to eat fast food, companies like McDonald’s have Happy Meals with free toys. McDonald’s gives away more than 1.5 billion toys every year. Almost one out of every three new toys given to American kids each year is from McDonald’s or another fast food restaurant.

In order to combat these calculated advertising strategies, educating our children on healthy eating habits that are easy, fun, and taste great is paramount. By teaching our children how harmful fast food is and how to eat healthier, they are empowered to make the right choices.

Fast Food is filled with chemicals and preservatives.
Fast food doesn’t break down. This is because it is loaded with chemicals and preservatives. There’s of course, the great video out on YouTube called The Bionic Burger that illustrates this in a fun and informative way.  The video is based on a true story. In 1991, this software engineer from Burlington, Vermont (he prefers to remain anonymous) was out with friends in Boston for New Year’s Eve and stopped at McDonald’s on the way home. He bought a couple of cheeseburgers, ate one and put the other in his coat pocket to have later.

He forgot about the burger in his pocket. A year later, he pulled his coat out of the closet, put it on, and discovered the cheeseburger in his pocket from New Year’s Eve. It looked exactly the same. He was absolutely blown away. He told his friends and family but nobody believed him. So he decided to start a burger museum to demonstrate to everyone that these cheeseburgers and hamburgers were literally indestructible.

He started collecting burgers, one every year. By the fall of 2004, he had amassed quite a collection:
• The original ’91 McDonald’s Cheeseburger from that New Year’s Ever
• ’92 McDonald’s Cheeseburger and Big Mac
• ’93 Burger King Hamburger
• ’94 McDonald’s Hamburger
• ’95-’03 McDonald’s Cheeseburgers

He kept them on bookshelves in his living room in the open air. These burgers look exactly the same. The bun, the meat, the cheese, the special sauce, the pickle, even the lettuce. They have all retained their shape, and color for over a decade!

Food is supposed to break down. Food is supposed to be the most biodegradable of all products. How is it possible that these burgers have not broken down? Decayed? Become moldy?

We brought the bionic burger museum to a recent health event to demonstrate how fast food is made of chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and low quality ingredients. Hundreds and hundreds of people saw burgers that were between one and eleven years old. None of them had decomposed. Adults and children were shocked. When people see first hand that fast food is not food, it has a powerful impact that can cause them to make the right choice: the choice to eat healthy, nutritious food instead of a cornucopia of chemicals, preservatives, fat, grease, and salt.

The video has been viewed by 1.3 million people on YouTube. It has been translated into 7 different languages, and featured on 50,000 blogs. This demonstrates that people want this information, they want to be informed because information empowers us to make the right choice. You choose every day what you are going to put into your body. Make the best choice and put food in your body that is going to help you, not harm you.

When you put living food in your body it contains enzymes that naturally break the food down. The ripening process of fruit, for example, is an enzyme controlled process. And those enzymes will eventually, if that fruit’s not eaten, cannibalize the fruit. So the fruit will eat itself.

Well, these burgers aren’t eating themselves. They are here twenty years later because there are no enzymes present. These burgers are so loaded with preservatives that they’re like a sealant, as if they are permanently made, like you would have a painting glazed over and framed and put on your wall. It’s not food, it’s something else. What that something else is, we don’t know, but I’m totally impressed that people can survive eating it.

AVOID fast food AT ALL COSTS!

Your Action: Stay away from all types of fast food for at least a month.


What did you eat on Sunday?

ramen_eating_contestYou probably don’t remember. Do you really know what you eat every day? You probably do not, unless you keep a food log. Keeping a food log is simple. Every day, use a new page, and write down everything you put in your mouth. By writing everything down, you will limit calorie intake, because, at some point, you will connect what you have eaten with extra calories, and the extra calories with your weight.

You can get more benefit from your food log with minimal extra effort. At the end of the day, jot down some ideas on how you felt that day-were you hungry, full, or just right? Was your breakfast adequate, but not your lunch? Writing down notes about ways your food choices corresponded to your hunger signals during the day will help you plan future days and meals during your weight-loss journey. You will see patterns develop-eating a whole apple fills you up more than drinking apple juice. You can eat ten potato chips, or an entire bag of Smart Pop popcorn, and the fiber from the popcorn will keep you satisfied longer.

Every weight-loss plan available will tell you what to eat and when, or at least give hints and tips. By keeping your own food diary, you will be able to “research” food and your body in a way that is tailored exactly to you. No matter what books and plans tell people, the best way to learn is by doing and observing yourself. Keeping a food diary will help you unlock your own secrets to weight-loss and nutritional success.

The benefits of keeping a food log outweigh the time and effort of recording every little morsel of food and sip of liquid that passes your lips?
Benefits are;

Makes you more conscious of when and what you consume on a daily basis. It’s easy to account for the big stuff – that piece of cheese cake, or that big turkey dinner. But it’s often the little things that get you, like…
The cream and sugar in your daily coffee.
The butter on your morning bagel.
The handful of peanuts you mindlessly grabbed while sitting in front of the T.V..

Allows you to gain an understanding of just how much food you need to consume to reach your weight loss goals. If you keep track of your weight or waist measurement along with your food intake, you’ll soon notice whether your weight/waist size is trending up, down or staying the same. If you keep an accurate food log, you can make small adjustments to your caloric intake to help you achieve your goals.

Allows you to accurately calculate how many calories you eat. When you combine your food log with a nutrition software, you can quickly and easily find out how many calories you consume…on a meal-to-meal, day-to-day basis. Doing this is perhaps the quickest way to reach your weight loss goals.

Reveals patterns in your eating habits. Do you eat more at night than during the day? Do you eat when more or less when stressed? Do most of your calories come from carbohydrates? From protein? Or from fat? Are you eating at regular intervals throughout the day or do you eat fewer but bigger meals? Keeping a food log can help you answer these questions. Just being more conscious about what you eat, when you eat, why you eat and how much you eat can make all the difference in the world.

Keeps you focused on your goal. What you focus on becomes your reality. If you are focused on eating balanced, healthy meals you will tend to eat that way more often than not.

Most people mindlessly go through their day, grabbing food whenever they feel hungry. They give very little thought to what goes in their body.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of keeping a food log is what happens when you use it as a planning tool. Sit down with your food log at the beginning of every week and plan what you want to eat at each meal and snack. Doing this will help you control the amount of calories you consume and stay focused on healthy eating.

Your Action: Begin to log everything that goes in your mouth and when you eat it.
Log your food intake for a week. Review it after that week. Send a comment tell me what you learned,