A place where I can chronicle my family's journey through cancer. A place where WE can discuss our concerns. A place where WE can inspire each other. A place for hope.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wellness Wednesdays

Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry. Ethoxylated diglycerides? Cellulose? Xanthan gum? Calcium propionate? Ammonium sulfate? If you wouldn't cook with them yourself, why let others use these ingredients to cook for you? The food scientists' chemistry set is designed to extend shelf life, make old food look fresher and more appetizing than it really is, and get you to eat more. Whether or not any of these additives pose a proven hazard to your health, many of them haven't been eaten by humans for very long, so they are best avoided. Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

#20: Get out of the supermarket whenever you can. You won't find any high-fructose corn syrup at the farmers' market. You also won't find any elaborately processed food products, any packages with long lists of unpronounceable ingredients or dubious health claims, anything microwaveable, or, perhaps best of all, any old food from far away. What you will find are fresh, whole foods harvested at the peak of their taste and nutritional quality - precisely the kind your great-grandmother, or even your Neolithic ancestors, would easily recognize as food. The kind that is alive and eventually will rot. Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

#21: Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks. People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than those of us eating a modern Western diet of processed foods. Any traditional diet will do: If it were not a healthy diet, the people who follow it wouldn't still be around. True, food cultures are embedded in societies and economies and ecologies, and some of them travel better than others, Inuit not so well as Italian. In borrowing from a food culture, pay attention to HOW a culture eats as well as to what it eats. In the case of the French paradox, for example, it may not be the dietary nutrients that keep the French healthy (lots of saturated fat and white flour?!) as much as their food habits: small portions eaten at leisurely communal meals; no second helpings or snacking. Pay attention, too, to the combinations of foods in traditional cultures: In Latin America, corn is traditionally cooked with lime and eaten with beans; what would otherwise be a nutritionally deficient staple becomes the basis of a healthy, balanced diet. (The beans supply amino acids lacking in corn, and the lime makes niacin available). Cultures that took corn from Latin America without the beans or the lime wound up with serious nutritional deficiencies such as pellagra. Traditional diets are more than the sum of their food parts. Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

#22: Eat Slowly. Not just so you'll be more likely to know when to stop. Eat slowly enough to savor your food; you'll need less of it to feel satisfied. If it is a food experience rather than mere calories you're after, the slower you eat, the more of an experience you will have. There is an Indian proverb that gets at this idea: "Drink your food, chew your drink." In other words, eat slowly enough, and chew thoroughly enough, to liquefy your food, and move your drink around in your mouth to thoroughly taste it before swallowing. The recommendation sounds a bit clinical perhaps, but try following it at least to the point of fully appreciating what's in your mouth. Another strategy, encoded in a table manner that's been all but forgotten: "Put down your fork between bites." Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

#23: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper. Eating a big meal late in the day sounds unhealthy, though in fact the science isn't conclusive. Some research suggests that eating close to bedtime elevates triglyceride levels in the blood, a marker for heart disease that is also implicated in weight gain. Also, the more physically active you are after a meal, the more of the energy in that meal your muscles will burn before the body stores it as fat. But some researchers believe a calorie is a calorie, no matter what time of day it is consumed. Even if this is true, however, front-loading your eating in the early part of the day will probably result in fewer total calories consumed, since people are generally less hungry in the morning. A related adage: "After lunch, sleep awhile; after dinner, walk a mile." Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

1 comment:

  1. I love you Wellness Wednesdays. I was thinking today about the first time you posted. You were so scared and confused. And you are so confident now. I know your Mom appreciates you so much.

    Rebecca Weber