It's Not a Diet - It's Eating to Live an Optimum Healthy Life
Our Bodies as We Age
As we age, most of us begin to dread our yearly physical. We tend to pack on the pounds, we find out we now have high blood pressure, our blood sugar levels are off the chart and many other unpleasant things that put our good health at risk. Our LDL cholesterol level (the bad one) has now entered the "no return zone" and our doctor is silently wondering if we have eaten an entire cow fried in pure lard over the last year to cause such an increase. Of course we haven't eaten a whole cow, but we sure do like fried chicken, a good thick steak, donuts, down home comfort foods like mac & cheese and french fries whenever. Heck, Paula Deen came up with the idea of the huge greasy bacon & egg cheeseburger sandwiched between two large sugary glazed donuts. That is down home comfort food at it's finest. Our intellect tells us that perhaps Paula Deen should ditch this recipe but our minds are already sending pleasure signals to our salivery glands.
Up to 75% of people who are overweight and suffer a multitude of health issues are addicted to carbohydrates. This factor contributes to the high rate of diabetes in this country and the numbers keep growing. Studies show that even very young children are already showing an increase of health concerns due to poor diet nutritian causing juvenile diabetes and other problems related to obesity.
Comfort Foods Are Not Good Food Choices
Are You Addicted to Carbohydrates
If you answer yes to 3 - 4 of the questions below; you probably have a mild addiction to carbs. If you answer yes to 5 - 7 of the questions below; you probably have a moderate addiction to carbs. If you answer yes to 8 or more of the questions below; you probably suffer from a severe addiction to carbs. I, did not have a single "no" answer. I am a true carb addict.
- Are you hungry before lunch even when you had a full breakfast?
- Do you often crave starches, junk foods and sweets?
- Is it difficult to stop eating starches, junk foods and sweets?
- Do you often feel unsatisfied even after just finishing a meal?
- Do you often eat even when you really aren't hungry?
- Are you a nighttime snacker?
- Do you feel tired and without energy after a big meal?
- Do you feel tired and or hungry at a certain time each afternoon?
- Do you continue to eat even when you feel full?
- Do you yo-yo diet?
The optimal healthy diet allows for very few carbohydrates in the plan. This is very intense for those of us who have carb addictions. Unlike other addictions, there is nothing to lessen the pain of withdrawal. It is a constant challenge, but like any other addiction, the 'need' urge disappears with time as your body stablizes from the constant over production of insulin. Carbohydrates are what cause your body to produce the hormone insulin.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman - Why We Overeat - Toxic Hunger
The High Nutrient Diet
The eating to live healthy diet is based on the well founded concept that by optimizing micronutrient density, diversity and completeness, maximizes the body's immune system function and increases longevity. It also increases the chances of staying mentally and physically fit well in to advanced age. Nutrition is the most important building block of good health.
While most other diet plans focus on various combinations of macronutrients - carbohydrates, proteins and fats, the high nutrient diet focuses on eating large quantities of micronutrients - vitamins, minerals and most importantly, phytochemicals that are plant based chemicals that have been shown to have profound effects on human cell function and the immune system. The foods that are naturally rich in phytochemicals are also rich in fiber, water and are naturally low in calories. These are vital to the body's ability to maximize self-healing.
Using the chart above shows by proportion the foods highest in micronutrients. Eating proportional amounts of food from the chart supplies 14 different vitaminws, 25 different minerals and over 1,000 phytochemicals that are known to provide maximum nutrition with the least caloric intake. Dr. Fuhrman's Health Equation goes like this: H = N/C. Your future health (H) will increase as your (N)* to calorie (C) ratio increases. *Nutrient (N) refers to micronutrients.
The "green" vegetables are the highest scoring and are associated with lower cancer rates and less heart disease. The foods scoring the lowest on the chart are those in which you want to eat very little of. As you move more of your total daily diet towards the upper level food groups, you will be greatly improving your health while lowering your weight at the same time. The higher on the chart the more you can eat without the worry of weight gain. The term "diet" usually equates to failure down the road as well as the yo-yo of weight fluctuations that are ultimately unhealthy in and of themselves. Training yourself to a completely new way of eating instead of the traditional dieting is the only way to achieve maximum benefits. The mantra I used that worked quite well as my body adjusted was "Eat to Live" not "Live to Eat". I also cut back on eating out as the temptations to eat the wrong foods were much stronger in a restaurant than in my kitchen.
On My Refrigerator
Three Main Rules
Eat less fat.
Eat less protein.
Eat less Carbohydrates.
Good health consists of three components - nutritional, physical and social. Make every calorie count as you strive for maximum nutrition. Incorporate physical exercise as a part of your daily routine. Develop the self-esteem necessary and a mindset to deal with unhealthy influences. Try to surround yourself with people who encourage and support you. Dr. Fuhrman, in his book, 3 Steps to Incredible Health, outlines a three step plan designed to ease the emotional shock when changing to a diet high in micronutrients and eliminating most of the carbs we all consume far too many of. Salt intake is greatly reduced when eating healthy. I am a salt freak so this was very difficult to adjust to but you learn to use substitutes that are less harmful. I have found that I love smoothies and the combination possibilities are endless. For breakfast I will blend a smoothie with frozen cherries, fresh kale, carrot juice, a little flavored water and feel completely satisfied. There are lots of ways to incorporate the 'best' foods into your daily food plan and really enjoy the flavors the creations bring out.
The Anti-Cancer Diet
Many foods that we consume on a daily basis are processed with chemicals that are known to be harmful to our systems. We are building up resistence to antibiotics because they are fed to the animals that we eat and causing us to become immune to those drugs which are useless when we need them to cure illnesses. Our foods have been treated with chemicals that will make the food more instantly satisfying to our tastebuds. Any more than very small amounts of red meat and dairy products can be harmful to your health. Here is an article that goes into a great amount of detail on the reasons that many of the foods we were raised to believe were "healthy" really are the opposite. Studies show the how and why of foods that can contribute to getting cancer and other ill health effects. This also increases the nutritional value of eating foods that have not been processed such as fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and which are naturally low in calories and carbohydrates. Again, this healthy form of eating will also bring with it, weight loss in a more natural way. The acronym Dr. Furhman uses to easily remember the most nutrient rich diet is "GOMBBS". These are the foods you must eat every day and should make up the largest portion of your diet. So what are GOMBBS?
Raw leafy greens are low in calories and packed with nutrients. They contain a substance that protect blood vessels and can be consumed in large quantities. Several leafy greens belong to the cruciferous family of vegetables and have a unique chemical composition called glucosinolates which when blended, chopped or chewed converts to isothiocyanates which has been shown to have anti-cancerous effects.
Onions, along with leeks, garlic, shallots and scallions make up the allium family of vegetables. There are studies that have indicated that allium vegetables are beneficial to the cardiovascular and immune system as well as also having anti-diabetic and anti-cancer benefits. Onions contain high concentrations of health promoting flavonoid antioxidants, predominantly quercetin and red onions contain at least 25 different anthocyanins. Quercetin has been shown to aid in the slow down of some tumor growths. Although I have never found onions very appealing in the past, I am working hard to develop a taste for them.
Mushrooms are considered another of the super foods. Studies have shown a decreased risk of breast, stomach and colorectal cancers for those who eat at least 10 grams of fresh mushrooms each day. White, cremini, portobello, oyster, shitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms all contain properties that are shown to be anti-inflammatory, stimulate the immune system, prevent DNA damage, slow cancer cell growth and anti-cancer prevention. The properties contained in these mushrooms contain aromatase inhibitors which are compounds that block the production of estrogen.
Nutrient Dense Carbohydrates
Beans and other legumes are a powerhorse of super nutrition as well as the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source. They can act as an anti-diabetes and weight loss food because they are digested slowly which stablizes the blood sugar levels which helps to prevent food cravings. Eating beans, peas or lentils at least twice a week has been found to help prevent colon cancer. Beans are a fiber resistant starch which reduce the total calories absorbed but are also fermented by intestinal bacteria into fatty acids that also help prevent colon cancer.
Blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are also at the top of the super food chart. Low in sugar and high in nutrients these colorful fruits are loaded with antioxidants including flavanoids and antioxidant vitamins. These berries high antioxidant content helps with both cardioprotective and anit-cancer effects. In addition, studies have shown these berry enzymes can help reduce blood pressure and inflammation, prevent DNA damage, inhibit tumor angiogenesis by stimulating the body's own antioxidant enzymes. Berry consumption has also been shown to improve motor coordination and increased memory skills.
Phytosterois and Minerals
Seeds and Nuts contain healthy fats and are super rich in micronutrients including phytosterols, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also abundant in trace minerals and very high in protein. Flax seeds are an extremely good source of omega 3 fats and are rich in fiber and lignans. Sunflower, sesame, pumpkin and flax seeds are also rich in iron and calcium. The nutritional value of this food group ranks at the top of the food chart making up the last group of GOMBBS. Dr. Perricone's advice about nuts and seeds as discussed on the Oprah show.
This article is meant to give an overview of eating healthy and the weight loss that will come with it. Always check with you personal physician prior to the start of any diet or change in diet to make sure that it is the right course of action as each individual is different and has different needs. I personally can recommend Dr. Joel Furhman and his course of action on getting healthy and weight loss. I have nothing to gain from my recommendation but only seek to share information I can personally attest to. A good starting point woulld be to visit the Dr. Furhman Website and go from there! Here's to healthy eating for one and all.