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We are what we eat? Read this, get healthy, feel better! (Part 1 of 2)

January 22, 2016

Tags: natural foods, gut microbes, addictive junk food, diet, vegetables

Here below are some of my favorite articles and cookbooks for healthier living. Bottom line: Shop the periphery of the supermarket. All the natural foods are there. The center of the market is full of the processed foods that are stripped of some nutrients and loaded with garbage that increases profits for stores and manufacturers while burdening you with extra fat, sugar, salt, calories, and weight. Also: Don't rely on supplements -- try getting your vitamins through whole foods.
" You are what what you eat eats." ~Michael Pollan, who also advised: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
Green onions: The unheralded, phytonutrient-rich super food Lynne Rossetto Kasper (Splendid Table) interviews Jo Robinson, author of Eating on the Wild Side, about how to select foods that are full of healthy phytonutrients -- and how to preserve those nutrients while cooking. Her premise: Over thousands of years of agriculture, many of the phytonutrients have been bred out of the plants we buy at the supermarket. Some apples are more nutritious than others, and green onions are far healthier than the other kinds--IF you eat the GREEN part!

Diverse Gut Microbes, A Trim Waistline And Health Go Together (Rob Stein, All Things Considered, NPR, 8-28-13) Listen or read. The proper diet is the key to getting healthier. "The researchers also identified eight species of bacteria that appeared to be missing among the people whose microbes were depleted, raising the possibility of someday creating a probiotic that could help."

Beans, Greens, and the Best Foods for the Brain (Bret S. Stetka, MD, Medscape, 7-7-15) Oysters are good for the brain (and packed with B12)! "[O]nly in the past 100 years has our diet drastically switched from a whole foods diet to one that is more processed and high in refined carbohydrates; that includes more vegetable fats rather than meat fats; and preservatives, emulsifiers, and other additives, which appear to have contributed to a decline in our collective health." And on how we have destroyed the nutritional value of grains. Eat the rainbow -- "bold, bright colors in nature tend to signify valuable vitamins and phytonutrients (the reds, purples, and greens in particular" (but not gummi bears). Interesting for insights into food and depression and anxiety.

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. See Joanna Blythman's review in The Observer 2-23-13. She writes: "Moss's central thesis is that junk food is a legalised type of narcotic. By deliberately manipulating three key ingredients – salt, sugar and fat – that act much like drugs, racing along the same pathways and neural circuitry to reach the brain's pleasure zones, the food and drink industry has created an elastic formula for a never-ending procession of lucrative products."

Eating Spicy Food Linked to a Longer Life (Nicholas Bakalar, NY Times, 8-4-15). Brief piece on a BMJ study: "linked to" but study doesn't prove the spicy food caused longer life.

****How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger. Wonderful reference and a great read: thoroughly researched and well written. Here's one link from the chapter on preventing deaths from brain diseases (stroke and Alzheimer's): http://bit.ly/antioxidantfoods, which takes you to a 138-page PDF (open in Adobe Acrobat) listing the amount of antioxidants found in foods and supplements (by brand and type). Plant foods contain antioxidants; animal foods don't.

Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner . Read a review of the book: What's Lurking in Your Pantry (Michael Shermer, WSJ, 2-22-13). These days even the simplest sandwich can contain any number of mysterious food additives.

The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases by Amy Myers. Here are some of my cousin L's favorite recipes from this cookbook:
An ongoing fav is page 256-b, the sweet apple breakfast sausage. We frequently eat those but add a peach in season in place of apple, and currently using organic Mango, frozen from Costco.
We like spaghetti squash on page 254 and page 235. I do cheat and cook spaghetti squash whole in microwave!
We were very diligent in cooking the roast chicken on page 247 and using the broth. Made a few changes as time went on with the spices. Currently we're using organic/pure broth from Costco.
Meatballs page 257
The cauliflower pilaf on page 220 and we enjoyed it with fish mixed in with it ... we were surprised! We had bbq-ed the fish with onions and spices first. Fish could be baked too.
A fav salad is Kale and Cranberry on page 231 ... actually we never found sugar-free cranberries and I substituted organic grapes -- options!

Also recommended (by a nutritionist):
The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book (2nd edition) by Jessica K. Black. Subtitle: Protect Yourself and Your Family from Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Allergies, —and More

A Breakdown of Sweeteners (Melissa King, My Whole Food Life, 11-7-12). The sweeteners we like to use are organic raw honey, organic coconut sugar, and organic pure maple syrup. We chose these three because they are the least processed and they do contain small amounts of nutrients. Excellent descriptions of all the sweeteners, fake and real.

The New American Plate Cookbook, a good-for-you cookbook filled with delicious recipes from the American Institute for Cancer Research

The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger (tasty and healthy versions of popular "crave" dishes) and her So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, by Eric Schlosser (read this and then start cooking from The New American Plate)

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan (and check out his practical Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (illus. by Maira Kalman)

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. See also The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food (Michael Moss, NY Times Magazine, 2-20-13). Inside the hyperengineered, savagely marketed, addiction-creating battle for American “stomach share.” Salt+Fat/Satisfying Crunch x Pleasing Mouth Feel = A Food Designed to Addict. (About the snack-food business more than about science.)

Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner

The hunger mood (Michael Graziano, Aeon) His point: Hunger is psychological and dieting only makes it worse. Take in fewer calories and you’ll lose weight. But explicitly try to reduce calories, and you’ll do the exact opposite. Skip breakfast, cut calories at lunch, eat a small dinner, be constantly mindful of the calorie count, and you poke the hunger tiger

Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat by Hank Cardello with Doug Garr

King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains, by King Arthur Flour (a baker's store, bakery, and education--including online baking classes and recipes, where you can buy things like barley flour or graham flour to make the yummy, healthy recipes in the baking book).

• Along the same line: The Best Grains for Diabetics (Kara Bauer, HealthCentral, 3-31-10)

For if you want to experiment with healthy veggie recipes:
25 Best Vegetarian Recipes (Cooking Light)
Carrie on Vegan
FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Frugal Kiwi . Two items in particular are on my to-do list; preserved lemons and tangelos and their Dry Coke Can Solar Heating Panel (which I want someone who can cut a hole through their exterior house wall to try).

A Breakdown of Sweeteners (Melissa King, My Whole Food Life, 11-7-12)

Legendairy. All dairy (milk) recipes and information. Bucking the anti-milk trend.

• Free ebooks from Cultures for Health : LactoFermentation eBook. See also eBooks on learning to make yogurt, kefir, cheese, sourdough, and kombuch. Here are interesting recipes from Nourishing Days , including Yogurt Ranch Dip.
Happy Herbivore
Oh She Glows
One Green Planet
The Simple Veganista
Vegan Mother Hubbard
Vegan Yack Attack
Veggie Nook
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Reliable information about natural medicines and remedies
Vitamins, supplements, and various forms of complementary medicine are often scorned by conventional medicine as not having been tested in randomized controlled trials.
Labels Like ‘Alternative Medicine’ Don’t Matter. The Science Does. (Aaron E. Carroll, The Upshot, NY Times, 8-10-15) Read this, and read the comments.
Knowing What's in Your Supplements (Anahad O'Connor, Well, NY Times, 2-12-15)
Revealing the hidden dangers of dietary supplements (Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, Science, 8-20-15) Why the supplements are so poorly regulated (and hence more likely to contain harmful ingredients).
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (subscribe to check research data on safety and efficacy of products and ingredients in them)
Herbs at a Glance (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
USDA's Agricultural Research Service
Plants for Human Health Institute (Mary Ann Lila)
Bastyr University ("leading innovation in natural health education")
HerbalGram (American Botanical Council, "your source for reliable herbal medicine information")
Dietary supplements for reporters: ACS road show comes to NYC (an old piece by Norman Bauman, 1-14-01, suggests what many issues are for health and medicine reporters)
Liebert's alternative medicine journals targeted doctors, aspire to science, need business writers, RNs and editors. Another old (1-7-99) piece by Norman Bauman of possible historic interest.

"Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." ~ Mark Twain

Click HERE for Part 2, We are what we eat?


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Comments

  1. March 5, 2016 6:38 PM EST
    Three websites recommended by Michael Greger for whole-food, plant-based recipes:

    Forks Over Knives

    Straight Up Food (healthy and delicious vegan recipes using no salt, sugar or oil)

    Happy Healthy Long Life (a medical librarian's adventures in evidence-based living)
    - PM
  2. March 6, 2016 11:35 AM EST
    This is interesting: Expert Tips on How to Cook Without Oil (Darshana Thacker, Forks & Knives, 8-16-15) Steam, poach, boil, and stew your dishes. Here's a breakdown of how to sauté, stir-fry, bake, and roast without added fat.
    - PM
  3. March 25, 2016 1:50 PM EDT
    If the Greek diet is so healthy, why are so many Greeks overweight? (Elena Paravantes, Reveal, 10-29-12)."[T]oday, many Greeks are limiting themselves to two teaspoons of olive oil a day, using margarine in their cooking, eating plenty of meat and following an Atkins-style diet in an effort to lose weight. And it’s not working."

    Find Greek recipes on Elena's blog Olive Tomato (Greek food, nutrition, and more)
    - PM
  4. April 8, 2016 4:53 PM EDT
    A Breakdown of Sweeteners (Melissa King, My Whole Food Life, 11-7-12) She writes, "The sweeteners we like to use are organic raw honey, organic coconut sugar, and organic pure maple syrup." And then she tells us what is in good and bad in all the sweeteners you'll find on supermarket shelves.
    - PM
  5. April 19, 2016 3:01 PM EDT
    11 healthy versions of your favorite desserts (Sabrina Abbas, The Liberty Project, 4-18-16). Report here if you try a recipe and it's wonderful.

    At Tampa Bay farm-to-table restaurants,you’re being fed fiction (Laura Reiley, Tampa Bay Times, 2016) How to tell if your ‘local’ food is actually local (2016)
    - PM
  6. May 25, 2016 8:53 PM EDT
    If you fight hypotension (and for other reasons) you might want to read The Dark Side Of Kale (And How To Eat Around It) (Rachel Zimmerman, WBUR's CommonHealth Reform and Reality, 1-10-14)
    - PM