Because of their mineral-rich soil, our great-grandparents' diets probably contained most or all of the minerals, proteins and other essential nutrients needed for building and maintaining a healthy life. Today, the common household diet has deteriorated to such an extent that many of our leading degenerative diseases have been connected with the lack of a balanced, wholesome daily diet.
Furthermore, the lettuce, cucumbers and carrots in your salad are not like those your ancestors ate. Theirs were grown in very fertile, mineral-rich natural soil. Ours are usually grown in depleted, over-farmed soil that contains barely enough artificial fertility to do the job. Modern, chemically grown carrots look pretty and are blemish-free, but they are somewhat hollow, containing very little mineral and vitamin nutrition. You can often taste the difference, too. Chemically grown carrots can be woody and near tasteless. Organically-grown carrots have a much better texture and are much sweeter.
On the same subject, "We must teach our children to eat nutritious foods because once children get used to the taste of salt, sugar and fat*, it will be even harder for them to learn to eat properly." Among the foods recommended for children includes: fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Give them less fatty, more nutritious and healthy, foods. Educate your children on which foods are healthy and will give them lots of energy and which ones may be harmful to them. Additionally, teach them about attitude, exercise and how to embrace an overall healthy, fully functional life style.
*American and English health professionals advice parents to screen their children for cholesterol. Studies suggest that one-fifth or more of 3-18 year old children have alarmingly high cholesterol levels.
For now, and in the future, the most intelligent diet for people of all ages is one that is based on the best quality foods possible. If you do not pay attention to this aspect of your life already, you are encouraged to follow sound principles of sensible, natural eating.
* Reducing as much as possible your use of potentially harmful substances. Which are: cigarettes, alcohol** caffeine, soft drinks, refined sugar (too much of ANY sugar such as barley malt, brown rice syrup, honey molasses, turbinado - raw brown sugar, maple syrup, fructose), too much sodium, fats and hydrogenated oils - such as cottonseed and palm kernel oil. Also, reduce foods that contain these oils - including: margarine, processed peanut butter some pastries, cookies and candy bars. Also, preservatives, food colorings, additives, hydrolyzed protein (MSG), and your favorite - junk foods!... you know this list! Your body can take only so much abuse.
** According to Oriental medicine, the kidneys govern sexual energy. Therefore, overindulgence in alcohol, caffeine and fatty foods may irritate or weaken the kidneys.
* Choosing the highest quality foods possible. This means less highly processed, less chemicalized. Eat organically grown food products when possible. Because they are grown in more fertile, mineral rich soil, they taste so much better than chemically grown foods. If your not much on salads, try one made with a variety of fresh, colorful organic vegetables. You may find yourself wanting a salad everyday! Even better are foods grown in soils that have had their mineral content restored and boosted with gravel dust or other natural trace mineral and fertilizer products.
* Eating lower on the food chain. Eating more whole grains, (experiment with some of the new to the U.S. grains like: amaranth, quinoa, spelt, teff, kamut, chia and not new, blue corn - ask a natural food store manager or clerk about them), beans - which are rich in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, also eat seeds, nuts, fresh vegetables, especially leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard, turnip and beet greens. Eat as many raw greens in salads as you can.
* Eat plenty of carbohydrates and fiber. Pasta has lots of of these. There's only 1 gram of fat in one cup of cooked pasta - So - eat all you want! Try vegetables over pasta or nut and vegetable-based cream sauces and gravies. Studies suggest it's best to let carbohydrates supply most of our calories.
According to the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition", people who raised their carbohydrate intake and raised their lowered their fat intake to 30 percent of their total calories showed improved immune function. The simplest basic tenet to supporting your immune system is to optimize nutrients while minimizing factors which suppress the immune system.
Unprocessed foods, grown locally in rich, organic soils, provide the highest quality nutrients. Organic matter is the matrix of life and the best way of insuring that foods contain the needed vitamins and minerals. Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber and low in fat. They are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, E and B-6 as well as potassium, copper, folic acid and fiber. And don't forget fruits. The best ones to eat are: cantaloupes, honeydews, casabas, cranshaws and Persian melons. They are high in potassium, Vitamins C and A and are practically fat free. Dried fruits are great for low-fat, high energy snacks. They contain potassium and a lot of iron and fiber.***
As far as protein, get enough - but not too much. Many people eat about twice the amount of protein they need. Too much is linked to kidney disease and colon, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer. Read on for some really fascinating facts that substantiate this statement.
John Robbins has discovered that (Author and Vegetarian):
If we ate nothing but wheat (16 percent protein), or oatmeal (15 percent), or even pumpkin (12 percent), we would easily be getting more than enough protein. In fact, if we ate nothing but the common potato (11 percent protein) we would still be getting enough protein. There have been circumstances when people have been forced to satisfy entire nutritional needs with potatoes and water alone. Individuals who have lived for lengthy periods of time under those conditions showed no signs whatsover of protein deficiency. This fact does not mean potatoes are a particularly high source of protein. They are not. But what it does show is the contrast between how our low our protein needs really are, and how exaggerated are the beliefs most of us have come to accept about them.
The Protein Calcium Relationship
Regardless of how much calcium we take in, the more protein in the diet, the more calcium we lose. The result is that high-protein diets in general, and meat-based diets in particular, lead to a gradual but inexorable decrease in bone density and the development of osteoporosis.
Summarizing the medical research osteoporosis, one of the nation's leading medical authorities on dietary associations with disease, Dr. John McDougall says:
I would like to emphasize that the calcium-losing effect of protein on the human body is not an area of controversy in scientific circles. The many studies performed during the past fifty-five years consistently show that the most important dietary change that we can make if we want to create a positive calcium balance that will keep our bones solid is to decrease the amount of proteins we eat each day. The important change is not to increase the amount of calcium we take in.
Here are some statistics relating to bone loss:
* Male vegetarians have an average measurable bone loss of 3 percent.
* Male meat eaters have an average measurable bone loss of 7 percent.
* Female vegetarians have an average measurable bone loss of 18 percent.
* Female meat eaters have an average measurable bone loss of 35 percent.
Incidentally, a USDA survey found that among vegetarians, the biggest protein overdose is in children aged three to eight. These youngsters, many of whom are told to "drink their three glasses of milk a day," consume an average 209 percent of their actual protein needs.
I suspect that many parents of these children are afraid their children won't get enough protein. Attempting to placate the protein tyrant in their own minds, they make sure their kids eat lots of milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs, thinking they are doing them a good turn. The kids end up eating far more protein than is good for them, even with all their growth requirements taken into account.
The meat and dairy industries like to question the credentials of anyone who suggest their products might not promote optimum health. But it would be hard to dispute the standing of T. Colin Campbell, a professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University and former senior science advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research. He says there is:
A strong correlation between dietary protein intake and
cancer of the breast, prostate, pancreas, and colon.
Dr. Campbell is the director of the China-Oxford-Cornell Study, the largest and most comprehensive investigation of the connections between diet and disease in world medical history. He was a meat eater for many years, but gave meat up because, as he put it, the mounting evidence could no longer be ignored.
The culprit in many of the most prevalent and deadly diseases of our time, according to the prodigious study, is none other than the very thing many of us have been taught to hold virtually sacred - animal protein. Data from the China-Oxford-Cornell Study reveals that people who derive 70 percent of their protein from animal products (as Americans typically do) have major health difficulties compared to people who derive just 5 percent of their protein from animal sources. THEY HAVE SEVENTEEN TIMES THE DEATH RATE FROM HEART DISEASE AND WOMEN ARE FIVE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE OF BREAST CANCER. Summarizing the implications of this extraordinary data, Campbell leaves little doubt as to his opinion of the protein consumption patterns of our society:
Excessive animal protein is at the core of many chronic diseases.
People everywhere can help restore animal agriculture to
sustainability by changing their diets to a vegetarian one.
Please join with other caring and committed people by making
a shift in your thinking and diet now. To find out how you
can become involved in sharing educational materials with
family, friends, associates, local newspapers and radio
stations and government officials, call 1-800-DNA-DO-IT.
This is the number to call to become an EarthSave member.
Here's their address:
706 Frederick Street
Santa Cruz, California 95062-2205
Sugar in any form - table sugar, glucose, fructose, honey and excessive use of fruit juices - dramatically depresses our ability to fend off disease. It does this by inhibiting the cellular process which consumes foreign bodies for about five hours, beginning thirty minutes after consumption. Therefore, during times of stress, it's especially important to avoid or at least limit sugar intake. Sugar appears in so many processed foods it's difficult to avoid unless you scan labels or stick to a fresh, whole foods diet. In addition, sugar's many pseudonyms and forms - glucose, dextrose, sucrose, corn syrup, brown sugar - hide it from the unwary consumer. Children in particular are prime targets for sugar-laden foods as evidenced by the rows of showy, sweet cereals on display at grocery stores. Aside from causing dental decay and debilitating immunity, sugar is now implicated in hyperactive behavior, according to a Yale University study (Diabetes, 1991, 40:358-63).
Leading health promoters recommend consuming a daily diet that provides: less than 30 percent of calories from fat, 25-35 grams of fiber, less that 3,000 mg of sodium and less than 300 mg of cholesterol. If it's low-fat, high-quality protein you want, try tofu, it's made from soybeans and also has a lot of calcium, iron, B vitamins and Vitamin E. It also has a high amino acid ratio.
A four ounce serving of tofu has only .7 grams of fat, whereas four ounces of lean beef has 5.4 grams. And, unlike meat, tofu is cholesterol free.
* Eating a variety of wholesome foods. Experiment! Eat, new foods. Don't get stuck in "mono-diets' or repetitive diets that include only a few types of food. Use a lot of different, and even exotic spices. When choosing spices, keep in mind that studies show that black and cayenne pepper and other peppery spices and foods may be irritating to the stomach lining. Try some of the ethnic foods. Buy some new cookbooks!
* Drink at least five glasses of water* daily. Doctors and exercise experts suggest drinking 6-8 8 oz. glasses daily when while exercising vigorously. Water is very important. It facilitates the release of heavy metals and toxins in your body. The body is made up of 2/3 water. It is a necessary conductor for ALL of the body's electrical and chemical reactions. Being that bones are 50 percent water, it makes sense that drinking plenty of water helps prevent bone brittleness and fragility.
Editor's note: I highly recommend treating your water with a
charcoal-filtered water purifier before drinking it.
* If you have questions about drinking water - safety, etc. call: 1-800-426-4791.
* Have questions about diet? Call the Dietetic Association's 24-hour hotline: 1-800-366-1655
Many people are concerned about the higher costs of natural and organic groceries. Remember that quality is what's important. Whole foods offer much more value. Because they are grown in mineral packed, nutrient rich and chemical free soil, they give your body much more value per dollar than commercially grown fruits, vegetables and grains. Whole foods are higher in fiber and vitamins and much lower in sugar and salt than processed foods.
Not to mention how much healthier and energetic you will feel and be from eating these nutritious foods. Just think how much you will save on medical expenses! And, you will be helping the environment by not supporting pesticide using farms. Just think, if enough people did this, organic farming may become the norm rather than the exception. Less pesticide spraying and chemical fertilizing means cleaner air and water for our children.
Breakfast - The Forgotten Meal:
Breakfast - The Forgotten Meal:
For maximum health and nutrition, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When we skip breakfast, our bodies and minds are deprived of important nutrients. When the body is deficient of nutrients, it cannot respond adequately to the biochemical demands of our system and may overtax the inadequate supply of nutrients that we do have, resulting in headaches, fatigue, allergic sensitivity, depression, infections, accidents and poor work performance.
A 10-year study of 7.000 men and women conducted at
UCLA's Center for Health Sciences, showed that going
without breakfast is among the seven health risks that
increase your chances of an early death. The study found
that death rates were 40% higher for men and 28% higher for
women who "rarely or sometimes" ate breakfast in comparison
to those who ate breakfast "almost every day".
(Editor's note: A Newfoundland cardiologist has found
missing breakfast makes the blood more apt to clot. She
concluded that eating breakfast may help prevent heart
attacks). Another 10-year study at the University of Iowa
Medical College, undertaken prior to the UCLA study, found
that consuming a breakfast high in nutrition was associated
with better physical and mental performance among children
and adults. Those who ate breakfast were more productive
during the late morning; they also had a faster reaction time
and less muscular fatigue that those who skipped breakfast.
Below are some myths and truths about breakfast:
Myth: Skipping breakfast is a good way to lose weight.
Truth: Unfortunately, this is not the case. More often than not, going without breakfast increases appetite because the alterations in blood sugar (see above) Make empty calorie fattening foods, such as doughnuts and danish, more appealing as the morning progresses. A study of college women revealed that those who go without breakfast do more snacking throughout the day than those who eat breakfast. (The Nutrition & Dietary Consultant, June 1985, p. 32). Another interesting point worth noting is that for women with a tendency toward fluid retention, eating breakfast not only increases energy, it decreases fluid build-up, often eliminating the need for diuretics. (Prevention, February 1984, p. 58)
Myth: Big breakfasts make you feel sluggish and
Truth: How big is big? And what the breakfast consists of is very important. If we're talking about a 12 ounce steak, 3 eggs, hash browns, six slices of toast, 2 glasses of milk and a danish or two, and it is being consumed by a 5 ft. 2 in female with a sedentary job, and little exercise, there is a very good chance that she will feel pretty sluggish and non-productive, if, indeed, she can manage to eat such a breakfast! A better choice for breakfast would be to select foods high in fiber, complex carbohydrates and protein.
The high fiber and complex carbohydrates keep blood sugar levels in a state of balance, unlike refined carbohydrates and simple sugars found in doughnuts, most prepackaged breakfast cereals, or pastries. Choose protein foods with less fat and salt than bacon and sausages. Vegeburgers or for those who eat meat (choose natural meat free of hormones, antibiotics, preservitives or additives - ask your butcher for range fed, lean beef. Also some natural foods stores carry natural beef, and poultry), homemade turkey patties are a good alternative and can be made in advance and either frozen or refrigerated until ready to use. Along with an egg and a slice of whole grain toast, you have a protein packed breakfast which is nutrient dense rather than calorie dense.
Myth: Breakfast foods are boring.
Truth: Breakfast foods can be boring if you eat the same thing day in day out. Moreover, eating the same food each day, no matter which meal, sets the body up for sensitivities toward that particular food. In order to avoid full blown food allergies it is best to avoid eating the same foods constantly. Learn to rotate foods. For instance, if you have eggs for breakfast on Sunday morning, do not consume eggs again until the following Thursday at the earliest. A 4-day lapse between eating the same foods - especially foods that have a high allergy potential - such as eggs - is less likely to cause food sensitivities. Corn, eggs, milk and wheat are foods that most commonly cause allergies. These are foods that we very often use every day for breakfast.
Many people just cannot "stomach" food first thing in the
morning. If you are one of those people who can't eat much
when you first arise, or don't have time to eat, consider a
two-part breakfast. Those who eat breakfast at home get more
vitamins and minerals than those who eat out. Eat a little
something to keep your blood sugar level stable and then
"brown-bag" something else to eat mid-morning.
Here are some suggestions:
Upon arising - eat:
Vegetable omelet, scrambled eggs and one slice whole grain toast.
Oatmeal with diced apples or bananas, raisins and dates. Editor's note: Try some of the many other breakfast grains such as brown rice cream, 7-grain cereal, triticale, barley and rye (in oatmeal-like form), mixed grains, millet and couscous - great with milk (rice, almond, soy, etc.) raisins and a couple dashes of cinnamon and a few drops of vegetable oil mixed in for a buttery-like flavor.
Leftovers from the day before such as brown rice or other
whole grains and veggies, fish or chicken.
2 slices whole wheat raisin or sprouted barley or other grain breads) toast with nut butter.
Fresh fruit smoothie (Editor's notes: Consider adding algae to your smoothie for maximum nutrition - please see the algae information above. You may want to experiment with one of the protein powder mixes. They are a fast and simple energizer. To be certain you're getting all the amino acids, vitamins and minerals you need, add algae to the "mix." This would be the perfect travel food. For you never know if you're going to get green vegetables. It's very convenient too. It can be prepared right in your hotel room. So - pack your hand-held blender, your smoothie mix with algae, and away you go!)
Granola with or without fruit and almond, cashew, soy or
brown rice milk.
Fresh fruit and/or diluted fruit juice (1/2 fruit juice, 1/2 water - fruit juice has a high concentrate of sugar.
Plain lowfat yogurt and/or sliced banana or other fruit.
Note: Look in the freezer section of your health food store
to find organic frozen strawberries, raspberries and
blackberries. These go great in smoothies, too. If you put
them in while still frozen with a half a banana - you'll
have a milkshake without all the fat and sugar!
Muffin, bagle or slice of date nut, banana or pumpkin bread
Fresh raw veggies, leftover steamed veggies and/or carrot juice, V-8 juice, or tomato juice.
A hard boiled egg.
Scoop of low-fat cottage cheese or some low-fat yogurt.
Be creative and unconventional when it comes to breakfasts. If you are committed to being healthy, then a nourishing, low-fat, low-sugar breakfast is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself in that regard.
A question which is frequently asked is "Why is sugar hazardous to one's health, isn't it a natural substance?"
Refined sugar, or more correctly, sucrose, is a chemical derived from plants. Sucrose is a combination of two simple sugars, glucose and fructose. The greatest refining that has taken place among foodstuffs occurs in sugar, 90% of the sugar cane is removed.
Very often overeating refined sugar occurs because of its sweetness to the palate. It is quite conceivable that a person can gulp down five or six cups of coffee or tea. Each sweetened perhaps with one heaping teaspoonful of sugar, without satiety, however, it would be difficult to consume five or six apples - the equivalent amount of sugar in its natural form - without feeling stuffed (and a possible stomach ache to boot!)
Refined sugar is a source of empty calories, it has no nutritional value. Approximately one-fourth of the American diet is consumed as refined sugar, resulting in an average yearly consumption of approximately 160 lbs. per person! Americans eat some 14 quarts of ice cream per year - a third of it vanilla! They also guzzle 75 six-packs of soda - that's 450 cans each. An average can of soda contains 9-11 teaspoons of sugar.
Obviously, some people eat much less, while others consume more. The inclusion of refined sugar in the human diet is relatively new, occuring only in the past 150 years, with the result that we have not yet developed a tolerance for it, making us susceptible to certain degenerative diseases in relationship to the amount of refined sugar consumed.
Unrefined carbohydrates (all carbohydrate is absorbed as glucose in the body) such as starch in cereals and vegetables, the sugar in fruit, sugar cane, and sugar beet, cause no harm in its natural state. Problems arise only when they are taken from their natural state and denatured by refining, (e.g. fructose in fruit is natural. When fructose is removed from fruit by a refining process and used as a sweetener in such food as yogurt and deserts, then it has been denatured). How did the human diet go from zero refined sugar to 160 lbs. per person in 150 years? To answer this, it's necessary to review a brief history of sugar.
Sugar cane cultivation began around the 3rd Century, B.C., in India, in the Ganges Valley, believed to be the area known today as the State of Bihar. Sugar cane spread eastward to China by the 1st Century, B.C. Slowly, it reached the Mediterranean area by 600 A.D. Here, the Crusaders from Europe were introduced to sugar. They called it "honey from reeds." They then brought it to the European countries. Sugar was well known throughout Western Europe from the 11th - 15th centuries, but it was very expensive and difficult to obtain. (It is now known that Queen Elizabeth 1 of England's notoriously bad teeth were probably the result of her sugar addiction!) It wasn't until sugar cane was brought to the Americas that it was cultivated on a large scale on "sugar plantations" making sugar more plentiful and less expensive, although it was still beyond the means of the common man or woman. However, that changed by the 19th Century, when sugar beets were discovered as a sugar source. They were able to be grown in abundance in the milder climates of Western Europe and the United States, sugar easily accessible and affordable to the general populace by the latter half of the 19th Century. In the Western World, by the beginning of the 20th Century, refined sugar was common, readily available and relatively inexpensive. In 1900, there were 8 million tons of sugar available world wide, by 1980, it reached 93 million tons! No other foodstuff consumed by humans has increased at such a rate in so short a period of time.
All of these millions of tons of sugar being eaten do not end up in millions of sugar bowls throughout the world. The majority is consumed as 'hidden sugar' through other foods such as ice cream, pies, doughnuts, danish, cakes, candies, cookies, soft drinks, and a large variety of snack and packaged, canned and frozen convenience foods. It can even be found in table salt - read the label, it will probably list dextrose, which is a form of sugar, as one of the ingredients. There's also a lot of sugar in desserts and cereals - read the labels! And, it is found in baby foods. Some 'health foods' also contain sugar, albeit under the guise of brown, date or turbinado sugar. To make it seem really healthy, honey or fructose is substituted for sugar.
Is it possible that so much sugar in the diet may cause certain diseases? Yes, sugar consumptions has been linked with heart disease, obesity, dental caries, diabetes and certain cancers, especially colon. The association between these diseases and sugar intake is mainly based on diseases in population studies, showing sugar consumption and the incidence of a particular disease in that society. The evidence connecting sugar intake with the diseases above is circumstantial excepting dental caries. Concrete evidence supports the fact that sugar contributes to tooth decay. Technically, sugar itself doesn't cause tooth decay, however, when it combines with oral bacteria, it forms dental plaque, and subsequently dental caries in those who are susceptible. In unindustrialized countries where people do not consume refined carbohydrates, the disease, the dental caries is relatively unknown. Therefore, it seems like the less sugar is eaten, the less dental caries and vice-versa. This has been the consensus as far back as Aristotle, who supposedly inquired: "Why do figs, when they are soft and sweet, produce damage to the teeth?" The most prevalent disease in the U.S. is dental caries. An astounding 98 percent of the population is affected by this disease sometime in their lives. Having done damage in the mouth, is it not conceivable that sucrose may damage other parts of the alimentary tract on its way through as well as other parts of the body once it's been absorbed?
When does a "sweet tooth" develop? A desire for sugar seems to be congenital. A study of fifteen 2-day old infants resulted inn the finding that they had a preference for something sweet. At different times they were given a sweetened pacifier, a dry pacifier, a water pacifier or simply rocked in their cradles. The sweetened pacifier was the preference of the babies tested of the four tasted - sweet, sour, bitter and salt. Infants can't taste sour bitter or salt, they can only define sweet.
Is sugar necessary in the diet, after all isn't it our chief source of energy? Refined sugar is expendable since the body manufactures all the sugar, or more technically, glucose that it needs from complex carbohydrates. Unfortunately, however, for the majority of people, the starch in their diet would be unpalatable without adding the sweet taste of sugar. In countries where sugar consumption rises above 70 lbs. per capita, per year, it places the population at risk to degenerative diseases.
In their book, "Orthomolecular Nutrition", Abram Hoffer, Ph.D., M.D., and Morton Walker, D.P.M., warn:
"Refined sugar is particularly insidious since it produces addiction as severe as any drug addiction. The only difference between heroin addiction and sugar addiction is that sugar doesn't need injection, is readily consumable because of its availability, and isn't considered a social evil. However the strength of sugar addiction is just as strong as heroin addiction."
Although there are no known vitamins that will counteract the damages of sugar, certain vitamins/mineral are essential to its metabolism. If your diet is high in carbohydrates, you need extra thiamine (B-1). Thiamine is necessary to convert carbohydrates into glucose, therefore the more carbohydrates you eat, the more need there is for Vitamin B-1. A B-complex must be taken with individual B vitamins otherwise and imbalance in the B-vitamins will occur. Vitamin C is an important vitamin in the utilization of sugar, also. It makes insulin more effective and has been shown to lower blood glucose levels in insulin dependent diabetics. Zinc is vital to the efficacy of insulin as well as glucose tolerance. Chromium is absolutely essential to normal glucose tolerance and carbohydrate metabolism. As little as 20 parts per billion are found in human blood.
One way to get your weight down and maintain it is to exercise and eat a low-fat, mostly vegetarian diet. It's near impossible to get fat and stay fat on a diet consisting of whole-grains, beans, vegetables and fruits. The ultimate way is to eat solely vegetarian foods. Beans, grains and soyfoods fill you up and keep your body satisfied and fueled for hours. The other obvious benefit of this type of diet is the built-in disease protection it offers you.
Medical research has proven that a low-fat, high fiber diet lowers the risk of many diseases. Another not very often known benefit is that going vegetarian is a lot easier on your pocketbook and body. Especially with the current unavailability of affordable, suitable, health care. And, this way of eating is much gentler on the environment. Livestock, especially cattle, devour huge amounts of our precious, non-renewable land and water resources. For more information on this timely concern, please read John Robbin's "Diet for a New America."
There are many reasons for dieting and a myriad of diets to choose from. Diets that don't work, over the long haul, are fad diets such as grapefruit diets, liquid diets, powder diets, starch blockers, diet pills and innumerable other diets. You can shed pounds on almost any diet, but they won't stay off. If you just want to lose a couple of pounds and one of these diets may do the trick, however, statistics prove that of those people who lose 30 pounds. and over on these diets, 96 percent will gain it back - and possibly more - within a year. Then it's back to the roller coaster ride - losing weight, gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight. One study found that people whose weight goes up and down are more likely to have heart and other diseases than those who keep their weight stable. So - once you get your weight where you want it, keep it there.
The best "diet" is what I call the "lifestyle" diet. This is a way of eating that you can encompass into your daily lifestyle ad infinitum. What is the "lifestyle" diet? It's where you just go to the produce section in the health food store or natural foods center in your local supermarket and fill your cart with fresh vegetables and fruits you like. From the bins, scoop a selection of whole grains, beans, peas, legumes, nuts and seeds - all excellent nutrient sources. Thirst? You'll find a large selection of fruit and vegetable juices such as orange, apple, berry, raspberry, kiwi, watermelon, fruit juice lemonades, papaya, grape, tomato, mixed vegetable juices, carrot, vegetable broth, herb teas, and many other flavors and combinations, all without added sugar. (To lower the natural sugar content and calories in juices, dilute half and half with water). You'll also find wholewheat, spinach, quinoa and corn, barley and other colorful and healthful pastas. If you eat animal protein, ask the butcher for low-fat cuts of range-fed beef, low-fat, preservative and additive-free chicken (remove skin before cooking or buy skinless), turkey (if you use hamburger - try cutting it with ground turkey meat - it's a lot " heart healthier" that way), cornish game hen, and a variety of fresh fish and seafood is often available. From the dairy case you can obtain skim milk, fertile eggs, yogurt, tofu and cheeses. (Raw goats cheese is lower in fat and less apt to cause allergies than cow's milk cheeses). Even lower in fat are the fairly new soy cheeses. They come in cheddar, jack, jalapeno and garlic jack and mozzarella. There's even cheese made out of almond milk! Instead of salt and pepper, season with herbs and spices to tantalize the taste buds. You'll find lots to choose from. For a healthy and delicious soy sauce substitute, try liquid aminos - made from soybeans (contains most of the essential Amino Acids). Some people use a lemon squirt in place of salt. It's a great vinegar replacement, too. We only need 300 mg. of salt per day. Most people eat 13 times more than they need! Too much salt can cause hypertension, which is the number one cause of strokes. Excess salt can also lead to kidney function impairment and disease. It leads to water retention and may be a factor in obesity. The National Academy of Sciences recommends no more than 1,100 mg salt per day for people with hypertension.
How do we lower our salt intake? Number one, eliminate all processed foods from the diet. Did you know that ounce for ounce, Kellogg's cornflakes have twice as much sodium as Planter's cocktail peanuts, or that a half-a-cup of Jell-o instant chocolate pudding contains more sodium than three slices of Oscar Meyer bacon?!
There are ways to cut down on salt, here are some guidelines: Do not salt food at the table; lower salt in cooking and eventually cut it out entirely; flavor with kelp powder, herbs and spices, lemon; use fresh or frozen vegetables with no salt added - avoid canned vegetables, they're high in sodium and low in nutrients; rinse off canned tuna, it washes away most of the salt; lower and gradually do without processed foods including potato chips (very high in fat, also - usually hydrogenated oils), pretzels, cured, salted, pickled, smoked and canned goods, soy sauce (use liquid aminos), celery, garlic and onion salt - use celery, garlic and onion powder instead, and avoid MSG - it's very salty.
Increasing the potassium in your diet will help counteract the effects of sodium, such as high blood pressure. All fruits are good potassium sources. Green vegetables, grains, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), unsalted nuts and seeds have high amounts of potassium.
Those who salt their food before even tasting it are often deficient in calcium, magnesium, zinc or B-complex vitamins. Once they add these supplements to their diet, the salt craving dies out.
Here are some tips for making your food tasty without
lifting the salt shaker:
Editor's note: Use organic, herbs from your natural foods store when possible - better yet, use fresh herbs (find in the produce section or even better, grow them yourself).
Vegetable soups - Add a little lemon, liquid aminos, one of the vegetable and herb bouillon cubes or powders, basil, savory and marjoram and/or other spices.
Cream soups - Sprinkle in cinnamon and nutmeg (use a
Mashed potatoes - Perk up with garlic, parsley flakes and
fresh parsley, a touch of cayenne and a bit of paprika.
(Cook the potatoes with a clove of garlic and some fresh
parsley. Discard garlic and parsley. Mash potatoes, add
parsley flakes, cayenne and paprika. Dill is very nice, too.
Experiment shake in some curry for a touch of India. Instead
of butter, drizzle some organic canola oil on your baked
potato, along with your spices and mix it all in with a few
drops of amino acids (soy sauce replacer). Try grating a
little skim-milk or soy cheese mozzarella on a baked potato
along with a spicy-cooked tomato sauce for a pizza potato.
for this, replace canola with cold-pressed olive oil.
Green beans - Add nutmeg or savory. Look through your
natural foods cookbooks for a creamy sauce made with nuts,
flour and spices.
Cucumbers - Marinate in lemon and tarragon or dill and lemon or use vinegar.
Asparagus - Sprinkle tips and stalks with nutmeg before serving.
Eggplant - Season with tomatoes, bay leaf, basil, oregano, rosemary and a touch of marjoram.
Mashed potatoes - Perk up with garlic, parsley flakes and fresh parsley, a touch of cayenne and a bit of paprika. (Cook the potatoes with a clove of garlic and some fresh parsley. Discard garlic and parsley. Mash potatoes, add parsley flakes, cayenne and paprika. Dill is very nice, too. Experiment shake in some curry for a touch of India. Instead of butter, drizzle some organic canola oil on your baked potato, along with your spices and mix it all in with a few drops of amino acids (soy sauce replacer). Try grating a little skim-milk or soy cheese mozzarella on a baked potato along with a spicy-cooked tomato sauce for a pizza potato. for this, replace canola with cold-pressed olive oil.
Green beans - Add nutmeg or savory. Look through your natural foods cookbooks for a creamy sauce made with nuts, flour and spices.
Create your own "saltless" seasonings with herbs. Use attractive, labeled shakers containing oregano, basil, thyme, caraway, sesame and poppy seeds, celery seed, marjoram, summer savory and ground sunflower seeds. Or, choose one of the many the already prepared salt-free seasonings. If you want, add dried mushroom powder (you can buy it or make it yourself by drying a few mushrooms and pulverizing them).
It is difficult to get adequate nutrition on diets that provide less than 1800 calories, actually, most diets call for 1200 calories or less. Vitamin and mineral supplementation is essential for anyone on a weight reduction program. (Editor's note: Consider some of the protein drinks containing one of the new "green" foods like algae, spirulina or chlorella to give you the extra nutrients and energy you need while dieting).
Eat no more than 5-6 oz. of meat per day (includes chicken, fish, etc.): choose one of the following and no more than 8 oz. of non-fat milk, buttermilk, low-fat cottage cheese, non-fat plain yogurt (or 4 oz. low-fat yogurt)' 1 1/2 oz. of low-sodium low-fat cheese such as raw goat cheese, raw cheddar or low-cal swiss. Eat only up to 2 oz. of avocado a day and no more than 3 olives, because of fat content (if reducing don't include in diet unless substituting for a dairy products). Drink no more than 6 ozs. fruit juice daily, whole fruit is preferable - 3 pieces. Lower intake of tofu and peas to 3 ozs. per day. Soy products are one of the main allergens, so watch for symptoms. Use dried fruit sparingly because of its high sugar content. Water can be used to saute vegetables rather than oils and can be also used in baking chicken and fish. If cooking with oil, use sparingly. Heat the pan before putting oil in - you'll use less that way. Olive is the number one oil choice. It has the ability to lower cholesterol. The second is canola. It is one of the few vegetable sources of Omega-3, an essential fatty acid which may play an important part in preventing heart disease and lowering blood pressure. (Editor's note: Nearly 40 million people have high blood pressure. Here are some natural ways to prevent and control it without the side effects of many medicines: Most doctors recommend avoiding cigarettes, alcohol and salt (more later regarding sodium). According to researchers, potassium-rich foods (potatoes, nuts, fish) can protect against the effect that salt has on blood pressure. When diuretics are used, potassium is lost. For excess bodily water, use natural diuretics such as cranberry juice, watercress, parsley and kelp.
High sugar intake is also linked to hypertension, according to John Yudkin, doctor and author of "Sweet and Dangerous".
If you have a water softener, be sure it's for non-drinking water since softeners rob water of calcium and magnesium while adding sodium.
Stress and tension including loud noises, even everyday traffic and television, can raise blood pressure while soothing music causes it to lower and the body to relax.
The JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION reported that hypertension occurred six times more often in women taking oral contraceptives than in those not using them.
Vegetarians seem to have lower readings than meat eaters as discussed in an Australian study reported in AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY.
Onions, a longtime folk remedy, have been found to contain prostaglandin A1, a hormone-like substance that can lower blood pressure.
Vitamins b, c, and e, plus minerals magnesium and potassium (bananas have lots of potassium) have been known to reduce blood pressure, also.
Blood pressure has also been lowered by biofeedback, yoga, stretching, walking, aerobic and other exercise, hypnosis (self and other), meditation, relaxation techniques, acupressure, chiropractics, acupunture, massage, hand and foot reflexology, herbs and homeopathic remedies and cell salts.
NOTE: For more natural and herbal high blood pressure remedies, read "The Handbook of Alternatives to Chemical Medicine by MIldred Jackson, N.D. and Terri Teague.
A simple 54 isometric exercise has been used successsfully to lower high blood pressure.
Keep these things in mind while shopping: Is it a natural food or is it man made? Purchase a wide variety of food. The wider, the better. Each food has its own combination of nutrients. Eating different foods will insure your receiving a variety of nutrients. Fresh vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals, they have no cholesterol and all but a few (avocados and olives) have fat. Nuts and cheeses are high in fat - use sparingly. Check the ingredients of all packaged foods you buy. The fewer ingredients the better. If you don't know what some of the things are or if you cannot say them without a degree in chemistry, don't buy!
The lifestyle diet is composed of fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and if you think you need it - animal protein in small portions. On this diet, it's best to avoid refined sugars, chemicals, preservatives, additives, caffeine, salt or alcohol. If you want to lose weight, emphasize the vegetables and go easy on grains products until you reach your optimal weight. This diet is easy to prepare. Eat vegetables raw or slightly steamed (too much cooking destroys nutrients and enzymes and you lose flavor). Experiment, there are loads of simple, nutritious dishes you can try. With imagination - who needs recipes?! Try this: Cook rice, millet and barley together, when done add some raw broccoli or other veggie, cheese or soy cheese, nuts and parsley - or do a stir fry - heat the pan or wok with a small amount of water in it or wok first, then lightly saute vegetables. If weight loss isn't desired, use olive or canola oil and perhaps a touch of sesame oil for a Chinese food flavor. Then serve over steamed brown, basmati or wild rice (or a mixture of all three), delicious! A combination of brown rice, wild rice and lentils works well. Experiment mixing different grains along with long-cooking brown rice - barley is a forgotten grain that is nutrient-loaded and tasty too.
Most people converting to this diet from the Standard American Diet, which is high in fat and refined sugars and flours and low in fiber, will experience a weight loss simply because they will not be eating so many empty calories and the lifestyle diet is more filling on fewer calories. Find ways to reduce calories increase nutrients in foods. Learn the value of a calorie. You know there's a big difference between a 200-calorie candy bar and a 200-calorie health food bar and a big nutritional difference between each of those 200-calorie "sweets" and a 200-calories protein salad. Even so-called diet foods aren't created equal. Choose nutrient-rich foods. For instance, eat broccoli as opposed to lettuce. Both are low in calories, but lettuce is mainly water. You're not getting the large doses of vitamin A you get in broccoli.
Remember, no lifestyle is complete without exercise. No matter what form of movement you choose, it is an essential part of maintaining the weight you desire. Without exercise it's almost impossible to stay at your ideal weight without constantly counting calories no matter what diet your on. Exercise increases metabolism as much as 20-30 percent, prevents muscle loss, controls appetite, and a greater percentage of caloric intake (energy) is used in muscle cell maintenance than in fat cell maintenance. Exercise can be fun, challenging and exciting - if we make it so. Beyond the benefits of burning calories, exercise does more. It can get us in touch more with who we are, what we like and dislike, and help us to become more aware and to feel better about ourselves.
Before embarking on any major weight loss and/or exercise program, check with your physician or health practitioner.
Here are some basic tips that might help you attain
and maintain your "ideal" weight:
* Put things in their proper perspective. One or two indulgences is not the end of the world. You are not going to gain 20 lbs. because you ate one piece of cheesecake or ate more than your share of cookies or didn't exercise for two days in a row. Don't make these indulgences an excuse for going hog wild and not getting back on your "program" - or soon you'll be fighting off an extra 20 lbs!
* Identify the behavior patterns you want to modify. Keep a record of where and when you binge. For example, "Every time I go into the kitchen I must have something to eat." "I overdo my exercise routine and exhaust myself when I've had an argument with my spouse, mother kids, etc." "I drink too much when I'm in social situations where I feel inadequate." Once you become aware of the circumstances in which you over- indulge, you can begin to change them. Create new guidelines: "I will only eat while sitting down at the table." "I'll wait until I'm relaxed before I eat." And so on.
* Keep a food diary. I have all my clients write down every morsel they eat or drink for at least 7 days (in some cases it's ongoing). This way they can see how much food they're eating and what kind of foods they often gravitate towards. This can also be beneficial in tracking down food allergies especially if you notice any reactions to foods eaten.
* Find ways to cope with boredom, anxiety and depression. If you smoke, drink, take drugs or eat excessively in reaction to stress find other alternatives that will calm you (from meditation to taking up a new hobby). However, if your stress is work related, ongoing hassels in your relationships, or other continuing problems, you'd be wise to solve the problems and not just ignore them through denying and distraction.
* Forget crash diets such as the liquid, grapefruit, boiled egg or the 400 calories a day diet. Instead, change your eating habits to reduce fats and refined carbohydrates which are high in calories and low in nutrients. Eat nutrient dense rather than calories dense foods. There's a big nutritional difference between a 200 calorie candy bar and a 200 calories salad. The secret to permanent weight control is not a diet at all. It is a well-balanced eating plan to encompass a lifetime based on healthy, tasty foods that have maximum nutritional value. There is no need to deprive yourself on this type of "diet". You can actually eat more and weigh less.
* The Standard American Diet consists of over 40 percent fat, at 9 calories per gram, has more than twice the calories of carbohydrates or protein at 4 calories per gram each, and adds pounds to the body. Recent research reveal that 97 percent of all fat calories are converted to body fat. Use protein foods such as grains and beans, flours - tortillas and beans, flours - breads, crackers, and seeds, etc. (complimentary protein) in place of fatty high-cholesterol foods such as beef and pork. Editor's note: These meats are more often than not loaded with toxic chemicals, growth hormones and disease - for more information and for a convincing argument for Vegetarianism - read John Robbins' "Diet for a New America".
* Again, exercise is an essential part of any weight loss program. For more information on this subject, go to "What About Exercise?" Aerobic exercise, 30 minutes, three times a week will stimulate your metabolism so that you'll burn calories at a faster rate than usual for about 24 hours after exercise in addition to the calories burned during the aerobic session. Aerobics activity stimulates the metabolism more than any other factor. Other benefits are that it increases your muscle mass, strengthens your bones and spine, and reduces body fat. However, aerobics is not better than any other exercise for weight loss. Three times a week for at least 20 minutes is plenty for burning off a significant number of calories. Walking is an excellent aerobic exercise and only requires a good pair of shoes and comfortable clothing. After exercise, your appetite will be much more manageable. It will not increase your hunger - contrary to the myth.
* Drink lots of water! Water helps to lessen water
retention because it acts as a diuretic. If you have the
munchies, drink 5-8 ozs. of water, wait 5-8 minutes then
see if you're still "hungry." This also works well before
and between meals to suppress the appetite. It's best to
not drink water with meals as it dilutes digestive enzymes
necessary to breakdown and assimilate food. And, when
food isn't digested thoroughly weight gain can occur.
* Plan your meals. Give careful consideration to what you'll be putting into your body. If responsible for the cooking, outline a meal plan for the week or at least a few days ahead.
* Plan your exercise period the same time each day if possible. That way it becomes a habit - like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. I run early in the morning. When, for some reason I put it off until later in the day, I just don't run that day. However, any time you can fit your exercise in is better than not exercising!
* Let it be o.k. to feel hungry. Practice waiting until you're hungry before you eat. a lot of people are so out of touch with their bodies, they can't really tell if they are physically or just "emotionally"* hungry. If you really can't wait until your next meal...
* Choose high-fiber, high water snack foods like watermelon, celery, radishes, carrot sticks, jicama, etc. Empty your cupboards of finger foods that are easy to eat a lot of. (Editors note: Avoid greasy, cheesey, salty snacks like the plague!) Substitute these with air-popped popcorn and rice cakes. These foods are high in fiber, very low in calories, and are filling.
* It's best to sit down at the table - not the T.V. to eat. Use small plates so your servings look bigger. Concentrate on the presentation and enjoy texture, colors and aroma. Sometimes using a cocktail fork or chopsticks can help you take smaller bites. This way you can eat more slowly, savoring and enjoying each and every bite. Digestion begins in the mouth. If food is wolfed down it won't digest properly and can lead to weight gain and nutritional deficiencies. It's optimal to eat the bulk of your calories in the first part of the day. Also, for best results as far as weight loss, eat dinner early, and skip dessert.
* Avoid eating late in the evening. It takes several hours to digest proteins and fats. Also, metabolism slows down at night making it more difficult to burn calories. Late evening and night snacking contributes to weight gain.
* Give yourself enough food. Be sure you don't lower your caloric intake below 1.000 a day, you just won't get enough nutrients that way. In fact, it's essential on any weight loss program to take extra vitamins and mineral. Let yourself have some of your favorite foods. But do lower your intake. Just have a little - and not every day. If you deprive yourself you'll want to rush back to your habit of overeating.
* Remember, imagination wins out over willpower 99 percent of the time. Instead of imagining your favorite food, visualize yourself 10 pounds heavier. Then add a few more pounds to the picture. Do you still want that fattening food? Now close your eyes and see and feel yourself at your desired weight. That ought to nip the craving in the bud! Better yet: Imagine yourself 20 lbs. lighter. Close your eyes and see your new self into a mirror with a bathing suit on. See and feel the way you would like to look and feel. Tell yourself how good you look. Lavish yourself with praise. See and feel yourself shopping for clothes for your new, trim body.
* Give up being envious of your friends, sister, brother, spouse, neighbor if he or she can eat like a rhino and never gain an ounce. We're all biochemically different - just as no two sets of fingerprints are the same. Envious thoughts get you nowhere and they may get you fat(ter)!
* Avoid sugar (honey, molasses, maple and brown rice syrup, barley malt, sorghum, corn sweeteners, fructose, etc.) it only makes you crave more.
* If your sweet tooth must be pacified, eat a small piece of fruit or a few sips of fruit juice diluted with half sparkling water.
* Refrain from weighing yourself every day. Once a week is enough - upon arising is best. Weight fluctuates throughout the day . You may weigh more at night than in the morning.
* Effective weight loss is easier when you replace negative
thoughts with positive ones.
* Set attainable weight goals. Say, " I want to lose 10 lbs. this month" - not "I want to lose 150 lbs."
* Be realistic - work for improvement, not perfection.
* Abandon strict rules, such as: "I'll never eat a chocolate bar. Or "I'll never eat a doughnut as long as I live." Or "I'll never stop at a fast food restaurant for pizza." If you do find yourself breaking one of your own strict rules, have compassion, be gentle and let yourself off the hook. If you go into guilt it possibly could cause you to eat more of it or cause you to feel miserable and worthless.
* Reward yourself for your efforts and accomplishments, but not with food. Satisfy one of your other senses. Buy a beautiful new book (not a cookbook!) take a special mineral, aroma or oil bath, etc.
* If you stick to your "program" for six days out of seven, give yourself a pat on the back for the days you stuck with it - don't punish yourself for the one day's slip up. This way it'll be easier to get back on track.
* Overweight people tend to binge when they become stressed and emotional. When annoyed with your spouse or kids do you grab potato chips, crackers, pretzels, ice cream, a handful of nuts, or whatever food you treat yourself when feeling deprived? This is emotional hunger activated by anger, insecurity, boredom, frustration, lonliness, avoidance, etc., which adds even more weight. When stressed, people go to food because it's plentiful and readily available rather than a hug or an encouraging word which is really what we need but it's not always available.
Here are some other reasons for and thoughts on emotional
* Low self-esteem and unresolved issues in relationships with spouse, co-workers and others.
* Uncomfortable business and social situations - loss of love - separation/divorce - increased job responsibilities - all can help motivate us to seek comfort in food. Alone at a social gathering we may find ourselves reaching out for food rather than for people. We may be so stressed at work that we think we have to run out for coffee and doughnuts in a futile attempt to alleviate the stress.
* It's not just unpleasant situations that can lead to overeating - pleasant occasions can also do the job. It's gratifying to cook a meal or dessert you know your family enjoys, even if it's high in calories. Does watching T.V. cue you to gather up you favorite snacks to munch on? Are you brainwashed by the commercials to seek out the beer or wine in the fridge? When you see that darling little doughboy do you want to grab those goodies out of the freezer and throw them in the microwave? Weddings, birthdays, promotions, retirements, graduations, anniversaries, are all celebrated with food, and who doesn't occasionally overindulge their taste buds? What about vacations!? Again, allow yourself a little slip-up a time or two - then quickly get back on track.
* Mood swings can activate erratic eating patterns; skipping meals when you're "up" and eating to excess when you're "down".
* Family habits also play a part in your eating patterns. Chances are is your parents used food to cope with problems, you've picked up their habit. And who doesn't remember as a child getting a cookie, some ice-cream or candy after scraping a knee, or being treated to a sticky sweet treat while sick (the total opposite of what your body needed!), or being rewarded with fresh baked brownies. How about being sent to your room without dinner for punishment. Or being told that if you don't eat everything on your plate you won't get dessert. Or, " Since you were bad today, you don't get any dessert, Johnny". Are you still being driven by those old "tapes" from childhood even though you are now an adult?
* Evidence support the facts that what you eat affects your feelings and behavior by causing changes in the chemical balance. High protein diets cause an imbalance and cravings for carbohydrates. Carbohydrates increase the chemical serotonin, a relaxant, as well as the acid tryptophan, a natural anti-depressant. Conversely, too much caffeine in coffee, soft drinks, some diet and cold and sinus relief pills can cause nervous tension and irritability. Refined sugar can make you hyperactive, "spacey" and nervous, especially among children who are constantly craving sugar.
* Instead of gorging yourself with food, set out to get in touch with your feelings. This is where a food diary is very helpful. You can note what you eat, how much, circumstances, feelings, thoughts, emotions, and what you experienced. Is there a clue to the emotions in the food you crave? Perhaps, chewy foods such as bagels are often the choice when angry. Mashed potatoes, pudding, chocolate cake, brownies, milk and cookies or other foods associated with pleasant childhood memories may be the choice when you want to be babied. Chocolate is the choice for that feeling of fullness and satisfaction. On the other hand, foods that mean security for one person may have no such meaning for another. Many of the "emotional" foods you crave today may stem from childhood.
* Instead of going to the fridge or your favorite restaurant when you feet stressed or emotional, do something more constructive to satisfy your emotions and dissipate the anxiety. Take some deep breaths, meditate, do a relaxation technique, call a friend or write in you diary. Get "lost" in a book, video, go to a movie, do a jigsaw or crossword puzzle, write a letter, take a walk, pick up that magazine or newspaper and make yourself current, do anything that would take your mind off eating.
* If the need to feed or stuff down your anxiety or anger is
so strong that it seems nothing will replace it - at least
choose healthy, low-cal foods, such as carrots, celery, rice
cakes or make a salad - the time it takes to put it together
will help dissipate some of your anxious emotions. Avoid
calorie and fat laden sweets and desserts.
Editor's note: Most adults would probably not be overweight if they had learned to follow body signals rather than mental ones. Your brain can talk you into wanting food, when it has no actual physical need for nourishment, calories or energy. Generally, children are free of these tricks, responding to physical hunger rather than the insecurities that sometimes trigger adult eating disorders and problems.
* Toss out all of the larger sized clothes and belts in your closet - they're just inviting you to gain weight.
* Reach out to others. Say pleasant things to friends and loved ones. Think positively! When you're happy, others around you will find it easier to find happiness in themselves. Your self-image will improve and you will feel more motivated to attain your desired weight.
* Fat is sometimes used not only as insulator for the body - but also for the mind. Food is a form of oral gratification, an immature way of feeling secure. When people are anxious or stressed-out, eating seems to make them feel better. Fat may be an insulation against hurt and a way to keep a "safe" distance between the person and others.
* Overweight people need to learn to love their bodies just as they are now, not several months or years down the road when and if they become thin. Overeating is often a result of low self-esteem. Upgrade your self-esteem, respect your body and allow it to be healthy. Then soon you will reach your "ideal" weight.
Vitamins are organic substances produced by plants and animals, which our bodies need to grow and develop. Whereas food provides energy by way of calories. Vitamins are co-enzymes, meaning they are catalysts for enzymes, which cause our bodies to metabolize the food calories for energy. We cannot exist without vitamins, they are an integral part of our food supply. Although they're only required in microscopic amounts, deficiencies can lead to disease. Vitamins are not a replacement for food.
Vitamins are broken up into two categories: Water soluble and fat soluble. Fat soluble vitamins in food are more stable when exposed to heat during cooking and processing than the water soluble vitamins which can be easily lost. Fat soluble vitamins, which are not used, are stored in the liver to be released when needed. Unused water soluble vitamins are excreted in the urine. The body uses as much of the vitamins as it needs and only excretes the remainder. In so doing, it may be promoting good health in the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract; and doing good things in other parts of the body on its way out. So, in effect, even "wasted" vitamins may protect tissues and organs against disease.
For prolonged and best absorption, vitamins must be taken with food. It's best to take fat soluble vitamins with fat (doesn't have to be animal fat) in your food for easier transportation and absorption. For instance, if you take vitamin A on an empty stomach there is very little absorption. The same applies to the fat soluble vitamins in your multi-vitamin - take them with a meal which has fat in it. The B-complex's and Vitamin C can be absorbed with or without food, however, taking them with food slows down the absorption rate so that they are not excreted as fast as they would be if taken on an empty stomach. This increases the vitamin level in the bloodstream over a longer period of time. To get the maximum benefit from vitamins, it's suggested that they be divided into doses to be taken with meals throughout the day. When taking large doses of Vitamin C, it can be better absorbed by taking it in several small doses. Taking one large dose causes it to be absorbed and excreted too fast so that long-term effects are invalidated. Remember, the body works on a 24-hour cycle. When we sleep, it's still working. In order to carry out its many tasks,, it needs nutrients, sufficient water and oxygen.
RDA means the Recommended Daily Allowance pertaining to vitamins and mineral. The RDA is controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Information regarding the RDA is found on supplement and prepackaged food labels. In general, the RDA is quite low. We need more than they recommend to protect us against many of the diseases and stresses rampant in society today. Besides, the RDA cannot guarantee the optimum supplement dosage for each person because we are all "biochemically individual".
Below is a list of the fat soluble vitamins:
VITAMIN A: It comes in two forms - retinol - found only in the animal kingdom, and carotene - found in plants. Humans have the ability to convert carotene into Vitamin A in their bodies. This is done mainly in the liver although it also occurs to a lesser extent in the intestines during the absorption process of food. Studies have revealed that half of the U.S. adult population are Vitamin A deficient. The highest deficiency is found among blacks and hispanics.
What it does: Helps to keep the retina of the eye healthy, counteracts night blindness, and other eye problems; promotes growth, assists bone development; maintains skin, mucus membranes, hair, nails, teeth, gums and adrenal glands in optimum condition. May protect against certain cancers (especially skin); strengthens and protects the immune system against infections; may contribute to slowing the aging process; is an oxidant and prevents Vitamin C from oxidizing, allowing Vitamin C to work more effectively.
Vegetarian food sources: Eggs, cheddar cheese, butter. Carotene - carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, collard and mustard greens, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin, persimmons, melons, apricots, parsley, and other orange, yellow and green vegetables and fruit. Editor's note: The number one source is blue green algae.
VITAMIN D: Known as the "sunshine vitamin" since it can synthesized through ultra violet rays from the sun interacting with oils on the skin to produce a derivative of cholesterol which is absorbed through the pores into the blood. It's also found in smaller amounts in foods.
What it does: Helps in the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosophorous to maintain healthy bones and teeth as well as nerves and muscle. Assists in the assimilation of Vitamin A. Research shows that colon cancer seems to be more prevalent in people living in colder climates where there is very little sunshine, whereas, skin cancer is more common in people living in sunny climates. Could the common denominator be Vitamin D - in the one instance too little, and in the other, too much?
Vegetarian food sources: The main source of this vitamin is sunlight. Other sources are: Low concentrations in egg yolk,cream and butter; Vitamin D enriched milk; sunflower seeds, almonds, coconut, soybeans, legumes (some); goats milk, dairy products, brown and other natural un-processed rice; bran and brewer's yeast (some are highly allergic to this yeast form).
VITAMIN E: This vitamin is an active antioxidant and free radical scavenger. Free radicals are unstable chemicals which attack our cellular structure. Some are formed naturally by the body itself as a by-product of body chemistry, however, they can be created unnaturally from pollutants, toxins and chemicals. These free radicals or oxidants are powerful enough to change the DNA coding within our cells, thereby making the cells vulnerable to cancers. When Vitamin E is in short supply, free radicals can get through our antioxidant shields, which may result in increased damage to the brain, nervous system, blood, heart, liver, kidney, and pancreatic tissues. Excessive oxidant production in the body's tissues is linked to accelerated aging. Studies show Vitamin E protects the muscles of heavy exercisers against free radical damage. According to some specialists, alpha-tocopherol is the most potent and superior form of Vitamin E. Editor's note: Q-10 enzymes are also a very effective anti-oxidant and may prevent heart disease.
What it does: Helps to retard the aging process by oxidizing the cells; oxygenates the body, thereby giving you more stamina; prevents Vitamins B & C from oxidizing; works with Vitamin A to protect the lungs from pollutants; maintains a healthy heart; helps to prevent and dissolve blood clots; aids in muscle cramping; boosts the circulatory system; strengthens the immune system - helping it to fight off infections; beneficial to infertility problems; applied topically it can aid in the healing process of burn victims, prevents scarring (also can help with returning scar tissue to "normal") and keeps skin supple. (Editor's note: Vitamin E in adequate doses - from 400- 1600 units daily, relieved "restless leg syndrome" (legs tense up for no apparent reason and feel compelled to get up and move around) and nocturnal leg cramping, according to a study done by Doctors Samuel Ayres, Jr. and Richard Mihan.
Vegetarian food sources: Omega 3 flax seed oil, wheat germ oil, raw wheat germ, sunflower seeds and oil, safflower and olive oil, various nuts, peanut butter, almond butter and peanut oil, whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables, soybeans and soybean oil, whole grains, and whole grain flours.
VITAMIN K: Known as the "blood clotting" vitamin since it is essential for the liver to produce the blood-clotting factor prothrombin. No dietary allowance has been set for this vitamin, however, deficiency is rare.
What it does: Prevents internal bleeding and hemorrhages; aids in blood clotting.
Food sources: Leafy green vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower, alfalfa, sunflower seeds, yogurt; also produced by intestinal flora.
Why are the B-vitamins referred to as "complex"? Because they aren't found individually in fresh foods or living tissue. Where there is one, you'll find the others present. They go together - they work synergistically - they are catalysts for each other. They consist of B-1 (thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (niacin/niacinamide), B-5 (pantothenic acid), B-6 (pyroxidine), B-12 (cobalimine), Folic Acid and Biotin. PABA, Inositol, and Choline are also included in the B-complex family, however, some controversy exists as to whether they are truly B vitamins. The best non-meat food sources of the B-complex vitamins are: whole grains, brewer's yeast, brown rice, wheat germ, bran, milk, eggs, nuts and seeds of all kinds, legumes and green vegetables. As well as various food sources and nutrient supplements, the B-complex's can be cultivated from bacteria, yeasts, fungi and molds. (Editor's note: In his "Insects and Allergy and What to Do About Them", Claude A. Frazier, M.D. says that increasing intake of the B-complex vitamins and especially B1 will keep mosquitoes away. Experimental testing has not proven that this works, but many PREVENTION magazine readers write in to say that B vitamins keep the bugs away. One woman wrote of taking 100 milligrams of thiamine (B1) with every meal during mosquito season and said, "believe it or not, not one mosquito will come near me."
Referred to as the "nerve vitamins", they're essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and as such are the most important vitamins for healthy nerves. However, B-vitamins are necessary for many other bodily functions. They provide the body with energy by converting carbohydrate into glucose, which is the body's main energy source, and metabolize proteins and fats. Stress ups the need for B-vitamins; skin and hair health; cracks at the corner of the mouth; changes in the eye; healthy reproductive glands, are all dependent on water soluble B-vitamins.
Since B-vitamins are water soluble, what isn't needed is excreted (with the exception of Vitamin B-12, which is stored in the liver in small amounts), therefore they must be replenished daily. B-vitamin supplements should be taken as a complex. This gives a foundation which can be built upon for individual needs. For instance, when a disease state exists caused by a B-vitamin deficiency, a singular B-vitamin, known to be beneficial for that particular health problem, may be supplemented in a greater dosage than the others; e.g., in the case of anemia, additional B-12 may be used along with other supplements. However, a basic B-vitamin is best taken by itself without the accompanying B-complex in order to avoid imbalances.
Long cooking methods, high temperatures, storing for lengthy periods of time, and refining processes destroy B vitamins. Drugs, chemicals, alcohol, birth control pills, antibiotics, antacids, coffee and refined sugar deplete most of the B-vitamins.
The following are a listing of the water soluble vitamins:
VITAMIN B-1 (thiamine): Although unknown in this country today, a deficiency of this vitamin can cause beriberi. This disease was particularly acute among orientals where refined rice was the major staple of the diet. The husk and germ of the rice is lost in the milling process and this where the thiamine is stored. Nowadays, refined cereals, flour and rice have thiamine added back into them. Still, deficiencies of this diet exist because of the highly refined American diet. Editor's note: Whenever possible, buy and prepare whole, unmilled rice - organic brown is the most nutritionally superior of the rices.
What it does: One of the main roles thiamine plays is in the digestion in metabolism of starches and sugars so that they can be used by the body for energy. The more carbohydrate in the diet the greater the need for thiamine. It is mildly diuretic and assists in keeping the body's water in balance. Extremely important for the nervous system and mental acuity. Assists Vitamin-A in preventing night blindness; keeps skin, hair and liver healthy, stabilizes appetite.
VITAMIN B-2 (riboflavin): This is quite conceivably the number one vitamin deficiency in this country. Perhaps because it's not abundant in our general food supply as the other B-vitamins. It is more prevalent in natural, unprocessed foods. It's easily destroyed by light, e.g., milk in glass bottles and transparent, plastic containers is more susceptible to B-2 loss than milk in opaque or cardboard cartons.
What it does: Helps metabolize fats, protein and carbohydrate. Necessary for antibody and red blood cell formation, promotes healthy skin and nails; beneficial to eyesight, may help retard the formation of cataracts; necessary for growth and reproduction; aids in iron assimilation; counteracts stress.
VITAMIN B-3 (niacin/niacinamide): For the prevention of deficiencies this vitamin can be taken in either of these forms. The physiological difference is that niacin is a vasodilator (increases circulation, and aids in lowering cholesterol) and causes flushing and itching when taken in large doses. Niacinimide is not a vasodilator and no flushing or itching occurs, even in large doses. Niacin is found chiefly in plants, whereas, niacinimide is predominant in animals. Tryptophan, an amino acid, is converted to niacin in the body. Pellagra, a disease caused by chronic niacin deficiency, manifests as dementia, diarrhea and dermatitis. If left untreated it can result in death.
What it does: It is necessary to convert food into energy; alleviates stress (along with B-1 and B-2); helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides; maintenance of the nervous system and cardiac health, regulates hormones; beneficial in schizophrenia; has wound healing capabilities.
VITAMIN B-5 (pantothenic acid): Pantothenic Acid is derived from the Greek word "pantos" meaning everywhere, since it is found in almost all foods and all cells. It appears to have the ability to somewhat retard the aging process and promote longevity (according to animal testing results). It has been reported to restore color in greying hair. The richest natural source of pantothenic acid is found in royal jelly which is fed to the queen bee, extending her life span far beyond that of the worker bees.
What it does: Important vitamin in building and strengthening the adrenals and dealing with stress. Like most of the B-vitamins it is essential to the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein. Beneficial in hay fever; necessary for antibody formation; healthy skin and nerves, maintains blood sugar stability.
VITAMIN B-6 (pyroxidine): This vitamin is depleted by birth control pills and is connected to PMS problems such as depression, bloating, breast pain and acne, which can be alleviated by taking extra B-6 7-10 days before menstruation. Along with magnesium, B-6 given in high doses, may be beneficial in autism. Used successfully in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, a neurological disorder affecting the wrists and hands and often the arms and shoulders, so that lifting even the lightest of objects can be very painful. Often times this disorder is "treated" by surgery which does not have long term effects.
What it does: Necessary for antibody formation; metabolizes fat; regulates cholesterol levels; controls sodium/potassium balance and magnesium level in blood; important for healthy red blood cells, skin and nervous system; health of teeth and gums; regulates enzymes; alleviates certain PMS problems; maintains healthy sexual organs.
VITAMIN B-12 (cobalamin): This is the only B-vitamin that the body can store. However, since it is found primarily in foods of animal origin, and only in very small amounts in green vegetables, it is essential that strict vegetarians supplement their diet with extra B-12. (Editor's note: You can get this through soy foods and microalgae.) Best to take with other B-vitamins and calcium for maximum absorption and utilization.
What it does: Involved in red blood cell formation and bone marrow function, carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism; utilization of iron and ascorbic acid; necessary for proper nerve function; essential for genetic coding - DNA and RNA.
FOLIC ACID (aka folacin/folate): Studies have shown that as many as half of the women in this country may have a folic acid deficiency. If your gums bleed a lot, you may not only be short in Vitamin C, but folate too. Vegetables are the primary source of folate, however studies have found that when vegetables are cooked in water most of the folate ends up in the water. This is good reason to use the cooking water for soups, stews, or "broth" drinks. Microwaving vegetables, causes even greater losses of folic acid.
What it does: Along with B-12, it's necessary for red blood cell formation and DNA coding; and for the functioning of the nervous system and gastrointestinal tract; counteracts depression; aids in the liver's performance and hydrochloric acid production; aids metabolism and appetite; essential for fetal development.
BIOTIN: This vitamin is defined in Dorland's Medical Dictionary as "required by or occurring in all forms of life tested". Like pantothenic, deficiencies had to be induced to discover what they were. Not only is it found in all foods, but like Vitamin K, it's also manufactured by they body in the large intestine from bacteria. A substance called avidin, found in raw egg white, binds with biotin and blocks its absorption, however, you would have to eat a large amount of raw eggs each day for a biotin deficiency to occur. Cooking eggs prevents this problem.
What it does: Like the other B-vitamins, biotin helps to break down carbohydrates, fats and protein into cellular energy. Since this is a fairly new member of the B-team, all of its functions are not completely known yet. It may help with muscle pain and depression. It is essential for skin health and claims have been made that it can help retard greying hair and hair loss.
PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid): If you want to be protected against the sun's ultraviolet rays during the summer, reach for the suntan lotion high in PABA. Studies at Harvard Medical School on two dozen sunblocking preparations revealed that PABA gave the best protection.
What it does: Apart from being the best sunscreen available, it is also helpful to the skin in cases of eczema and vitiligo (loss of pigmentation). It helps to synthesize folic acid from intestinal bacteria; aids in protein metabolism; assists in red blood cell formation.
CHOLINE: Choline is a member of the lipotropic (fat emulsifier) family, consisting of choline, betaine, methionine and iositol. It is found naturally in a wide range of meat and vegetables, and can be synthesized within the body if conditions are right. Together with inositol it is the basic constituent of lecithin.
What it does: If your memory is not what is used to be perhaps consider adding choline to your supplements. It is a precursor to acetylcholine, a brain compound, which is necessary for the smooth flow of nerve impulses. Research reveals that adding choline to the diet raises the level of acetylcholine in the brain and in turn enhance memory recall. Along with inositol it helps to emulsify cholesterol both in the gallbladder and the arterial walls; keeps the liver, heart and kidneys healthy as well as nerve tissue: metabolizes fat.
INOSITOL: This nutrient is a member of the lipotropic family, as mentioned above. Since it combines with choline to make lecithin it also has some of the same functions as choline. Note: some food sources of inositol are brewer's yeast, wheat germ and lima beans - not common foods found in the typical American diet. Like choline, the body can manufacture inositol, but only under the proper conditions. Antibiotics, diarrhea and digestive disturbances impair that function.
What it does: Along with choline it helps to emulsify fats and cholesterol, and nourish the brain cells: helps to prevent eczema; aids in redistributing body fat; assist in preventing nerve damage in diabetics. A deficiency of this nutrient has been linked to muscular dystrophy, but the evidence is inconclusive. Promotes healthy hair and may assist in preventing hair loss; protects the liver, kidneys and heart; involved in red blood cell formation.
VITAMIN C (ascorbic acid): There is much evidence to support Vitamin C's role in protecting against cancer, and since the immune system plays a significant role in the body's resistance to cancer and other diseases, Vitamin C is essential to the health of the immune system. Free radicals are caused by oxidation of the cells and are so powerful they can change the DNA coding. This creates abnormal cells and may set-up the initial stages of cancer. It is essential to have a good supply of antioxidants - free radical protectors in your diet, such as Vitamins A (beta carotene), Vitamin C, E and the trace mineral selenium. Beta carotene and Vitamin C being the most important vitamins.
Vitamin C is non-toxic. It is the most fragile of all vitamins and can easily be lost in cooking heat. Just the act of slicing an orange results in Vitamin C loss. Both alcohol and tobacco rob the body of this valuable nutrient.
What it does: In high doses, it may protect against certain cancers and strengthen the immune system. Vitamin C is well known for its ability to prevent the common cold as well as other infectious diseases. It assists the body in handling stress; helps to absorb iron; regulates the metabolism of amino acids; aids in wound healing and burns and is especially helpful in the healing process after surgery; effective treatment for many allergies, being its a natural anti histamine; daily doses can protect against bladder infections; keep your teeth and gums healthy; can help alleviate the discomfort of extreme temperatures, especially heat; beneficial in lowering cholesterol and keeping the artery and heart muscle healthy; chelates out toxic metals from the body - lead, mercury and aluminum. Without Vitamin C our bodies could not produce collagen, and intercellular glue-like substance needed for tissues, blood vessels, muscle, cartilage and bones to keep them together. Without this valuable nutrient, we would literally fall apart! It is an important vitamin in the utilization of sugar. It makes insulin more effective and can lower blood glucose levels in insulin dependent diabetics. Works against the aging process.
Food sources: Foods with the most Vitamin C are: Raw acerola (cherry), sweet and hot red and green peppers, guavas, pimientos, bok choi, broccoli, cauliflower, blackcurrants, kale, cabbage, strawberries, lemons, mustard greens, kiwi fruit, brussel sprouts, papaya, vegetable juice (preferably juiced - carrot or mixed), turnip greens, grapefruit, cantaloupe, oranges, fresh orange juice, asparagus, tomato juice and tomatoes. This list is in descending order giving the most Vitamin C for the fewest calories.
Minerals are essential to life and are every bit as important to your health as vitamins - perhaps even more so since vitamins cannot function without minerals. The body can tolerate a vitamin deficiency longer than can a mineral one. Whereas, the body can synthesize some vitamins, it cannot manufacture any minerals. Minerals are usually not required in huge amounts in order to counteract deficiencies. Megadoses can upset the balance in the body and produce deficiencies in other minerals or cause toxicity. To prevent imbalances, it's better to take them as a "multi-mineral". Minerals, like many vitamins, are synergistic, meaning, they work better together than individually. They are found in all tissues and body fluids, the greatest amount is in bones, teeth and cartilage. Without minerals, all other nutrients such as vitamins, protein, amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, enzymes, etc., cannot be properly activated and utilized. Minerals represent approximately 4 percent body weight, therefore, a 150 lb. person has 6 lbs. of their body weight tied up in minerals. By comparison, vitamin content in the body is less than one ounce.
Many people are under the misapprehension that the soil contains all the mineral that we need, otherwise plants wouldn't grow. However, plants only need about 14 minerals, whereas human may require over three times as much. The amount of minerals in a particular food is directly related to how much of those mineral were in the soil where the plant was grown. (Editor's note: Later we'll discuss how modern soil is grossly mineral deficient). Take, for example, selenium, if it is not in the soil where corn is growing, it will not be in the corn. When that corn is fed to chickens, they won't get any selenium from either of those food sources. Like vitamins, minerals an be lost in food processing, refining and cooking water.
Mineral supplements are often referred to as "chelated". When minerals are chelated they are more easily digested and assimilated. Amino acid chelates are the most stable and have a much higher absorption rate (up to ten times more) than non-chelates.
The major minerals are those which are in a high concentration in the body, they are: Calcium, Phosphorous, Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium. The trace minerals are those present in a much lower concentration but are vitally important to optimal health, they are: Chromium, Iron, Copper, Selenium, Iodine, Manganese and Zinc. There are a number of lesser known minerals present in our bodies such as fluorine, molybdenum, cobalt, vanadium, nickel, arsenic, tin, etc., however, not enough is known yet about their complete functions and/or dietary requirements. Vegetarian food sources of minerals can be found in all plants such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes, for non-vegetarians - beef (natural, range fed) poultry