Eating Smart and Staying Healthy

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Eating Smart and Staying Healthy

By Jan Larraine Cox

“You are what you eat,” was a familiar phrase in the 1970s.  As most of us have been dining at home during COVID-19 sheltering, choosing nutritious and delicious foods has become a priority in some homes. 

Many have taken steps to self-improve, to feel stronger, confident to move forward when the pandemic is finally over. It is possible to take steps now to improve: to shake off the mediocre and embrace the best possible nutrition to face the challenges we shall have to rebuild and put our shoulders to that task!

Determined not to gain the quarantine 15 pounds, starting in mid-March, I located a daily aerobic TV show with instructors I enjoy and look forward to joining each day. And my infrequent purchases at the grocery store follow my newly acquired nutrition knowledge, most notably from nutritionist Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

A New York Times best-selling author and advisory board member at Whole Foods Market, Fuhrman is also a favorite guest on “The Dr. Oz Show”, “Today”, “Good Morning America” and other shows, including PBS fundraisers.

His message is a focus on micronutrients, which are potently found in what Fuhrman has coined the G-Bombs: Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds.  He touts eating unrefined plant foods as the best influence for the body thriving.  Rather than an addition to the diet, Fuhrman proposes making the G-Bombs the focus of the healthy diet. 

Dr. Fuhrman shows examples of how to stock and cook for your health.

Where half his healthy food plate is cooked and raw vegetables in great variety and color, the other half of the plate is filled with whole grains, fruits, beans and seeds/nuts. These are low-calorie and high-nutrient foods that promote self-healing and repair.

A large salad; at least a half cup serving of beans/legumes in soup, salad or other dish; at least three fresh fruits; one ounce of raw nuts and seeds; at least one large serving of steamed green vegetables: this is the recommended daily food plan which Fuhrman purports will keep us healthy.

Fuhrman’s special edition book entitled “100 Best Foods for Health and Longevity” highlights aspects of all those 100 foods and spells out what they do for our bodies.  For example, he says apple intake has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and to lower cholesterol, as well as blood pressure.  He advises to buy organic so you can eat the skin, or else peel it.

Beans in all their array of colors, shapes and sizes are immune system-strengthening and cancer-fighting foods.  Since they are high-nutrient, high-fiber and low calorie foods, they are a great choice for weight-loss.  No-salt added canned beans are convenient, and the liquid they come in can be used in soups as it is nutrient rich.

Beans, whether canned or fresh, are a great addition to what you normally eat for their vitamins and minerals.
Beans, whether canned or fresh, are a great addition to what you normally eat for their vitamins and minerals.

Avocados are the fruit with the highest amount of both fat and protein.  They promote healthy blood lipids and solve hunger for hours after adding to a meal.

Beet or beetroot, as it is called outside America, was domesticated in the Middle East in the 8th century B.C. The high nitrate content of beets increases blood nitric oxide concentrations, which may help prevent heart disease by lowering blood pressure, according to Dr. Fuhrman.  And the green leaves of beets are packed with carotenoids, minerals, and fiber.  You can make your own beet hummus from two cans of beets, two garlic cloves, one can of no-salt added chick peas, a fourth cup sesame seeds, two tablespoons lemon juice, one teaspoon cumin and a pinch of pepper, all blended.  Delicious!

Just a few of the other vegetables that Dr. Fuhrman highlights include bananas, basil, berries, brussels sprouts, carrots, cashews, mushrooms, flax seeds, garlic, onions, collards, kale, tomatoes, walnuts, peas and romaine lettuce. So many choices for eating healthy and smart!

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