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Introduction to Healthy Eating and Two Food Philosophies
Back in the Day:
My childhood was spent with family on a farm in Iowa. We had a large garden of vegetables, several mounds of potatoes and a very large strawberry patch.
We had chickens that gave us wonderful eggs, cows that gave us milk to sell and some to keep for drinking and churning butter. My uncle always got dibs on the buttermilk. We took containers of eggs to the local store and after they had been candled the store owner would purchase them. We also sold strawberries as soon as they ripened. The egg and strawberry money was what my aunt used to buy flour, salt and sugar and an occasional treat.
We canned for a couple weeks in the fall and had a basement full of canned food that saw us through the winter. The potato mounds produced enough potatoes that we had bushels of them in the basement for the winter months. We also had bushel baskets of carrots, onions and apples.
To this day I can remember how that wonderful food tasted. I can remember having fresh cut up cucumbers and onions in vinegar on the table for each meal. My little cousins and I raided the garden on a daily basis for carrots, tomatoes and kohlrabi. Those were the days.
In present day shopping it is often difficult to find food that has any flavor comparable to the home grown food we took for granted as children. If you can find a local farmer who is willing to part with his home grown organic veggies or a farmer's market that carries organic or local foods you are doing good. Fortunately, we have stores like Whole Foods Markets, HEB, Randalls, Trader Joes and a few small local grocers that buy from local farmers that carry a variety of organic produce.
In the very late 1970s, I worked for Adano Ley in his clinic in Houston where I was introduced to Solar Nutrition. Adano taught classes in Solar Nutrition and also cooking classes.
Solar Nutrition is basically a time controlled program of eating. It is based on the energy received by plants, bushes and trees at specific times of the day. Morning energy, 7 to 9 A.M., concentrates on nut and fruit trees and any bush 4 foot or taller. Mid-day energy, 12 to 6 P.M., includes vegetables, grains and berries that grow to 4 foot in height and the evening energy, 6 to 9 P.M. includes mostly root vegetables.
By following Solar Nutrition guidelines, the foods with the greatest life-giving energies are put into our bodies at the proper times to integrate the energy benefits of the food. It deals with the absorption, assimilation and utilization of the energy of the sun in our bodies, minds and spirits through the foods we eat. It also takes into consideration the items that non-vegans and non-vegetarians ingest such as meat, eggs and dairy. day so you can get a better picture of what I am talking about. Adano also listed the foods by blood type and often said: “if you don't know your blood type, don't monkey around with nutrition”.
I was quite faithful to Solar Nutrition for a number of years but basically slipped back into my old eating habits. I never ate much beef but did like chicken and fish and, my favorite of favorites...pizza. I slowly regained the weight I had dropped with Solar Nutrition and added more as the years went by.
The Color of Health
Did you know that adding color to your plate may add years to your life?
The natural pigments that make fruits and vegetables so colorful can also help protect your body from common diseases and illnesses as you age. Think color! The bright red of ripe tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, and cranberries; the brilliant orange of carrots; the vibrant green of kiwifruit and kale; and the dramatic purple of Concord grapes.
Scientists in labs across the country have made astounding discoveries about the health benefits of highly pigmented fruits and vegetables, which contain disease-fighting compounds called phytonutrients. These powerhouses act as a rogue police force, fighting off free radicals that cause cancer and a host of other enemies that increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and more. Here’s just a sampling of the health benefits of eating colorful fruits and vegetables.
- The red in tomatoes helps reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and other types of cancers.
- The yellow in corn protects against macular degeneration, the number-one cause of blindness in the elderly.
- The orange in carrots and sweet potatoes helps prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol and helps reduce the risk of stroke.
- The green in dark, leafy greens helps prevent cancer.
- The blue in blueberries helps protect memory and motor function as you age, and helps fight cancer and heart disease.
- The purple in Concord grapes and grape juice helps prevent heart disease.
So when you’re filling your shopping cart or your plate, think the more color, the better!
I lived in Roswell, New Mexico from 2001 to 2011 and basically had my behind planted at a desk with fingers on the keyboards of my work and home computers. When I wasn't plunking away at work, I was buried in the research I love to do at home. A minimum of exercise was experienced. More pounds! When I moved from Roswell back to Texas I was pretty hefty.
My oldest son had gained quite a bit of weight over the years and in his research into nutrition he came across Dr. John McDougalls program which is based on plant foods and is totally Vegan. Dr. McDougall conducts 10 day, live-in, intensive programs where he teaches the concept. My son enrolled and came back totally convinced, feeling great and full of vim and vigor. He began a walking-jogging program and advanced to a rather nice bike and now, three years later, he is doing the Century (100 mile) Ride on weekends. Not bad at all! And he is still a McDougall guy.
Shortly after he came back from the program he suggested I give it a try and I agreed. He took me shopping and we came home loaded with beans and rice and all types of produce and only the things that a Vegan would eat. He explained the reason for every item we selected...it's nutritional value, how to prepare it and when to eat it. I found I actually liked the new way of feeding myself.
Over a period of four months I dropped fifty-five pounds and felt terrific. So, for 99% of the time I am totally Vegan...but about once every three or four months I get a craving for pizza...I want to sit on the couch, feet on the coffee table, a 7-Up in one hand and a piece of vegetarian pizza in the other with NCIS or Castle on the television. I do it! And...I don't regret it. The next day I am back on track and enjoying it.
I can, from my own personal experience, recommend the McDougall way of eating. You can find the program on the internet where Dr. McDougall offers it free to all who are interested. He has authored several books also. Even for those of you who prefer to keep meat in your diet, the nutritional information is valuable.
I like a variety of color on my plate. Having studied and worked with color for so many years I find there is always a variety of colors on my plate and it seems my choices of color are based on how I am feeling at the time I prepare it. Colors in food are caused by the presence of a particular photochemical and/or antioxidant and we are going to take a look at that now. I am also going to list some of the foods which contain those nutrients.