Thursday, February 14, 2013

Battle of the Bulge: A New and Improved Pyramid

I didn't mean to become one of those annoying people advocating healthy eating. I didn't, really. It just kind of happened. 

I've always been a grains sort of gal. But I then noticed (about twenty years too late) that it is a lot of calories for too little food, even the whole wheat. So I began to restrict its intake, converting to vegetables, of which I could eat a lot more of. For instance, a regular meal for me is a sauteed onion, with all sorts of vegetables added in; mushrooms, broccoli, sweet potato, chickpeas, spinach, peas, parsnips, carrots, and so forth. The great thing about a meal like this is that I am stupendously stuffed and I feel fabulous, whereas a lunch of bread and butter can have me munching through an entire loaf

Since I started opting for more veggies over grains, I have noticed some distinct weight loss. 

I do watch Dr. Oz from time to time, and he featured Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who has rearranged the standard food pyramid
His position is that if we change the way we eat, not only will we lose weight, but we can stave off all sorts of disease. We can be medication-free. We can age yet keep our marbles intact. 

Vegetables, Fuhrman rhapsodizes, contain amazing components, which have ridiculous benefits, as well as being multi-taskers. For instance, the anti-cancer nutrients are also fat annihilators. 

Since I already eat somewhat (okay, just fractionally) what he recommends, I am heartily drinking the Kool-Aid (metaphorically. Please don't drink Kool-Aid.) 

As he presents in this video, we can take control of our health when we "Eat to Live," which is the name of his book (I have not read it).

Since he claims his plan will prevent the common cold, and I have been sneezing this past week, I am apparently not doing something right. But I am not one to practice extremes; small changes can have great benefits. 

To begin, utilize G-BOMBS, his acronym for certain superfoods. 

Greens: I'll be honest, I am not a salad person. But broccoli, cabbage, spinach, oh my! Frozen greenery is very versatile; it can be chucked into a soup or sauteed with a little garlic powder for some easy and low calorie yumminess. 

Beans: No problem, we eat chulent, right? Time for our Jewish stew to get a makeover. No kishkeh. Sorry. Instead of the fatty chulent meat, try turkey instead. Consider additions like sweet potato (that orange hue makes it a nutrient powerhouse) and lentils. Add more onions for more flavor, since onions are . . . 

Onions: . . . are aaaaaawesome. Besides for making everything delicious, they are disease-killers. Garlic is also included, and these two make a beautiful friendship. Press the garlic clove beneath the flat of a wide-bladed knife (like a Santoku) before mincing to squeeze out the most flavor. 

Mushrooms: Who knew a fungus could give us so much? Some claim that they are great replacements for meat. I could never believe the amount of exotic taste these provide to my lazy risotto: saute with onions and garlic, add water and brown rice, stir occasionally for an hour or so, season with black pepper.

Berries: My household can no longer function if there are no blueberries. These go on morning oat bran, or added to a yogurt. The trick is with beneficial produce is that the deeper the hue, the more magical the nutrients. Strawberries are horribly abused as chemical compounds masquerading as its natural taste; they deserve to be eaten whole, not as gelatinous syrup.

Seeds: My morning cereal is usually sprinkled with ground flax seed (ground as opposed to whole is easier for the body to absorb), or I will cook my oat bran with a spoonful of chia seeds. They don't have overpowering taste, and add protein to keep one fuller for longer. Just sprinkle a little in with a variety of cooked dishes; no one will notice. Really.

I am certainly not going to take on the full plan anytime soon, but one doesn't have to go that far to consume all sorts of nutritional benefits.  

I think have been annoying enough for one day, but the next time in the supermarket, give the produce section some deeper consideration. 


tesyaa said...

Unfortunately, I saw this post right after eating half a bag of Hershey's Kisses that were put out at work in honor of Valentine's Day :(

Anonymous said...

mushrooms: my husband is of former soviet union extract, so he is a HUGE fan of mushrooms. i slice them and put them in a baking dish, then toss with olive oil, salt, and aleppo peppers. if you want a little bite, add some balsamic vinegar [totally unnecessary]. cook down until they're a deep, dark chestnut brown. i could eat them totally plain, but they're great over polenta or on a baked sweet potato.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Don't worry Tesyaa. Chocolate has a significant protective effect against heart disease as well as some properties as an aphrodisiac.
I love people who watch Dr Oz and try to learn things from him. Those people give me some of my best business.

Bottom line: the more unprocessed, uncooked fruits, vegetable and bran in your diet and the less fat and processed sugar, the better. Also watch portion size and exercise regularly.
So simple no one would put me on TV to say it.

Princess Lea said...

Tesyaa: I would not have been able to resist either. Just one tip I found that works is that eat lunch first; that way, the sugar doesn't hit your bloodstream first thing. If there is something in there first, it can be metabolized better. But how can one wait until lunch with a bowl of kisses looking at them? Sigh.

Gelt: 'Shrooms are a soviet thing? Who knew? It sounds so delish!

MGI: Only dark chocolate, MGI, only dark chocolate. No benefits in milk chocolate whatsoever.

Ha ha, I also came to that conclusion without Dr. F. After all, I was doing it already, wasn't I? But his idea of changing the food pyramid by prioritizing veggies over grains was certainly an idea I pounced on with alacrity.

Anonymous said...

'shrooms should be an EVERYONE thing, but i have to say - the folk from whom i've learned the most about mushrooms [read: how to treat them respectfully and bring out the best in them] have all been linked in some way to eastern europe/former soviet countries. my favorite rich winter dinner right now is gluten-free pasta with sour cream mushrooms, showered in shredded arugula. if i weren't already prepped for shabbos, i'd make it right now, actually. :)

Princess Lea said...

Oooooooh, nummy nummy.