Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?

As much as I hate it, and as much as my ADHD adult mind would love to wander off on yet some other tempting tangent or two, especially during this holiday season of overeating and overcooking and overbaking…

We’re still faced with the fact that my husband has just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and that we both need to start eating better.

This has actually become a top priority, if not THE top priority, in our lives right now.

And I have made planning our meals around the Raw Foods Pyramid my plan on attack.

Mainly I am doing this so that I won’t have to cook…no, wait…that’s so not true…

But it is true that the real reason I use huge recyclable cloth bags when shopping is so that I can safely cram more into each bag and, as a result, make fewer trips from my car into the house…not to save the environment.

My pursuit of a “raw foods diet” so far has involved learning to eat more unprocessed, organic, and uncooked foods….foods such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits, sprouted grains, and beans—none of which can have been heated above a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 104 and 118 degrees.

I have also been becoming more aware of which foods have been refined, pasteurized, homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.

I have been learning about the raw foods dfiet by starting at the base of the Pyramid—those low calorie, nutrient dense foods that we should probably all eat more of in the first place and slowly working my way to the higher-calorie, less nutritious foods at the top of the pyramid, those foods that we should eat very little of, if any at all.

The three bottom tiers of the Raw Foods pyramid—water, leafy greens, and fruits and vegetables—are grouped together in the one category called “Production Foods.”

Let’s take a look at what we’ve learned so far…

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Beginning with Breakfast, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Breakfast 101

So what exactly SHOULD we eat for breakfast, assuming that we simply accept the reasons that we should eat breakfast in the first place.

Based on what I have talked about four, there are three posts that already talk about specific things that you should be eating each day and suggest ways to make sure that you accomplish that goal.

These previous posts are…

  • The introduction to the Raw Foods Diet
  • The book review of Eating for Beauty
  • Information about continental breakfasts

So looking back on this overload of information and thinking only about what I should be putting on my plate, let’s make a breakfast plan—just in time for back to school and having to actually wake up and get the kids out the door every single morning.

Now grouping items mainly according to the Raw Foods Pyramid, let’s make a menu plan and a grocery list for what to have on hand to help get the day off to a great start.

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1. Production Foods

  • Water
  • Leafy Greens
  • Fruits and Vegetables…As far as fruits and vegetables are concerned, the main foods that will help contribute to your diet goals are…
  • Brightly colored fruits and vegetables…Most brightly-colored fruits and vegetables—like bright orange, yellow, red and green foods—contain high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A. These foods include carrots, pumpkin, mango and spinach.
  • Kiwi and citrus…Both kiwi and citrus are excellent sources of the vitamin C needed to make the collagen that gives skin support and shape. The RDA for vitamin C is…
    90 mg/day in men, 75 mg/daily for women older than 18

2. Proteins and Amino Acids…Proteins, such as keratin, collagen and elastin, are the building blocks of skin, hair and nails…Women need about 46 grams of protein per day…men, 56 grams.

  • Legumes and Sprouts
  • Nuts and Seeds…Nuts are packed with essential fats, vitamin E and B vitamins. A healthy daily intake of nuts is 30g (a small handful) or approximately: 20 almonds. 15 cashews. 20 hazelnuts. 15 macadamias. 15 pecans. 2 tablespoons of pine nuts. 30 pistachio kernels. 9 walnut kernels.

3. Medicinal Foods

  • Herbs, Microgreens, and Juicing Grasses
  • Seaweed and Nutritional Yeast

4. Other Non-Pyramid Related Things to Consider

  • High iron content…A diet low in iron can make you feel tired and have little or no energy. The RDA for iron is…13.7–15.1 mg/day in children aged 2–11 years…
    16.3 mg/day in children and teens aged 12–19 years…19.3–20.5 mg/day in men
    17.0–18.9 mg/day in women older than 19.
  • Whole grains…As far as whole grains are considered, think about adding the following to your breakfast rotation…
  • Muesli…Muesli and other whole grains boost your intake of essential fats, B vitamins and the potent antioxidants. it is recommended that adults eat six ounces of grains each day.
  • Seafood and Fish…Fish is a good source of the omega-3 fatty acids that the heart needs to prevent cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5oz servings of fish per week.

So keep reading in the days ahead as I posts ideas on what to plan and serve for breakfast in this “What’s Next” section…

Getting Healthy

Facing the Facts and Fiction on Fats

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Despite the common misconception that all fat is bad for you and that fat should be eliminated completely our of our diets, our bodies actually require fat in order to stay healthy.

Fat is actually an important nutrient in a healthy diet, just like protein and carbohydrates.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids—the healthy  fats—can help reduce the risk of getting heart disease, the most common cause of death in Western countries today, and also lower both your cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

 

Actually when choosing diet to keep or ditch in our diets, not only must we ask “How much fat does a particular food item contain,” but also “What kind of fat does this food item contain?” 

Rather than adopting a low-fat diet, it’s more important to focus on limiting harmful “bad” fats and eating more beneficial “good” fats. This is because “bad” fats increase your risk of certain diseases…while “good” fats can protect your brain and heart health, help you manage your mood, help you stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, boost your energy and well-being, help you manage your weight, lower your cholesterol levels, and help your body absorb vitamins.

There are four different types of fat…

  1. Trans fatty acid
  2. Saturated fats
  3. Unsaturated fats 
  4. Omega-3

The first two types of fat—trans fatty acids and saturated fats—are the dangerous type of fat you don’t want in your diet because these fats increase your levels of LDL while decreasing your levels of HDL (more on this to come later), cause you to gain weight, clog your arteries, and affect your health in many other ways also.

  • Good sources of the “good” types of fat that you should think about incorporating into your diet include
  • Avocados
  • Butter—grass-fed butter, ghee (clarified butter).
  • Fatty fish—salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines
  • Fish oil
  • Flax
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Oils…olive, canola, peanut, cold-pressed coconut, sesame, soybean and safflower
  • Olives
  • Peanut butter
  • Seeds—sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu
  • Walnuts

The last two types of fat—unsaturated fats and Omega-3—can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, lower your levels of LDL while increasing your levels of HDL, prevent abnormal heart rhythms, lower triglycerides associated with heart disease and fight inflammation, lower blood pressure, prevent hardening of the arteries. These fats may also help to make you feel more satisfied after a meal, reducing hunger and thus promoting weight loss.

Sources of these “bad” fats that you should eliminate from your diet include…

  • Anything containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • Butter
  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Fried foods
  • Ice cream
  • Packaged snack foods—crackers, microwave popcorn, chips
  • Red meat
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Whole-fat dairy products

More tips for adding more healthy fats to your diet

  • Aim for a diet rich in a variety of vegetables, fruit, nuts, and beans
  • Consume dairy products in moderation
  • Eat fried or processed meals only occasionally
  • Eat more avocados—such as avocado sandwiches, salads, and guacamole
  • Eat more nuts—such as adding ing nuts to vegetable dishes, using them instead of breadcrumbs on chicken or fish, or making your own trail mix
  • Eat more olives—tapenade, dips
  • Eat two or more servings of fatty fish each week
  • Learn more about following a “Mediterranean diet”
  • Limit how much red meat you put on the menu
  • Make your own salad dressings
  • Substitute beans, nuts, poultry, and fish for the red meat that you just crossed off your grocery list
  • Switch from whole milk dairy to lower fat versions.
  • Use canola oil for baking
  • Use olive oil for stovetop cooking…rather than butter, stick margarine, or lard