Nutrition Concepts for a Healthy Life
The focus of this article is on nutrition – the appreciation of whose value I came to very late in life. All of my understanding of nutrition hitherto has really been culturally based. I ate and cooked the way my parents and grandparents cooked. I was raised in Iran, so Iraqi and Iranian cooking and spicing were very powerful influences for me. Also I live in the U.S. where the fast food culture and American way of eating have been a big influence.
Now I have come to understand that the nutritive, that is nourishing value of the traditional American diet is sorely lacking. There is so much obesity, and it is not because people eat too much good food, but because people eat too little of highly nutritious food, or prepare the food in a way that kills most of its nourishing potential.
I would like to tell you some of the things I have learned in my recent studies about nutrition. I owe a debt of gratitude to David Wolfe, Donna Gates and Dr. Bernard Jensen, all great teachers of nutrition for teaching me about nutrition, the superfoods, and for opening my eyes to the incredible healing potential in food, and in eating wisely as a road to health, longevity and beauty.
I began working on this article about six months ago, after I had immersed myself in reading nutrition books. I want to write from what I have retained of what I learned, rather than give you facts from my notes. Facts go in one ear and out the other. It is concepts, which we retain in memory and guide our eating choices that count.
My original intention was to list out the healthy foods that I learned about, tell you where they came from, and tell you why they were valuable nutritionally. All of that information would, of course, be forgotten a few minutes after you read it. If you are interested in learning about the nutritional value of individual foods, you can search the internet, and read nutrition books. Here are the important concepts I have retained and would like to share with you:
Nutrition Concept 1: Vegetables should be 80% of your diet; grains, meat and fruit should comprise the last 20%. This is an ideal that most of us will not meet, but the more we move in that direction, the better for our health.
Vegetables can be broken down into various categories:
the leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, arugula, parsley, and
the cruciferous vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts,
Nutrition Concept 2: Try to make your diet as alkaline as possible. Many people believe that when the alkaline acid balance moves more toward acid, we are more susceptible to disease. I found a helpful chart on alkaline acid foods. The top of the chart shows the foods that are most alkaline and the bottom of the chart shows the foods that are most acidic:
Green leafy vegetables
Alkaline fruits and flowers
Slightly acidic fruits and flowers
Nuts and Seeds
We need a healthy balance of all these foods, but the scale should be weighed toward the alkaline side for maximum health.
Nutrition Concept 3: Beware of calcifying foods. This is a subject that David Wolfe talks extensively about in his book Longevity Now. He says that much of disease and aging is due to over calcification of the body. Examples he gives are gout, cataracts, arthritis, osteoporosis. He recommends avoiding Calcium supplementation.
Nutrition Concept 4: Create a healthy internal environment by eating fermented foods. This is Donna Gates’ big contribution. She explains that prior to the invention of the supermarket in the early 1900’s, the way people prepared their food, so that they could have vegetables year round was to can and ferment them. The fermenting process causes the food to develop healthy bacteria or probiotics, which when eaten make the digestive tract very healthy.
She advocates eating Kifir, which is fermented raw milk, and fermenting other vegetables. As a caveat: some people do not process fermented foods well.
Nutrition Concept 5: Eat Super Foods, or highly nutritious foods. David Wolfe is the great advocate of Super Foods. Here is a list of some of the best known superfoods.
Bee Pollen, Royal jelly, honey
Hemp Seeds and Hemp Milk
Nutrition Concept 6: Eat Healthy Oils and vinegars, and beware of the oils you cook with.
Avocado oil and coconut oil are supposed to be the healthiest oil to cook with. When cooking with high temperatures use Refined Coconut Oil. Otherwise use Unrefined Coconut Oil.
Apple Cider Vinegar was a beloved food of Dr. Bernard Jensen, who attributed all manner of life giving properties to apple cider vinegar. There is a lot of information on the internet about its benefits.
Nutrition Concept 7: Choose Your Grains Wisely. Eat high protein grains, such as quinoa, buckwheat, black rice, instead of white rice, wheat, corn. Try to eat gluten free grains.
Nutrition Concept 8: Eat Healthy Nuts and a variety of nuts, because each has something different to offer nutritionally. The nuts I am referring to are:
Nutrition Concept 9: Eat Healthy Seeds.
Pumpkin Seeds (also considered a super food).
Nutrition Concept 10: Sprouting: When you sprout nuts and seeds, which are acidic in nature, you transform them into highly nutritious alkaline foods. You can see the alkalinization happening as you watch the little sprouts appear, followed by the green leaves.
Allow your beans to soak overnight before you cook them, so that you begin the sprouting process, and bring more life force and nutritional value to your beans.
Nutrition Concept 11: Eat Healthy Fruits. Choose low sugar fruits over high sugar fruits as much as you can. In other words, choose blueberries over watermelon. Eat fresh food rather than dried fruit, as dried fruit has six times the sugar content.
Nutrition Concept 12: Eat Healthy and Nutritious Foods to Maintain a Healthy Weight. When the food we eat lacks nutritional value, it doesn’t satisfy our hunger. Hence we eat more and more of it and put on wieght. Raise the quality of the food you eat, and add Super Foods to your diet, so that your nutritional needs are satisfied and you do not need to overeat. Of course, if you are trying to control your weight, it is helpful to keep tabs on your carbohydrate and calorie intake.
Nutrition Concept 13: Cook your food on the lowest flame level possible. Raw food advocates believe that cooking food destroys much of its nutritional value, so as much as possible eat your vegetables and food raw, but where not possible or desirable, cook your food on a low flame to cause as little damage as you can to the food.
Nutrition Concept 14: Do not microwave your food. Microwaving changes the chemical structure of the food and robs it of most of its nutritional value. In addition, it exposes you to the harmful EMF’s from the microwaving oven.
Nutrition Concept 15: Stop eating before you are completely full. Apply the 80/20 rule. Leave the table 80% full and 20% hungry.
Nutrition Concept 16: Do not eat too close to bedtime. Try to close tummy shop after dinner, so that you have a long period of fasting before breakfast.
Nutrition Concept 17: Eat organic foods rather than conventionally grown foods. We want to keep our internal environment or soil healthy and abundant with healthy bacteria. In order to do this the soil our food is grown on must be free of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and grown with love on nutritionally rich soil. Health begins with the ground our food is grown on. We are as healthy as the quality of the food we eat, so eat the highest quality food.
Nutrition Concept 18. Choose your sugars wisely:
Nutrition Concept 19: Make mushrooms a part of your diet. Mushrooms are high in Vitamin D.
Nutrition Concept 20: Remember what to avoid:
Artiicial food coloring
Artificial food flavoring
Carbonated beverages and diet sodas
Fast Food Restaurants
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Legal and Illegal drugs
Foods with nitrates and nitrites
Red Meat – excessive consumption.
Vegetables – conventionally grown
Nutrition Concept 21: Help yourself with nutritional supplements.
Nettles or Urtica Dioca
Many things have to fall into place for us to be healthy people. Nutrition is the most basic of all of our needs. If the nutrition is not good, no matter how fabulous your homeopath is, she will be limited in her ability to help you, because the building blocks of a healthy body are just not there. So please pay attention to your building blocks, and then add in homeopathy, exercise, meditation, good relationships, and a healthy environment, and you will enjoy good health during your time on the planet.
Here is a link to another article I wrote on healthy lifestyle:
Gates, Donna, The Body Ecology Guide to Growing Younger, N.Y., Hay House, 2011.
Gates, Donna, The Body Ecology Diet, N.Y., Hay House, 2011.
Jensen, Dr. Bernard, Foods that Heal, New Delhi, India, Health Harmony, 1988.
Wolfe, David, Eating for Beauty, Berkeley, CA, North Atlantic Books, 2009.
Wolfe, David, Longevity Now, Berkeley, CA, North Atlantic Books, 2013.
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Peace be with you,
Deborah Olenev CCH RSHom (NA)