Living a Healthy Life by Making Conscious Food Choices by Promita Deb

PromitaJune

I do not like the ‘diet’ as it has many negative connotations in the society we live in today. I do like the world lifestyle. In this article, I have taken information from a local doctor, Dr. Cordell Watson, whose health plan almost exactly aligns with my food lifestyle, which I have modified as I saw fit.

Over the years, I realize that food is a very sensitive topic to many. I have found that from my experience, becoming vegetarian or vegan can be very isolating.  I am passionate about living an ethical life, which includes saving the lives of the beautiful creatures that inhabit the world we live in. I am grateful to my husband, who supports my lifestyle by doing the same as I do, but the truth is, not many people feel this way. We live in society that views eating animals and animal products as being the norm, and to speak and act against this takes courage and compassion. That said, here is the food plan below (which I myself am trying to follow, it will take time and dedication, as with anything),

The PLAN by Dr Cordell

Following a predominately plant based nutrition plan can help you to lose weight and improve your health. I encourage you to implement a program I call “the PLAN” which emphasizes the following foods:

P – Plants/vegetables, L – Legumes/beans, A – All fruit, N – Nuts/seeds

Here are the PLAN guidelines:

  •  Try drinking a large fruit smoothie or juicing. Smoothies are an excellent way to increase your daily intake of fruit. The reason we want to eat as much fruit as possible is that it is the most hydrating and easily digestible matter we can eat! Fruit produces an alkalizing effect in the body, whereas meats and animal products produce an acidic environment in the stomach. This is what Dr Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for in 1931:

“Cancerous tissues are acidic, whereas healthy tissues are alkaline”

  •  A sample recipe would be 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit, 1 ripe medium or large banana and 1 cup of unsweetened almond, soy, or flaxseed milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D. You can even use 1 cup of water instead of milk if you prefer. If you like thicker smoothies, add a few ice cubes, then blend it up and enjoy! Blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears, oranges, mango, and pineapple are all excellent when blended into a smoothie. Try adding a handful or two of raw dark, leafy greens such as spinach or kale to your smoothie for extra nutrients. I do not recommend blending fruit with vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower as the combination will cause a lot of bloating and gas.  Stay away from prepackaged powdered/frozen smoothie/energy drink preparations, energy drinks, or coffee. Only eat what comes from the ground.
  • Eat a wide variety of fresh, organic, fruit each day. Avoid dried fruit such as raisins and prunes since the sugar is concentrated and contain sulfur.
  •  Eat very large, colorful salads. Society’s view of salad is a dinky little unappetizing serving that is meant to be a side dish in my opinion. This could not be farther from the truth. The best part is you get to eat as much as you want as vegetables are so low in calories compared to meats! Choose darker greens such as spinach, arugula, red leaf lettuce, or romaine instead of iceberg lettuce. It’s best to make your own dressing, but if not, try to find a low fat, low sugar salad dressing you enjoy and try dipping your fork between bites instead of pouring the dressing over the salad – the goal is to use as little as possible. Try adding fresh strawberries, mandarin oranges and other fruit as well as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and red/yellow/orange peppers – make your salad look like a RAINBOW! Add slivered almonds and raw seeds for texture and flavor. Try to limit avocados to ½ an avocado a day until you have reached your goal weight.

Salad

  • Eat a very large serving of green vegetables each day, especially dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, watercress, chard, red leaf lettuce, collards, mustard greens, and arugula. Dark leafy greens are one of the healthiest foods you can eat on a daily basis. Try sautéing them with garlic, onions, and leeks, and be sure to eat a wide variety. Also, increase your intake of cancer fighting cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, bok choy, cauliflower, rutabaga, and turnip greens. Dark greens, except for spinach and chard are also an excellent source of calcium so be sure to eat dark, leafy greens every day!

 

  • Eat a variety of legumes and beans and cooked mushrooms every day. Legumes and beans are an excellent source of protein. Try adding chickpeas, white beans, or shelled edamame to your salads. If you don’t typically eat beans, start by eating 3-4 tablespoons a day and gradually increase your intake to at least ½ a cup to 1 cup of beans a day. If you are using canned beans, be sure to rinse them thoroughly with water since they are often packaged with salt. Also, try minimally processed tofu, tempeh, and Portobella mushrooms as a fantastic meat substitute. Avoid raw mushrooms since they contain agaratine, a natural toxin that is destroyed by cooking them. Monterey Mushrooms are one of the best, non-animal sources of vitamin D. Unless you are a mushroom expert, please do not eat mushrooms you find in nature as they may be poisonous. I recommend eating tofu no more than twice a week. Avoid eating meatless tofu alternatives such as soy burgers and tofudogs – they are often loaded with salt and artificial ingredients

 

  • Avoid all processed foods such as granola, instant oatmeal, protein bars, fig newtons, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, chips, crackers, and cookies. It is a good general rule to avoid any non-vegetable food that is white such as sugar, white flour, white pasta and white rice. Focus on eating whole grains such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa and complex carbohydrates such as yams and sweet potatoes. For breads, look for products that specify whole flours and opt for sprouted-grain, oat-bran, or 100 percent whole wheat bread. Sample brands include La Tortilla Factory/Sonoma for excellent low carbohydrate tortillas, Alvarado Street Bakery and Food for Life available at Lassens, Trader Joes, and Whole foods.

 

  • I recommend you stop eating all animal and animal products. Yes, this is probably the most challenging tip for most people. This includes all products made with cow’s milk including cheese, butter, milk chocolate, ice cream and dairy-based yogurt including frozen yogurt. This includes all meat including eggs, chicken, beef, pork, turkey, wild game, fish and seafood. A cow’s milk is meant to nourish a baby calf to a 1,660 lb creature. Humans are the only mammals that drink the milk of another creature. Cows are mistreated gravely due to the profits the dairy industry tries to make. In addition, cow milk contains puss, blood, and hormones that we should not be consuming. Don’t be afraid to take a stand as to what you think is right. Two profound quotes follow:

think

watch

 

  • Society has brainwashed us into thinking we need to eat meat for our protein needs. This is not true. Our protein needs are far less than you think. If you are concerned about not consuming enough protein and are using protein powder supplements, choose plant based protein powders such as pea, brown rice, or hemp instead of whey or soy. You can add it to your breakfast smoothie each morning. Keep in mind that lentils and beans, oats, quinoa, flaxseed, and nuts are all excellent sources of protein. Limit nut and oil intake as they contain a high amount of fats.

 

  • Avoid all alcohol, sodas, and fruit juices, including diet versions. Minimize or eliminate all caffeine if possible. Caffeine is a stimulant that can affect your blood sugar, increase your appetite, cause headaches, and also interfere with deep sleep. In addition, coffee is a diuretic which dehydrates our bodies-exactly what we do not want! Instead, drink plenty of water and non-caffeinated teas or choose water-processed decaffeinated coffee. Try drinking a large amount of lemon water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to improve digestion and regularity of bowel movements. Drink tons of water throughout the day! Try to limit drinking water during meals as it might dilute the acids in your stomach for digestion.

 

  • Avoid all artificial sweeteners and low fat/fat free foods. Avoid all products containing high fructose corn syrup. Minimize your intake of natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar. Also limit your daily use of salad dressings and sauces and choose products you enjoy with the lowest amount of calories, sugar, and fat.

 

  • Avoid fried foods as frying increases calories and fat. Do not use any oils if you are not at your goal health/weight status. All oils are 100% concentrated fat. If you must use oil, restrict your use of oils to no more than 1 teaspoon a day. Try water sautéing, steaming, or microwaving vegetables instead. If you must use oil, use the highest quality oil you can buy. Consider trying extra virgin Coconut oil or grapeseed oil for sautéing. Extra virgin olive oil can be used for sauces, dips, and dressings but I do not recommend it for sautéing or frying due to its low burning point.

 

  • Focus each day on the nutritional quality of the food you are eating instead of on calories and portions. The foods encouraged in the PLAN are all highly nutritious and lower in calories compared to dairy and animal products. If you are hungry during the day, don’t be afraid to eat something as long as it is a food consistent with the PLAN.

 

  • I encourage you to chew your food thoroughly and slowly and increase the quantity of legumes/beans you eat each day to help minimize gas, cramping and bloating as your body adjusts to the PLAN. The saliva in your mouth is meant to help break down the food in your stomach. If it is not coated properly, this will not happen efficiently. Also, eating quickly forces more air into the mouth, which can lead to bloating.

If you are currently taking prescription medication, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or other chronic medical problems, do not begin this program without first discussing it with your personal physician. If you are taking prescription medications, work closely with your physician as you lose weight and your health improves to possibly reduce or even stop taking these medications.

Keep in mind, I am not a health expert, but I can only say what is working for me. Remember, the purpose of food is to provide nutrition in our bodies. Once you understand this, you will be surprised how much more you can appreciate your food lifestyle. Most importantly, it is important that we pass this knowledge on to anyone that can benefit from it. Here’s to good health!

 

 

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