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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Eating Clean is a Healthy Lifestyle

I need a new lifestyle. I need to eat clean, and healthy, that is. I know, I'm as guilty as others for not paying attention to what I put in to my stomach. But, it's never too late to try to change my eating habits. As long as I'm alive, I have to make necessary adjustments, and be open to new ideas and that includes eating right, eating clean, eating healthy if I want to enjoy and prolong my life. Yes, I have to be proactive, to take control of my life.

On my last blog post, I mentioned about veggies and smoothies which are food-related stuff that can help me to eat clean and healthy.

This morning, as I was reading our local community newspaper, I came across an article in Food & Beverage section. It's about school food that's now good food to be served in school cafeterias for students in public schools. This initiative meets the federal regulations that "require school cafeteria to provide more whole-wheat items, fresh fruits and vegetables, and reduce the amount of sodium in students' meal."

With the opening of school year 2012-2013, after Labor Day, September 3rd, schools are now ready to incorporate and introduce more vegetables, cooked and fresh salads, and more sources of carbohydrates and natural sugar, like brown rice and sweet potatoes, on the menu. That's good news, especially for a vast number of our students dealing with obesity or weight-control problem. I personally applaud the school administrators for their efforts to implement a healthy eating program, one that benefits everybody in school particularly those perceived or found/examined to be obese or overweight.

With this topic of food, I recalled something, an article that I cut from a local military newspaper a year ago. I don't know about you, folks and friends, but I have this tendency to keep or collect short articles in newspapers and magazines that, to me, are informational/informative and educational.

Here's a bird's eye view or summation of that "food" article that appeared in that military newspaper's Health & Fitness section. It mentions about the book, "Eating Clean for Dummies," co-authored by Dr. Jonathan Wright and Linda Larsen. Eating clean is a lifestyle, according to Dr. Wright. It is like cleaning up your life, he said. "Just as you'd like to live in a house free of clutter, you need to remove clutter from your diet. That means throwing out the junk foods, refined sugar, additives, preservatives, trans fat, white flour, artificial flavors and toxins that can be so prevalent in processed food."

Wright opined that eating clean does not include a complicated regimen that restricts entire categories of food. "With fewer chemicals to deal with, your body becomes better able to concentrate on keeping you healthy," he said.

The book recommends readers the following to observe this lifestyle eating clean: 1) Eat the foods made by nature, not man. 2) Plan to eat five or six meals and snacks throughout the day. 3) Avoid processed foods (in other words, anything in a box with a label). 4) Use healthy cooking methods. 5) Eat before you become super hungry. 6) Stop eating when you're satisfied, not stuffed. 7) Don't count your calories, fat grams or points. 8) Enjoy and appreciate your food's flavor.

Here are the ten foods we should always include in our eating clean shopping list:
1) Sweet potatoes---ranked as number one in nutrition by the Center for Science in the Public Interest because they're loaded with fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, potassium, magnesium, zinc, carotenoids, iron, and calcium. Sweet potatoes have more than twice the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin A, more than 40 percent of the RDA of vitamin C and four times the RDA for beta carotene. And each potato contains only about 13 calories.
2) Fish, i.e., wild salmon---Wild salmon contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, protein and vitamin D. It's also a great source of niacin, selenium and vitamins B12 and B6. Eating salmon, or other edible fish, also helps prevent heart diseases by inflammation. Scientists have found that omega-3 fatty acids can help slow the degenerative effects of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. These fatty acids can also help lower the risk of depression and aggressive behavior.
3) Olive oil---used in sauteing foods, in salad dressings and when frying foods. Most of the fatty acids in olive oil are omega-9 fatty acids, which are healthy monounsaturated fats that can help lower total blood cholesterol levels. Extra-virgin olive oil is made from the first pressing of olives, without heat, so it's high in vitamin E and phenols, both of which are powerful antioxidants.
4) Cruciferous vegetables---like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Kohl-rabi, cabbage, kale and bok choy. Many studies have found a link between eating these veggies and protecting the body from cancer. Phytochemicals in these foods, such as sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol and crambene help the enzymes in your body that destroy carcinogens before they can damage your cells. These vegetables are also high in antioxidants that help prevent oxidation and damage from free radicals.
5) Nuts, i.e., peanuts, pistachios---provide plenty of nutrients: a) Essential fatty acids and monounsaturated fats that help lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of blood clots, b) Vitamin E that helps reduce plaque development in your arteries, c) Fiber that lowers blood cholesterol, d) Plant sterols that lower blood cholesterol.
6) Avocados---rich and buttery, these are high in vitamins E, C, and K, potassium, oleic acid, folate, antioxidants and phytochemicals (which stop free radical damage). the fat is avocados is monounsaturated, which means it lowers blood cholesterol levels. Plus, avocados contain betasitosterol, which is a phytochemical that also reduces cholesterol.
7) Leafy greens---kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and escarole, among others,  are rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins C, K, E, and the B complex, potassium, and magnesium, and phytonutrients like lutein, quercetin, zeaxanthin and beta carotene.
8) Curry powder---a blend of several different spices that are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals. Turmeric, containing curcumin, is the most important spice in curry powder. It provides a yellow color and subtle rich flavor.
According to Wright, "people who consume a lot of turmeric-containing curry powder have lower cancer rates, lower rates of Alzheimer's disease, less inflammation and improved memory. Curcumin has also been shown to slow the progress of prostate cancer."
9) Berries, i.e, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries---sweet treats, delicious desserts by themselves, they're excellent source of vitamin C and contain phytochemicals that can help fight cancer. Blueberries especially wild blueberries, are one of the healthiest foods on Earth, with the highest antioxidant content of all fresh fruits.
10) Garlic and onions---pungent root vegetables that are good sources of allyl sulfides (phytochemicals that can help reduce the risk of cancer and calm inflammation in the body). They're also high in polyphenols and flavonoids which prevent oxidation and stop free radical damage. Garlic can help lower cholesterol levels, too.

(NOTE: Ideas and facts in this blog post are for informational purposes only. Before making any drastic dietary changes, always be sure to contact/consult your doctor or dietician. Thank you.)

There you go, folks and friends. It's never too late, as I've said, to do something for our ourselves, something that can help us to continue enjoying life and add years to our life. Let's start this healthy lifestyle of eating clean. If others have been doing it, why can't we? Let's, therefore, give it a try, shall we?

This is all for now. Until next time around, my friends. Take care and Have a good day, everyone! May our gracious God bless us all, always!-chris a. quilpa, 30August2012

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