You must eat well for optimal health for as the old adage goes, "You are what you eat." We all know our body is made out of, and repaired by the foods we eat every day. Every once in a while, though, we could all use a refresher course in living a happy and healthy lifestyle. The list below is made from a variety of the grocery store's top 10 types of food that can set you on an easy and delicious path toward a healtier way of life.
1. Lean Animal Proteins – chicken breasts, ground turkey, pork chops, and lean cuts of red meat. If you want to get a little freaky – try emu, ground buffalo burgers, duck and venison. Grilling, roasting, and broiling are much better than frying, sautéing, and drowning things in gravy.
2. Lean Aquatic Proteins – Wild Caught Salmon (NO ATLANTIC SALMON), Dover sole, fresh water trout, sea scallops, red snapper and American tilapia are all high and protein, and contain essential Omega 3 fats.
3. Egg Whites – starting your day off with 4-6 egg whites turned into a scramble or an omelet is a great idea. I like to mix 5 egg whites with 1 whole Omega 3 egg and make spinach/chicken omelets garnished with a little cheese and Tabasco.
4. Protein Powders – whey protein isolate, cold filtered/micro filtered and ion exchanged are the most superior/affordable/and complete protein powders money can buy. If you are allergic to dairy items, or are a member of that vegetarian cult, than try mixing equal parts of brown rice protein powder with pea protein powder. Other protein powders worth checking out are beef protein powder, hemp seed protein powder, goat’s milk whey protein, and egg white protein powder. Avoid soy protein like the Bubonic plague.
5. Yams – The king of carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes and yams are an athlete’s best friend. They’re loaded with carotenes, vitamin A, and complex carbohydrates. Add a half of a large baked yam to dinner, and save the other half to blend into the next day’s morning protein shake.
6. Berries – Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, dark cherries, lignin berries and raspberries are loaded with anti-oxidants called polyphenols. These things help fight cancer, strengthen arteries and other vasculature, and tighten up connective tissue. Eating up to 3 servings per day of various berries would be wise. For dessert, often I recommend a small bowl of frozen dark cherries, available at Trader Joe’s, dusted with organic cocoa powder, and stevia. It’s like Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia without the big fat contents it brings.
7. Green Super Foods – these include the steamer greens like broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. These hot greens go best topped with flavored vinegars and hot sauces. Also, the Green Super Foods list includes the raw salad greens like butter lettuce, green leaf & red leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, spring greens mixes, etc. Green onions are loaded with a chemical called Quercetin. Us Naturopaths like to give Quercetin for allergies, inflammation, asthma, psoriasis, eczema, venous issues, and many more. Green Tea in all of its splendid forms also belongs on this list.
8. Red Super Foods – these include plums, pomegranates, all the berries mentioned above, strawberries, red cabbage, and blood oranges. These foods can be eaten in their own right or added as garnishments to spruce up a salad or yogurt. Pomegranate kernels and sliced strawberries top a spring green mix like nobody’s business. A plum balances out a handful of almonds for a healthy snack. And red cabbage leaves can be steamed and used a wrap alternative to white flour-based tortillas. I like to make a powerful antioxidant coleslaw…shred equal amounts of red cabbage and carrots in a food processor. Add just enough real mayonnaise (the kind that comes in a glass jar, no plastics please) to the shredded mix to lightly coat all of it, season with Anise seed powder, and sweeten to desired levels by adding Stevia little by little
9. Immune Super Foods
- Mushrooms – shiitake, reishi, maitake, chanterelle, portabella, and oyster mushrooms contain complex polysaccharide molecules that help condition the immune system to kick ass. Add them to soups, and stews, sauté them with some chopped onions to top a grilled lean cut of red meat. Or grill 2 large portabella mushrooms that are relatively the same size and use as a white flour hamburger bun alternative for a grilled turkey or salmon burger.
- Herbs – celery seed, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seed, cumin, dill weed and seed, garlic, ginger, mint leaves, oregano, paprika, thyme, and turmeric are all magnificent additions to a meal. All of these herbs have different tastes and properties, so be creative. A little goes a long way.
10. Miscellaneous Health Foods - brown rice, quinoa, all other fruit and vegetables not listed above, as well as real honey, black strap molasses, almonds and walnuts can be added to the diet in moderation.
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