Yesterday, I realized that I made it through January and February completely healthy! What a relief! I told The Husband that I attributed it to the Kale I eat almost daily. (Generally, we have been eating a lot healthier here in the home, with double the vegetables at meals, less processed sides, like pastas and rice, and have focused on fresh, whole foods.) However, I often get a good dose of vegetables with my fruit protein smoothie in the mornings, and I always love adding fresh kale.
One serving has 45 calories and 290 % of the RDA for Vitamin A, 190% of the RDA of Vitamin C and also 15% Calcium and 8% Iron. I think the Vitamin A and C are significant. That seems to be the only thing I have changed that I think has truly helped me fight off any infection this season. (Just to warn you, I'm going to go off on a little tangent in this post. If you can hang with me there's a great Kale Chip Recipe at the bottom!)
Dr Oz recently discussed the idea of Food as Medicine on his show. In this day and age, with all of the "fake" foods available and genetically engineered foods we are surrounded with, I think this is so important.
Dr. Oz's guest, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a renowned physician and nutritional researcher, has several bestselling books on warding off every kind of illness (from the common cold to cancer) by changing the way we eat. His newest book is The Super Immunity Diet. I have not read this book, so would love your thoughts if you have. The book is based on his belief that food is medicine.
Dr. Fuhrman believes that most people’s immune systems are functioning at only around 50%. He says that research shows that nutritionally dense foods containing antioxidants can double our immune systems so we can ward off diseases. He also says that as we age, toxins from the environment, diet, stress, hormonal shifts and toxin build ups in our bodies make it easier for us to get sick.
Dr. Fuhrman believes that his diet can help boost your immune system so that it’s functioning at 100% of its capacity. By eating nutrient-dense foods, you’ll scrub out and destroy toxins that cause illness, and help your body activate its own clean-up system to provide super immunity. You’ll renew your energy, lose weight, put an end to sick days and increase longevity. In fact, by creating a super immune system, Dr. Fuhrman believes men could live up to age 95, and women could live up to 100 years of age.
He has four tips that I will share in a nutshell here.
1. Base Your Meals on Phytonutrient-rich Foods
These are the foods with the most vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (organic plant compounds such as antioxidants, including beta carotene, vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin E), and the least amount of calories. Think superfoods like fruits and vegetables such as dark, leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, and berries. Dark leafy greens contain lymphocytes that aid digestion. Berries, for instance, contain anthocyanins and bioflavonoids that protect the heart and ward off cancer.
2. Eat Slow-Absorbing Foods
Avoid fast-absorbing foods such as saturated and trans fats, sugar and white flour. These are the foods that spike insulin, which promotes fat storage, weakens the immune system and increases your rick of cancer. Slow-absorbing foods are nuts, seeds and beans.
3. Use Meat As a Condiment
Keep your diet plant-based, cutting back meat consumption to 10% of the diet. Too many animal products in the diet raises the hormone IGF-1, which acts similar to insulin by promoting more fat storage and tissue growth, tied to cancer. Basically, your plate should be three/fourths vegetables and whole grains and the meat should be the “condiment” or flavor enhancer instead of as a main dish.
4. Add 10 More Chews to Every Bite
Chewing your food facilitates the release of important nutrients and releases powerful enzymes that protect our cells. The average person chews each bite of food as few as 15 times. Try adding 10 more chews to every bite. Studies show that people who chewed more often also consumed 10% less food.
These are only 4 steps to add to our diets. That is so doable and makes such good sense. We were born hunter and gatherers and our bodies were made to eat foods grown and produced on the land. Last time I checked, as I like to tell my boys, Cheetoh's don't grow in the ground!
check out: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dr-joel-fuhrman-super-immunity-diet
This food talk leads me to the decision that came yesterday in New York City to lift the ban on Super Sized Sugary Drinks. Remember I wrote about that earlier? My post was distributed on a couple of other outlets and boy did I get some feedback on that!
Anyway, in case you missed hearing this, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to limit the sales of sugary drinks to 16 ounces or less at restaurants, theaters, and food carts was dismissed by a state supreme court judge yesterday. It was said that this came as a total surprise as lots of businesses had already edited their menus and ordered smaller serving cups.
“Without a portion cap on sugary drinks, it will be harder to tackle an obesity epidemic that kills New Yorkers and causes misery for many thousands more who suffer from heart disease, diabetes, and other debilitating illnesses,” says Thomas Farley, M.D., M.P.H., the NYC Health Commissioner. “We are confident that we will win on appeal."
The legal reasoning was that the code would not apply to every food establishment. Some stores, like 7-Eleven stores, are not state regulated and the ban would be considered unconstitutional. It was also pointed out that the mayor seemed to be targeting soft drinks because milkshakes would have been exempt from the cap since they contain more than 50 percent milk.
In support of the ban, Christopher Ochner, Ph.D., research associate at New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center said, "Bloomberg's proposal wasn't about robbing people of their personal choice, but rather about how easy and accessible unhealthy foods are, which is really the issue that has caused the tremendous spike in obesity rates."
It is amazing how the portions have changed since the original green Coca-Cola bottle came on the market! Remember those? They are pretty hard to find these days. It was only 6.5 ounces in the 1920s. In fact, McDonald's has also increased its drink size by 457 percent. It was originally 7 ounces and is nowa whopping 32 ounces. "It's no coincidence that waistlines have grown at the same time and rate as portion sizes,” Ochner says. “This ban was really an attempt to back away from the toxic food environment.”
Regardless of any soda bans or lack thereof, the thing we need to remember, and impart on the next generation, is to drink or eat these things in moderation and choose smaller and healthier options. If the ban had been passed, the NYC Department of Health predicted that New Yorkers could have collectively prevented gaining 2,300,000 pounds in one year. Wow. That's a pretty awesome prediction. I know people who have only cut out the sugary drinks, nothing more, and watched weight fall off. I am not a cola drinker, which is good, but it also means this easy fix won't really help me!
Preheat Oven to 400 degrees. Remove the stems from a large bunch, and tear into large pieces, or use pre-cut kale from a bag. In a large bowl, toss the Kale with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scatter the Kale on top and roast until dry and crispy about 30 minutes. Toss with 1/2 tsp sea salt.