Healthy Food Choices

Whole Foods, High Fiber, Low Fat

“Fruit and Vegetable Basket” by muammerokumus (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It is recommended that we eat 9-11 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and one cup is equal to one serving size so its really easy to . A plant based diet is suffient in all nutrients and minerals that our bodies require. Meats and fish should be only 1/4 of the meal and treated more like a delicacy.

Fat Facts

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Fat is a necessary nutrient, it makes up our cell membranes. There are two types of fats, Healthy (unsaturated) and Unhealthy (saturated). The unhealthy fats clog arteries and lead to heart disease, which is the #1 killer in America. Monounsaturated fats are the healthiest and can be eaten daily. They are found in foods such as avocados, almonds, olives/olive oil, peanuts, seeds, and other nuts. Walnuts also contain healthy fats and are a great source of Omega 3. Polyunsaturated fats are decent but should be eaten only a few times a week. These include fish such as salmon, sardines, and trout, as well as wild meats and other vegetable oils.

“Properly Ripened Avocado” by Amir Yalon (CC BY 2.0)

Unhealthy fats are fats that are saturated and should only be consumed sparingly, if at all. They are found in foods such as coconut oil, butter, fish/shellfish that are high in cholesterol, whole milk, beef, farmed meats such as chicken and pork, cheese, eggs, palm oil/palm kernal oil. Palm oil is especially bad becuase it is the #1 cause of deforestation in Indonesia, it is a highly saturated fat, highly processed, and it is found in food, packaging, and cosmetics. Trans-fats are another fat that should be avoided. It is the most unhealthy kind of fat, it is a highly processed product, completely man-made and the body is unable to recognize it. This is seen in hydrogenated oils, margerine, and shortening.

“Illegal Drain on Palm Oil Plantation”
by Shining Hope Foundation (CC BY 2.0)

Cholesterol is a compound that is found in animal products and it is very similar to fats in that clogs arteries. This type of cholesterol is called LDL and it is a low-density glycoprotein in the animals products that we consume. The cholesterol that our bodies make is called HDL, high-density glycoprotein, and it is good for our arteries. To increase the bodies HDL production, people can eat more omega 3 (walnuts), legumes, and mono-unsaturated fats.

Chronic Preventable Diseases

Diseases that arise due to diet and lifestyle. There is hope though, they are reversible.

Unhealthy fats and the consumption of LDL cholesterol causes plaque build up in the arteries which leads high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. HDL produced by the body actually removes this build up and this prevents chronic preventable diseases. The scary truth is that advanced heart disease patients are all slowly dying.

Dr. Dean Ornish recommends that exercise, diet, stress reduction, and love/sociality will improve quality of life and ease pain. He also recommends that these patients eat a whole grain, high fiber, very low fat diet. The plant based diet that he taught his patients was rich in vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans. He also included meditation in his program. The results were very impressive, with many of the patients reversing their heart disease without the need for drugs or surgery.

Other great doctors who have switched to preventative care through healthy eating, plant based diets, and exercise are Dr. Barnard, Dr. Klaper, and Dr. Fuhrman.

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