NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS HEALTHY FEELS.
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Excellent overview of the power of Spirulina. Add to smoothies!
ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES IN YOUR FOOD CHOICES. MAKE SURE YOU'RE NOT ALLERGIC TO FISH OR ANY OF THE FOODS MENTIONED IN THIS BLOG. BE AWARE THAT CERTAIN FOODS CAN AND WILL INTERFERE WITH YOUR MEDICAL TREATMENT. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR AND PHARMACIST ABOUT ALL POSSIBLE DRUG AND FOOD INTERACTIONS AND THEIR SIDE EFFECTS.
WHAT ARE SUPER FOODS?
SUPER FOODS are the foods many nutritionists recognize as having the best reputations for nutrition and ease of digestion. By their nature, SUPER FOODS have a nourishing, calming and soothing effect. SUPER FOODS in the plant family add vital MICRONUTRIENTS to the digestive process, leaving behind a healthy intestinal flora, also known as the good gut bacteria necessary for the immune system to manage inflammation caused by consuming processed foods. The more (organic) Super Foods I include in my daily energy consumption, the better my whole body seems to operate.
And my reward? I'm going to say it... there is nothing like a nice, daily, smooth as a yogurt machine, healthy bowel movement. Remember, it wasn't always like that for me. It took me a long time to learn about my body. I come from a meat and potatoes background: Cereal, eggs, bacon, hamburgers and fries, grilled steaks and potatoes, maybe a green bean or some iceberg lettuce with bottled dressing, Pizza and Pasta, all the tasty stuff. Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less? I was SO THERE. Change didn't come easy. It took me 20 years...
In the beginning stages after my IBD diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis, I didn't know there was so much more to possible food choices, choices that would be better for my condition. I had to open myself to new taste adventures.
I had to be open to the change so the change could open me. It wasn't easy getting used to having fish and some of these Super Foods on a regular basis. Some of them had a definite 'yuck' factor when I was growing up. Spinach and broccoli and Brussels sprouts? Uh, no thanks. Pass the mashed potatoes and gravy please. Ok, I'll put some peas in there and mix it up.
Here are the Super Foods I try to eat. Maybe not all of them, maybe some on occasion, some not at all. But if I eat from the list, pick and choose what I really like, I feel I'm doing my body good. Making a list of these items makes it a no-brainer when I get to the market.
I always buy wild caught fish. Farmed fishes are not the same as wild caught. There are lots of fish farms overseas and, quite frankly, I'm not clear about the way farmed fish are fed, how much room they have to swim around, if they've been treated with antibiotics, what kind of feed they're getting, and if they've been exposed to toxins or disease while being raised.
As a consequence, I only go for the wild caught fishes. I always ask my butcher about their recommendations, too.
Here are some of the fish with the best reputations. I got this list from AARP THE MAGAZINE / AARP.ORG. They had an article on nutrition written by Jessica Girdwain.
You can see, there's a lot to choose from.
Wild Caught: Salmon - Copper River Salmon (when in season) - Tuna (canned, dolphin-free label) - Rainbow Trout - Pollock - Catfish - Canned Sardines - Mackerel - and Barramundi.
All these fish are rich in EFA's, essential fatty acids, among them is probably the best known: Omega 3. Remember, we cannot synthesize EFA's on our own, we must consume EFA's from food sources. I take the word to heart: Essential, as in, gotta have.
SUPER FRUITS and VEGGIES -
Dried Plums (prunes)
COOKING WITH SPICES
A COUNT-DOWN OF THE TOP TEN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SPICES - Gourmet Italian Spice, Thyme, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, Apple Pie Spice and Ginger, Jacaican All-Spice, Cinnamon, Cloves, and, the number one anti-inflammatory spice....Turmeric.
There are abundant choices and variety all season, all year long. I've had to learn to cook a little bit. The great thing about fish is that you can use a similar recipe on each kind of fish you like. Soft, flakey goodness, every mouthful, soft and tender and delicious. Smooth and easy.
As much as possible, I go organic with all food items. Naturally, it's more difficult when eating out as the possibility of cross contamination in a high volume cooking environment, unless it's exclusively organic. I eat more plants than meat, a lot more plants. And I eat plants with my meat proteing. And the meat I buy is either cut, whole or ground free-range organic poultry, ground organic turkey and organic, grass-fed beef. When I buy my meat this way, I feel more confident that antibiotics, hormones, and corn-fed nonsense is not part of the life history of what I'm consuming. Here are the foods I eat, by category. If you see an asterisk after an item ( * ), it has been reported by others as an allergen/exacerbator.
MY ORGANIC PROTEIN SOURCES
ORGANIC EGGS* - I buy organic, large or extra large eggs. I eat the whole egg, one or two at a time, just as our ancestors did. Versatile preparation.
WILD CAUGHT FISH - Salmon (Copper River Salmon, when in season), sodium-free Yellowfin, albacore or chunky Tuna, Dover Sole, and Tilapia. All mild.
LEAN, ORGANIC, GRASS-FED, PASTURE-RAISED BEEF. Taste: Delicious. No more than 4-5 ounces at a sitting. A big dose of quality Omega 3's, too! Figure that!
ORGANIC VEGETARIAN FED FREE-RANGE POULTRY I prefer chicken and turkey. NATURADE SOY-FREE VEG PROTEIN BOOSTER in my Vegetable-Fruit-Nut Smoothies. The product I use is Naturade's Soy Free Veg Protein Booster
NUTS AND SEEDS * My probiotics, my good gut bacteria, love my daily consumption of nuts and seeds. Cholesterol free, good fats, quality plant protein. All in a little nut. And if you are what you eat, then I'm thoroughly nuts about nuts.
I eat the following combinations of nuts throughout the day. A little handful keeps the munchies away. This habit also allows me to control my blood sugar during the whole day. No spiking allowed. I fear not the fat because these nuts provide me with essential fats, fats that my body needs but doesn't produce on its own, fats that all my functions need to function. I am not fat-free. But the fats I consume have a good reputation. Fish provides those good fats, too. We'll get to fish in a moment, but they call fish brain food because the essential fatty acids provided by fish are necessary for healthy brain function. If your body doesn't produce something, like Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) or Vitamin C for example, and yet your body needs this in order to run like a smooth machine, where you gonna go? Of course, you're going to go to the sources so your body is happy. Nuts and fish and organic meat protein can be trusted sources.
Peanuts (really not a nut; technically a legume)(Allergen Alert: You probably already know if you're allergic)
Other seeds I eat: Hemp seeds (probably the perfect food), Chia Seeds (excellent fiber and health and gut benefits) and Flax Seeds (healthy fat). I add the seeds mentioned to salads, tuna, baked or grilled fish, veggies, greek yogurt, and I add a bunch to my peanut and almond nut butters for additional nutrition.
I eat all my fruit as a meal or snack all by itself itself. I always add a variety of nuts and seeds to sliced bananas. I eat the whole fruit and make my own smoothies with the whole fruit.
Papaya - great for smooth digestion Bananas - probiotics, my good bacteria, love bananas. I will often have one or two a day.
Blueberries - Powerful Antioxidant reputation.
Antioxident Apples - gentle fibre, a sweet treat.
Red and Black Berries
Watermelon and all melons
Lemons and Limes, sparingly
DAIRY - I MAKE ONE EXCEPTION
Fermented foods, like yogurt and kefir, are food choices of mine. They come pre-packed with valuable probiotics, the good bacteria, for my gut. I don't overdo it, but I do enjoy a few dollops of Trader Joe's Organic, plain, Greek or fat-free yogurt as well as their Strawberry Kefir. I'll often place those dollops on bananas along with some nuts, cacao powder
I'll add it to my smoothies and I find it goes great with all fruit. I'll add a sprinkle of cinnamon and drizzle some honey on top of that. I will then top everything off with shavings of Trader Joe's 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate. The higher the cacao content, the better. Cacao is pronounced like the word "Kapow!" with the emphasis on the second syllable. I consume maybe an ounce of dark chocolate a day, so it takes me about two weeks to consume the huge, 17oz bar. That's over a pound of dark chocolate, about a half a pound a week. I could never feel deprived of chocolate.
And not only do I get my sweet tooth satisfied, my probiotics love the cacao content in dark chocolate, too. I've tried bars with up to 85% cacao, and I like the Trader Joe's 72% Dark Chocolate the best.
SUGAR DO'S AND DON'T'S
When I have a sugary treat or some fruit, I want to enjoy it. Getting a stomach ache and taking antacids to feel better doesn't make me feel better. As a consequence, I never combine fruit with beef or poultry protein. A little mango salsa might be the exception as a condiment that can be ok because the portion is small. With fish, because fish is a quick protein to digest, you can get away with a fruit condiment and not suffer any consequences. But when you have a big meat protein meal and polish it off with coffee with sugar and cream and a slice of pie with ice cream or some chocolate lava cake, you're asking for the double whammy. And if you've been nursing that fruity alcohol drink that you can drink all night long, well a special treat is in store for you.
Why? Because a meat meal takes longer to digest than (fruit) sugar and when the two are conbined, usually the sweets are last to enter the tummy, the result is fermentation, gas and flatulence. It would actually be better if dessert and all the sugary stuff was eaten first. That way, the quicker digesting sugar would have a headstart and not get plugged up by all that protein.
However, that's not what we like to do. We like to follow a nice, rich, salty, fatty meal, with s sugary dessert and drink. It's so much nicer to have a sweet taste in your mouth at the end of a delicious meal. Over and over, we pay for that in intestinal discomfort.
And don't tell me I can take an antacid or some other OTC (Over the Counter) pill or tablet for that. Why do you think they come with a two-week warning?
Because they're for emergencies only, not for everyday use. They're just an over the counter, stomach acid inhibitor. Antacids are not good for my condition except immediate relief once in a while. Like the ad says, don't get heartburn in the first place. Over time, it would only make me worse.
I tell you though, it does take all the fun out of gorging myself. I once ate like eight slices of cheesecake. I was so full, I nearly exploded. I was driving to Los Angeles from San Diego. My stomach kept honking the horn. My stomach was tight as a drum, it was so full. It was before I was diagnosed with UC.
These are the real superstars and heroes in my arsenal. The good news, you can eat ALL YOU WANT! Steam or Cook veggies until they are soft for easier digestion. Veggies go with anything so explore and choose from the rainbow of colors and flavors.
In the beginning of my journey, I wouldn't eat the stalks of certain veggies like asparagus or broccoli, only the soft, flowering tops. Easy breezy.
Avocado - Awesome, simply awesome. Cut one in half, scoop into a bowl, smoosh together with a little lemon and powdered garlic. Add a hard boiled egg, lunch. Side of wild salmon, asparagus or broccoli, dinner.
Bell Peppers, Green, Red, Yellow, Orange
Celery, great with nut butters Onions Garlic Jalapenos (probiotics love peppers) Peas
I always wash thoroughly and buy organic whenever possible. I also eat the skins.
Beets - challenging to cook, but a real superstar
Adds the flavor; again, try to go organic whenever you can.
Cinnamon - powerhouse anti-oxidant properties reported. Sprinkle and drizzle with honey on your favorite fruit.
Black or White Pepper
Chili Powder, for my organic turkey beef chili
Think: all natural, organic
Stevia (no calorie, natural plant-based super sweetener) A couple of drops in a cup of tea is plenty. Experiment, it's potent
Coconut Crystals (a low-glycemic sugar alternative) Looks and satisfies like brown sugar.
Dr. Mercola talks about the benefits of coconut oil
Dr. Mercola talks about the benefits of coconut oil in his diet.