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Posts tagged ‘inflammation’

The Truth Doesn’t Change

It’s harder and harder to blog lately, because I feel like I’m always saying the same things. The trouble is, I am. Why? Because the truth doesn’t change, despite what people say. If you are reading this and getting a visceral reaction of “What do you mean it doesn’t change? One week fat is bad, the next it’s good, etc.” Let me elaborate before you start ranting. Oh, you wouldn’t rant? Sorry, must just be me.

First, take everything you hear in the news with a grain of salt. If researchers do a study and find that omega-3’s have benefits that omega-6’s don’t, the media says “Omega-3’s good, omega-6’s bad”. Then the scientists do a study to see what the role of omega-6 is, and the media screams, “Omega-6 good for you.” When they do enough studies to see what ratio would be good, the media goes back to “Get rid of the omega-6 in your diet”. Research isn’t black and white, it’s nuanced. It leads you in a direction, it doesn’t usually hand complete answers on a silver platter. BTW, you do need both, but the American diet is lopsided.

However, certain facts crop up over and over. Olive oil good for you? Check. Vegetables the royal family of nutrition? Check. Processed food bad? Check. Red meat? Maybe not as horrible for you as we thought, but still not good.

I read three articles this morning. None of which had anything in them I didn’t already know. “5 Drinks You Had No Idea Were As Bad As (or Worse Than) Soda”. How many of you have been waiting for the Pumpkin Latte at your favorite coffee shop? I’ve been reading and saying “don’t drink your calories” for at least a decade.

9 Foods that Fight inflammation“. Ok, there was one surprise there, maple syrup. However, that still follows what I say about less processed foods. To get white sugar from cane juice, you have to remove anything remotely good. I use molasses as much as possible, as it adds flavor and still has minerals. Everything else on the list are pretty much standards that have been touted for years. inflammation is greatly impacted by your diet, and being overweight produces chronic inflammation. Get lean, eat your veggies, fish and whole grain, avoid sugar and white flour. Hmmmm, sound familiar?

“Foods that are healthier than Kale”. When you see this list, it’s all green leafy vegetables. Maybe that’s a hint? “Eat your vegetables” is what I repeat like a robot.

Why do I do this? Because the while the text of the message is out there, people aren’t incorporating it into their lives. I realize most people aren’t going to add spinach to their oatmeal, (yes, I do) but they can make an omelet with peppers and onions. No time? Sauté up a batch when you do have time and freeze or refrigerate in individual servings. Eggs take 30 seconds in the microwave. Still can’t do it? Have fruit instead. Just get off the white flour breakfast. And don’t tell me about all the protein, breakfast or granola bars. I have yet to find one with less than 12 g of sugar, and most have double that. Sugar is not good. Blend a smoothie instead. By now, you all know what to do. None of this should come as a surprise. When are you going to live it out? Want to go on a radical diet? Ok, ban deserts, pizza, hot dogs, and white flour. Don’t eat anything with added sugar ( I can’t do that, I love chocolate). Eat either fruit or vegetables with every meal. Make the major portion of each meal the vegetable. Radical enough? See how you feel in a month.

Don’t want to go on a radical diet? Fine, eat 1/2 a slice of pizza with sautéed vegetables on it and a large salad. Hate salad? Make a big batch of soup with tons of veggies and have a bowl of that first. Have to have that hot dog? try a whole wheat bun, smother it in onions. I love the sautéed onions and peppers, have that on it. Still avoid the white flour like the plague. Following that keeps you out of the bakery department, the cookie and cracker aisle, the soda and sweetened drinks, etc. Make the easy fixes first, then dig down and get more serious. Don’t forget to eat your beans.

In Praise of Spice

samples of spices and herbs.I was adding the spices to my oatmeal, and thinking about how many spices I took on a daily basis for my health, so I thought I would share. Spices and herbs are wonderful, they make food taste better and improve your health. I hope by now you all realize there is little distinction between food and medicine. Everything you put in your mouth is either for your health or against it. Just like sugar increases inflammation, many herbs and spices reduce it. Chronic inflammation is the root of many, many maladies, including heart disease.

First, the difference between an herb and a spice- herbs are leafy, often woody plants. If you are eating  a leaf, you are eating an herb. Think basil, oregano, rosemary, bay leaves, and parsley. Spices are the nuts, seeds, bark or root. Usually dried and ground. Think turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and ginger

Herbs and spices appear to be universally helpful to health. They have been used in folk medicine for thousands of years. Some have very specific uses, especially in concentrated form. Oregano oil is an antibiotic, turmeric reduces inflammation, and cinnamon reduces spikes in blood sugar. We have been taking “Zyflamend” which is a concentrated form of many herbs to reduce joint pain and inflammation. It does appear to be working.

This makes herbs and spices a win-win item. By increasing seasoning in your food, you can increase the flavor without fat, salt or sugar and do something good for your health at the same time. I love Indian and Asian food, and they are not shy with the spices. I made Thai red curry last night, using a blend of several recipes, and it was delicious. Both cuisines use tons of chili, turmeric, garlic, basil, ginger,  lemongrass, and curry, which is a blend of spices in itself.  I was googling around, looking for a picture and I got this from stirlaughrepeat:

The information below is provided by McCormick.  

Oregano – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants ad 3 cups of spinach – Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. onto grilled cheese.
Garlic Powder – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants as 1/3 cup zucchini – Stir 3/4 tsp. into 4 cups mashed potatoes.
Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants as 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes – sprinkle 1/4 tsp. onto scrambled eggs.
Cinnamon – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants as 1/4 cup blueberries – sprinkle 1/4 tsp. over anything from hot cocoa to oatmeal and fruit salad.
Ginger – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants as 1 cup cucumbers – sprinkle onto carrots, acorn or butternut squash and sweet potatoes.
Cayenne Pepper – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants as 1/4 cup honeydew melon – sprinkle 1/4 tsp. into hummus.
Thyme – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants as 1 med. carrot – sprinikle on steamed or sauteed asparagus along with a twist of fresh ground black pepper.
Rosemary – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants as 1/2 cup watermelon – sprinkle the tops of your favorite ready-to-bake rolls with olive oil, rosemary and sea salt before baking.
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants as 1 cup broccoli – Sprinkle onto steamed rice.
Chili Powder – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants as 1/2 cup cantaloupe – stir 2 Tbsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 2 cans diced tomatoes and 1 can kidney beans into 1 lb. cooked ground beef for quick chili.
Cloves – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants as 1/2 cup sweet cherries – perk up applesauce by stiring 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. ground cloves into 2 cups applesauce.
Cumin – 1/2 tsp. has as many antioxidants as 1/2 cup pineapple – sprinkle into soups, such as lentil, black bean and butternut squash.

In case you are wondering- the oatmeal? Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and, mace. Turmeric on occasion, just for it’s health benefits, I wouldn’t recommend it in oatmeal otherwise. Walnuts for the omega-3’s, cranberries for the taste and antioxidents. Molasses as the sweetener- look at the label, probably the only sweetener on earth with vitamins and minerals in it.

If you need any more ideas, just google herbs or spices, and there is a bonanza of great sites, talking about both the uses and benefits. Bon appetit!

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