Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ways of Eating: {everydays}

The Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, 
courtesy of Dr. Andrew Weil
Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Dr. Weil's excellent guide is a must-read!
Fitday's explanation  is good.
Learn more about inflammation and chronic inflammation at Wikipedia's page.

This is basically the WOE (Way Of Eating) that I am supposed to follow. If you have any kind of physiological inflammation, you should look into it. It's hard but not impossible.

Types of inflammatory conditions include all forms of arthritis (including lupus and fibromyalgia), other diseases including parkinsons, alzheimers, pelvic inflammatory disease (pid), irritable bowel (ibs), crohns, colitus, dermatitus, ulcerative colitus, atherosclerosis, and most forms of allergies.

Inflammation destroys body tissues and worsens over time (destructive effects are cumulative). It can be caused by...

...a deficiency of the essential fatty acid Omega 3
...a diet high in acid foods, particularly animal proteins
...a lack of cortisone in the blood
...a high level of estrogen

It has been found that people with any of the inflammatory diseases can have a saliva pH of as low as 5, almost 1000 times lower than normal. It's been found to be helpful to concentrate particularly on eating alkaline foods (to bring the pH up) and the anti-oxidants: vitamins A, C and E, selenium, zinc and particularly Omega 3. You should also try to find your specific food allergies (everyone has atleast one, even if the reaction is nil) and avoid those foods as much as possible.

The following natural anti-inflammatories should be considered:

...arnica, gingko biloba and ginger to improve circulation and healing
...the citrus bioflavonoids to prevent vascular disease and bruising
...quercitin, glutamine and progesterone to inhibit inflammation
...silymarin to detoxify the liver

So....looking at this food pyramid, what we immediately see is that after the veggie and fruit predominance, a grain level makes up an almost equal amount of the diet. 3-5 servings per day of grains? How is one to find that much healthy unsugared and complex grainage without becoming a whole earth mother?

I have two answers for you that work for me: brown rice and homemade fresh muesli.

I buy Texmati brown rice and make some every week, which I put into individual serving containers of about 1/2 cup each and refrigerate. If the Hubs wants rice with an evening meal, we cook more. Leftovers can easily become desert with some dried fruits and a little honey or brown sugar.

Martha Stewart also has a delicious recipe for fresh muesli, but here is a basic one that is good:
Homemade fresh muesli (makes 8 servings at approximately 199 calories per) 

4-1/2 cups old-fashioned uncooked rolled oats
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup oat bran
1 cup raisins (you can use other dried fruits of your choice)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (you can add other nuts of your choice)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (or less depending on your taste)
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1. In a large mixing bowl combine the rolled oats, oat bran, wheat germ, wheat bran, dried fruits, chopped nuts, seeds and brown sugar. Mix the ingredients very well.
2. Store the home-made muesli in an airtight container. No refrigeration needed.
3. Soak each serving in liquid just before eating.

It is always best to soak muesli well before eating it. It is far more digestible and, once you get used to it, you will probably find that it is delicious that way. (It is more digestible because phytates in the fibre break down. Phytates are a problem for some people because they block absorption of some nutrients.)

Soak it overnight or for at least half an hour before you want to eat it. You can soak it in milk, water, fruit juices or any number of milk substitutes such as soya milk or rice milk. It's really nice soaked in a mild apple or cranberry juice. Orange juice and other citrus fruits are not so good as cereals and citrus tend to not mix well.

Martha toasts her oats prior to mixing hers and it is tasty but also adds to the prep, so I only do that on occasion.

Muesli mix is a great breakfast, but is also a great snack -- super high in fiber, stabilizes blood sugar. The Swiss even eat it sometimes as an evening meal. The thing to remember is to keep the ingredients as raw and natural as possible, and do not add sugars or corn-based sweeteners. Don't turn it into super sugar crisp or fruity pebbles, ok? If you must use an artificial sweetner, try stevia products. But the liquid you soak the oats in can help sweeten it, so don't overdose on the sugary taste. In fact, try learning to like the taste of less sugar!

Also, eat it sparingly at first in order to gauge how well your digestion handles it, as you would when introducing any very high-fiber food.

Muesli has similar properties to brown rice, which I have previously mentioned, so I won't go into them again, but if you are serving white rice with your evening meal, you are completely missing an excellent opportunity to improve your diet and digestion and nutrition by not simply changing over to brown rice.

If you regularly include muesli and brown rice in your diet, they will improve your overall health, leave you more full and satiated, give you more energy and start your road back to natural food eating. Two ways to begin that are pretty quick and easy, and can also help you comply with this new food pyramid that most experts are getting behind.