You Are What You Eat

It seems like all anyone can talk about is health care reform. For a good reason...we seriously need it. In a controversial debate, one thing that everyone can agree on is the need for more preventative care, which currently makes up only 5% of health care costs. This statistic has led doctors to say that we have a "disease-management" system rather than a health care system. So, what's preventative care? While check-ups and yearly screenings for chronic illnesses are important, that's not prevention. Much of prevention is up to us and not our doctors: eating an antioxidant-rich, plant-based diet; getting regular exercise; and reducing stress.

A healthy diet doesn't just stave off future chronic illness, but it makes a huge difference to our physical and mental health today. Case in point: After gorging myself over the holidays and beyond, I was feeling a serious need to detox and kick start my diet again. I had also noticed that I'd felt really down, depressed, and altogether crappy for the last few weeks, though I didn't relate this to my diet. Last Monday I did a green smoothie fast (only fresh veggies, fruits, and coconut milk) and come Tuesday morning, I felt like a whole new person. Bye bye blues. I'm still shocked at the difference my diet makes in my mood. Now I remind myself that while a chocolate cupcake and chips and queso may make me really happy right now, a habit of eating like that will literally make me miserable.

Here's a quickie guide to a healthy, disease-preventative diet: Visualize your dinner plate. Half the plate should be devoted to vegetables, a quarter to whole grains, and a quarter to lean protein. When in doubt, eat a whole plant. Ensure that you're getting all the different disease-fighting nutrients and phytochemicals by eating vegetables and fruits in a wide-variety of colors. Want more info on how your behaviors influence your health? Check out SpeakHealth.org.

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3 comments:

Vicki said...

Great info! I find that simplicity is the key to eating healthy and sticking to it. Instead of counting up how many vitamins and minerals I'm getting here and there I just try to throw in more veggies when I can, and try to reduce (I could never eliminiate!) carbs where I can. Fill up on veggies and enjoy a little bit of the good stuff.

Thanks for the tips!

carrie myers jaynes said...

My husband and I have a new motto for 2010: Eat more plants. Sure, we want to make sure we get enough protein - and we will - but we also need to eat more plants. More whole fruits, more vegetables, more herbs (instead of salt for seasoning). This blog post is really helpful in reminding me of my new motto!

Also, can you share the recipe for the Green Smoothie Detox? I think I might need that, too ...

Leslie said...

Gladly! This smoothie is adapted from one in the Whole Life Nutrition cookbook (http://www.wholelifenutrition.net), a must have if you want to incorporate more plants and whole foods into your diet.

Green Smoothie Detox--all of the amounts are approximate
1 apple
1 pear
1 cup each of spinach and kale leaves (I promise you won't taste them)
1 inch peeled fresh ginger
1 lime or lemon
1 handful fresh parsley leaves
2 cups frozen fruit (I love peaches and blueberries)
distilled water or coconut milk to your desired consistency (I just discovered coconut milk Kefir and add a little of that with water...SO yummy)

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