The Nutritional Rules for the Road

It’s actually pretty simple. If you want to be healthy and alive, you have to get foods with a life of their own into your body. So the following rules for the journey towards health and a vibrant life are very logical. We will begin on a positive note, with a list of only the DO’s.

1. Select the freshest foods you can find! As food sits for long periods of time it becomes:

  1. stale with poor flavor, texture and appearance,
  2. rancid if it contains oils (grains, nuts, seeds),
  3. depleted of nutrients which are destroyed by exposure to oxygen in the air.

2. Focus on fresh vegetables and fruits, and raw untoasted, unroasted grains and cereals.

3. Look for reliable sources, either within your area, or by mail order, for organic produce and grains, and use these as much as possible in your daily menus. Seek out the local or closest farmers’ market and shop there for produce.

4. Use the simplest, shortest cooking methods possible when preparing your food in order to insure optimum retention of nutrients. In other words, steam vegetables only to the point of el dente, grill fish and chicken until just done, steam rice or grains until tender and then remove from heat immediately. Gently simmer on low heat versus rapidly boiling on a high heat.

5. Aim to eat at least 50% of your vegetables and fruits in their raw form. This preserves the vitamins, minerals and active enzymes, which may be destroyed by heat and water during the cooking process. Your body requires a full profile of all of these nutrients, which work together, when in proper balance, to create the potential for every metabolic function within the body to take place.

6. Eat the skins of your produce items (fruits and vegetables) whenever possible. Many of the essential nutrients are right under the skin.

7. Choose whole vegetables and fruits over their juices. The fiber which is discarded in the production of the juice is very high in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (plant chemicals), all of which are essential in the prevention of disease and illness. The juice contains only a portion of what is available in the whole food!

8. Season foods with natural condiments, such as fresh herbs, fresh garlic, onions, lemon or lime juice, peppers, organic and ethnic vinegars, vegetable flakes and powders, and spices.

9. Include a wide variety of foods in your diet. This insures a better balance of essential nutrients. What one food lacks, another contains!

10. Reduce your intake of fats, especially saturated fats. These include fats from dairy products and most animal protein sources, other than fish and seafood.

11. Use methods of cooking which do not require the addition of fats, or substitute the fats with vegetable broth, water, or fresh lemon juice.

12. Include small amounts of fats in your diet which are from plant oil sources, focusing on pure virgin olive oil, canola oil and sesame oil. Use them uncooked, in dressings, for salads and steamed vegetables.

13. Steer clear of any fats which are of a trans-fatty acid nature, or which incorporate hydrogenation in the processing. These include:

  • the wide array of margarines
  • salad dressings
  • mayonnaise
  • most commercial nut butters (eg. peanut butter)
  • roasted nuts and seeds
  • packaged and frozen baked goods, cookies, crackers
  • snack foods and snack bars
  • canned, packaged and frozen entree items
  • powdered, canned, refrigerated or frozen coffee whiteners
  • powdered flavored coffee mixes
  • non-diary creams and dessert toppings

In other words, check the label for the words hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated, or palm oil, or coconut oil, or any other oil which is listed as hydrogenated. Leave it on the shelf or in the case. These do not spell good health!

14. Reduce or eliminate your consumption of meats, especially red meats (ie. beef, pork, lamb). These meats are high in marbled saturated fats. Apart from the health risks associated with high fat intake, as indicated throughout the research, the fat of the animal is also where the toxic byproducts of metabolism, and the hormonal injections for faster growth, are stored.

15.Choose fish or the leaner cuts of poultry, ie. the chicken or turkey breast with the skin removed, in place of red meats. If using ground turkey meat, select the skinless boneless breast of the turkey and ask the butcher to grind it for you.

16.Game meat provides a very lean and tasty alternative to our higher fat domestic protein sources. These include rabbit, hare, muskrat, deer, moose, caribou, bear, wild goose, grouse, pheasant, turtle, frog legs, rattlesnake and eels, just to mention a few.

17. Limit your intake of animal meats to a maximum of 3 to 5 servings per week, with the focus on the leaner varieties, especially fish. Fish is generally high in a type of oil, commonly referred to as omega-3 fish oil, which appears to be beneficial in the reduction of the incidence of heart disease and various cancers.

18. Select the plain, unflavored, nonfat and lowfat versions of dairy products, such as milk, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, buttermilk and yogurt. Look for the lower fat varieties, now available, of firm cheeses. Or better still, try some of the new soy cheeses in the dairy section of the grocery store or health food store.

19. Increase your consumption of legumes as a high fiber, low fat, high calcium and iron source, of protein. Included are soybeans and soybean products, such as tempeh, tofu, miso, and soymilk. Other varieties of legumes: chickpeas (garbanzo beans), pinto beans, white and red kidney beans, Roman beans, split peas, lentils, black-eyed peas, etc.

20. Include at least 2 cups of plain, nonfat yogurt, kefir, or acidophilus milk daily for their immune-enhancing properties. Select only those brands which list the specific cultures, and list them as Live Cultures.

21. Reduce or eliminate the intake of potential toxins.

Tobacco has been associated with illnesses and diseases too numerous to list here.

Alcohol can lead to illnesses of the liver, kidneys, bladder and overall elimination systems of the body.

Pesticides on our fresh produce may have hazardous effects on our overall health and immune systems. It is advisable to wash all produce upon purchase, even if it is organically grown. Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to a basin of clean purified water, and soak produce, other than berries and leafy greens, for several minutes, and then rinse thoroughly in two sinks of clear water. Let dry on towels and then refrigerate.

Additives and preservatives added to our food sources may prove over time to have deleterious effects on our immune systems and general well-being. With the increasing consumption of packaged, processed preserved foods we are also seeing a parallel in increasing numbers of allergy sufferers, and general lethargy and restlessness among our children and adolescents. Is there a connection? Why take the risk?

22. Minimize risky foods. These include:

  • fatty meats
  • salty foods
  • sugar-laden desserts, chocolates and sweets
  • pickled foods, especially those produced with white, distilled vinegar
  • salt-cured meats and foods
  • smoked meats, cheeses and other foods
  • nitrite-cured meat products and other foods
  • burned or well-done foods, including and especially those cooked on a barbecue

23. Daily intake of fluids should include at least 6 to 8, 8 ounce glasses of water. The diet in this book is high in natural fiber, which absorbs, like a sponge, many times its own weight in fluids. Without adequate fluid intake, you can become severely constipated, as well as experience flatulence (gas) and bloating.

Water is required for every major function of the body, including carrying nutrients to where they are needed, as well as carrying wastes and toxins out of the body. Water is also necessary for proper functioning of the digestive juices and the digestive tract, so it may assist in prevention of indigestion.

If you are ill, it is advisable to increase your fluid intake, to prevent dehydration which can result from diarrhea, vomiting, high fevers or hyperventilation.

24. Regular daily exercise is essential for maintenance of an efficient, fully functioning and energized body. However, gentle exercise, done consistently, is the key to long term benefits. This includes natural forms of exercise, such as walking, swimming, climbing stairs (versus taking the elevator or escalator), bicycling, dancing, yoga and sexual activities.

Love your body with exercise. Gentle exercise is nurturing and soulfully nourishing. Punishing forms of exercise are breaking down tissue which then has to be rebuilt! If you are ill, you do not have the extra stores for any additional rebuilding, over and above the extra demanded for basic maintenance!

25. Respect and Love this wonderful machine: Your Body! Listen to it! Be alert to any signals of dis-ease, indicating that something is not working right in the body. These can include pain in a part or parts of the body, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, vomiting, fatigue, anxiety, irregular hair or nail growth, excessive fluid retention, or bloating, just to mention a few.

So to sum up what you have just read:

  1. Select the highest quality, most natural, organic, whole foods you can get.

  2. Minimize the amount and type of food preparation used, with 50% of your food being eaten in a raw state, especially vegetables and fruits.

  3. Add a good measure of natural, gentle exercise, about 20 – 30 minutes daily.

  4. Drink at least 6 – 8 glasses of water daily, as well as your other beverages.

  5. Incorporate a specific time daily (at least 15 minutes) for deep breathing practices, and rest and relaxation.

  6. Work on developing and maintaining a healthy, optimistic, loving attitude, towards yourself, as well as others and the world around you.

In time you will move through your life with Ease, Confidence, Peace of Mind and Health.

5 Minutes to Health

©1995, Marilyn Joyce R.D.

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Written by Marilyn Joyce RD

Explore Wellness in 2021