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healthy diet

  • Every year at about this time most of us resolve that this year we are going to do things differently. We are going to lose weight, we are going to get more exercise, we are going to learn a foreign language, we are going to…. The aims involved almost always are desirable and chosen from a list of things that, no doubt, we really should do. All too often, these resolutions also are carryovers from the past year or, worse still, past years. As a result, we may ratchet up the ante, as it were, with a virtual carrot or stick, such as buying new clothes that we intend to be able to wear after carrying out our resolution or taking out an expensive gym membership.

    This time around, my suggestion is to remove the pressure and adopt one or more low stress health resolution that may achieve some important goals indirectly. This way, success will come almost as a surprise even as benefits emerge from changes in habits.

    Eat Breakfast Every Day
    Over the years, a slew of studies have demonstrated a couple of points that need to be kept in mind. One is that the timing of meals can be as important as the contents of the meals.

    Experiments have shown that with identical meals, calories eaten entirely at breakfast can lead to stable or reduced weight whereas the same number of calories eaten at night can lead to weight gain. Never skip breakfast. If you skip breakfast, your body will take this as a sign that you are “starving” and slow down your metabolism. There may be other unwanted effects in the brain. Substituting a cup of coffee and a sweet roll for breakfast is almost as bad as not eating that meal.

    Another finding is that eating a relatively high protein breakfast with a significant number of calories tends to reduce the number of calories consumed at the next meal and even the propensity to snack throughout the day. Advice varies, but the argument from a number of researchers is that protein should make up 25–30 percent of the calories and fat should make up 35–40 percent of the calories with the remainder consisting of slow digesting carbohydrates. Many will recognize that this conforms to the diet proposed years ago by Barry Sears. Interestingly, research following subjects for one or two years has not validated the low-fat-is-best hypothesis. Instead, a diet consisting of 25 percent protein and the rest low glycemic index (from mixed carbohydrate and fat components) spontaneously leads to weight loss in many subjects who started the diet while overweight.

    Morning Exercise and Sunshine
    Today, many or even most families have both parents working. Schedules often make it hard to send the proper signals to the body by getting a bit of sun before lunch. Those who live in the northern latitudes also can attest that the sun rises quite late in the winter. Nevertheless, even a little bit of sun in the morning helps to keep the body’s internal clock working properly.

    Light exposure and exercise go well together. Exercise burns calories, but the greatest benefit comes after the exercise has ended. If you walk briskly for a mere 30 minutes per day, you will increase your calorie burning for an entire 24 hour period. Adding a moderate amount of upper body exercise or weight lifting will improve your energy expenditure even more by adding calorie-burning lean muscle tissue to your body. For weight loss, plan on walking briskly for at least 30 minutes every day. This is best done either before or after breakfast. A walk early in the day while the body’s temperature is still rising will invigorate you for the rest of the day. Taking a short walk (10 to 15 minutes) in the afternoon or before supper similarly makes it more likely that your body will burn calories rather than store them. Finally, another time for a walk is after your last meal of the day. Walking after meals is a particularly good practice for diabetics and for those genetically prone to developing diabetes.

    Choose Dietary Fats Wisely
    A recent survey found that approximately 95 percent of all Americans consume too little omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils, flax seed oil and a small number of other sources) in relation to their total fatty acid intake. Instead, we eat mostly omega-6 fatty acids because, quite simply, these are cheap to derive from canola, corn, peanut, soy and other sources. Unfortunately, omega-6 fatty acids in excess promote inflammatory processes in the body.

    Dietary saturated fats, after 60 years in the wilderness, no longer are under blanket condemnation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or several other “official” bodies. Today, it increasingly is admitted that the evidence against, for instance, the egg, does not stand up and eggs, in fact, are good for you even in relatively large numbers per week. Similarly, the short-chain fatty acids in butter and other dairy products are good for the health of the gut and another fat from full fat dairy, palmitoleic acid, is associated with slightly lower adiposity, with higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower triglyceride levels, a lower total cholesterol–HDL cholesterol ratio, lower C-reactive protein levels, and lower insulin resistance. Trans-palmitoleate also is associated with a substantially lower incidence of diabetes.

    As with the consumption of full fat dairy in the form of cheese, milk and yoghurt (obviously, not lots of whipped cream with sugar!), the evidence supports that improving the ratio of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet may moderately improve weight and cardiovascular health.

    Eat More Vegetables
    Most readers automatically will think “eating more vegetables” means eating more fiber. This, however, is not the whole of the story by any means. Let’s take fiber first. Fiber slows down food consumption so that your body has a chance to signal that you have eaten enough. It adds bulk to the meal to give you a feeling of satisfaction at having eaten. It slows the increase in the blood sugar level that follows meals. Fiber carries waste products from the body and, especially if it comes from lightly cooked vegetables, it supplies important minerals and antioxidants. Try to vary your fiber sources. Avoid too much scratchy wheat bran, but add grains such as oats and barley and starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and yams (without added sugar) to your menu.

    Clinical studies that came out earlier this year now have added another dimension to the story. It turns out that the plant hormone abscisic acid is present and active in humans! Abscisic acid can be found in many fruits and vegetables. In one study, microgram amounts of abscisic acid in a fruit extract improved glucose tolerance and reduce insulinemia in both rats and humans! Another clinical study found that there is an impaired increase in abscisic acid in the blood in diabetes and gestational diabetes. The upshot of these studies is “eat more vegetables!”

    Old Fashioned Versus Fast and Prepared Food
    Most studies on food and health focus on the big three nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and protein), the glycemic index and various isolated food components. One novel approach that breaks this mold looks, instead, at the issue of food processing. Many foods that we think are either good or bad actually owe their effects to how they have been refined, manufactured and prepared. To give but one example, steel cut oats are excellent food, but instantized oats designed to become oatmeal with the mere addition of hot water become a high glycemic food akin to white bread or sugar. One Brazilian researcher writes that the issue is “ultra processing” and its impact on food.

    This commentary distinguishes between three types of food and drink processing, and in turn three groups of foods and drinks, depending on the nature, extent and purpose of their processing. The first group are unprocessed (as defined here) or minimally processed foods. The second group are processed culinary or food industry ingredients. The third group are ultra-processed products—two examples of which are ready-to-eat eat breakfast cereals and burgers.

    Today, at least 50 percent of all meals eaten by Americans are consumed outside the home with a good percentage being eaten in fast food restaurants. Good health depends, at least in part, on reducing the amount of ultra-processed food in the diet.

    Conclusion Worthwhile resolutions do not need to be great or grand. With patience, small, practical changes can yield major improvements in health.

    Endnotes

    1. Breakfast-skippers may over-eat to compensate for low dopamine levels. See Hoertel HA, Will MJ, Leidy HJ. A randomized crossover, pilot study examining the effects of a normal protein vs. high protein breakfast on food cravings and reward signals in overweight/obese “breakfast skipping”, late-adolescent girls. Nutr J. 2014 Aug 6;13:80.
    2. Larsen TM, Dalskov SM, van Baak M, Jebb SA, et al.; Diet, Obesity, and Genes (Diogenes) Project. Diets with high or low protein content and glycemic index for weight-loss maintenance. N Engl J Med. 2010 Nov 25;363(22):2102–13.
    3. Mozaffarian D, de Oliveira Otto MC, Lemaitre RN, Fretts AM, Hotamisligil G, Tsai MY, Siscovick DS, Nettleton JA. trans-Palmitoleic acid, other dairy fat biomarkers, and incident diabetes: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):854–61.
    4. Magnone M, Ameri P, Salis A, Andraghetti G, et al. Microgram amounts of abscisic acid in fruit extracts improve glucose tolerance and reduce insulinemia in rats and in humans. FASEB J. 2015 Dec;29(12):4783–93.
    5. Ameri P, Bruzzone S, Mannino E, Sociali G, et al. Impaired increase of plasma abscisic Acid in response to oral glucose load in type 2 diabetes and in gestational diabetes. PLoS One. 2015 Feb 27;10(2):e0115992.
    6. Monteiro C. The big issue is ultra-processing. ‘Carbs’: The answer. [Commentary]/ World Nutrition February 2011;2(2):86–97.
  • My recipes are created and tested in my institute kitchens both in the U.S. and our new teaching facility in Ecuador. Our commitment to you continues to bring you the best natural health recipes while insuring they are packed with nutrition AND the ability to assist overall detoxification—the essence of Wholistic Rejuvenation.

    This series provides not only healthy recipes but also the health benefits of each ingredient.

    Ingredients

    For the cranberry puree:
    1–12-ounce bag of cranberries (about 3 cups)
    1 cup Ruby Port or Cranberry Spritzer/Unsweetened Cranberry
    juice or Cranberry Sparkling Cider 1/2 cup sugar OR 1/2 cup Lakanto Natural Sweetener with no sugar

    For the soup:
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    2 carrots, sliced thin
    1/2 stick (1/4 cup) organic unsalted butter OR coconut oil
    3/4 teaspoon ground mace
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon white pepper plus additional to taste
    3 pounds' butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
    1 granny smith apple, finely chopped
    2 sweet potatoes (about 1¼ pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (I like whitish/yellow variety but you can use orange yam variety)
    6 cups chicken broth

    DIRECTIONS

    The cranberry puree: In a heavy saucepan combine the cranberries, the Port, and the sugar and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cranberries burst and the mixture starts to thicken. In a food processor puree the mixture and force the puree through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding the solids. The puree keeps, covered and chilled, for three days.

    The bisque: In a large heavy saucepan cook the onion and the carrots in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, add mace, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper, squash, sweet potatoes, apple and 4 cups of the broth, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft. In a blender or food processor puree the soup in batches, transferring it as it is pureed to a saucepan, and stir in the remaining 2 cups broth, the additional white pepper, and salt to taste. The soup keeps, covered and chilled, for one day.

    To serve: Reheat the cranberry puree and spoon it into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip. (Alternatively, spoon the puree into a small re-sealable plastic bag and cut off the tip of one corner or use a pastry bag with tip.) Reheat the soup, divide it among soup bowls, and pipe about 1 tablespoon of the cranberry puree decoratively onto each serving…a first course that's as beautiful as it is tasty for your holiday meals.

    Health Benefits of Ingredients

    Cranberries:Many of these phytonutrients offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer health benefits. Cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese, as well as a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, and pantothenic acid. Supports urinary tract health, immune function, blood pressure, and heart health.

    Port Wine (Ruby): Like other red wines, Port contains beneficial vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants (like flavonoids and a substance called resveratrol). Recent research has shown that drinking red wine can protect against prostate cancer, Alzheimer's disease (staving off mental decline) and heart disease. The most current research has been focused on the polyphenol, resveratrol, which is present in the skin of the red grapes used in the making of red wine. Resveratrol seems to be a key contributor to promoting hearth health, by reducing bad cholesterol, preventing clots and protecting against artery damage.

    Cranberry sparkling cider: Combines best of benefits from apples and cranberries.

    Lakanto (Monk fruit)—a natural sweetener that tastes, feels and measures just like sugar, especially good for baking.
    • Zero calories
    • Zero glycemic index
    • Zero additives
    • No influence on your blood sugar and insulin release
    • A one-to-one ratio with sugar—so it's easy to measure and use
    • Anti-carcinogenic
    • Regulate blood sugar
    • Able to prevent and decrease oxidative stress related to diabetes
    • Prevent tooth decay
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Inhibit tumor growth
    • Antioxidant
    • Antihistaminic

    Onions (Organic): Contain antibiotic, antiseptic, antimicrobial and carminative properties. They're rich in sulfur, fiber, potassium, vitamins B, C and low in fat, cholesterol and sodium.

    Carrots (Organic): Antioxidant rich, cholesterol reduction, blood pressure assist, immune booster, digestive aid, eye health assist, blood sugar regulator.

    Butter (Organic): High in vitamins A, D, E, and K2, mineral rich, fatty acids, CLA, immune booster, bone health assist, iodine for thyroid support.

    Coconut oil: Healthy fat, antimicrobial, lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels, improves coagulation and antioxidant blood levels, boosts ketone bodies in blood supplying energy to the brain and even relieving Alzheimer's symptoms, reduces BMI (body mass index).

    HERBS

    • Mace: Supports digestive health, anti-cancer, anxiety reducer and sleep aid
    • Ginger (fresh): Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant rich, anti-nausea, aids digestion, lowers blood sugar, cholesterol reducer, immune booster
    • Pepper (white): digestive aid, detoxifying, antioxidant, mineral rich aiding in bone health

    Butternut squash: Low in fat, butternut squash delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.

    Apples: Extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

    Sweet potatoes (white/yellowish variety): An excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and phosphorus. Also a valuable nightshade-free alternative to standard potatoes. Immune booster.

    Chicken broth (organic): Low cal., easily digestible, high in minerals for heart, connective tissue, bones and teeth.

    Enjoy...not only the taste but in reaping the health benefits to help you age without looking or feeling old.

    I wish you all Healthy and Memorable Holidays.

    A 6-week guided Rejuvenation DETOX TeleClass is taught several times per year, it includes PowerPoints and Screen-sharing for better Health thru Education., register now at www.gloriagilbere.com (look in the SLIDER for specifics and to register)...you don't have to download software— once you register online your acknowledgement provides a phone number to call to join the class AND a link to see my presentation live. All you do is click the link, provide your first name and email so the system verifies you're registered. Get in shape and begin your rejuvenation program with individualized support via our TeleClass.

    BONUS: Once you participate in a Rejuvenation DETOX TeleClass, taught 3-4 times per year, you can repeat it three more times at NO CHARGE by registering with the Institute office at: (888) 352-8175, space is limited so first-come, first-served.

  • Generally, the best way to insure a safe and healthy diet is to eat meals that are prepared in your own home. However, many of us are eating away from home more than ever before. One of the keys to healthy eating is to plan your meals and snacks before you get hungry. Bring your own good quality food to work or school so that you have what you need when you need it. If you can’t make your own meals and snacks, find out where to go to get good, healthy food in your neighborhood and near your job.

  • Many medical organizations advise against routine supplementation of vitamins and minerals (citing “safety concerns,” lack of evidence of benefit,” or that they are simply “unnecessary”) and recommend a focus on acquiring nutrients from the diet. Which, for the most part, is a good suggestion: no combination of supplemental vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients could possibly emulate the diversity of known (and unknown) beneficial compounds found in the diet. However, general dismissals of dietary supplements often fail to acknowledge the significant portion of micronutrients in the average diet that may come from the fortification of foodstuffs. Food fortification (addition of nutrients to foodstuffs for commercial benefit or as a part of public health policy) has been credited for the eradication of several diseases of nutrient deficiency in the U.S.

    If both fortification and supplementation similarly involve the addition of vitamins or minerals to the diet (often achieved using the exact same chemical “additives”), why is there such a disparity in the perceptions of each?

    In the United States, foods were being fortified even before the concept of recommended daily intake had been established. Beginning with the addition of iodine to table salt in the 1920s to stem the prevalence of goiter, the enrichment of common dietary foodstuffs with vitamins or minerals became the preferred means to abate nutrient deficiency epidemics through the 1930s, such as pellegra (vitamin B3 deficiency) in the South, and rickets (vitamin D deficiency) in the Northeast. Around this time, one-third of Americans had poor diets, with over 10 percent showing signs of vitamin deficiency. This frequency of nutrient deficiency motivated the creation of the first recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for iron, calcium, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and D by the Committee on Food and Nutrition of the National Research Council (the predecessor to the modern Food and Nutrition Board). RDAs served as the guidance for fortification of low-cost “staple” foodstuffs; by the end of the 1950s, breads, flour, pasta, cornmeal, and white rice (enriched with iron, vitamins B1, 2, and 3), as well as milk (enriched with vitamin D and optionally vitamin A) all had formal standards for fortification that were encouraged and regulated by the FDA. Folic acid was added to the list of grain product enrichments in 1996, as a measure for the prevention of neural tube defects. This addition represented a change in paradigm for the FDA, in which they considered the benefits of fortification for a small, poorly-defined group (women who may be pregnant), over the potential for excessive intake by the rest of the population.

    Nowadays, fortified foods are prevalent in the American food supply. Fortification of foods is no longer only by government encouragement or mandate, but often provides a competitive advantage for food manufacturers, and has expanded to include nearly all essential and several non-essential nutrients (such as phytosterols, or fatty acids from fish oil). Ready-to-eat cereals and vitamin-C fortified drinks are the largest contributors of fortified nutrients to the U.S. food supply. Ninety-two percent of breakfast cereals are fortified, and contribute up to 30 percent of the daily intake of many vitamins and minerals for adults and children; many cereals are fortified up to 100 percent of nearly all the essential vitamins and minerals.

    While food fortification has been viewed by some as a nutritional triumph (and to be fair, it has resulted in significant decreases in several nutrient deficiency diseases that were common in the early twentieth century), individual supplementation with vitamins or minerals has at best been deemed unnecessary without underlying deficiency, and at worst been called potentially hazardous. So what are the differences between supplementation and fortification, which makes one more acceptable than the other?

    In reality, there is little difference between these two schemes for improving nutrient intake. Food fortification uses many of the same ingredients as supplements; comparing the ingredient lists on a cereal box and multivitamin bottle will reveal several of the same chemical compounds. Baking these vitamins or minerals into a loaf of bread doesn’t make them any more effective than if they were compressed into a tablet. While there is a pervasive assumption that “food nutrients” are more effective than “supplemental nutrients,” this theory is of little relevance to the added vitamins and minerals of fortified foods. The argument that supplemental vitamins or minerals may lead to unnecessarily high, potentially detrimental daily nutrient intakes may have some merit (one could imagine it is probably easier to “overdose” on multivitamins than to eat a dangerous amount of fortified bran flakes), although excessive vitamin intake is also possible through fortified foods (the possible link between long-term excessive folic acid intake and the risk of colon cancer is a recent concern).

    Unfortunately, many organizations do not recognize the parity between the fortification and supplementation, or simply fail to acknowledge that a substantial portion of nutrients from a “healthy diet” (even diets based on their own recommendations) may actually be supplemental (“fortified”). For example, consider the TLC diet, the heart-healthy eating plan recommended by the American Heart Association in its Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program. The TLC plan meets most conventional definitions of “healthy eating,” it encourages a diet low in calories and saturated fats, high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables. Looking at the sample TLC menus, however, one begins to realize a significant percentage of several essential nutrients comes from fortification, and not necessarily from the foods themselves. In one menu (“Traditional American Cuisine”), for example, almost half of the iron, B1, B2 and B3, 40 percent of the folate and calcium, and all of the vitamin D may come from fortified foods (including enriched flour products, rice, milk, and calcium-fortified orange juice), based on analysis of the menu choices using the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Without fortification, these meals could be deficient for all but one of the above nutrients.

    Therefore, the blanket characterization of dietary supplements as “unnecessary” really ignores the prevalence of supplemental vitamins (“food fortification”) in the diet. Whether as an added food ingredient, capsule, or tablet, supplemental vitamins can, and have, played a recognized role in prevention of disease, when their intakes are properly balanced. Take any statements to the contrary with a grain of (iodized) salt.

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