El Capitan State Park
March 4, 2021
I aspire to many things. I could also say I aspire too many things. After a life of stuffing myself with food that tastes good, thanks to WAC, I don’t stuff my face AND I eat food that tastes good AND is good for me. As opposed to the C- diet I had a few years ago, I’d give myself a B+ now. Sure I slip every now and then but that’s life. I try to respond to each slip with a bit more exercise and a bit more focus on what is going in my mouth. Right now I’m focused on getting back on track with my friend water. Just loaded my cooler with fresh foods from the Bezos’ grocery store. They make eating healthy easier — obviously for a price.
I thought the following two articles were good reminders.
Infornation from the Harvard Health Letter:
What's the healthiest way to eat? It depends on whom you ask. Many medical and nutrition experts claim to know the "perfect" way to eat for health, yet some of these dietary advocates disagree with each other in some fundamental ways. So, who's right . . . and who's wrong?
The truth is that there is no single way to eat for good health. As a species, humans are quite similar on a genetic level, yet as individual specimens we can be amazingly diverse. That's why some people may feel great on a vegan diet while others prefer a paleo diet— two dietary patterns that would appear to be polar opposites. The paleo diet includes meat but excludes grains and legumes, while the vegan diet includes grains and legumes but excludes meat and other animal products.
How can both diets work? When planned well, each diet includes lots of vegetables and minimizes highly processed foods. Those are the common denominators of a healthy diet. From there, you can fill in the blanks to suit your tastes and your unique physiological needs by adding your choice of high-quality fats (nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fatty fish),
carbohydrates (whole grains, fruit, starchy root vegetables), and plant- or animal-based protein (legumes, soy, fish, lean sustainably raised meat, poultry, eggs, dairy). It takes a varied diet to get the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals required for optimal health, but there are many combinations of foods that can get you to that goal.
While everyone needs carbohydrates, fat, and protein, there is no "magic" ratio that you should be striving for, as long as you avoid extremes. In fact, a number of recent studies have found that the quality of the food you eat—particularly emphasizing whole foods over processed food—is more important than whether it's low-fat, low-carb, or somewhere in between.
Ten Super Foods
10 superfoods to boost a healthy diet
No single food — not even a superfood — can offer all the nutrition, health benefits, and energy we need to nourish ourselves.
The 2015–2020 US Dietary Guidelines recommend healthy eating patterns, “combining healthy choices from across all food groups — while paying attention to calorie limits.”
Over the years, research has shown that healthy dietary patterns can reduce risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Dietary patterns such as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet, which are mostly plant-based, have demonstrated significant health benefits and reduction of chronic disease.
However, there are a few foods that can be singled out for special recognition. These “superfoods” offer some very important nutrients that can power-pack your meals and snacks, and further enhance a healthy eating pattern.
Berries. High in fiber, berries are naturally sweet, and their rich colors mean they are high in antioxidants and disease-fighting nutrients.
How to include them: When berries are not in season, it is just as healthy to buy them frozen. Add to yogurt, cereals, and smoothies, or eat plain for a snack.
Fish. Fish can be a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease.
How to include it: Buy fresh, frozen, or canned fish. Fish with the highest omega-3 content are salmon, tuna steaks, mackerel, herring, trout, anchovies, and sardines.
Leafy greens. Dark, leafy greens are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as several phytochemicals (chemicals made by plants that have a positive effect on your health). They also add fiber into the diet.
How to include them: Try varieties such as spinach, swiss chard, kale, collard greens, or mustard greens. Throw them into salads or sauté them in a little olive oil. You can also add greens to soups and stews.
Nuts. Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans — nuts are a good source of plant protein. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which may be a factor in reducing the risk of heart disease.
How to include them: Add a handful to oatmeal or yogurt or have as a snack. But remember they are calorically dense, so limit to a small handful. Try the various types of nut butters such as peanut (technically a legume), almond, or cashew. Nuts are also a great accompaniment to cooked veggies or salads.
Olive oil. Olive oil is a good source of vitamin E, polyphenols, and monounsaturated fatty acids, all which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
How to include it: Use in place of butter or margarine in pasta or rice dishes. Drizzle over vegetables, use as a dressing, or when sautéing.
Whole grains. A good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, whole grains also contain several B vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They have been shown to lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease and diabetes.
How to include them: Try having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Substitute bulgur, quinoa, wheat berries, or brown rice for your usual baked potato. When buying breads at the supermarket, look to see that the first ingredient is “100% whole wheat flour.”
Yogurt. A good source of calcium and protein, yogurt also contains live cultures called probiotics. These “good bacteria” can protect the body from other, more harmful bacteria.
How to include it: Try eating more yogurt, but watch out for fruited or flavored yogurts, which contain a lot of added sugar. Buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit. Look for yogurts that have “live active cultures” such as Lactobacillus, L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, and S. thermophilus. You can use yogurt in place of mayonnaise or sour cream in dips or sauces.
Cruciferous vegetables. These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, and turnips. They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals including indoles, thiocyanates, and nitriles, which may prevent against some types of cancer.
How to include them: Steam or stir-fry, adding healthy oils and herbs and seasonings for flavor. Try adding a frozen cruciferous vegetable medley to soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes.
Legumes. This broad category includes kidney, black, red, and garbanzo beans, as well as soybeans and peas. Legumes are an excellent source of fiber, folate, and plant-based protein. Studies show they can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
How to include them: Add to salads, soups, and casseroles. Make a chili or a bean- based spread such as hummus.
Tomatoes. These are high in vitamin C and lycopene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
How to include them: Try tomatoes in a salad or as a tomato sauce over your pasta. You can also put them in stews, soups, or chili. Lycopene becomes more available for your body to use when tomatoes are prepared and heated in a healthy fat such as olive oil.
My note: to me water is a superfood. Most of us are chronically dehydrated which saps us of energy. Water also gives us a filling of being full. As they say, “don’t drink your calories.”