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Dr. Furhman - 5 Food Groups

Dr. Joel Fuhrman has just published a new edition of his book, "Eat to Live".  He has a lot of good things to say, starting with the statement:  "True health doesn't require a complicated formula."  True enough!  He suggests a "Nutritarian" lifestyle based on low-calorie highly nutritious foods.  "These basic wholesome foods contain the phytochemicals that protect against toxins and are necessary to maximize human health and lifespan and prevent chronic disease."  It is this category of chronic disease (75% preventable!) that is weighing down our society with medical tragedies and economic costs we cannot afford.


There are five groups of foods he suggests are the foundation of good health:


1.  Raw vegetables:  Specifically, dark leafy greens - kale, spinach, chard, arrugula, romaine, parsley.  These are the most nutrient dense of all foods.  And if you combine them with mushrooms and onions you have a triple charged cancer fighting recipe.

MA tip:  chop greens fine (so you can eat a bigger bowl of them!) and toss with a good, aged balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and/or a splash of olive oil and sea salt.  My favorite salad this winter is to add chopped raw walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Your heart will sing from this salad!   


2.  Cooked vegetables:  Solid greens are next most nutritious: artichoke, string beans, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, bok choy, etc.  Cooking certain vegetables makes them more digestible and easier to eat, just don't boil the goodness out of them - light cooking/steaming is best.  Dr Furhman says the more you eat the better and the more you eat the more weight you will lose. (just in case that's anyone's goal for 2011..)


3.  Beans and Legumes:  Chickpeas, lentils, black beans, black-eyed peas, etc, will add valuable protein and fiber while avoiding the diseases related to meats.  meats include none of the vital cancer preventing phytochemicals and it's a myth that you must have meat to build muscle. 

MA tip:  the darker the bean the higher the anti-oxidant capacity - black beans being the highest.


4.  Fruit:  You can consume up to 4 servings a day - fresh or frozen, never as juice, canned or bottled.  Stick to seasonal fruit that's grown locally for highest nutrient value.  (I watched a barista make fresh orange juice the other day - it took six oranges to make a small - 6oz - glass!  One would never eat 6 oranges or apples at a sitting!) 

MA tip:  frozen berries, only organically grown, are a good bet when not in season.  They are the highest in pesticides of all foods, so worth the search and the extra pocket change to buy organic.  Blue, purple, and red are the hues with the most nutrient density and also the color we lack most in our diet.


5.  Nuts and Seeds:  This category contains the most calories per volume but add nutrients, especially healthy fats, that are found nowhere else.  Sunflower, walnut, pumpkin, hemp, all reduce risk of sudden cardiac arrest significantly.  Eat whole seeds and nuts, not the oils made from them.  The process of making it into an oil produces a "suboptimal biological effect"  says Doc Furhman.

MA tip:  this is not true of the fruit oils of olive and coconut which are very healthy for humans.  Use olive oil in salads but coconut for all your cooking, sauteing needs.


There you have it!  Simple as can be!

Implied but not stated is the idea of variety.  It is truly the number of colors in your diet that gives you the greatest benefit.  Every color has encoded in it a particular set of phytonutrients, not found in that combination in any other color or food.  This is the fact about JuicePlus+ that first made me realize its true value.  We simply don't get to sample 17 - 28 different colors of food a day without it!!


Recipe to try:  (well, it's not a recipe but a bunch of foods that taste fabulous in a soup pot!)

Saute an onion in 1 Tbsp coconut oil along with 10 - 12 oz chopped mushrooms and a teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, tumeric, if you like these spices.  Add a package of (frozen is easiest!) black-eyed peas, a 15 oz can of chopped organic tomatoes, some chicken broth to get the thickness you like, lots and lots of garlic, some sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste.  Cook accd to pkg directions on black-eyed peas.  (of course you can use dried black-eyed peas and add more water/broth, it will just take longer.  With the frozen variety, this can be ready in about 30 - 40 min.)  This is a staple in our house during the winter.  In fact, it's dinner tonight!