Last month friend of mine asked me what ends up on our kitchen table. She was looking for ways to make the whole shopping/cooking/eating experience easier and more nutritious, an important (but sometimes overwhelming) endeavor indeed. Responsible eating is a part of taking care of our bodies, which is in turn a part of being good stewards of all God gives us. I thought you might be interested in the answer I gave my friend.
About three years ago, our daughter read Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and then passed it on to us. In it we found an eating plan we could actually understand, one that we are able to follow most of the time. We feel better, are free of a couple of odd symptoms that had begun to bug our just-barely-aging bodies, and (a delightful surprise) I spend less time in the kitchen than ever before.
Steve wrote a three-page summary of the book, which briefly covers what Dr. Furhman suggest we eat and why. Here are the highlights:
- Go for nutritional “density.” Eat predominantly those foods that have a high proportion of nutritional benefit per calorie.
- We should measure protein (and all other nutrients) by the amount a particular food delivers per calorie, not per ounce. When measured in this appropriate way, vegetables have far more protein (per calorie) than meat. For example, a 100-calorie portion of steak has 6 g of protein, while a 100-calorie portion of broccoli has 11 g protein. (This was news to me!)
- We still need to be aware of the calories per pound of the food we are eating. For example, here are the average number of calories packed into a pound of certain common foods: oils-3900; chips or fries-2600; red meat-2000; cheese-1600; white bread-1300; chicken and turkey-900; fish-800; eggs-700; whole grains-600; starchy veggies (potatoes and corn)-350; beans-350; most fruits-250; green veggies-100.
Where did all that information take us? To this most-of-the-time eating plan:
- A pound of raw vegetables (so a very big salad, and no, we don’t usually manage a whole pound of anything in one day).
- A pound of cooked vegetables (so lots of soup, steamed greens and stir-fry).
- 2-4 servings of fruit.
- 1 cup of beans.
- An ounce or two of nuts.
- 1 cup of grains or starchy vegetables (like acorn squash or sweet potatoes)
Go easy on:
- Processed foods
Stay away from:
- White bread and pasta
Very few of us will follow all of Dr. Fuhrman’s suggestions all of the time. Still, most of us could use an eating plan tune-up now and then. If you are looking to improve your household menu and would like to more information, just ask. And next week, back to the “normal” sort of blog you’ve come to expect.
Happy New Year!