Diet And Health
Diet And Health
Susan Silberstein & Marilyn Joyce (Health and Nutrition Educator & Heath Counselor) gives expert video advice on: How can a poor diet impact my mood?; How is a poor diet related to infertility?; What foods should I avoid if I want to eat a healthy diet? and more...
What is a "healthy and balanced diet"?
There are many definitions of a healthy and balanced diet. I have four concepts that I think are crucial: first of all, eat primitively. Second, eat colourfully. Third, eat alkaline. And fourth, eat organic foods. Now, we've been around as the Homo sapiens species, for about 40,000 years, and almost that entire time we ate the hunter-gatherer society diet, which was mostly roots and fruits, greens and beans, seeds and weeds and a little bit of raw fish or wild game. Today we're eating pies and fries, and chips and dips, and cakes and shakes, and meats and sweets. It's a very different diet. We need an unadulterated diet. We need to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables; that's what our colourful diet is all about. It's rich in carotenes. Then, we need an alkaline diet so that we have about an 80/20 ratio of alkalinising foods (translate that as fresh fruits and vegetables) to 20 percent of acidifying foods (translate that as proteins, fats and sugars). We need to eat an organic diet that is developed without pesticides, synthetic hormone additives, and other chemicals that can be mutagenic or carcinogenic.
Why is a healthy diet important?
A healthy diet is important for so many reasons. First of all, it can help delay the aging process. It can help keep us physically and mentally active well into our senior years. It can prevent cancer and diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It can help our eliminatory efficiency. It can give us more energy and help prevent fatigue. It can help grow healthy nails and skin and hair. It can help the healing process. It can improve our immune response and on and on it goes.
What is "food combining"?
For many years in my career, I did not understand the food combining concept fully because I had just been taught traditional dietetics and believed that whatever you put in is going to get utilised by the body. However, for several years I had clients who would come in to see me and nothing we did ever worked. They had flatulence, gas, and indigestion all the time. The date that changed was the day when I introduced the food combining to them, where they didn't mix fruits and vegetables together, or they didn't mix fruit and meat together, and they didn't mix carbohydrate foods with meat. They actually learned to separate those foods and eat fruit with fruit, vegetables with vegetables, meat with vegetables, or carbohydrate foods together like the legumes and the rice and so on, and all the problems stopped. The indigestion stopped, the flatulence stopped, as did the constipation and the diarrhoea; all those symptoms that they had that were ongoing changed that fast. So, I really am very convinced that food combining is excellent. I include it in my book. I will continue to talk about it in my seminars because I know that as a last ditch resort it worked for my clients and now I just feel that due the way that the body responds to the foods it will either create an acid ash or an alkaline ash, and if you're not healthy the acid ash can actually perpetuate illnesses.
How can a healthy diet help me increase my energy level?
Proper nutrition can definitely help you get a lot more out of life. If you're eating a diet full of life-giving nutrients, you're going to have a life that's full of energy and vitality. You can't do activities if you don't have any energy. The energy production cycle, what we call the Kreb cycle in the body, absolutely requires many, many nutrients that are found in fresh whole foods in order to produce energy. It also needs water. The mitochondrion, which is the factory in every cell in the body, requires water, and the thousands of nutrients and enzymes that are in whole foods in order to produce energy. Energy is required for every single metabolic function in the body, as well as every activity we do with our body. So, proper nutrition will give you zest for life; it will give you a high sense of well-being. You'll be calm instead of anxious because of not having enough nutrients; what we call the vitamins and minerals that are the stress vitamins which are naturally occurring: the B vitamins, Vitamin C. If you're not getting all of those nutrients from whole food, you're probably not going to have very much energy, and you're not going to have a very good sense of self. You're not going be exuding life force. You're going to be depressed, and down, whereas with good nutrition, you're the opposite; everything in life is more joyful.
How can a poor diet impact my mood?
Poor diet is an absolute predictor of depression, poor moods, low moods, feeling overwhelmed, unable to handle the complications of life that are thrown at us each day. That is because of what we are lacking and those are what we call the B vitamins, Vitamin C, the stress vitamins and nutrients. And, of course, along with that we need a major number of minerals which are naturally occuring in whole food as well, magnesium, selenium, zinc. All of these nutrients work together to create a fully-functioning body that can handle any kind of stress. When we take in, for example, too much sugar, that destroys our B vitamins and our Vitamin C as well. So people who are either drinking a lot of alcohol or eating a lot of high sugar foods, alcohol turns to sugar quickly, any of those types of things will cause us to burn up more of our B vitamins and Vitamin C and if we are not getting them from the foods we eat, the likelihood is we will fall into depression and that sense that life is too much for us. We can't handle it. We are overwhelmed all the time. We feel depressed and sad and lonely and major complex of feelings that go with not being nutritionally taken care of.
How is a poor diet related to infertility?
It is critical to eat wholesome food if you want to be pregnant. Several years ago I worked with a major programme that was looking at infertility in the young women who came into this clinic. They addressed every issue except for nutrition. Did any of these women get pregnant at the end of the programme? No! When I did my programme with them, I was invited to come in and do a one day programme with them on nutrition and lifestyle as it relates to wholesome eating and how that impacts the development of the foetus from the egg and sperm connecting. Everyone was upset because I was telling them they had to stop eating fast foods for a few months; I didn't say forever, but for a few months. I explained to them that what provides nutrition for a living entity is living foods; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas, lentils, and split peas). Those are the foods that have nutrition in them that promote growth. Along with the amino acids, and essential fatty acids and complex carbohydrates, those are essential. Without that, you cannot support the growth of anything. We see that today with young people developing major illnesses early in life.
Can a healthy diet really help me live longer?
There's never any guarantees in life, that's for sure. However, we do know that the cultures that live on a healthy diet, you know, the, the plant-based diet overall, with a little meat, you know, whether it be fish or, you know, wild game meat, maybe some domesticated meat with no hormones or antibiotics used of course, those cultures are known to live up to a hundred and twenty and beyond. The Hunzas, The Peruvian Indians, the Okinawans. I had the actual fabulous experience in my youth of being a wanderer who wanted to experience all these different cultures and I lived with thirteen cultures, several of which lived old years. They all have one thinng in common, though. They all took time out for community, they all exercised regularly in one form or another--of course their life involved exercise for everything that they did--they all ate a lot of plant foods, especially vegetables, including wild vegetables. They all ate wild herbs and other wild plants. They ate very little meat, and they drank a lot of water. They didn't have a lot of other things to drink. They didn't have sodas, they didn't eat fast food or any of that. So yes, I believe very definitely that if you live on a healthy diet; you can live a very long life.
How can a healthy diet alleviate joint pain and inflammation?
Fish with the omega-3s and just fish oil in general has a really strong benefit for people who are experiencing inflammation in their joints. So it's very, very beneficial to eat fish a few times a week that's high in fat, you know, the natural kinds of fat. Also too, flax seed oil will do the same thing; flax seeds will do the same thing. And many green vegetables are anti-inflammatory by nature: broccoli, lettuce in general; different kinds of lettuce; bibb lettuce; endive; escarole. Those are all excellent anti-inflammatory foods.
What are "quality calories"?
I love the question about quality calories, because so many people are eating calories that are absolutely non-quality. They're drinking sodas, which have no nutritional value to speak of, just a lot of sugar, or fake sugar; things that are substitutes for sugar. Basically, a high-quality calorie would be something that you find in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds; foods that we don't eat enough of, but should be eating because of the high density of nutritional value. It's like nutrient-dense foods versus foods that have very little or no nutritional value. For example, if you go in and have a hamburger and French fries, you are not necessarily getting anything of quality there at all. You're getting a lot of calories, but they're empty calories, not nutrient-dense calories. An example is that a friend of mine has, and this is without a word of a lie, a hamburger and fries (I won't mention the company) that she's had for eight years. She shows them at events. They've never gone bad; they've never turned green. If there were any nutrients in that, they would go bad. They would turn green, they would not be healthy, and they wouldn't look the same as they did eight years ago. No self-respecting bacteria will live on those foods. That's what we mean by nutrient-dense versus lacking in quality.
What are some tips for maintaining a healthy diet "on the run"?
There are all kinds of things you can get to maintain a healthy diet "on the run". Today, more than ever, we have Clif bars for on the run. Not very many of the bars are healthy, but the Clif bars are absolutely wonderful. There's another bar called Organic bar, which is excellent. So those are a couple of things to maintain a healthy diet on the run. You can also carry oatmeal with you and that's just what I do when I'm on the road; I take oatmeal. I always ask for a refrigerator in the room if I can get it. Then I'll add some yogurt or some soy milk to that oatmeal at night, put it in the refrigerator and in the morning it's all pulped up and ready to eat. It's like porridge, ready to go. If you must have sweetener you could add something like organic sucanat to it, or you could add pure maple syrup or things like that if you have them available with you. There are also the little pop off cans of tuna and salmon that you can buy. You can even get the wild salmon now in those little pop off cans with lids that you can take off. So, just carry some plastic forks with you so you can eat on the run and have a really healthy wholesome meal.
What foods should I avoid if I want to eat a healthy diet?
The foods that I strongly recommend avoiding at all costs to make sure you eat a healthy diet are anything with trans-fatty acids in it. There's just too much research now that shows a negative impact from these foods. Also any foods that have high fructose corn syrup. So, what would these be? These would be packaged, processed crackers; baked goods; commercial baked goods - you know what we're talking about; cookies, pies, pastry, those whipped products in a squirt container. Those are all loaded with hydrogenated fats and trans-fatty acids. You want to avoid any of those kinds of things. Basically what I recommend to people is, if you really want to be healthy, and you want to have a tremendous amount of vital force for everything in your life, you want to avoid packaged, processed foods at any cost. Now, when I say that, once in a while if you go to somebody's house and they have these foods; if you have a little bit, is that going to hurt you? Probably not, but if you are living on that then you are not eating a healthy diet. Let's face it, what are people living on today? Party food all day long, the food that people used to eat at parties, and that is the kind of stuff that's hazardous to your health; the cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, canned products, packaged products. Those are the foods to avoid.