I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.
These days, we are all a little food focused. Well, actually, A LOT food focused. Many days I talk to my parents, we laugh at how much we discuss food. Questions like… Do you need anything at the grocery store? What did you buy at the grocery store? What food are you making today? What did you eat? What will you eat for dinner? When are you going to the store next? Oy vey! It’s endless, right!?! I am guessing this sounds familiar to you, too! So, with a hyper-focus on food and more time at home, it is the perfect opportunity for thoughtful eating.
In addition, during a pandemic especially, we need to do everything possible to keep our bodies healthy and running efficiently. So, today, let’s concentrate on the healing power of food. I will share some of my favorite healthy eating tips. You don’t have to change all your eating habits. Instead, focus on making a few modifications to keep your family feeling great! Incorporating a healthy eating plan is good prevention and wellness. As always, please check with your doctor before making any changes.
“Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body.”
Ways to Enjoy the Powerful Benefits of Food:
- Fight Cancer and Heart Disease – As Hippocrates said, “ Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Get in the habit of eating colorful fruits and veggies- the more colorful they are, the better! They provide fiber, antioxidants and nutrients; antioxidants help rid your body of damaging compounds. Blueberries are my favorite and pack a powerful health punch! I try to eat them daily. During the warmer months, I eat fresh blueberries, and during the colder months, I nuke frozen blueberries in the microwave for a minute, and add them to my Greek yogurt for a sweet, healthy breakfast.
To fight disease, I also suggest checking out the Mediterranean Diet. I hate to call it a “diet” – it’s really just a healthy way to eat. A few take-aways from this plan are: eating lots of fruits and veggies, more fish (reducing your meat intake), whole grains, and substituting olive oil for butter. For more information, read the attached document called “Why to Eat Like a Greek,” or click here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801 In addition, the Mediterranean Diet promotes eating “good fats” like nuts, olives and olive oil which fight diseases like Cancer and Diabetes. For an easy meal, try making whole grain pasta, pesto and spinach. (Note: If you buy pesto, make sure it is made with olive oil, the healthy fat.) Click here for recipe: https://www.eatgood4life.com/whole-wheat-penne-with-pesto-and/
- Feel Satisfied- One nice benefit from eating healthy food is feeling fuller, longer. This is because healthier foods are digested slowly. So, eating healthy foods may lead to smaller portions or eating less frequently. Therefore, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight, or even to shed a few unwanted pounds. Here are a few other super slimming, healthy options… Enjoy one cup of sweet (whole) cherries for a delicious treat full of antioxidants and fiber. This will only set you back 85 calories! Or, cut up watermelon for a refreshing, healthy option. This treat is 92 percent water, so it is very hydrating, and also contains nutrients to help relax blood vessels and boost circulation. You are welcome!
- Prepare Fresh and Easy Meals- I would not say that I am a fancy cook; rather, I like to make healthy, easy meals. Truth be told, my husband, Adam, is the true chef in our family. He has natural talent, and takes time to create a masterpiece. Me… not so much. I prefer, easy, fresh food. Like Jamie Oliver says, “Real food doesn’t have ingredients. Real food is ingredients.” For this reason, the Mediterranean Diet works perfectly for me- lots of fresh, delicious food, with many simple recipes. Here is an easy example. Try making a Greek salad. In a bowl, put together these ingredients: spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese, and dressing. Presto! You have a Greek Salad! Add a piece of broiled or grilled salmon for a meal. If you can’t eat a lot of salt, just leave out the feta and olives. I promise, it will still be delicious. Click here for a Greek salad vinaigrette that takes five minutes to prep. Bonus- you can also use the dressing to marinate veggies or fish. https://downshiftology.com/recipes/greek-salad-dressing/
- Try New Spices and Eat Less Salt- When cooking, there are many different countries and cuisines you can choose from. Why not spice things up a bit?! What sounds good to you…Greek, Italian, Spanish, or Turkish? To inspire you, please see the attached document called the “10 Healthiest Cuisines in the World.” It is exciting to try new food and different spices; many have excellent health benefits. For example: garlic can be benefit heart health and may enhance blood flow to the muscles and to the brain, cinnamon may be used to curb blood sugar, ginger is used to sooth headaches, and turmeric can help respiratory issues. Personally, I use a variety of spices to jazz up my food instead of using salt. One diet that incorporates sodium/salt reduction is the DASH Diet. It has many of the same components of the Mediterranean Diet, but also limits sodium. It is a wonderful way to improve your health, and lower your blood pressure. Click here to learn more: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456
- Feel More in Control and Practice Self Care- During a difficult time like this, focusing on what we can control is important. Eating well is a healthy way to find control, and is also a form of self-care. In addition, some studies have shown that a healthy diet can enhance emotional health. So, you have nothing to lose! Eating well has a potential benefit to improve your body and your mind. Plan ahead, write a grocery list based on healthy foods, and eat wisely. You can control what you put in your body, and that feels good.
- Maintain Memory and Prevent Cognitive Decline – Generally, salmon (which has omega-3 vitamins), leafy greens, beans, nuts and whole grains are all great brain health food. In addition, there are alternatives you may not know about. Walnuts, like salmon, are rich in omega-3’s. The spice, ginger also has great anti-inflammatory markers and can reduce Alzheimer’s Disease and slow the progression of brain cell death. Or, try pumpkin seeds. Holy cow- these little guys are incredible! They have a ton of nutrients like: Vitamins A and E, zinc, and omega 3’s. In addition, pumpkin seeds boost memory and reduce the risk of dementia. See the attached document called “Brain Healthy Foods” for additional information and specifics.
- Try a “Healthy Food” Brain Health Exercise– List all the healthy foods you can think of using the colors of the rainbow…red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo, and violet. (The acronym to remember is: ROYBGIV.) For some big-time prevention, eat brain health foods while completing this brain health exercise! Wow!
- Check Out The Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s “Museum Moment”– Sisters-in-law Helen Brachman and Henrietta Mahler had a great recipe for French salad dressing. They decided to bottle and sell it in the hopes of making more money to support the Jewish community. Their product, Henri’s Salad Dressing, became a national brand. Try eating a healthy salad while you watch this 12 minute story. After you watch, think about a favorite family healthy recipe. https://youtu.be/GxU0bV6Tkcs
Are you willing to try a new recipe, make a heathier substitution, or add a new spice? Get creative! Make something fresh and enjoy with your loved one. You will be happy you made the effort. I can’t wait to hear what you tried! Happy Eating!
As always, I am here for you- to listen, problem solve or just connect. Email me at DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org
Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,