January 2018                                                    www.livingwellaware.com
Food and Fasting: Fact vs. Fiction
Part 1

Since what we eat and how often we eat rules our body functions and thus our life, it behooves all of us to answer these important questions:  What is the healthiest food consumption? How often and when should we eat?  To answer these questions, I turned to a couple of recent reviews by medical experts.  In this January newsletter, I'll cover WHAT we should consider eating, and next month I will cover the controversial topic of FASTING.

What is the healthiest food consumption?  While not a scientific publication, this month US News and World Report published the conclusions of a panel of very distinguished medical experts to determine the healthiest food plan.  Ranking #1 was the Mediterranean Diet which tied for first place with the DASH diet.   The Mediterranean diet is high in veggies, fruits, nuts, olive oil, legumes, fish, and whole grains while low in red meat, high fat dairy, sugar, and saturated fats.  There is more data on this diet than any other popularly promoted plans, documenting reduced heart attacks, strokes, cardiovascular deaths, dementia, and cancer.  The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is similar to the Mediterranean eating plan, rich in fruits, veggies, fat-free or low-fat milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts.  It also contains less sodium, sweets, added sugars and beverages containing sugar, fats, and red meat than the typical American diet.  This heart healthy way of eating is also lower in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol while rich in nutrients associated with lowering blood pressure - -mainly potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein, and fiber.

These food plans mirror the recommendations of an extensive nutritional review published in 2017 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology entitled Trending Cardiovascular Nutrition Controversies.  The impressive list of 12 doctors concluded that the healthiest dietary patterns are "high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans), and nuts in moderation, although some may include limited quantities of lean meats (including poultry and seafood), low-fat dairy products, and liquid vegetable oils.  These dietary patterns are also low in 1) saturated, trans, and solid fats; 2) sodium; 3) added sugars; and 4) refined grains."
If it sounds like I'm repeating myself, I am!  FRUITS, VEGGIES, NUTS, LEAN MEATS, LOW-FAT DAIRY, OLIVE OIL.  We need to dump today's common food plan: SAD (Standard American Diet) composed of pizza, sandwiches full of processed meats in between hundreds of calories of bread, hamburgers, fries, fried chicken, Mexican food, calorie laden specialty coffees, sugary and diet beverages, donuts, pastries, and other nutrient poor / calorie dense foods.

If 10 years ago you would have told me my diet would be lacking in these SAD foods, I would have told you to take a hike.  No way would I give up these foods I ate every week.  Well, my husband and I have made these foods a rarity, and we are never going back.  None of these foods taste as good as we feel.  I had no idea people in their mid-sixties could feel this good.  And, our food consumption is a huge factor. 

You may be thinking: "No way am I going to give up all my favorite foods.  I can't do it.   It's too hard!"  Don't set yourself up for failure with negative thinking.  Come up a realistic plan that will work for you.  It's what we do 90% of the time that matters.  I don't know too many people who have a "perfect" diet totally devoid to unhealthy foods.  I repeat:  Find a plan that will work for you.  I have loads of healthy eating tips in my book and workbook that I live by and many have also found beneficial.  CRITIQUE CALORIC CONSUMPTION!  It's about Living WELL Aware.  Stay tuned for February's newsletter on FASTING.
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