Inspiration: Michael Oher, NFL First Round Draft Pick

Here’s more inspiration. Meet Michael Oher, a homeless kid living on the streets who was adopted by a caring family and enrolled in prep-school, then became a college football standout and this weekend the Baltimore Ravens made Michael their first draft round pick:

 

 

Like many people, I first learned about Michael Oher during the draft and now I’m really pulling for him. You should too! He’s living proof that hard work pays off.

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On Manager's Special 4.27.09

My favorite, super ripe bananas $0.63.

 

Two awesome cauliflowers only $0.75.

 

A few bunches of Romaine lettuce $1.00.

 

Finally tally, just $2.38. Pretty freaking great if you ask me!

I chew through bananas like a rabib monkey, not sure what I'll do with the cauliflowers yet, but the Romaine lettuce is perfect for salads. Sweet.

Eating to Live on the Outside: The Rainbow Garden

Wow, it’s the end of my first week back already. That was fast. Anyway, it’s Saturday and you know what that means. Time for Eating to Live on the Outside! And today, I’m staying close to home. I’m off to The Rainbow Garden in Frenchtown, New Jersey.

Being totally honest, it looks good. Real good! I don’t see a single problem with the menu, there’s tons of fruits and veggies. So, here’s a rough draft of things I might order:

Koala Bear Smoothie

  • Bananas, strawberries, kiwi and pear; the name alone makes me want to order it.

The Tiger’s Eye Smoothie

  • Orange, peach, mango and dates; mango is awesome for smoothies.

The Golden Budgie

  • Banana, cherry and pineapple; very cool!

The Mighty Monkey

  • Mango, dates, strawberries and Romaine lettuce; I really dig, especially the name, and I wouldn’t worry about the dressings here, they look very healthy-friendly.

The Green Raspberry

  • Romaine lettuce, raspberry date sauce and raisins; raspberry date sounds pretty interesting.

House Salad

  • Mixed baby greens, tomatoes, onion, cucumber and bell peppers; lots of good stuff here.

The Jersey Garden

  • Basil, tomatoes, cucumber, baby greens and topped with live marinara sauce; as a Jersey boy, I couldn’t pass on this one.

Spicy Green Salad

  • Zucchini, cilantro, Romaine lettuce, celery, scallions, walnuts, garlic, parsley, black pepper and paprika; no complaints here.

Hummus Sandwich

  • Sprouted flat bread, sprouted cashew hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, onion and alfalfa sprouts; that’s a lot of sprouts and I wouldn’t worry about the bread, it looks fine.

Pesto Sandwich

  • Walnut spinach pesto, shredded zucchini, sprouted flat bread and tomato; again, another winner here.

The Rainbow Garden is basically a slam dunk. No problems here at all. Now, if I was REALLY going to order something I would get the koala smoothie paired with the monkey salad. Yes, I know. It’s an adorable combination.

I’ve been lazy lately, but Rainbow Garden isn’t too far from where I live. Maybe I should make a quick trip over there and eat something. But until I do, you check out Rainbow Garden’s menu and let me know what you’d order. Peace.

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Inspiration: Stand By Me, Playing For Change

Continuing our salute to inspiration, get a load of this video from Playing For Change. They traveled the world, from New Orleans to Russia, recording local musicians and singers performing the classic song “Stand By Me.” It’s a heartwarming pick-me-up:

 

 

Just living-proof that everyone, all over the world, needs a little help now and again. Hopefully you’re digging this new series. I plan on making it a regular thing.

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On Manager's Special 4.20.09

Great looking organic zucchinis only $1.00.

 

Six anjou pears for $1.25.

 

And a bunch of ripe tomatoes just $1.25.

 

Grand total, a measly $3.50. Not a bad haul if you ask me. 

I needed tomatoes, so I was excited to see them. I don't really like anjou pears, but my mom loves them, so she can have them. As for the zucchinis, they'll go in the steamer.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Saf

It’s Saturday, time for another pseudo trip to far off locations to sample the local delicacies and this week Eating to LIve on the Outside heads across the pond to the United Kingdom to grab a bite to eat at Saf a veggie restaurant boasting plant-based, botanical yum-yums. Sounds good!

Now, let’s imagine I’m really in London, sitting at table and about to order something. I better pick something fast! Okay, before the waiter comes over. Here’s a quick list of things I might order, some are better than others:

Edamame

  • Wasabi pea powder, fleur de sel and black sesame; I love edamame beans, but I’d ask them to hold the salt.

Vegetable Maki

  • Parsnip rice, shitake mushrooms, avocado and shiso & shoyu; I’d ditch the sauce.

White Bean Hummus

  • Fresh harissa, mint oil and crostini; not great because of the oil and bread, but I might consider it.

Saf Nachos

  • Sprouted crisps, avocado, salsa, tapenade, cashew sour cream and coriander; I’m okay with the crisps and hooray for avocado.

Greens & Flowers Salad

  • Baby lettuces, herbs, radishes, flowers, sprouts and citrus miso dressing; just go easy on the dressing.

Baby Kale and Avocado Salad

  • Pea shoots, sweet pepper, avocado, baby kale, lemon oil and candied pecan; same deal here.

Chopped Asian Salad

  • Smoked tofu, raddichio, watercress, pumpkin, seeds, yuzu juice and wakame seaweed; lots of great stuff here.

Tom Kha Soup

  • Coconut-lemongrass broth, baby corn, tofu, oyster mushrooms, coriander and chili oil; it might be salt, so ask first, but otherwise it looks cool.

Swiss Chard Rolls

  • Mung beans, water chestnut, Thai vinaigrette, pickled cucumber and seaweed salad; I dig it, but order the dressing on the side.

Shitake Dumplings

  • Wood ear mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, tofu, carrot and caramelized black vinegar; sounds tasty.

Hey, not too bad for my first “trip” to the London. Saf looks great. So if I really had to order something, I’d go for the Greens & Flowers Salad, Baby Kale and Avocado Salad or the Chopped Asian Salad, either one of these has enough veggies to satisfy me.

To be totally honest, if I was in London you’d probably find me hanging out in a few pubs too. Cut me a break! I’m young and single. But enough about me do me a favor. Read through Saf’s menu and tell me what you’d bloody order! Peace.

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No More Cupcakes at Soccer Games!

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Amy Roskelley of SuperHealthyKids and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

I remember as a child going to my brother’s soccer games. When it was our turn for snacks, we would cut up a bowl full of oranges, and the players would eat them during half time for extra energy. Today, our soccer games usually culminate with a box of Kool-Aid and a candy bar on the side. What happened here!

When it’s your turn for little league treats, you want to find something healthy, but you also want the kids to like it, right? During the fall soccer season, I decided to go against the grain, return to days of old, and bring sliced oranges. Those kids loved them!

I had a huge bowl with orange wedges for during and after the game, and every single one was gone before I could have any myself. Often parents underestimate the kids’ desire for solid, healthy food. Here are some other foods my kids love to eat:

  • Sliced apples, watermelon wedges and bananas.
  • Individually packaged non-salted nuts or trail mix
  • 8 oz water bottles, kids like these little water bottles.
  • Dried apricots and raisins in little individual boxes.
  • Baggies of air-popped popcorn.

So, ditch the cupcakes and give kids something better to replace their lost nutrients from playing hard.

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Inspiration: Oscar Pistorius, Blade Runner

Sometimes I look at the treadmill and say. No, not today! I’m too pooped. I’m sure it happens to you too. But don’t let it stop you. It never stopped Oscar Pistorius a double-amputee sprinter, who despite running on metal legs qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Here he talks about running:

 

 

Sadly Blade Runner, as he has been nicknamed, failed to qualify for Beijing, but he’s got his sights set on the 2012 Olympics in London, England. I’ll be pulling for him.

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Getting Kids Involved in the Kitchen, Safely...

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Gretchen Goel of Total Wellness Mentor and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

My kids have been using The Learning Tower since they were toddlers and I can tell you it has been the most used piece of furniture in our house! It is as necessary of a purchase as a VitaMix if you have kids or even grandkids. Kids can safely climb up in it by themselves and it can be adjusted to height as your children grow.

I have our tower located next to a large assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables on our counter top. They can climb up and grab a snack whenever they want. We don't have a snack cabinet full of processed junk, just a "snack counter" full of healthy whole foods.

When we cook I move the tower to an open space so they can help measure, pour, stir, peel garlic and onions or chop easy-to-chop foods like mushrooms or herbs. They get a hands on math and cooking lesson every day, which I love since I home-school them.

I find that I rarely have issues with my kids trying new foods because I have them so involved in food preparation. My oldest daughter is 6 and she is already inventing her own healthy recipes using raw foods!

The bonus to using The Learning Tower is easily turns into a "puppet theater" for play during the day. We just throw a sheet over it and our kids sit on the platform and perform!

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I'll Admit It. I'm a Junk-Food Junkie from Way Back!

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Jennifer McCann of Vegan Lunch Box and This Is Why You’re Thin and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

Most of my life there was not a sugary, fat-filled food that didn't have my name on it. And even though I've had a lot of success on Eat To Live in the last few years, I've also continued to struggle with the emotional urge to keep eating my old favorites. Foods that, intellectually, I know are bad for my health, but that my mind still thinks of as friends.

Sometimes it's been so difficult. I've even felt like giving up on Dr. Fuhrman's plan altogether. So when his new book Eat For Health came out, I felt like his chapters on "Changing How You Think" were written just for me. That's exactly what I needed to do! During the time I spent reading the book and doing the exercises, I realized I could use this kind of daily mental training to work out my mind and reprogram my thinking, just like I use daily exercise to work out my body.

Dr. Fuhrman's book was one form of mental training for me. Other mental work outs include talking openly with my health-conscious friends, working with a wellness coach to set weekly goals, increasing and reinforcing my nutrition knowledge with books and DVDs and visiting inspirational websites.

Speaking of websites, the popular blog This Is Why You’re Fat has been getting a lot of press lately. If you haven't been there yet, people send in their craziest junk-food creations, like bacon-topped doughnuts or deep-fried pepperoni pizza, for us all to groan and laugh over. I think the blog really is funny, but in the past few weeks I’ve noticed that a lot of people talking about the site are saying the same thing:

"It’s so gross, but now I want some."

"Eww! Oh, I bet that tastes good."

"That’s a heart attack waiting to...mmmm, bacon."

Isn’t that interesting? At the same time that we’re appalled, these images are sinking into our little monkey minds and triggering cravings for these kinds of foods. Is this a form of mental training, but in reverse? Are those images, added to all the commercials and advertisements we see every day for unhealthy food, training our minds to keep asking for what we know we shouldn't eat namely salty, fatty, deep-fried, sugary and processed foods?

I started thinking, what if, instead of looking at images of junk food every day. We served ourselves up a daily helping of healthy images instead? Can healthy images inspire us to want what's best for us, make us crave colorful salads instead of fatty burgers or help us get to the gym?

So, I decided to create the antithesis of This Is Why You're Fat by starting a brand new blog called This Is Why You’re Thin!

I’m hoping encourage exercise and the consumption of healthy plant-based foods through fun, intriguing and beautiful images that will inspire us all. I’m looking for photos of fresh fruits and vegetables, beautiful bean soups or healthy salads, people running, climbing, swimming, stretching and smiling kids drinking smoothies and picking strawberries.

Please visit my new blog and find out how to contribute. I want to fill the pages with lots of Fuhrman-friendly, nutrient-dense cuisine!

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Inspiration: Christian the Lion, Born Free

You don’t have to be an animal lover or to appreciate this. Back in the late 1960s, two men found a lion cub in a department store in London. They rescued the little guy, named him Christian, raised him and later released him back into the wild. Christian never forgot what they did:

 

 

I know this video is more about animals than people, but that’s not the point. It tells me you never know how actions, check that, how love forever effects those around you.

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America's Energy Crisis

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Scott Wharton of HealthandMen and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

Is there ever going to be a point where we stop seeing the walls of energy drinks and energy shots at our convenient stores? When I was in my late teens and early 20 there wasn't any Red Bull, Monster or Rock Star drinks. There was only Jolt Cola. Jolt was just like any other cola, except they claimed that it packed more caffeine and more sugar than your average Pepsi. If I was about to embark on a long drive from Quantico, Virginia to upstate, New York I would grab one or two of these for the road. I wasn't much of a coffee drinker back then and Jolt Cola was my pick-me-up when I had to make long trips home. The downfall with caffeine and sugar was the crash. I would often get about 6 hours in to the trip and suddenly start to feel the crash. By the time I got home I would be either be wiped clean of any energy I had.

Truck stops used to have the plastic cases next to or behind the counter loaded with little bottles of mini-thins and similar products. They were Ephedrine or Ephedra based stimulants that were not the healthiest stimulant but then again loading up on caffeine and sugar isn't either. People started dying from overuse of ephedra and the United States took action against ephedrine because of the Meth epidemic. That's the reason you have to go to the pharmacy to get anything with ephedrine in it like Sudafed. The most you see in them now are Stackers and other caffeine, guarana and ginseng products.

These days the energy shots and drinks are still loaded with caffeine, sugar and extra vitamins. We know too much caffeine is bad for your heart and too much sugar is never a good thing for the human body, but what about the vitamins? Vitamins are good, right? That's what we're told as children. People don't know nearly enough about vitamins except for what they might hear on television and rarely do their own research. Naturally if you're told by some random person on TV that B Vitamins are good for you, then you're bound to believe that. Granted, B Vitamins are good for you and B vitamin deficiencies are, well, not good.

The funny thing that people fail to understand when they buy the energy shots like 6 Hour Energy and equivalent products is that most of that vitamin B that is supposed to give you all that energy is just going to waste. If you eat properly you get plenty of vitamin B and there really isn't much need for more. Either way, your body will get rid of any excess water soluble vitamins that it doesn't need and has no need to absorb and pees out. People that take a vitamin B supplement often know how well their body is absorbing it by the color of their urine. Riboflavin or vitamin B2 will tend to make your urine a bright yellow color.

Marketing is an amazing thing because people are so easily manipulated by things that help make day-to-day life more convenient. Fat burning pills, energy supplements and anything else that helps cope with the stress of work or life in general. When you're tired you're tired. There is no other way around it and your body needs rest. No matter how much energy supplements you take, it can not substitute the rejuvenating effect your body gets from a good night sleep. Sometimes you have to slow down, take it easy and let Mother Nature do her thing.

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Inspiration: Matt Harding, Where the Hell is Matt?

Matt Harding is a video game designer, which is cool enough, but last year he took to the global and traveled all over the place, destinations like Ireland, Japan, Tonga, Brazil, Israel, South Korea and beyond! I blogged about Matt’s first video before but the outtakes are just as great:

 

 

I am chronically “waiting for my real life to begin” but Matt’s odyssey, even his embarrassing jig, makes me want to get out there and mix it up. Hopefully you feel the same way.

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Local Eating in a Global World

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Diane Lassen of Women’s Nutrition Matters and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

Eating locally is all the rage these days. In fact, “locavore” was the word of the year last year, and there are lots of wonderful books out which really romanticize the idea of eating locally and growing your own food. I have to tell you, I am all for it. I grew up in suburban New Jersey with a Dad who dug up half the backyard for our garden and we ate from it all year long.

Eating locally means eating seasonally, even though nearly every conceivable food option is available 365 days a year in our global supermarket, we should know where our food comes from and we should strive to minimize the traffic that our food must endure by eating foods grown close to home. I love the concept of seasonal eating because it is an intuitive way of eating. It dates back to the basis of Ayurvedic medicine, where with each season came plants that gave us exactly what we needed for that season.

Let me explain. In the summer when it is hot, we have succulent, juicy fruits and vegetables like melons, stone fruits and tomatoes and lettuces which naturally cool the body and quench our thirst. As fall moves into winter, the fall harvest provides us with hearty and sustaining foods, foods that warm us and give us energy such as winter squash, root vegetables, beans and many seeds and grains. These foods are heavier and warming in nature and give us a feeling of contentment and nourishment—much needed in the cold, dark days of winter! Then with the spring comes cleansing sprouts, young greens and berries which help to rid the body of excess weight that may have accumulated over the winter and which cleanse the body of toxins and wastes, thus preparing us for another season of heat.

During the winter, we should continue to focus on our stores of local winter squash, pumpkins and sweet potatoes that are high in carotenoids, the antioxidants that have given us extra protection during the cold and flu season. Look to the veggies such as kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts which, after a cold snap, have higher levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants which help protect us from environmental stress. A good frost also sweetens their flavors considerably! This Brassica family as well as members of the lily family, such as garlic, onions and leeks, are also high in sulfur compounds which protect against cancer and other damage to our DNA. All of these vegetables were the winter staples of our grandparent’s “root cellars” and should find a place in our basements as well.

Then once the winter winds will die down and the sun warms the earth enough to cause our spring bulbs to appear. What a joyous time of year! And just when you can’t eat another acorn squash, it will be time for the spring greens to appear in the marketplace and for wild mustard and chickweed to pop up in the woodlands, begging to be harvested. Our bodies will beg for the bitter greens of arugula and cress, so that the cleansing and detoxifying process can begin again. We will awaken from our long hibernation indoors ready to tackle the garden beds and other outdoor activities that beckon with the coming warm days!

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Inspiration: Josh Blue, Last Comic Standing

This dude really touches my heart. I’ve done comedy. It’s hard enough as is, but Josh Blue, winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, U.S. Paralympic Soccer player, painter and living with Cerebral Palsy, defies the odds. He’s hysterical and shows a beautiful mind knows no bounds:

 

 

Josh is awesome on so many levels. I don’t watch Last Comic Standing and it wasn’t until I saw him on Comedy Central that I discovered this fantastic human being.

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I'm a Raw Food Dude. I Drink My Greens!

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Linda Wooliever of Vermont Fiddle Heads and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

What I love about the raw food movement is that it teaches people to eat locally, from their own garden, local farmers or community supported agriculture, as well as wild harvested foods, and to prepare and eat minimally processed whole foods. I love that raw foods are some of the best food I have ever tasted, jam packed with water and flavor!

But I don't necessarily like all aspects of the raw food movement. It can be strict and somewhat purist and the message that you can eat whatever/whenever you want so long as it is raw. I took a lot of the messages to heart even though some didn't intuitively make sense. I wanted to believe what I read. I said to myself, "Well, it seemed to work for other people, so why not me?"

I like experimenting with new foods and ideas, so I gave myself a green light to eat WAY too much fat on the raw food diet. I also gave myself the go ahead to eat a lot of raw chocolate, which can also be high in fat and while it is very fun to use wild with raw cacao, I don't recommend it for daily use. Long story short, I began to gain weight on raw food.

Despite having a relatively low caloric intake, most of my calories were coming from fat. After 8 years and much experimentation with my raw foods diet, I started to feel a bit run down and I was a little perplexed about what to do. The books that recommend a low-fat raw food diet, don't really explain how to do it because when it comes time to show recipes, these recipes are nut-rich, very dense and heavy.

Thankfully my friend gave me Dr Fuhrman's book to read as a gift and I really felt grateful for it. His message was very similar to some raw food dudes that I applaud who also extol the importance of a low-fat, minimally-processed, vegan diet. What I REALLY appreciated was actually spelling out the daily food intake goals per day, i.e. a pound of raw greens and other veggies, a pound of cooked greens, etc.

This helps a lot of people, I think, and it helps a person like me. I can very easily adapt how I eat to this daily plan and I make it easy and delicious. I finally felt like I was getting some guidelines that seem doable and sensible. This is a lifestyle and not a diet.

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Discover the Delicious Health Benefits of Organic Food!

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Laura Klein of OrganicAuthority and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

Ok, I’m addicted to organic foods and am a self proclaimed organic foodie! I guess you could say I’m a big fan of organic everything, especially organic food. That's why I founded my own website!

As I studied to be a professionally trained chef in culinary school, it was the tasty flavor of organic foods that got me hooked on the organic movement. Before culinary school, I could have cared less about organic foods and “green” what? I simply couldn’t believe how much better organic foods tasted when compared to the other normal stuff.

As a chef-in-training, all I cared about was what produced the best tasting food products. And what I discovered was the critical secret behind high-end chefs and five-star restaurants. Organic food! You can have all the culinary training in the world, but if you start with low quality ingredients, you get a low quality result.

I also discovered that organic foods are simply more nutritious and a powerful healing tool for the human body. I look at organic food as the most delicious type of preventive medicine available to us! But don’t just take it from me. Other vetted resources agree that organic food is nutrient-rich and fantastic for your health.

In a study published in March 2008 by The Organic Center, scientific evidence settled the lingering question. Are organic foods really more nutritious? And the answer is a resounding YES! Consider the following:

  • Organic plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, grains) contain higher levels of eight of 11 nutrients studied, including significantly greater concentrations of health-promoting polyphenols and antioxidants.
  • Organically grown plant-based foods are 25% more nutrient dense, on average, than their conventional food counterparts. That means they deliver more essential nutrients per serving or calorie consumed than conventionally-grown foods.
  • Nutrients present in organic foods are “in a more biologically active form,” according to Neal Davies, a professor at Washington State University (WSU) and a co-author of the center’s report. A+ for Organic Farming!

In another recent study entitled “Living Soil, Food Quality, and the Future of Food", presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), several inspiring conclusions were offered about the health benefits of organic farming and its nutritional impact in food:

  • Higher levels of fertilizer negatively impact the density of certain nutrients in harvested foodstuffs, which is called the "dilution [of nutrients] effect." Organic farming can, under some circumstances, delay the onset of the "dilution effect."
  • Compared to typical conventional farms, the nitrogen cycle on organic farms is rooted in substantially more complex biological processes and soil-plant interactions; for this reason, organic farming offers great promise in consistently producing nutrient-enriched foods.

Clearly, organic food equals healthier food. It’s that simple. And that tasty too!

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Inspiration: Nick Vujicic, Life Without Limbs

Sometimes life beats you down and you don’t want to get back up. Now, meet Nick Vujicic, even though he was born without arms and leg, he doesn’t stay down. In this video, Nick says if you fall, get back up, because it doesn’t matter how you start, but how you finish. Are you going to finish strong? He will:

 

 

Okay, I consider myself a tough guy, but the first time I watched Nick I welled up like a wuss. I know you did too. All this week I’ve lined up a bunch of super people.

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Would We be Healthier Without Taste Buds...

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Bloggy McBloggenstein of Stop Being So Fat! and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

The obese are now the majority in America. Sure, there are no shortage of reasons behind this, but let’s boil it down into its simplest terms. In an increasingly busy, modern, convenience filled, processed food-filled environment, the majority of people are seeking out what is easy, cheap, and above all PLEASURABLE over what is healthy.

Evolutionarily speaking, it’s doubtful one could argue that we developed taste buds simply for pleasure. The real reason is because our ancient ancestors needed a mechanism that told them whether or not the substance they were putting in their mouth was good or bad for them. Little absorption happens in the mouth, so when the tongue sends a message to the brain that something tastes “bad” we spit it out before swallowing it. Harmful or poisonous foods often have a bitter or sour taste, and nutrient rich foods, particularly nutrient-rich often have a sweet or savory taste.

Today, we don’t need our taste buds to save our lives. There’s no danger of scavenging through a wild grocery store and accidentally eating something poisonous. We’re too educated to let that happen. No one is going to pick up a bottle of bleach and give it a swig to find out if it’s food or not.

It’s probably to our detriment that today, when most food products are made in factories, that our taste buds still rule our diet choices. We still seek out the foods that are most fulfilling to our energy needs, even if those needs are met. AND THEN SOME! Food companies win us over by putting MORE of what tastes good into our food, while maintaining a relative level of vitamins in production is often an afterthought.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the next step in our evolution made it so that we could taste if something were high in micronutrients relative to energy? Just like we can taste the difference between a regular and a fat free version of something, we would be able to tell if a food was high in vitamins and minerals, and actually prefer it over a food that has been stripped of its vitamins.
We know what is healthy.

Really, as much as people seem confused over all of the conflicting information out there regarding healthy eating, I doubt you could find me a person that would point to the super-sized value meal instead of the basket of fruits and veggies when asked which is healthier. When we’re honest, the only real reason we act confused about what is bad for us is when we want to continue to eat what tastes good, despite available information.

Obviously we can’t turn off our taste buds, and if we could, who would want to? Food is one of the major things that drives and shapes various cultures because the preparation and eating of food is often very social and can be highly pleasurable. Life would seem pretty grim if we suddenly couldn’t taste. Taste buds are a luxury now. Let’s not let that luxury be our downfall.

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Grocery Shopping with the Kids

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Ilana Kriegsman of Healthy & Green on the Cheap and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

“No, Mommy! I don’t want to sit in the cart! I want to go home! I want that!” Sound familiar? These are just a few of the things that my daughter has been known to say during a shopping excursion. Yes, grocery shopping can be a torturous experience for parent and child alike.

But what choice do we have? I suppose the obvious answer is to leave the kids at home, but my feeling is that’s not the right choice. With a slight change of purpose, you can keep your children interested and occupied (and peaceful) while also taking advantage of some great learning opportunities. These are my rules to a happy shopping trip:

Engage your kids in the shopping experience.

  • Show them and talk about your shopping list: Why do you make it? What’s on it? Etc.
  • Tell them about how you plan to use the items you buy once you get them home and how they can be your helpers.
  • Show them how to look at produce: Is it ripe? Is it fresh? Etc.
  • Explain the seasonality of vegetables and fruits and where the produce in the store comes from.
  • Take them to farms and farmers markets to help them identify with the source of their food.
  •  
  • Allow them to make some decisions about the foods you buy. Do you want apples or pears?

Encourage questions and curiosity about food.

  • Let your child take a sample here and there of things you’re buying or if the store sets out samples. My daughter’s particularly fond of doing this with leafy greens, especially if it’s organic!
  • When they have a question, take the time to answer it, don’t rush.
  • Allow them to take an interest in packaging and other marketing ploys. Candy and kids’ cereals might look like fun on the outside, but they’re not healthy on the inside.

Be consistent.

  • Let your children in on what is “okay” and what is not. Have them help you look at labels when they ask for something. Does it have hydrogenated oil or artificial colors? Then we can’t have it.
  • Be clear about what is a “treat” and what is an every day food. Treats in our family are things we have very rarely, generally for holidays and special occasions.
  • If you’re working within a tight budget, like we are, it’s also a good idea to stick to the list as a general rule, making exceptions for incredible bargains, but not for whims and fancies.

I believe the more kids understand about food, the more varieties of food they’ll try. They’ll be less inclined to eat food from unidentifiable sources (i.e. processed foods) and more inclined to eat whole foods. And the more they understand about shopping and meal planning, the more adept they will be at handling these sorts of tasks as teens and adults.

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Eating to Live on the Outside: Millennium

Happy Saturday, hopefully you slept in. If you did and you woke up hungry, perfect timing! Today Eating to Live on the Outside is off to San Francisco, California and chowing down at Millennium, a healthy vegetarian restaurant serving environmentally friendly foods.

Okay, I’m not really going to California. In fact, I’m enjoying my break from blogging. I actually wrote this on Wednesday and just pretended it is Saturday. So, since we’re playing make believe, let’s assume I’m REALLY at Millennium. In that case, here’s a list of things I might order:

Ruby Grapefruit & Endive Salad

  • Ginger pickled onions, sweet & spicy toasted cashews, rosehip-beet vinaigrette, ruby grapefruit, endive and toasted pumpkin seed oil. Dr. Fuhrman’s not a big fan of grapefruit. But if I eat grapefruit once a year it’s a lot. So I’m okay with it. As for the pumpkin seed oil, I’d order that on the side.

Romaine Salad

  • Julienne carrots, Romaine lettuce, toasted croutons and Caesar vinaigrette. Looks good, but I’d ditch the croutons and get the dressing on the side again.

Wilted Bloomsdale Spinach & Dandelion Green Salad

  • Green tea-miso glazed tofu, spinach, dandelions, orange-ginger tamari vinaigrette, burdock-hijiki kimpura and kumquats. I love dandelion greens and spinach and the exotic stuff sounds very cool.

Grilled Asparagus Salad

  • Little gem lettuce, asparagus, creamy pink peppercorn "ranch", sun dried tomato relish and crisp spring garlic chips. I’m not sure what garlic chips are but I’d give them a whirl.

Black Bean Torte

  • Whole wheat tortilla, caramelized plantains, smoky black bean puree, pumpkin-habanero salsa verde, cashew sour cream and strawberry-jicama salsa. I’d try it, but I’m pretty sure I would regret the habanero salsa later that evening. Ouch!

Charmoula Grilled Portobello Mushroom

  • Saffron scented borlotti bean, Portobello mushroom, fava green, root vegetable tajine, pistachio, mint, bulgar salad, Meyer lemon and dried apricot vinaigrette. Sounds great, all sorts of tasty things!

Seared Emerald Rice Cake

  • Indonesian red coconut curry, winter root vegetables, lemongrass tofu, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, pineapple sambal and toasted peanuts. I like this too, I can deal with the rice.

Wow! I got to be honest. I was barely smart enough to decipher Millennium’s menu. Thank goodness for Wikipedia. Okay, back to business. If I was eating at Millennium, I’d probably order the Charmoula Grilled Portobello Mushroom or the Grilled Asparagus Salad, but I like the mushroom best.

Sure, it was a little tough to get through the menu but I think Millennium is cool. You’d certainly find something decent to eat. Maybe you like what I picked maybe you’d order something different. Either way, flip through Millennium's menu and let me know what catches your eye. Peace.

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On Manager's Special 4.6.09

A bunch of apples and a pear only $1.00.

 

Really tasty black grapes $0.60.

 

And my favorite, broccoli for $0.99.

 

Final total, just $2.59. Pretty hard to argue with that! 

I eat a ton of broccoli every week. The black grapes are really awesome. I've had them before, very sweet and no seeds. And apples are always great to have on hand, same with pears.

Eating to Live on the Outside: The Coup

It’s the weekend, so why are you reading a blog and not playing outside! Well, hurry up and read, then get outside. Today Eating to Live on the Outside is off to The Coup in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Let’s hope I don’t get picked up by a Mountie.

Alright, after scanning the menu, I see the usual mix, some good stuff and some iffy stuff. Here’s a quick list of food I might order:

Organic Edamame Soybeans

  • Soybeans with Himalayan rock salt; I love edamame beans, but I’ll nix the salt.

The Green House Effect Salad

  • Chickpeas, sheep feta, toasted seeds, pea shoots, shredded carrot, beets, kalamata olives, organic greens and dressing; pass on the feta, I’m okay with the olives and the dressing is going on the side.

Peanut Satay Salad

  • Steamed broccoli, sautéed tofu, organic greens, rice vermicelli and peanut satay sauce; I’m okay with the vermicelli pasta and the sautéing, but again, sauce on the side.

Lotus Root Salad

  • Asian greens, lotus root, cherry tomatoes, ponzu sauce, toasted pine nuts and crusted tofu; no problems here, sounds pretty good.

El Taco

  • Naturally sweetened beans, avocado, shredded veggies, quinoa, salsa, grilled sprouted tortilla and sheep yogurt or soy yogurt; I’m alright on the tortilla, but I’ll skip both yogurts.

Kinoko Hot Pot

  • Seasonal veggies, lotus root, edamame, soba noodles and spicy nori mushroom sesame broth; not too bad.

Pseudo Sushi

  • Veggies and fruit rolled up in brown rice; I love sushi!

Field Trip

  • Organic greens, sesame date yam dip, curry cream cheese spread, edamame, curry cashew pesto, smoked tahini balsamic eggplant dip and foccacia and lavash; I’m dropping the cream cheese.

Organic Greens

  • Greens, pea shots, shredded carrot, beets, seeds and dressing; nice and simple!

Greek Goddess

  • Tomatos, sundried tomatoes, red pepper, spinach, red onion, capers, lentils sautéed in lemon tahini sauce, topped with kalamata olives and feta on brown basmati rice; no feta for me.

Wild Rose Stack

  • Fresh greens, pan seared portabella mushroom, smoked balsamic tahini, eggplant, quinoa, sautéed greens and shallots and tomatoes topped with sprouts and hemp oil; even with the oil it still looks tasty.

Kinoko Hot Pot

  • Veggies, lotus root, edamame, soba noodles in a spicy nori mushroom sesame broth; another good one.

Dragon Bowl

  • Steamed and fresh seasonal veggies, stir-fried tofu on organic brown basmati or quinoa topped with seeds and cilantro; I’d go with the quinoa.

Now, if I REALLY had to pick something. I’d go for either The Green House Effect Salad or the Dragon Bowl. Although, the sushi is hard to pass up, I love sushi, fish or veggie, especially octopus!

The Coup works. A lot of tasty looking healthy food, not bad for my first “trip” to Canada, but what do you think? Come on, help a brother out. Look at the menu and let me what you’d order. Can you do that, aye? Peace.

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