Be Well, Be Happy
Choosing foods that heal.
Published: June 14, 2012
Serve up good taste AND good health.
An eating plan that promotes a lifetime of good health will balance your nutritional and emotional needs. The menu in my new book Meals That Heal Inflammation was designed with both body-supporting nutrients and soul-satisfying flavors in mind to help you stick with the program. Keeping both of these aspects in balance, you’ll be able to adjust with ease to the healthiest food choices. You just have to take it one bite at a time.
If you feel that frequent food preparation is too much for you, get into the habit of making larger batches and storing them. For example, cook enough quinoa so you can have some in the morning and then pack the rest in a Thermos so you can snack on it throughout the day.
Good Eating Habits to Establish:
• Eat your first meal within two hours of waking. Eat low-glycemic index food.
• Eat three meals and two snacks spaced over the day to keep energy levels up.
• Instead of a sugary treat, enjoy 1 to 2 servings of fruit for dessert or as a snack.
• Make sure half of your plate is filled with vegetables. (Vegetables must be cooked if you suffer from any inflammatory bowel conditions.) Include 2 to 3 vegetables in every meal for a minimum of 7 servings a day. The minerals in vegetables alkalize your body, helping to reduce inflammation.
• Try to eat 35 grams of fiber a day. You can achieve this by increasing your consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and seeds. Drink plenty of fluids.
Most adults need to consume between 1,800 and 3,000 calories a day. If you’re eating the appropriate number of calories for your level of activity, your weight shouldn’t fluctuate greatly. Women, people with a smaller build, and people with a less active lifestyle need fewer calories. Conversely, men, people with a larger build, and people with a more active lifestyle need more calories to maintain their weight.
The distribution of calories you consume should be as follows: 40 to 50 percent from carbohydrates, 20 to 30 percent from fat, and 20 to 30 percent from protein. If you have strong digestion, meaning you don’t experience any burping, gas, or bloating after eating, try to include carbohydrates, fats, and proteins at each meal.
Each of us has a built-in protein-portion meter—the size of the palm of your hand! For instance, if you have a smaller palm, you need a smaller amount of protein per serving. It’s really that simple. Use your palm to determine what size your protein portion should be at each meal.
Here are a few general rules for portion sizes, in case you’re eating out or trying to decide when you’re in the grocery aisle:
Animal Choices: 1 small chicken breast, a 3- to 4-ounce steak, 2 to 3 eggs
Vegetarian Choices: 4 ounces (120 g) of tempeh, 1 cup (250 mL) of cooked lentils or bean dip, or 2 ounces (60 g) of nuts or seeds
When choosing vegetarian options, mix grains with legumes to ensure you get a complete variety of amino acids.
Legumes include beans, lentils, and peas. There are many choices like black, kidney, navy, and pinto as well as the lesser known, but equally delicious and nutritious, cranberry and fava beans. In the pea family are black-eyed peas, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lentils, and split peas.
Legumes are often low in the essential amino acids methionine (mung beans are an exception) and tryptophan, so try to pair them with
grains or seeds for a complete protein source.
Grains include amaranth, buckwheat, Job’s tears, quinoa, millet, teff, whole rice, and wild rice. Many grains are low in the amino acid lysine, except amaranth, which boasts 1 gram of lysine per 100-gram serving, and quinoa, which contains 0.5 grams per 100-gram serving. Pair grains with legumes or nuts and seeds to complete the protein.
Nuts and Seeds can also be low in lysine. Almonds, pecans, and walnuts can be added as a quick meal topping or added to a bean or legume recipe to complete the protein. Delicious anti-inflammatory seeds include chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sacha inchi, sesame, and sunflower.
Julie Daniluk, RHN, best-selling author of Meals That Heal Inflammation (Hay House), has helped thousands of people enjoy allergy-free foods that taste great and assist the body in the healing process.