Jan 4, 2018
by Ron Skaar
Primitive mankind lived in harmony and in balance with nature. For a million years or more our nomad ancestors lived on a wide range of wild fruits, leaves and seeds. Their primary diet consisted of game, wild berries, roots, vegetable shoots and, occasionally, wild cereal.
We have always been plant eaters. In Genesis, Adam and Eve spent their brief innocence in Eden as gardeners. The Bible never mentions consuming meat as food until Cain’s lurid murder of Abel.
The theory that plants are our original and therefore the only proper food has deep roots. In the golden age of Greek and Roman mythology, the earth gave of itself freely, without cultivation, and humans ate only nuts and fruit. Around 10,000 years ago, our ancestors began to domesticate a few grains, seed legumes and tubers. These are some of the richest sources of energy and protein in the plant world. Animal breeding and agriculture created a more sedentary populous and drastically changed their eating habits.
Control of the food supply led to settlements, created the first cities and helped to cultivate the human mind. But farming radically reduced the variety of plant foods in the human diet. Only several animals could be reared and certain vegetables could be grown.
Industrialization reduced the varieties of food produced even further. Fruits and vegetables became accessories and even marginal foods in the Western diet. We now rely on processed foods that are often high in fat and stripped of beneficial nutrients.
Eating a variety of fresh, minimally processed foods is the best way to ensure your body is grabbing all their nutrient and health benefits. Diets associated with lower rates of cancer, heart disease and other chronic disorders share certain traits. They contain plenty of fruits, whole grains and vegetables with modest amounts of meat and fish.
In other words, a semi-vegetarian diet. The “Mediterranean” diet is similar in principle, with healthy unsaturated fats accenting the freshest produce. The Japanese diet is significant in the countries lowest rate of heart disease in the world. And, the food triangle provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture also emphasis the semi-vegetarian approach to eating.
Learn to limit refined starches in your diet. They are easy to over indulge in and get broken down to sugar rapidly in the body, which leads to increased fat storage. If your dieting, try one starch per day. For example: one slice of multigrain bread or two-thirds cup cooked pasta or 4 pieces of sushi.
Diets high in protein help to reduce appetite cravings while consuming fewer calories. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar in your blood which helps fight hunger. Making the right choices can lead to some fascinating results. The Food Network recently posted these examples of what you can get for 250 calories. One 12 ounce glass of grape juice or 125 fresh grapes. Two-thirds slice of apple pie or two and one half apples. About half a blueberry muffin or 320 fresh blueberries. A 7 ounce chocolate milk shake or about 44 ounces unsweetened chocolate almond milk. Three-quarters of an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich or 3 hard boiled eggs. Six fried shrimp or 38 cocktail shrimp.
Avoid the diet by making better calorie choices. And, why not make it a little fun? The accompanying recipe is in honor of January being the National Fat Free Living month.
HAPPY NEW YEAR - STAY HEALTHY!
Low-Fat Horseradish-Chive Dressing
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream (or combine reduced-fat and fat-free)
11/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish cream sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
12 ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
All of, or your choice of: oven roasted beets, 4 medium; diced roasted butternut squash, 3 cups; oven roasted or steamed broccoli or cauliflower florets, 1 1/2 cups.
Toss vegetables and fruit in a bowl with a little dressing. Toss spinach with some dressing, add vegetables and fruit and garnish with pumpkin seeds. Pass any extra dressing. Serves 4-6.
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