Consider the Dandelion : An obnoxious weed to many, a delicacy to others.
I can remember when I was a kid my daddy would go out in the woods and bringing home poke salad. That's Southern for any kind of wild greens , some of which , like mushrooms, could be poisonous. "Let's try it out on Carolyn, " he'd say, " and if she's okay we'll eat the rest of it. " Very funny. Must be where I got my warped sense of humor.
I'm reading a very thought-provoking book , EAT TO LIVE by Joel Fuhrman, M.D . The good doctor asks the simple question -which has more protein, broccoli or steak ? I thought that was a no-brainer: steak, of course. Wrong ! Steak has 5.4 grams of protein per 100 calories; broccoli has 11.2, almost twice as much. In addition, steak has saturated fat and no fiber. Broccoli has fiber, no fat and phytonutrients that are beneficial. Get the picture ? Nutrient-dense foods, like broccoli, are not only filling, but healthy, and if you eat more of them and less of the empty calorie foods, you'll naturally shed excess weight, and without going hungry.
I also thought that animal protein was superior to that of plants. But the cow that produced the steak ate grass, and all those big animals like elephants, gorillas and hippos, do too. I'm beginning to get a new- found appreciation for green plants. They certainly pack a powerful punch. Research shows that people can eat unlimited portions of high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains without feeling hungry, and without even additional exercise or limits on portion sizes, calories or carbrohydrates, lose about one pound a week. Now that's my kind of diet.
Dr. Fuhrman, one of America's leading nutritionists, states " My clinical experience over the past ten years has shown me that almost all the major illnesses that plague Americans are reversible with aggressive nutritional changes designed to undo the damage caused by years of eating a disease-causing diet. The so-called balanced diet that most Americans eat causes the diseases Americans get. " Food can be both the cause and the cure.
He advocates eliminating animal products, processed food, dairy, refined carbs and starchy vegetables from our diets to reverse many dietary-caused illnesses such as adult diabetes, heart problems, high cholesterol, acne, allergies, angina, fibromyalgia, gallstones, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. His patients on the program were able to reverse their illiness and drop excess weight rather quickly as well.
Dr. Fuhrman cites the famous China -Cornell-Oxford Study in which two villages, one consisting of plant eaters and one of meat eaters, were followed for many years. The plant eaters had very little disease such as cancer, heart problems, and diabetes, but the meat eaters did, although not as high as the rate that Americans do. The Chinese also consume more calories than we do, but are 25 percent thinner because they eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and very little processed food.
I always preferred chicken breast myself, and avoided red meat, only to learn that there's not much difference. Fish ? Isn't that suppose to be very healthy ? Depends on where it comes from because a lot of fish these days comes from waters polluted by mercury and its not advisable to eat more than 2 servings a week. Pregnant women are advised to be cautious in eating fish.
After reading this book I don't know who to trust. Not the government, for sure, and not the big food companies that often mislead the public with their labeling. Two per cent milk ? It's actually 35 per cent fat. Olive oil ? Thirteen point five grams of fat and 120 calories in one tablespoon , so moderation is the key if you're on a diet to lose weight. And all that low- fat and fat- free food can actually make you fatter. "Eating the Pyramid will turn you into a Mummy, " according to the Doctor.
Vegetarians rarely have cholesterol over 150 , diabetes , cancer or heart attacks and one study showed they lived an average of 13 years more than meat eaters. Momma was right-on when she said " eat your veggies. " And while obesity in the general population is skyrocketing, in vegetarians, it ranges from 0-6 percent! Plant-based foods are used more efficiently as fuel for the body, instead of being stored as fat.
If you are " what you eat " I just want to know what that Texas beefsteak known as Matthew McConaughey eats. God paid extra attention in creating him.
Instead of asking " If you were a tree what kind of tree would you be , " like Barbara Wa-Wa, I'd ask what kind of vegetable would you be ? I think I'd be a dandelion. I know most people think dandelions are a nuisance but they are really delicious as a salad and wine. And, they're no trouble at all, growing all by themselves. Ever pass a grassy bank on the highway and see a lot of elderly Asian women picking at something ? They're collecting dandelions, a delicacy in their cuisine.
I've decided to embark on a new journey as a vegetarian. Wish me luck, cause I'll need it. They say it's as difficult as changing your religion. Lord, I apologize for all those chickens I've consumed. I didn't know that chickens and pigs were as intelligent or more so than dogs. And, I didn't know that so many good looking Hollywood stars were vegetarians .
The vegetarian diet must be rich in vitamins for brains, cause Einstein was a vegetarian and so was William Shakespeare and Vincent Van Gogh . So I'll be in good company.
More on my success, or failure, later.