Mary Jean’s Food and Wellness Manifesto
Vegetables: Vegetables should be the basis for your diet and should take up the largest portion on your plate. The goal is to get 12 servings of vegetables (1/2 cup = one serving; greens = 1 tightly packed cup) per day. Think variety, color, seasonal options. Examples: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, summer squash (yellow, zucchini), winter squash (acorn, butternut, spaghetti), sweet potatoes, greens (kale, chard, spinach, mustard, beet, dandelion, etc.), beets, asparagus, lettuces (romaine, spring mix, butter, red, etc.), onion, garlic, parsnips, rutabaga, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, cucumber, beans, peas, corn, eggplant, peppers, radish, etc.
- Vegetables should be prepared via steaming, light sautéing, baking, and raw.
- Note: some people with inflammatory conditions may respond to the nightshade family and may need to avoid the following: tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes.
Fruit: 1 to 2 servings of fruit each day. There are many varieties to choose from and again think in season. Examples: apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, avocado, pears, berries (blue, black, raspberries, Marion berries, strawberries, etc.), mandarins, satsumas, mango, papaya, kiwi, Asian pears, melons, lemons, limes, etc.
- Best consumed with protein or fats, such as with nuts, seeds, nut butters or coconut products.
Meats/Proteins: Limit consumption to 45 – 60 grams/day. This roughly translates into 2-3oz servings at meals. Chicken eggs are also a great source of protein. Duck eggs may be a good alternative for those with a chicken egg allergy. Always choose free-range, organically grown, grass fed meats. Examples: beef, turkey, chicken, buffalo, pork, lamb, wild game (venison, elk, etc.), organ meats, etc.
- Some sources say small portions of meat consumption should be raw.
- Limit grilled meats and meats that are scorched and burnt.
Fish/Seafood: 1-2 servings per week. Choose low toxicity, low mercury, and wild sources. No farmed fish! Examples: wild salmon, sardines, trout, etc.
- Baked, poached, broiled, or steamed.
Dairy: Consume only whole fat organic dairy products, including milk, yogurt, cheese, heavy cream, etc. The fat in dairy naturally balances the sugars (lactose) and slows down metabolism so your body can process it healthfully. If you use skim or lowfat dairy, your body gets a big dose of sugar which goes right into the bloodstream and then gets stored as fat. Ironically, this is in direct opposition to the reason (to lose weight) most people consume lowfat dairy products.
- Raw, unpasteurized, non-homogenized milk from cows fed organic diets with little or no grain is best. If not raw, definitely organic.
- Avoid if lactose intolerant, have a dairy allergy or sensitivity or have an inflammatory condition.
Nuts/Seeds: 1-6 oz/day. Consumed raw or soaked overnight in salt water and placed in 150 degree oven for 12-24 hours or in a food dehydrator (see Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Falon and Mary Enig). Examples: almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds (soaked in water), and flax seeds (ground fresh only).
Butter/Oil: Use extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings, coconut oil or rendered animal fat for cooking, and butter on your vegetables. Good fats such as these are essential to the healing process, our cardiovascular systems, hormone production and general good health. Lowfat (and bad fat) diets are very detrimental to our health. Good fats help us metabolize our foods properly, enable us to use the fat soluble vitamins in food and makes us feel satisfied when we eat them which helps prevent overeating.
- Avoid: partially hydrogenated/hydrogenated oils and all vegetable oils (sunflower, corn, safflower, canola, soybean, etc)
- Avoid: all vegetable oils (sunflower, corn, safflower, canola, soybean, etc)
Whole Grains/Beans/Legumes: Either eliminate completely or limit to 2-3 servings/week. I believe a diet without grains will lead to optimal health, wellness and nutrition. See Resources and Books section for further reading on Paleo nutrition.
If you do consume grains: Only whole grains and if eaten should be soaked overnight and rinsed (see Nourishing Traditions). Avoid refined grain products completely. They have had all the good stuff removed and actually deplete your body of vital nutrients. In fact, they have all the same unhealthy affects as sugar. If it is not labeled “whole grain”, don’t eat it.
Sweeteners: Occasional use of raw honey, maple syrup or stevia. Only stevia for diabetics.
- Absolutely no artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (Equal, Nutri-sweet), Saccharin (Sweet N’ Low, Sugar Twin) and Sucralose (Splenda), high fructose corn syrup, etc,
- Also avoid agave syrup, fructose, table sugar, etc.
Important Note: Read Labels. There are many hidden ingredients in foods. If you don’t understand what it is, should you be consuming it?
- High fructose corn syrup is in many products, including ketchup, mustards, salad dressings, etc. Also, all commercial salad dressing has canola or another processed vegetable oil. Make your own instead with olive oils, different vinegars, lemons, seeds, nuts, avocados.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) and Good Fats:
It is important to have adequate amounts of good fats in our diets. Avocados, nuts, wild fish, sardines, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, etc are an important dietary component. It may also be necessary to supplement with fish oil, cod liver oil, borage oil, etc.
Drink plenty of water! Water is the number one nutritional deficiency in the country. You need water for cellular hydration, proper blood viscosity, waste elimination and detoxification among many other things. Proper hydration can help alleviate such health issues as headaches, constipation and fatigue among many others. Choose plain, filtered or well/spring water. Avoid tap and distilled. To calculate your minimum daily requirement for water, divide your weight (in pounds) by two and then consume that number in ounces per day. Make increases as necessary to account for consumption of diuretics, exercise etc.
Avoid deep fried foods, partially-hydrogenated oils and hydrogenated oils! Hydrogenation of oils creates trans fats which have been linked to many health problems including cancer, heart disease, inflammation, fatigue, depression etc. etc. etc.
Avoid refined sugars! The average American eats over 150 pounds of sugar annually. Sugar depletes the body of important vitamins and minerals that are necessary to deal with the influx of that same sugar.
Over consumption of sugar leads to increases in emotional stress, weight gain, diabetes, candida and depression among many other things.
Avoid processed foods! Ideally, all the food we eat should be whole foods in their natural state. Shop around the outer part of your grocery store: produce, dairy, meat…all the fresh unprocessed stuff. A large majority of the food in the middle of the store is all processed and not good for us. They are often full of chemicals and additives that can lead to a vast array of health problems including cancer, birth defects, inflammation, heart disease and other illnesses.