2. Eat whole-grain and unrefined foods as much as possible.
Try eating brown rice instead of white rice. If making rice intimidates you, get a rice cooker. (http://www.urbanhomemaker.com/ has one with a stainless steel bowl). It is easy to mix white with brown if you or your family just isn't used to eating brown rice. You can also cook it on the stove top in a sauce pan (preferably with a vented lid, but not necessary). The measurement is generally 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice. Mix the water and rice, bring to a boil, put lid on and lower temp to low, and let the rice simmer until done. It takes brown rice a bit longer than white to cook (30-40 minutes). Once I put the lid on and turn down the stove, I do not take the lid off until it is done. A glass lid helps with this.
When we eat pasta, I like to buy organic when possible. Whole wheat pasta, unless I make it myself, has never gone over well in our household. So we still eat white pasta, but I buy organic so that there is no genetically modified wheat used, or chemicals. If you want to add nutrition to your pasta, cook some frozen vegetables with the noodles, and add only enough water so that you don't have to drain it off of the pasta, but rather it soaks up the nutrients from the veggies. Adding butter and some sea salt or garlic salt makes the pasta delicious! By the way, sea salt (such as REAL SALT ( get from http://www.breadbeckers.com/) , contains vital trace minerals and natural iodine that is not found in ordinary refined iodized salt.
Finally, if at all possible, try some freshly ground wheat to use for all of your baked goods. Wheat germ, which is in freshly ground wheat kernals, contains many nutrients such as vitamin E, the B vitamins, lecithin, and of course, fiber. It may seem overwhelming trying to even imagine making your own bread, but it is not so hard once you have done it once or twice. Refer to my article on beginning to grind your own wheat. Don't forget to slap a little butter on that slice of fresh bread or rolls!
3. Take cod liver oil.
You have probably heard of the health benefits of fish oil for the omega 3 essential fatty acids it contains. But taking a good cod liver oil such as Carlson's Cod Liver Oil with lemon in the green bottle (buy from http://www.vitacost.com/) has the added benefits of vitamin A and vitamin D. It is considered a superfood. Vitamins A and D are lacking in the American diet, as so much has been processed out of the foods, and low-fat dairy has robbed people of needed assimilation of these nutrients. The absence of these nutrients in people's diets are at the root of some of the worse diseases in our land. Generally, children can take 1 teaspoon of cod liver oil a day with a meal, adults can take 2 teaspoons a day with a meal, and pregnant or nursing moms should take 3 teaspoons a day with meals. We put our doses in a little no-sugar-added fruit juice and you can hardly even taste it. We take one or two days off every week, just to allow our bodies a break from superfoods and vitamins. My children generally take their vitamins and cod liver oil 5 days a week, or Monday through Friday, and take off Saturday and Sunday. This is fine for adults, too. It should be noted that one of the benefits of taking cod liver oil is that it keeps your blood fluid and not sticky so that if one has a tendency to get blood clots or strokes, a good alternative to aspirin or blood thinner is to take cod liver oil. If you are taking a blood thinner or vitamin D supplement, talk to your doctor when you start adding cod liver oil to your diet. He can monitor your clotting levels and vit. D levels so that perhaps eventually you can get off the medicine.
4. Try adding freshly ground flaxseed to bread dough or other baked goods, or sprinkle in yogurt.
Flaxseed is very nourishing and contains alpha-linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid, and adds fiber. I add a cup of freshly ground flaxseed (which I grind in a coffee grinder) to my dough when I am making bread. Another thing you can do to lower cholesterol levels (though there is much evidence that high cholesterol is not a culprit in heart disease) is to take 1/4 cup of freshly ground flaxseed, stir in a glass of juice such as no-sugar-added cranberry or grape juice, and drink an hour or so before the evening meal. My husband did this for less than 3 weeks and he brought his cholesterol level down from 280 to 220. This is true! Many people have tried this with good results. The key is to do it every day. You might want to try this before the doctor puts you on medication.
5. Eat fresh fruit and veggies every day.
If you are not a big fruit and veggie person, figure out atleast one or two that you can or will eat, and eat those. I did not grow up eating many blueberries, for example. But I love to put frozen blueberries in yogurt with maple syrup (Grade B preferably, and organic). You can easily get a good serving or two of one of the most potent anti-oxidant foods there is!
Apples and bananas are good and contain fiber especially nourishing to the colon. Adding to either some organic peanut butter can be a great way to add protein and make a satisfying snack. Raw carrots and salad are wonderful, but some things such as spinach are actually better cooked, because cooking neutralizes enzymes which inhibit calcium absorption! In fact, cooking vegetables is fine and leaves many nutrients perfectly intact, and even more absorbable. Just don't cook in too much water and then drain it off, because that drains off some of the good stuff! Do add butter and some seasoned sea salt, too. All of my children eat their veggies, because they taste so good this way!
6. Filter your water.
There is much in municipal water these days that really shouldn't be consumed continuously. Filtering your water, whether you use a filtering system or a pitcher or the filter in the refrigerator, will make the water taste better and cuts down on at least the chlorine content, and other impurities. One day I would like a whole-house water filter, but until then, we use our filtered water from the refrigerator to cook any food needing water, as well as coffee and tea.
7. Try eating cultured or fermented foods.
Yogurt is a good addition to your diet to add good bacteria to help with digestion. Fermented foods such as kimchi, saurkraut, or pickles made with a lactic acid fermentation can really add needed digestive aids. Many people suffer from yeast problems due to antibiotic use, and eating these types of foods help replenish the system with good bacteria. You can also take a good probiotic instead, but that is not as fun as eating the food!
8. Eat real sugar, or better yet, unrefined sugar or natural sweeteners instead of artificial sweeteners.
Diet drinks and artificial sweeteners can have some real adverse effects on your body and your mind. I saw recently that they actually cause weight gain. High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is in so many foods from soft drinks to hot dogs to baked goods, has been a real culprit in the widespread epidemic of diabetes. Try to find things that contain only real sugar or honey or maple syrup. If you really love soft drinks, try developing a taste for sweet iced tea or fruit juices made with fresh juice or with only concentrated fruit juice. There is real anti-oxidant value in tea and coffee, and these things are natural foods. I buy only organic tea and coffee, and they really taste better, too. Then you can sweeten these with whatever you want. We use either organic sugar (sparingly) or a product known as dehydrated sugar cane refinery syrup (also known as "Sucanat.") This is available at http://www.breadbeckers.com/.
9. If you can, buy local and get grass-fed or pasture-raised meats.
It is a real blessing to be able to get locally raised produce and meats. If you can find a farmer who lets his animals graze on good pasture, such as beef cows or pastured poultry, try his products. Meat, eggs and milk from animals allowed to graze and roam in the fresh air and sunshine have more nutrients, higher levels of vitamin A and D, higher levels of conjugated linolenic acid or CLA, higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and just plain taste better. Cows that are just grass or hay fed never have E.Coli problems because E. Coli happens when grain is fermented in the cow's intestines, and creates an atmosphere for bacteria like E. Coli to thrive. No grain, no pain! The same sort of thing is true with chickens and salmonella. Eggs from pastured, free-ranging chickens that can eat greens and run around in the sunshine, while eating insects and some organic grain, will almost never have salmonella like the eggs which come from confined hens that never see the light of day. Animals that are well-cared for and allowed to live the way they were created to live, make much healthier foods.
10. Get some fresh air, sunshine and exercise.
One of the ways to get vitamin D is by getting out in the sun! I have to remember to do this, even with living in the country, because I get so busy inside the house that sometimes the sun is going down before I can get outside for any length of time. If you can get out for 20 or 30 minutes, don't use sunscreen so the vit. D is not blocked. Fresh air is good for the lungs and taking in oxygen for our cells. Getting some exercise, even just walking for 30 minutes 4 or 5 days a week, can make a drastic difference in your appearance and the way you feel, especially if you are not used to getting much exercise at all. I used to think only jogging would keep my weight off, but after my 5th baby, I made walking a routine in my life. Even when I take a few days off, I try to get back in my routine, because it helps me physically, mentally and spiritually. When we lived in a little town a few years ago, I would walk around our house and yard at night after the children were down for the night. It was the only time and the only way I could get that exercise in consistently!
Some vitamins we use are:
Organic Life Vitamins (a liquid food-based vitamin) (from http://www.vitacost.com/)
Dr. Ron's UltraPure Next Generation multi-vitamin (http://www.drrons.com/)
Dr. Ron's Cal-Hydroxyapetite - a calcium supplement made from beef bone that is proven to increase bone mass.
EmergenC fizzing powders - (from http://www.vitacost.com/)