by donR 5 16 2015
Okay, we all know by now that we should eat a balanced meal. The USDA Choose My Plate movement is based on this idea. But what does the word “balanced” mean? To answer this, think about how a playground teeter totter works. To stay balanced all you need to do is have the same weight on each side. And if you have unequal weights, you simply adjust one or both of them to achieve balance. Our bodies, likewise, are designed to adjust itself to stay in a balanced state but this is not always a simple task.
It is hard to remain balanced because we live a world of extremes. Cars move faster and stop quicker, we play intense video games or checkers, compete in a marathon or stroll through a park. When it comes to drive-in food, we have a choice of chomping on a super-sized meal or eating a low calorie veggie salad.
In the realm of food and diet, different terms have been coined to describe these extremes: Yin and Yang, Hot and Cold, Summer foods and Winter foods, Inflammatory and Anti-inflammatory, Acidic and Basic or Fat and Lean as a few examples. The important idea to keep in mind is to avoid extreme foods when planning meals. It will be easier on your body when it does not need to produce lots of chemicals to digest or remove unnecessary or toxic food.
Different conditions call for different foods.
Lisa Samuel, a registered dietitian at nourishRDs.com, told our cooking class to eat a variety of real foods, different colors and types. And be sure to eat lots of fruit and veggies. Oh and add nuts, seeds, whole grains and lean proteins. This is how she defined balanced. But we all appeared to be generally healthy and not burdened with serious health conditions.
If many of us had life-threatening health issues, I have no doubt that her suggested ingredients would have been different…and it was.
Weeks later I went to her class on healthy eating for diabetics or pre-diabetics. Her meal plan changed; restricting simple sugars and monitoring how complex carbohydrates are used. Lisa offers another class on “Blood Sugar Solutions” and suggests adding appropriate food to control inflammation in the body. Johns Hopkins Medical Institute offers a library of excellent recipes for various conditions including “Recipes for a healthy Heart,” suggests carefully consuming more fruit and veggies high in fiber and phytonutrients. But more on that in the Fall.