Welcome to my Blog about Food and Well-being!

I am often asked to share my knowledge of food and recipes. After changing my diet four years ago from a typical "Western" diet to a mostly whole-foods and plant-based diet, I have seen incredible changes in my health and well-being. I have spent countless hours researching and love helping those who are ready to feel better. The underlying theme? YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Read on to find out more.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Inflammation - The Root of All Evils

Scientific American reports "Inflammation has gained recognition as an underlying contributor to virtually every chronic disease." (see link to full article HERE) This inflammation is generally caused when our body pH is acidic. When our bodies are inflamed (acidic), they can't function as intended and are less able to fight off infections and free radicals. While we can't control all inflammation, much of it can be significantly reduced by changing our diets.

The typical Western diet is HIGHLY inflammatory and acidic. Not surprisingly, we are also the most diseased country among developed countries and spend the more than any other nation on healthcare. Sugar, processed foods, dairy, caffeine, animal proteins, medications and other items contribute greatly to our inflamed and acidic conditions. Limiting our ingestion of these foods and adding more vegetables, including sea vegetables (seaweeds) is the first step in  reducing this inflammation. You can actually cure yourself of many ailments, such as headaches, urinary tract infections, allergies, fatigue and heart disease just by eating more alkaline foods and reducing acidic foods.

George Ohsawa was a Japanese doctor who created the macrobiotic movement and coined the terms "yin and yang" as describing acidic and alkaline foods. In 1971, Herman Aihara wrote "Acid & Alkaline," a book dedicated to introducing Ohsawa's Eastern concepts to Western thought in medicine. The book, which is considered the bible for those studying macrobiotics, states, "It is imperative to keep enough alkaline forming elements in our body fluids to maintain the alkalinity level of pH 7.4 [the natural level of human blood]. Furthermore, one of the important causes of cancer - and other degenerative diseases - is the cumulative effect of the acidic condition of body fluid. Therefore if you study acid and alkaline balance as taught in this book, you can prevent almost all sickness, including cancer, heart disease, heart attack, and AIDS."

Pretty powerful statement. No wonder the Japanese culture boasts the longest lifespans with the least amount of disease. Although this acid/alkaline theory seems complicated to us, it is common knowledge in Japan. Their meals are not balanced with a meat, starch and vegetable as they are here. Instead, they are balanced based on the acid and alkaline, yin and yang features of the food. 

What is an example of alkaline forming food? Vegetables, seaweeds, lentils, dried beans and citrus fruits are mostly alkaline. Don't be scared of seaweeds. My next blog will introduce some dried seaweeds that can be easily added to your dishes, many of which you will barely taste.

So, how do you get started? 
  1. Reduce the highly acidic foods and add some alkaline foods. Start by cutting back on sugar (both refined and artificial), coffees and black teas, dairy and animal proteins (meats from any animal), and floured products (baked goods, crackers, breads). 
  2. Try instituting a Meatless Monday dinner and replace a sugary drink or snack with something more healthful, like water with splash of real juice or carrot sticks and fresh hummus. Possibly the best thing you can put into your body, especially if you have eaten a highly sugared or animal protein meal, is miso soup. I drink it in the mornings in place of coffee, but you can also drink it before/with a meal, as a snack and even before/after x-rays or radiation treatment. It has been shown to protect the body from radiation. The Japanese drink miso soup up to three times a day.
  3. Check out my recipes section to see how to make this SIMPLE miso soup and some delicious meatless meals and snacks your family will love.

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