Monday, August 18, 2008

That's inflammatory! Part 3

The Chinese have a great saying: Eat to Live, not Live to Eat.
We Americans live in a "Eat to Live" culture. We eat foods we like, rather than foods that are good for us. We think eating should be fun, and every meal should be a "treat." And there is often no eye open to the consequences of our eating habits. The when our arteries harden up or we get irritable Bowel Syndrome, no one tells us to stop drinking a 12-pack of soda every day. Our doctors tell us it's genetic. While it's tempting to just pop some pills and continue with our destructive lifestyles without having to suffer the consequences, wouldn't it make more sense to cooperate with nature? Because, as one who's had ot take a lot of pills, I can tell you, it's expensive and they all have side effects, some of them quite serious and potentially permanent. Like cataracts, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, and oh yeah, death.

This segment of "That's inflammatory" deals with the sources of LDL (the "bad" cholesterol). Saturated fats and trans fats increase LDL ("bad" cholesterol) in the blood, and high LDL increases inflammation.

Avoid: full-fat animal products (fatty meats, cheeses, cream), commercial cakes, cookies, crackers, pies and breads.

Eat: extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil, fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, nuts and seeds—especially walnuts and flaxseed. Omega-3 fats, decrease inflammation. It's not wise to avoid consuming *all* fat, which would leave you constipated, but about eating the right kinds of fat.

Avoid: refined grains, white bread and potatoes, candy, soda, sugar, sugar, sugar. things that elevate blood sugar render LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) more dangerous.

Eat: fruits, vegetables, "real" bread (whole grain), beans, sweet potatoes, red wine, cocoa and turmeric.

If you're looking for a diet-type to follow, the Mediterranean Diet is a good model. When I first decided to avoid gluten (wheat products mostly), I discovered food such as hummus and babganoush were quite tasty.

There's also the biblical diet. apparently, God was quite specific about what to eat in the Old Testament. I'll post a summary of that diet in Part 4.
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