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Eat Correctly and Live Long

by Samm Kweku Richardson(more info)

listed in ageing, originally published in issue 147 - May 2008

To enjoy the pleasures and profits which are possible in health, one must eat sensibly correct combinations of foods. The simple truth is: ‘we are what we eat’.

Largely because of an erroneous diet, the average individual does not know the pure joy of living and of being vibrant, alert and buoyant at all times. The majority consume entirely too much of all kinds of foods, especially starches, carbon, meat and sweets. As a result, the body becomes clogged with body poisons which: (1) fog the brain and prevent creative work and activity; (2) induce premature old age and often senility; (3) cause grey hairs, wrinkles, sallow complexion; and (4) various ailments and diseases in the body.

It is rather sad to note that the best fed mouth in the world is the kitchen sink. For down into the throat of the kitchen sink goes precious minerals, priceless chemicals and invaluable vitamins. Precious vitality, as well as immunity against disease and sickness, are deliberately thrown away into its dark recesses everyday. Really, the throats which need these elements are your throats. You and your children and your loved ones need them. Save and enjoy these rare ‘jewels’ in the foods you buy. It is so easy to form the habit of attention and learn to select and combine foods which are healthful, instead of eating carelessly. After all, sound nutrition builds a wall of protection against stress and degenerative diseases. If you commit the grievous sin of careless inattention to your diet, you will eventually be sorrowfully aware of the enormous loss and distress you heap upon yourself and others.

Things to Understand

Fibre is Important

Fibre (plant cellulose) is not really of nutritional importance in itself, but it adds bulk to food passing through the intestinal tract, keeping it moist and on the move, and so promoting regular and efficient elimination of waste. The best sources of fibre are grains, vegetables and fruits. You will probably benefit from taking a tablespoon or two daily of wheat bran, the protective outer coating of the whole grain, as a supplement.

Your diet should contain a larger amount of vegetables and fruits (preferably raw, uncooked), whole grains and milk (preferably raw); but if one has been a habitual meat eater, a small amount of meat (rare beef, fowl and game birds) once or twice weekly should be sufficient. The wise one will slowly reduce meat consumption as he or she advances in age. Eating for health, and a high-fibre diet, will help normalize figure and body weight.

Knowledge in Nutrition

Your health, and even life itself, could depend on your having a sound knowledge of nutrition. Briefly, what is required is a balanced supply of the six nutrients: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, vitamins and mineral salts.
  • Proteins provide energy, but their special value is for repair and growth of tissues. Animal food proteins can be obtained from meat, poultry, eggs, milk and cheese, and plant proteins from whole grains, nuts, seeds and pulses (peas, beans and lentils). Fish meat is one of the most concentrated and economical sources of protein – and it is more easily digested than animal meat. In the absence of meat from the diet, however, care must be taken to supply a good amount of protein. Foods which supply large amounts of protein are cream cheese, cottage cheese, pure cream, dried Lima beans, mushrooms, raw egg yolk and almonds;
  • Fats are a rich energy source, but it is important to note that a high intake of animal fats has been linked, by researchers, with narrowing of the arteries, high blood pressure and heart attacks. Vegetable fats do not carry such dangers;
  • The main role of the carbohydrates – mostly sugars and starches – is to supply fuel for combustion and energy. Whole grain foods are a healthy source. Refined sugar has little left of the nutrients naturally present in the sugar cane or sugar beet, but natural sugars are present in fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, milk and some other foods;
  • Water has a vital role in the functioning of the human body and makes up about 70% of bodyweight. Each person excretes more than two litres of moisture each day, which has to be replaced. An insufficient intake of water may cause constipation and endanger the health of the kidneys and the liver. It makes sense to drink a variety of beverages. Fruit and vegetable juices are rich in vitamins and mineral salts.

Wholefoods-based Diet

The inclusion of wholefoods in the daily diet ensures a good supply of nutrients and fibre. Whole grains should be the main contribution to your breakfast. Wholemeal bread, for instance, contains the enzymes and vitamins E and B- complex found in whole grain. It is healthful to eat some raw vegetables and fruits daily. Fresh fruits are enjoyable to eat and most are alkaline-forming. Most raw vegetables are also alkaline-forming, and supply the minerals magnesium and potassium, which help relax the muscles, nervous system and mind. Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly. Pulses, seeds and grains are easily sprouted, and their sprouts make a useful contribution to the diet. Cooking depletes foods of some of their vitamin and mineral content. All vegetables, if cooked, should be baked or steamed. Greens should be cooked in very little water so that it can be all absorbed.

Salt Intake

A common addiction is to salt. Salt was once valuable as a preservative but, in these days of widespread ownership of fridges and freezers, it is easy to supply the body with enough sodium (salt) from meat, vegetables and fruits. Researchers have linked high salt consumption with high blood pressure. And salt provides the same kind of stimulation as caffeine (in tea and coffee). It activates the adrenal glands which produce the hormones released in stressful situations. Avoid the use of excessive salt. Use salt very sparingly, if at all. A natural amount of salt is to be secured from the foods which you eat.

Sugar Usage

Avoid the use of white sugar – use pure honey instead. Sweets, chocolates, cakes, spoonfuls of sugar in tea and coffee can give quick energy ‘shots’. The trouble is that although the sugar goes quickly into the bloodstream, a fatigue rebound occurs in two or three hours, and the sugar addict is left craving for another ‘fix’. Many people suffer a rebound from their energy peaks which takes their blood below a healthy sugar level – the condition called hypoglycaemia. Breaking an addiction to sugar requires determination and holding in mind the benefits that result from overcoming the habit.

Enjoy Your Food

Eating for health and enjoyment can go together. A healthy diet is not a punishing or ascetic choice of foods. Cultivate skill in preparing and cooking foods for health. Books on wholefood cookery will prove a good investment, both in terms of encouraging a healthy diet and enjoying it.

Don’t Eat When Upset

Do not eat when fatigued or when nervous; it interferes with digestion. Emotional excitement impedes the flow of gastric juices in the stomach, resulting in indigestion.

Chew Food Thoroughly

Masticate (chew) starches and sugars until thoroughly dissolved. Every bit of food should be thoroughly chewed until all the flavour has been secured from it, or until it slips down the throat almost without swallowing. Give attention to this. Mastication is a necessary part of the digestive processes and should not be hurried or neglected.

Do Not Overeat

Overeating is the principal cause of obesity. The overweight are prone to many complaints and diseases: diseases of the liver, kidneys and heart, diabetes, gout, high blood pressure and digestive disorders. A meal should be of sufficient bulk to satisfy hunger, but should not overtax the digestive or eliminative organs, thereby taking blood away from the brain and causing fuzzy consciousness. Give your digestive processes a chance to do their work efficiently. Masticating thoroughly prevents overeating.

Ice Cream and the Rest

Regular commercial ice cream is not recommended. Home-made ice cream is permissible if sweet creams and natural creams are used.
•    Tea and coffee, without sugar and cream, may be used, but are not recommended. Use honey tea, fruit juices or water (hot or cool);
•    Avoid the use of pepper (black, ground) and vinegar.

Table of Food Groupings

(Note: Foods marked with an asterisk (*) are not recommended for use, except possibly beans, lentils and peas, which should be used sparingly.)

Concentrated Foods
1. Starches
Artichokes, Bananas, *Beans (white), Beans (Lima), Bread, Cereals, *Spaghetti, White Flour, *Chestnuts, *Cornstarch, *Lentils, Macaroni, Oatmeal, *Pastries, Squash, *Flour gravies, *Peanuts, *Peas, Popcorn, Potatoes, Rice, *Sago, *Tapioca.
2. Sugars
*AII syrups, *AII sweets, *Candied fruits, *Candies, Dates, Figs, Honey, Ice Cream, Molasses, Maple Syrup, *Preserves, Raisins, *Sugar (white), Sugar (brown), Sugar (raw).
3. Proteins
*Beans, Nuts, *Lentils, Fish, Cheese, Wheat Germ, Crabs, Glands, Brains, Eggs, Oysters, Buttermilk, Meats, *Peas, Game, Milk, Cottage Cheese, Mushrooms.
4. Fats & Oils
Butter, Cod Liver, Cream, Egg Yolks, Ice Cream Oil, Lard, Meat Fats, Oily Nuts, Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil.

Bulky Foods
5. Roots
Beets, Carrots, Kohlrabi, Turnips, Radishes, Root Celery, Salsify, Parsnips.
6. Greens
Asparagus, Celery, Leeks, Beet tops, Dandelion greens, Lettuce, Brussels Sprouts, Egg plant, Okra, Cabbage, Green Peas, Spinach, Cauliflower, Green Peppers, Onions, String Beans.
7. Salads
Broccoli, Cabbage, Celery, Chicory, Cos, Cress, Cucumber, Endive, Irish Moss, Lettuce, Onions, Parsley, Spinach, Tomatoes.
8. Fruits
Apples, Grapes, Apricots, Grapefruit, Berries(all), Kumquats, Cherries, Lemon, Currants, Limes, Mangoes, Oranges, Pawpaw, Peaches, Pears, Persimmons, Pineapples, Plums, Pomegranates, Tangerines.
9. Milk
Bovine Milk, Buttermilk, Fermented Milk, Whey, Goat’s Milk

The Right Food Combinations

Refer to the Table of Food Groupings. It is a classification of the common foods intended as a safe guide to enable you to correct your diet immediately.

Items under 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7, combine. Do not use more than one item from 1 and 2 at the same meal. Use either whole wheat or pure rye flour or enriched white flour and bread or toast sparingly.

Items under 4 combine with all foods but interfere with digestion mechanically. Two ounces of Items under 8 combine with 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9.

Items under 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 combine. Do not use more than one item from 3 in the same meal.
Items under 5, 6 and 7 combine with all foods; and, with fruits, contain what the body most requires and may be used in any quantity and variety.

Items under 9 combine with 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Breakfast: is best from 8 and 9 in as large quantities as may be desired. Egg yolk may be used, with one slice of buttered toast or cooked wheat cereal.
Lunch: is best from 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, in as large quantities as may be desired.
Dinner: is best from 1, 2 or 3 with 5, 6, 7. Items under 8 may be added if 3 is used instead of 1 and 2.

Salads are Essential

Any fresh green vegetables or combination of vegetables, served with a delicious dressing, makes a colourful, tasty and healthful dish. At least one large vegetable salad should be included in the daily menu of every person. In many households, a salad is considered a luxury; or, in some cases, when a salad is made, it consists of one leaf of lettuce with possibly one slice of canned pineapple or some other canned fruit, and a dash of mayonnaise. A great improvement in the life, vitality and health of the entire family will be noted if the RAW vegetable salad constitutes the main part of the meal.

The vegetables that make up the salad may be artistically arranged on an individual salad plate and the dressing added. However, in order to obtain the full flavour of each vegetable and the dressing combined, it is advisable to adopt the French method, i.e. that of tossing lightly together in a mixing bowl all ingredients and dressing, then placing the portions on individual plates, or serving it at the table from an attractive salad bowl, with a wooden fork and spoon.

Salads are not as expensive as they may seem, if care is taken in buying and in utilizing every part of the vegetable. All outside leaves and stems should be thoroughly cleaned and used for soup stock.

Strange as it may seem, a salad never seems to taste quite the same at each preparation because, as it is unnecessary to measure the quantity of the different vegetables used, the varying amounts contribute to the difference in taste. A large fresh vegetable salad should always be served as the first course, even for the ordinary, regular family meal, for it is in this dish that the vital life-giving energies are contained and secured.

Green vegetables may be used as a base and any others added as follows:

Base: Watercress, Endive, Lettuce, Thin-leaf Spinach, Fresh Green Celery Tops, Tender Dandelion Greens, Cabbage, Asparagus.

Additions: Carrots, Tomatoes, Parsley, Celery, Radishes, Green Pepper, Raw Beets, Raw New Cauliflower, Onion, Garlic, Raw New Green Peas, Chives, Cucumber, Ripe Olives, Avocado.

For those who are not accustomed to salad-making, a good selection of vegetables to purchase at one time, considering the number of persons to be served, are: one large head of lettuce; one bunch of carrots; one green pepper; two or more tomatoes; one or more cucumber; one or two large bunches of celery; one bunch of parsley; one bunch of small beets. These should be cleaned thoroughly with water and placed in a hydrator and, as the salad is made each day, a certain amount of each vegetable may be grated or chopped in the salad bowl. In this way, various combinations may be enjoyed without additional buying.

Finally, A Word of Advice

Eat correctly, with thoughtful selection rather than with eye appeal, and you will live long and healthfully. If you disobey Nature’s laws, you will certainly pay the penalty thereof.

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About Samm Kweku Richardson

The author is a 48 year-old Ghanaian male freelance writer based in Accra, the capital city of the Republic of Ghana in West Africa. Married with children, his hobbies include writing, cooking, gardening, playing the piano, watching the sea, listening to the BBC World Service on radio, reading novels and watching crime and detective films. His sporting interests are boxing, judo and table tennis. On the side, he operates a small restaurant in town. He can be contacted on sammrichardson@yahoo.com

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