Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hurray for Vegetables (and the Massage Therapists Who Love Them)!

The other day, I was randomly flipping through this massage therapy journal called MTJ, and I found myself giddily nerded up by the fact that again and again in the magazine, it was clearly endorsing the healthy lifestyle of vegetarianism, veganism, and even a raw food diet, without ever quite coming out and saying: "Go veg!" It was nice to be reading something not at all geared towards already-practicing vegetarians that nonetheless again and again demonstrated that a vegetarian lifestyle is much healthier than a meat-eating one.

Particularly exciting was that one of its suggestions for "Making the Most of Summer" (24) was to cook less and to basically **EAT RAW** for at least one meal a day, pointing out that "the less you cook your fruits and vegetables, generally the more anti-oxidants and water-soluble vitamins you'll ingest." How cool is that?

And then in a later article titled "Ten Tips to Boost Your Immunity," the journal and various doctors and nutritionists again and again endorse a vegetable-oriented diet, recommend cutting out milk-products, and only ONCE mention an animal product or by-product (in this case, yogurt) in any sort of positive light.

It was refreshing, as I'm sure you all will understand, to stumble across such acceptance and endorsement of a healthy and ethical lifestyle such as vegetarianism (and veganism) in a magazine that has no sort of hidden agenda in endorsing such things.

I was flush with an ear-to-ear grin for a few hours afterwards--so for your reading pleasure, I include some excerpts that I found particularly interesting below (Go, quinoa!):

"We eat refined sugars and flours, and [too much] dairy and meat," says Elson Haas, MD, author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition (Celestial Arts, 2006). "This tends to create more acid, which in turn creates more mucus and that allows bugs to which we're exposed to breed." The so-called healthiest people on the earth--the Okinawans of Japan's southernmost prefecture--eat, as their mainstays, alkaline foods, such as watermelon, sweet potato, onions and sea vegetables.

The Okinawan diet also [sic] comprises only eat [/sic] two percent or so of cow's milk products, another good lesson for us. Dairy products can often cause inflammation, in our respiratory systems and elsewhere in our bodies [...] "As far as we know, every degenerative disease, including cancer and heart disease, occurs because of inflammation inside the cells," [Tom O'Bryan, a chiropractor and nutritionist] says. "And underscore 'every.'""


Plus, "dark leafy green vegetables, such as kale, have higher absorbable calcium than milk. Other good sources of calcium include sesame seeds, tofu and nuts."


The journal encourages us to "transform the monochromatic American Diet fare of a slab of meat, white bread with butter, white potato, American cheese, and pasta to the vivid greens, blues, reds and yellows of nature."


Bonnie Minsky, MA, an Illinois-based nutritionist, says to cut down on wheat-consumption and "recommends these four grains [instead]: quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice and brown rice, in that order. "None have gluten, all are more digestible," she says."

""Herbs have oodles of flavor," says Huffnagle [PhD, professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School], "and they're a tremendous source of dietary phenols," which are plant compounds sky high in antioxidants. Phenols also act as selective antibiotics, zapping the non-probiotic bacteria while supporting the probiotic."


"Many herbs have other immune-boosting qualities as well, including cayenne pepper, onions and garlic. Paprika, like many red foods, is high in immune-boosting vitamin A. Minsky says turmeric may help prevent cancer. Cinnamon is good as a blood regulator, and parsley is a phenomenal digestive aid. Huffnagle raves about phenol-heavy oregano, and Minsky loves the anti-microbial onion family."

And on their list of "Seven Super Foods for Immunity," not one animal-product or by-product, of course!

The List

  1. Quinoa--"rich in fiber and iron [and] supplies a balance of all of the essential amino acids";

  2. Cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower)--"stimulate the body to produce enzymes for detoxifying cancer-causing chemicals";

  3. Dried beans and peas;

  4. Onion (Allium) family--"includes onion, garlic, shallot, chive, leak and asparagus" [which I never even KNEW was in the onion family]; "provides anti-microbial benefits"; "Garlic can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure while increasing natural killer cell activity."

  5. Nuts and seeds--"A daily ounce of any of these can reduce heart disease by up to 50 percent."

  6. Sea vegetables;

  7. Tea.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, they ended the article by stating, "After all, taking time to eat can be the greatest act of self-love of all." And after giggling a little bit of course, because of the "self-love" part--teehee, ROLLING THE BEAN!--I thought to myself, as food-lovers and ardent cooks (many of us), I can't think of anything more on target than that.

(from the Summer 2007 issue of MTJ--pp. 64-72)

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