Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nutrition 101

Nutrition 101

To help decipher some of the information provided in this issue, I feel its necessary to explain in layman�s terms some nutritional basics to give a deeper insight and understanding to our nutrition. Please keep in mind that I am not a physician, food scientist, dietician or a nutritionist, I am just your happy little buddy who happens to know a good amount about food and wants everyone to live their lives happy and healthy.

The problems some of us have with nutrition is that there are so many misconceptions about our diets and nutrition as a whole. One of the reasons is that there is so much conflicting information provided by the internet among countless other sources. My favorite food scientist and author, Mrs. Shirley Corriher once said that "�studies on fat and human health should all be prefaced with ��According to what we know now�� ". How true this statement is. The studies on fat, nutrition, cancer and other special diets appear to change each time a new study is presented. For further information on anything discussed in the next few newsletters please contact me or visit some of the websites I included at the end of the newsletter.

Nutrition- A three part process that gives the body the proper nutrients it needs. The first part is the consumption of foods and liquids. The second is the body breaks down the nutrients and the third is how the nutrients travel through the bloodstream where they are used as fuel among other uses.

Nutrients- Chemical compounds that make up the foods and liquids we consume (vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, carbohydrates) Each of these make up different ways that they are used by our bodies.

Calories- The measurement of energy your body gets by food and drink. The calories (fuel) are used to perform all the functions your body needs.

Protein- One of the three nutrients (fat and carbohydrates being the other two) that help supply our body with the necessary calories to maintain a healthy diet.

Carbohydrates- An important source of energy provided by food and drink. There are three major categories for carbs. Sugars (glucose, sucrose, frutrose etc.), starches, and cellose. Starch and sugar are easily digested and an important source of energy. Cellose, although providing important dietary fibers is not converted by dietary juices.

Fat and Fatty Acids- A basic source of lipids ( Lipids are a principal source of energy provided by foods and are an important source that the body uses to store energy) The body can make the best use of dietary lipids if they represent a sensible combination of the three major fatty acids (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fat).
The Super Food Groups

"Men dig their graves with their own teeth and die more by those fated instruments than the weapons of their enemies." Thomas Moffett, 1553-1604

The United States Department of Agriculture's Food Pyramid provides a practical visual guide to healthful eating, indicating the recommended daily portions of the basic food groups. In addition to these major food groups I want to add what is referred to as the super groups; vegetables that contain certain enzymes, anti-oxidants or other properties that are beneficial in the fight and prevention of cancer, heart disease, lung disease etc.

The concept of the "super food groups", in portion, is due to the studies of Dr. J. Robert Hatherill (Eat to Beat Cancer, Renaissance Books, 1998) with Cheffy taking it to another level. I added to Dr. Hatherhill's original categories with the mouth running "Cheffy-style" in the zany manner (as grammatically incorrect as that is) that some have come to know and love. So here they are:

Chungachungabam!! The Happy Super Food Baby!!

The onion family- Nature has provided us with over 600 varieties of the allium plants such as onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, scallions and shallots. Now all of y'all know that Cheffy loves his garlic and onions!! The possibilities are endless and the rewards are numerous. I could not imagine living my life without any of the foods classified in this group.

Since the beginning of civilization allium plants such as onion and garlic have been valued for their distinct flavors and medicinal properties. To avoid going into detail about things, let me just say that there are countless studies into all the positive effects of the members of the allium family especially garlic for its anti-cancer properties. Ancient Egypt, China and India have all held onion and garlic in high regard, in Egypt, pharaohs' burial chambers often contained dried relics of garlic cloves and wooden models of onions. Inhabitants of the Middle and Far East have cultivated allium plants for at least 5000 years. So the way I look at it, 5000 years worth of man cultivating Mother Earth for a little clove of garlic can't be all that wrong now can they?

Cruciferous Group- The crucifer flowers are cross-shaped (crucis is Latin for cross). Cruciferous veggies include broccoli, cauliflour, cabbage, brussel sprouts, watercress, garden cress, radishes�blah,blah blah�.you get the picture. This group has a ton of cancer fighting properties. To avoid going into another one of Cheffy's science classes, let me say that most veggies that belong to this group have what are called glucosinates. Glucosinates possess over a hundred sulfur compounds and most of these compounds are anti-cancer. These compounds are released from the vegetables when they are chopped or chewed, preferably chewed�.hint,hint,hint!!! You may never look at a piece of broccoli the same again will you?

Nuts and Seeds- I can go on and on about the differences between a seed, a nut, a bean etc. so to eliminate all the Cheffy gibberish these two are categorized together. Seeds and nuts are good! Granted some of them are high in fat but they carry a ton of anti-oxidants. As strange as it may sound, science has yet to characterize most of these anti-oxidants, but they are happy to inform us that they are there nonetheless�gee, thanks guys. Some of the members of this group are pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, coconuts, sunflower seeds, almonds and pecans.

Grass Group- Ah, the grass group. One of the oldest food products known to man. This group includes corn, oats, rice, and wheat among many others. Because of the fiber and some compounds associated with fiber it has been proven that the members of the "grass group" have an inhibitory effect on carcinogens in our bloodstream. Blood plus less carcinogens equals good stuff Maynard!!

Legume Group- Foods in this group include soybeans, green and wax beans, peas, lentils and much, much more. I have already gone into the soya bean quite extensively in the last newsletter, so let me see if I can be brief on a subject that I could write a book about. Soy and legumes in general are good for you. They prove to be anti-viral, anti-cancer, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant protease inhibitors, and it appears to reduce cholesterol levels as well. Legumes; soy especially, contain what are called saponins. Saponins are cancer fighters; they inhibit DNA synthesis because of their toxicity to cancer cells therefore decreasing the amount of cancer cell growth in most cancers (except in instances like I mentioned earlier in my reply to Cindy's question).

Fruit- Eat an orange, man! Without taking you to another science class I will attempt make this short and sweet (every pun intended). There is an enzyme processed in your bloodstream from your liver that is aggressive as a detoxifying agent. This "detoxifying agent" is found in citrus fruits, apples, plums, berries, broccoli, garlic, cauliflour, and cabbage to name a few. Cooking these reduces the effect they have as a detoxifier, but it still acts as an agent nonetheless, just not as strong as if eaten fresh. The NCI (National Cancer Institute) strongly recommends at least 5 servings of fruits a day, and so does Cheffy. Vitamin C and Vitamin E are two of the most potent vitamins for anti-oxidants, and a lot of fruits are packed with either and/or both. So like I said, "Eat an orange, man!"

Solanace group- Ah! the almighty solanaces�where would the mother cuisine's be without them? They include tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beets to name a couple. Happy vitamin filled veggies. I already discussed the advantage of Vitamin C as an anti-oxidant, and the tomato is filled with Vitamin C and other cancer fighting inhibitors. Here is an interesting fact I learned a couple days ago. In making some of my sauces and baked goods using fresh tomatoes I sometimes squeeze out and clean the seeds out of the tomato. The gelled substance that surrounds and binds to the seeds of the tomatoes is where most of the vitamin C is in the tomato. Hmmm, I thought that was pretty interesting. Needless to say Cheffy isn't squeezing his tomatoes anymore and if he does he incorporates the gel into his product somehow.

Umbelliferous Group- Um!! bell!! iferous!!!! (Cheffy likes that word) The other day at work I had to chop up a lot of celery and Cheffy was hollering UM-BELL-IFEROUS!!!! while he was chopping away. They thought I was nuts, I think it is a cool word�hee-hee. Celery, carrots, parsnips, celeriac, parsley, cumin, and a bunch of other herbs and veggies fall into this category. A numerous amount of studies have proven that this group of herbs and veggies are great for fighting tumorous cells. All of these in this group have a lot of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that are beneficial for our fight against cancer; beta carotene, vitamins A, D, E, B12, blah, blah, blah�you get the picture now go grab some celery and hand me the peanut butter please�

The Pepper Group (Sweet and Hot)
Chungachungabam Baby!!! That's hot!!! Yeah, it may be hot, but what it's not is bad for you. There is more vitamin C in a hot pepper than there are in any other food. They also are loaded with phytochemicals that act as an antioxidant and produce numerous enzymes that are considered very anti-cancerous. Sweet peppers also contain a large amount of vitamin C and loving phytochemicals, but not near as many as hot peppers do, so go ahead and spice up your life, Cheffy style�.

Happy Herbs

By cooking with herbs we add our own special zing to dishes, and we also add benefits to our health because many herbs possess anti-oxidants among other happy anti-cancer properties. I am a favorite of herbs; I always use them when I prepare a meal, soup, sauce or whatever. For those that have followed my teachings know, I favor basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Rosemary and fenugreek are two herbs that possess the greatest values as anti-oxidants, some of the other Happy Herbs include:

Allspice, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, fennel, ginger, mace, marjoram, nutmeg, sage, thyme and turmeric to name some of the most popular ones.

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