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Posts Tagged ‘health’

Quick – Print Now! The Shopping List to Save Your Life!

Here is your shopping list.  Please buy the highest quality, in season, organic foods wherever possible.

Carrots
Peppers
Celery
Onion
Vine tomatoes
Broccoli
Beetroot
Turnips
Cucumbers
Rocket
Watercress
Greens – 3 types – Kale / Collard Greens / Chard / Bok Choy
Pumpkin / squash / gourds
Green beans
Sweet potato
Courgette / Zucchini
Coriander
Parsley
Garlic
Fresh chili peppers
3-4 Lemons
2-3 Limes
Corn if in season
Edamame
Low sodium V8

Indigenous in-season fruits – apples, peaches, pears, plums, etc.
Blueberries
Strawberries
Raisins / Sultanas
Grapes
Melons – honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon

Prunes
Dried Apricots

Unsweetened coconut juice

Crab sticks / kamabako “surimi”
Dolphin friendly tuna in spring water
2-3 varieties white fish
Shrimp
Octopus  / squid / scungilli
Mackerel (smoked or fresh)
Sardines (fresh or canned)
One whole fish if desired

One whole organic chicken

Wholemeal or Gluten-Free Bread
Brown rice
Pearl barley
Red Camargue rice
Wild rice
Barley
Spelt
Oat groats
Mung bean or rice vermicelli (Asian glass noodles)

Unsweetened soy milk, rice milk, oat milk

Skim / fat free dairy milk
Eggs
Non-fat PLAIN yogurt

Bran flakes
Spelt flakes or
Gluten-free flakes

Porridge oats / uncooked oatmeal with NO additives

4-seed mix (sunflower / pumpkin / flax / hemp / linseed, etc.)

Extra virgin olive oil
Organic honey
Sea salt
Fresh black pepper
Tamari soy sauce
Brown rice vinegar
Roasted / toasted sesame seeds
Balsamic vinegar

Chicken stock cube – organic, low sodium
Dijon or other French style mustard

Tea bags – Green, Jasmine Green, Rooibos (Red Bush), Peppermint
Coffee (not instant)

Barley miso
Brown rice miso
Tofu (Nigari)

Dried or canned chick peas, kidney beans, lentils, cannellini beans, flageolet, borlotti
Canned plum tomatoes

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Superfood Salad

This Superfood Salad is one of the best things you can have for lunch.  Vary your ingredients, and you can be happy eating it several times a week.

Vegetarians can use tofu instead of fish, as indicated.

*Hint*:  Cook your grain in advance and keep it in the refrigerator.

Mix the 5 elements below with 2 tablespoons Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing (see Amazing Recipes) :

a. Greens – 1-2 varieties of romaine, arugula, watercress, mixed salad greens, café greens (one cup chopped, 2 cups flat)

b. 3 tablespoons Multi-Bean Salad Mix (see Amazing Recipes)

c. Vegetables – 2 varieties of carrots, pepper, celery, onion, tomato, broccoli, corn, grated beetroot (½ cup of each)

d. Cooked plain grain – 1 variety of bulghar wheat, brown rice, red Camargue rice, wild rice, barley, quinoa, spelt (2 tablespoons only)

e. 1 organic hard boiled egg OR ½ can of dolphin friendly tuna in spring water OR 1 oz steamed white fish (add cold) OR 2 oz crushed OR cubed nigari tofu

Enjoy cool or at room temperature (preferred).

Love to you all!
La Libertini

What’s wrong with our food culture?

With more access to both high quality information and such a wide variety of foods, one might think we would have fixed so many of the health problems associated with diet and weight control.

But the reverse is true – more people are sick and unhealthy.  More people are overweight, obese, or depressed, than ever before.  And there is so much at stake that it has now become a political issue in many countries.

People’s pockets and health care systems around the globe are straining under the burden of illnesses, quite often, that may have been simply averted all together by their sufferers eating a healthy diet.

Watch a channel like the Food Network in the United States, and you can see why well over 60% of the US population is overweight.   Some of the programs encourage cooking with ingredients that should NEVER be eaten, particularly in combination with each other, and some celebrate indulgence on a scale that can only be described as completely irresponsible.  Portion size in the US has grown to unimaginable sizes, and celebrated on some of these programs.

Also in the US, there is a non-stop barrage of advertisements for drugs on television. Many of these are to combat high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, there are even depression medications to supplement depression medications.

It is astounding to think of the statistics around Diabetes 2, or adult onset diabetes.  In some areas, over 50% of the population has this mostly preventable condition.  Ditto for high blood pressure, heart disease, many depressions and cancers.

What is going on? Well, in the lands of plenty, quite simply, most people are choosing to eat terrible food.  Abundance is all around, yet people punish their bodies, and the bodies of their families.

This is not only punishment with fast food, but with processed foods, ready meals, bad ingredients and bad food combinations.  People are spending thousands of dollars each year at the supermarket, on food that is killing them.

With regard to fast food, I cannot imagine why people have chosen to be there, to consume these terrible foods.  Many people, after reading books like Fast Food Nation and seeing films such as Supersize Me, have stopped eating regularly at the obvious fast food pit stops.  But with such low price points, and such high levels of addictive fat and additives – perhaps it is just an easy solution that they rationalize about later.

But many restaurants, chains, and roadside pit-stops are just as bad, and have unfortunately become the mainstay diet for many people.  Many reassure themselves that “once in awhile” surely must be OK, right?  It is not OK, and I envisage a day when we will look back on fast food for what it is – irresponsible.

Another thing we should realize is that most of our dietary patterns – recipes and food combinations, come from a time when calories were scarce and people worked long hard hours mostly doing physical labor, and when there were no cars!

These days, even though people have a much lesser need for calories and a greater choice of healthy fresh food options, they consume more calories, contained in some of the worst food.  Most people – 70% of people, are consuming more than their bodies need, every single day.

Additionally, there are endless diet programs and exercise machines, which promise to solve whatever problem you need to address, in a couple of weeks or even in an instant.

My favorite is a drug that prevents the body from absorbing fat, and if you happen to consume enough fat while you’re taking it, it helps you to leave a vile ring of oil behind you in the toilet.  What a lifesaver!

It is totally indicative of where we are with weight loss and obesity – choosing to select solutions when we are at the end of our tether, rather than looking at the root of the problem.

In the 1970’s, where I grew up, there were virtually no fat people.  It was very odd to be fat.  I ask anyone who can remember that age to think back – to look at photographs and recollect those times.  What has happened?

My view is this:  Firstly there were developments in technology and packaging – the microwave oven and frozen pre-prepared foods came on the scene, and people started cooking less.  Fast food restaurants opened en mass.

More women began leading double lives as parents and breadwinners, and spending as little time in the kitchen as they had spare.  While this was initially viewed as a luxury by men and women who had grown up in an era when food really was scarce, our “disconnection” with food ingredients and cooking has cost us very dearly in the longer run.  But that’s only part of it.

I think there was, in the 1980’s some sort of trend toward acceptance of virtually everything.  Free to be you and me.  Love me as I am.  Beauty on the inside.  Fat people need loving too.  Its not my fault I’m fat – I can’t help it.  I have a slow metabolism…

Over time we have added computers, remote control, cable television, satellite dishes, VHS and DVD players and video games to our home environment.  And the internet, which is ironically the most vital source of information about the prevention of disease, now accounts for more of our personal time than nearly anything else.

So, less accountability in the kitchen, “easy options” for food preparation (or non-preparation), more consuming of “sold foods”, as opposed to preparing foods, and lots and lots and lots and lots of screen-gazing – it’s a bad equation for health.

(Don’t get me wrong, I think we should celebrate the technological achievements of humankind, but let’s not forget the achievements of nature.  If we forget that, and fail to celebrate and respect it, we will be missing out on so much that nature has provided, in particular, good food.)

So, as a result of these cultural changes people have totally different lifestyles to those led in the pre-1960’s.  Our lives, particularly those of children, are more sedentary.

Our food, for the most part, has become appallingly over-processed.  Should I demonize the processed food industry?  Perhaps.  But people have brains, and we have choices.

Health is a two-way street, and we can’t always blame others.  People who are super-fit and healthy know that it takes good decisions and good actions to get that way.  They don’t blame others – they take control.

It is very hard work for many people to even cook a simple meal using fresh ingredients.  Some people cannot even SHOP for fresh food.  They can’t cook it so they don’t buy it.  They often do not even know what it looks like, or what it is.  Moreover, they are oblivious to how to read the label on many common foodstuffs, with many simple good foods simply being overlooked – forever.

Who suffers most?  Children, of course.  The future generations.  Many children have a diet of sugar, full fat processed dairy products, processed foods, institutional foods, ready meals, takeouts and junk food ONLY.  As a mother I find this very disturbing.

Children need proper nutrition not just to learn and grow, but to ensure their moods are not artificially elevated or depressed.

Also, how are children to learn about good nutrition if they are not eating it?

You know, we have no need to wonder about why children are hyperactive, lethargic, or cannot concentrate or are overweight.  Between the white sugar, chemical additives, bad fats, dyes, hormones and antibiotics present in so many foodstuffs, too many children are suffering from a lack of good general nutrition.

If you are feeding your kids sugary boxed cereal for breakfast, relying on an institutional school lunch, processed snacks in the afternoon, and a questionable dinner prepared on the move – at what stage of the day are they actually nutritionally primed to meet the demands of their bodies and the learning tasks that are set to them?

I say you can get better results when your children are eating sound, nutritious food, and they will thank you for it later in life.  Children rely on adults to guide them to making sound decisions.  Don’t let them down.

Life can be described as one action after another, one step at a time.  Make your actions and your steps count.  In my view, it is everyone’s responsibility to look after their weight and their health.  Sure, you have a right to choice, a right to make decisions about your life, and the right to enjoy yourself and “indulge”, but this must be tempered with a view toward the broader picture.

Heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes… we all pick up the tab for overindulgence.  Being overweight, even moderately overweight, costs both individuals and society, a fortune.  Money, that some maintain, could be better allocated elsewhere.

For diseases and accidents that could be prevented or avoided, often the approach is with a wanton abandon – a selfishness and stupidity that is truly amazing for an allegedly advanced civilization.

Many people say – “I don’t have time to cook, I don’t have time to read labels, I don’t have time to exercise, I am so busy with my kids I have to feed them what I can, I can’t afford certain ingredients…”, etc., etc.

Well, the real time and money stealers are health problems.  Sitting in the doctor’s office, sitting perhaps with your children at the doctor’s office, buying prescriptions, undergoing tests, having operations, getting sick and having time off work, developing diabetes or cancer.

These steal time, and in many cases – whole lives.

If you don’t look after your body, it will not look after you – and trying to mend a broken body is most assuredly very time consuming.

Make time today, to eat and cook well.  There’s no shortage of information on how to do so.   The decisions and actions – are yours.

Food Eater? Read These Very Important Notes on Eating

Do you eat food?  There are some really basic things you need to consider whenever you eat.

Please drink 4-6 oz of quality tap water one half hour before every meal or snack. Any temperature, preferably lukewarm, with our without lemon.   Green or Rooibos (redbush) tea is also nice, whenever you want during the day.

Do not guzzle water while you are eating or to wash your food down.  You can certainly sip a little water while eating, but really try to avoid doing this. Rather, drink before or an hour or so after eating.  Your digestive juices therefore do not get diluted and work better.  If you drink coffee or tea, the same applies as to water. Avoid while eating or lightly sip only.  Ditto wine.

Please try to give yourself time, and also sit while you are eating.  Chew slowly – never swallow whole pieces of un-chewed food!  Digestion begins in the mouth, with saliva and chewing is perhaps the most important part of the process.

Slow down.   Eating quickly doesn’t allow your body to get the signal that it is full. Always stop eating when you feel about 80% full.  There is NEVER any point of eating until you are uncomfortable.

Never have an argument or debate too vigorously while you are eating.  It is better to postpone your meal (or postpone your heated discussion).

Eat regularly, space your meals 4-5 hours apart, with healthy snacks in between. “Snacks” should be considered “refreshing” in that you should be “refreshing” your body with light, nutritious foods and drinks that bridge between meals and keep you from getting too hungry.

Don’t eat immediately upon getting out of bed, wait until your body is awake, perhaps a half an hour or hour. Don’t skip meals or refreshes, and never ever skip breakfast!

Never eat before going to bed, leave AT LEAST 3 HOURS between your last meal and bedtime.

Try not to let hunger creep up, so that you are ravenous – use your head and plan ahead.

Re-think portion sizes – try eating half of what you intend at first.  Eat slowly and see how you feel.

Any chance you get to eat on your own should be used as a time for reflection and planning.

If you exercise, the optimum time between eating and exercise is approximately 2 hours. Don’t exercise right after eating, you could do some light walking but power walking may induce cramping. Also, please don’t exercise when you are hungry or very tired.

Even if it is 100 degrees outside, avoid eating really cold foods – it shocks the digestive system.  Foods served at room temperature, warm or comfortably hot are always better.  They generally taste better also.  The same for beverages.

If its very cold or very hot outside, your body will be attracted to certain foods – hot cereals, grains, soups, roasted vegetables and stews when its cold, cool salads and fruits when its hot.

PLEASE inject variety into your eating  – maximizing your intake of nutrients, eating high quality ORGANIC vegetables, fruits, seeds, gourds, lentils, whole grains, grain milks, lean meats or offal, fish, and seaweed if you like it.

Don’t get caught “rut eating”.  Eat and cook with imagination.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.

And NEVER eat processed foods, and avoid all the foods on my Worst List. There are much better choices and soooooo many recipes in the world, that there is never a need to eat any of them, really.

Love to you all!
La Libertini


The Best Mustard Vinaigrette

A good vinaigrette can bring life to so many dishes.   This recipe is a low fat taste sensation.  If you don’t need to watch your fat intake, use just a dash more of olive oil, but you really don’t need to – I promise.

This vinaigrette is great with fresh steamed kale, spring greens, purple sprouting broccoli, or with watercress or other cold greens.  On beetroot/red beets it is sensational.  If you desire, an anchovy or two adds a depth of flavor.

This vinaigrette works as a delicious dressing to a grilled chicken breast or a robust fish such as cod, haddock, or monkfish.  It is great with bean salads too! 

  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Grind of black pepper
  • 2 fluid oz GOOD white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (optional or less; never more than 1 small teaspoon)

Put into a screw top jar and shake shake shake! – until very well emulsified.

Want to Lose Weight? Here are the 10 Foods You Have to Stop Eating and Why

Here is an extract from my book 54321, that will be useful to you if you are trying to lose weight for the summer. 

Also this text links to my shopping list so you can go and buy the foods that you SHOULD be eating to lose weight and stay healthy.  Even deliver your body from the shackles of a preventable disease like Diabetes II. 

“Many people comment that they cannot survive without these foods, or that there is nothing else to eat.  I can assure you there is plenty more to eat.  Subsisting on any of these foods for a long period of time, particularly in combination with each other, is the 100% likely reason why people find themselves overweight and / or in ill health.

WHITE SUGAR – White sugar is one of the worst foods on Earth.  Some say everything in moderation and a little white processed sugar can be OK.  I say it is not OK.  Not only is white sugar empty calories with no nutritive value whatsoever, but quite simply it creates a negative chemical reaction in your body.  Sugar substitutes are just as bad, and also serve to give root to a sweet tooth.  Ban them too.

You can have sweet things in your diet, through fruit and even natural syrups.  Pure cane sugar can make an occasional appearance in a healthy diet, once you are at your goal weight and firmly in control of your dietary habits and eating patterns.  Giving white processed sugar to children is irresponsible.

WHITE FLOUR – Leave white processed flour alone.  Stripped of all its nutritional value, this horrible ingredient usually makes an appearance in and with lots of other bad foods and ingredients.  Cakes, pizza, white bread, pancakes, muffins, croissants, etc.  Bloat, bloat, bloat!

Once you start eating properly, you won’t miss white flour or any of its usual partners in crime – sugar, butter, cheese and hydrogenated fats.  When white flour is omitted from the diet, curiously this is when people start getting real results, whatever diet they are on.  That tells you something.

WHITE POTATOES – jacket, baked, new, roast, potato chips, French fries, crisps, chips – Every time a white potato is eaten, a chance has been missed to have a much better vegetable or grain.  The so-called humble potato has every right to be humble – its not that great.  I believe it is sub-standard because in this day and age, there is so much variety and so many other choices, that we have come to rely on potatoes in an unhealthy way – they are a crutch food that serves to limit our imagination.

Once you incorporate the huge spectrum of rice, grains, pulses, beans and more vegetables in your diet, you will not miss potatoes.  Or their hideously fried step-children.

And, there are few “meat and potato men” who have lean waistlines.  I challenge you to find more than one healthy, slim “meat and potato man”.

DAIRY FAT – butter, cheese, ice cream, any dairy except 0% yogurt or milk – Ew.  Not moo.  EW!  Now while I am not a fan of cow’s milk, I don’t completely discount it in moderation, in its fat-free form, as an excellent source of protein and calcium.  I am surprised, however, at just how much dairy product people think is OK.

This is one food where moderation and vigilance will help you to be slimmer and healthier.  The diary industry will want to pelt me with rocks and garbage, but I say to everyone – why would you want to constantly ingest the mammary secretions of another mammal?  Curdled?  Aged?  Moldy?  It is odd, but decades of browbeating about calcium have many people ingesting far too much of this food.  There are other superb forms of both calcium and protein for you to choose from.

For ages, many Eastern cultures did not consume dairy products at all.  Many people are lactose intolerant but somehow they manage to survive.  If you are still skeptical about releasing yourself from the shackles of dairy fat, bear with me on this point while you are losing all the extra weight that it may well be responsible for.  You won’t miss it – I promise.

TRANS OR HYDROGENATED FAT OR OILS – Andrew Weil was writing about trans-fats in the 80’s.  Now, we are just getting them removed from foods, and many food labels boast their trans-fat free status.  Super.  How many people are now obese due to the over-ingestion of trans-fats and hydrogenated fats used by many food manufacturers, and of course home cooks in the form of ingredients like Crisco?

It is not known how these fats are broken down… but take a global map of cancer indication and obesity, and incidence of dietary trans-fats and you might draw your own conclusions.  I sense that these are dirty fats, in every sense of the word.

** A note on healthy oils:  Good oils and fats, such as olive oil should be used sparsely.  Yes certain fats are good, and yes, you will have these back in your diet, in moderation, soon enough.  All this glugging of the olive oil, adding lots of good oils to the pan before grilling or frying, smothering salads in oil-rich dressings and vinaigrettes, is mostly unnecessary.  Oil is laden with 100 calories per tablespoon, so a little bit of it should go a long way.  Most cooking can be done completely oil free.  You may be surprised at how you will not miss it.

Many good fats and oils can be obtained through food sources, like seeds and fish.

NUTS – Certain people can eat lots of nuts.  People climbing Mount Everest.  Bodybuilders and people who work out 4 hours a day.  People who are starving and need highly concentrated sources of fat and protein.  If you are not one of these people, give them a miss for now.  Seeds, however, are different.

RED MEAT – Red meat is a food that should only EVER be eaten in its highest quality form – organic, lean and clean, and also not every day.  I love a little red meat and the proteins in it are excellent, but to lose weight you will need to really limit or avoid consuming it.  You must be at a certain stage and meet certain criteria for you to resume eating red meat, and you’ll be eating it in its lean, organic form only.

You know, the negative statistics that surround the over-consumption of beef by humans are very daunting.  The food that is grown globally to sustain herd animals, and the methane that these animals produce… all these frightening statistics point to the fact that we should be looking to radically cut down the amount of meat that we ingest.  Not only for our own health, but for the health and sustainability of the planet and growing spaces for plants.

Later, I will discuss several sources of high value protein, including lamb, game meats, and offal, that are leaner, often less expensive, and packed with nutrients.  You may find that these will feature on your diet once you are at goal weight and maintaining.  So don’t worry, you’ll be eating red meats again.

POULTRY – Poultry is high in saturated fat.  Again, you must be near to your goal weight to resume eating poultry, and I must stress that you will be eating it in its lean, organic form ONLY.

If you do not understand why you should eat only organic meats and chicken, I encourage you to do research online about this topic.  I can assure you, you will only ever eat organic, ever again. 

PORK – As above.  You can plan to cut pork out of your diet entirely, forever, if you choose.  I am just not that keen on pork, and convinced that people could go without this type of meat altogether.  And unless your pork is 100% organic, why bother at all?

“Bacon?  I can’t live without bacon on the weekend!”  Yes you can, and you will.  There’s nothing of real value in bacon.  “My Iberico Chorizo – its made using pigs who have roamed wild and eaten nothing but grain!  The fat is good for you!”  No its not.  It may not kill you today, but eating animal fats on a consistent basis add nothing to your overall health profile.

Additionally, the statistics around the over-ingestion of pork and pork products are as daunting as those associated to red meat.  The waste slurry from pigs is also highly toxic, so again, another double negative against this animal as a source of regular protein.

ALCOHOL – Alcohol is calories, empty calories – a low value carbohydrate as is white sugar or white flour.  But many people allegedly cannot live without alcohol.  They say, “I have to have my drink(s) in the evening, what will I do?”  If you cannot part with your booze for at least a month, you may need to examine your dependence on alcohol.  However, it is possible to drink VERY moderately while dieting.  You will just need to sacrifice something else in your day in order to be successful in meeting your goals.

If you find that you want to drink the same amount, or that you CAN actually drink the same amount while dieting, you should approach your doctor about your drinking problem.

CHOCOLATE – The latest I’ve been hearing is that dark chocolate is good for you.  It has “healing properties.”  Don’t believe it – you’ll have eaten a half a bar of 70% Green and Blacks and felt good about it.  It is full of white sugar and saturated fats, and it is very addictive.

On my list of one of the worst foods, is the children’s chocolate breakfast cereal, with the “hard rocks of chocolate” on the inside and the “soft chewy chocolate” on the outside.  This turns the lovely full-fat diary cow’s milk that it floats in, a nice shade of brown.  When your kid is constipated and hitting highs and lows all day, think about what you fed him or her for breakfast.  Was it some lovely delectable choco-pop cereal like this, or perhaps something similar?  Be ashamed.  You should be.

If you heard that women in some faraway “third world” place were feeding their children mountains of sugar, chemicals and fat for breakfast, you would shudder and say what a shame it is.  Fact is… that might be you.

So you might be thinking – what CAN I eat?  The answer is – a lot more than you think.

If you are eating a lot of these foods, when you stop eating them, and start eating the alternatives, you will wonder just how you ever ate them in the first place.

Fresh fruits, whole grains, fresh vegetables, squashes and gourds, legumes, beautiful fish and lean proteins – these are the no-brainers that we all know are good for us.

But its how they are combined, at what part of the day they are eaten, and in what proportions that makes 54321 not only work to lose excess weight, but to change your eating habits forever.”

If you would like some sample meal plans, contact me directly at patricia.l.libertini@gmail.com, or comment below:

La Libertini