Eating like our Ancestors

 

 

By Nicki Formica

 

Before there was Nexium and zoloft and there were …better food habits

Its not exactly a newsflash that prescription drugs have become our go-to solutions for just about anything. We have headaches, a depression that just won’t lift, or whatever it may be, and our first move is to see our doctor. You have a problem? Theres a pill for that. There will always be an important need for western medicine, but during an era in which pharmaceutical companies can advertise potent drugs with some 52 odd side effects alongside a GMO-packed sugar cereal, the concept of preventative medicine is alien. …And you have to wonder—were people always this sick?

The answer is no.

Its not a secret : Nature holds the key to our well-being and longevity. Medical students and the average citizen alike; neither is taught much about nutrition, and what most do know is to just count calories and avoid sugar. Just as we swallow pills and expect an effect, the nutrients (or lack there of) in our dinner hold great potential to better us, or, cause us harm.

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”, a phrase coined by Hippocrates, known as the Father of Western Medicine, is not exactly a family practitioner’s modus operandi.

Did you know that viruses can mutate and replicate to stay alive longer in a host (you) low in antioxidants and phytonutrients? To boot, 80% of your immune system lies in your gut. Best to be mindful of what you put in it.

You could write volumes about the benefits of healthy eating, but here’s a list of some of my favorite vegetarian miracle foods and their benefits :

 

Turmeric

 

-Contains curcumin, a compound that may increase seratonin production in the brain. Used in Chinese medicine as an anti-depressant
-Potent anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-bacterial, useful for disinfecting cuts and burns
-Liver detox
-Speeds wound healing
-Inhibits cancer growth

*Fact : India has the lowest incidence of Alzheimers, and consumes the most turmeric. Alzheimers disease, being inflammation of the brain.

 

Coconut

 

-Immunity booster
-Kills viruses, fungi and parasites, i.e. things like the flu, throat infections, UTI’s, bronchitis
-Great source of electrolytes for rapid hydration
-Slows the aging process by protecting from free radical damage
-Lowers cholesterol

*Fact : Pacific islanders deem coconut oil to be the cure-all gift from nature for all illness.

 

Raw Chocolate (Cacao)

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-Flavonols relax arteries and reduce blood pressure
-Potent antioxidant associated with longevity
-One of the most chemically and nutritionally complex foods on earth!
-Aids in weight loss thanks to the high chromium content

*Fact : raw cacao beans have an antioxidant score of 95,500, 14 times more flavonoids (antioxidants) than red wine , 21 times more than green tea!

 

Mushrooms

 

-Contains lentinan, an anti-tumor polysaccharide
-Act as a bloodhounds for irregular cell growth (reduces cancer of the breast by 64% via ONE mushroom eaten daily. Couple that with green tea and your breast cancer risk goes down 89%)
-Regulates estrogen levels
-Boots your immunity
-Helps improve circulation, eyesight, influenza

*Fact : mushrooms have been used in ancient chinese medicine for thousands of years. Mushrooms contain a substance called Germanium, a nutrient that helps boost the oxygen efficiency as well as counteract the body’s exposure to environmental toxins

Ginger

-nausea, even from motion sickness
-digestive aid, improving absorption by stimulating the gastric and pancreatic enzyme secretion
-improve blood flow via chromium, magnesium, zinc which prevent chills, fever and sweats
-fights respiratory problems by breaking down mucus
-Reduces pain and inflammation

*Fact : In India, a ginger paste is applied to the temples to relieve headaches

 

Kefir

 

-Contains and promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria (probiotics)
-Cleans and strengthens the intestines, making you more resistant to things like E. coli and parasites.
-Helps you digest food better (and is easy to digest itself even if you’re lactose intolerant)
-Eliminates yeast overgrowth in the body, which is a scarily common issue in men and women
-Supports immune system function
-Promotes a feeling of “well-being”, as its name means in turkish.

(*Get full-fat organic and grass-fed Kefir to ensure you are getting the best quality. I buy “plain” and add my own fruit in to a smoothie control the amount of sugar)

 

Avocado

 

-Anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the risk for degenerative disorders
-Reverses insulin resistance (an issue if you’re pre-diabetic, or diabetic)
-Protective against stroke
-Controls blood pressure
-Lowers cholesterol levels
-Anti-cancer, specifically; mouth, skin and prostate

*Fact : Avocados are great for fertility

 

Wild blueberries

 

-Improve gene expression
-Protective against obesity, Alzheimers and cancer
-Reduction in chronic inflammation
-Decrease in damage from oxidative stress

 

Garlic

 

-Combats allergies
-Prevents tumor growth, reduction in risk of cancer
-Reduces arthritic pain
-Boosts immune system while killing off bad bacteria, viruses and fungi

 

….Here’s a recipe that includes many of the foods above!

 

Thai Vegetarian Coconut Curry :
This recipe includes coconut, garlic, ginger, turmeric and mushrooms 🙂

Serves: 2-3

• 3 tbsp coconut oil
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 3 garlic cloves minced or thinly sliced
• 1 small piece of (peeled) finely chopped ginger
• 2-3 tbsp red curry paste, adjust to taste
• 1-2 tsp ground turmeric to taste
• 1 tbsp coconut aminos, or soy sauce
• 1 can full-fat coconut milk

Vegetables :
• 1 small eggplant, cubed
• 1 small red or green bell pepper, evenly cut
• small head of broccoli or as many florets as desired
• small bunch of mushrooms
Serve over :
• rice noodles, steamed white rice, or low carb options : zucchini ribbons, “spaghetti”squash

Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok, once warm saute the onions until soft. Next add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the eggplant, bell pepper and broccoli florets and saute for a few minutes. Next add the curry paste, turmeric, coconut aminos / soy sauce and stir to mix all ingredients well. Allow to cook for 3 minutes then pour in the coconut milk and add the mushrooms. Cover and simmer under low heat until vegetables have cooked to desired tenderness. Serve over desired “noodle” or rice.

Notes :
-You can choose to add more heat to your curry by adding cayenne in addition to your red curry paste
-for pescatarians, I’d recommend adding shrimp, otherwise if you want more protein, add a scrambled diced egg or crushed nuts

adapted from “the spicy foodie”

 

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