Holistic Habits by Cheryl A. Mothes, Ph.D. Natural Health Nutrition Counselor (14)

What if there was a medication that could successfully treat and even REVERSE heart disease, the #1 killer of people, along with many other chronic conditions and it only had positive side effects? And what if it were low cost? Well, it is available, and it is known as the “Food as Medicine” movement, with foods from minimally processed plants. It is growing world-wide but one of the roadblocks is that many believe that once someone has a diagnosis of conditions like heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, or high blood pressure, they do not think there is anything that can be done other than live with the medications and hope it does not get worse. Stay tuned this week to learn the fantastic news to live longer and live stronger – big hint…have a marvelous Meatless Monday everyone! ☺️

There is a reason more are referring to health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and others as “conditions” rather than “diseases” because they are conditional – conditioned upon the lifestyles we choose. The word “disease” sounds like it is a forever thing when it may not be! The fact that a whole food plant-based approach provides a safe, effective, low-cost alternative to reducing symptoms and treating the causes is unknown to many. Thankfully, the word is spreading, and physician groups are recommending plant-based diets to their patients. The side-effects are only positive, such as increased energy, improved digestion, and treating many conditions while eating unlimited quantities of satisfying foods! So, search “whole food plant-based” and “Food as Medicine” to learn the best ways to plantify your plates and have a terrific Tuesday everyone!

In 1665, England started keeping mortality statistics when a person died in an accident, falling down the stairs…and that same week nearly 4,000 people died of the plague. Today, the modern plague is not COVID, but heart disease. It is the number one killer of men and women. Decades ago, Nathan Pritikin, then Dean Ornish, then other scientists at the Cleveland Clinic showed the natural cure of coronary heart disease. Dr. Hans Diehl developed the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) that was an affordable 30-day lifestyle intervention to be delivered to individuals in their community. Teaching patients to embrace centering their diet around whole plant foods was optimal but it was not rigid – and after just 4 weeks there was an average weight loss of six pounds, blood pressures dropped six points, bad cholesterol levels went down 16 to 32 points and blood sugar levels dropped as well. Move a little every day in your plant-slant journey and have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

More than a decade ago, a paper was published titled, “Healthy Living is the Best Revenge” showing that following four simple healthy lifestyle factors can have a strong impact on the prevention of chronic diseases. We are talking 80 percent less chronic illness risk, slashing diabetes risk by 93 percent, heart attack risk by 81% and cancer by 36 percent! WOW! What are the four behaviors? They are not smoking, not being obese, getting a half an hour of exercise each day and eating with a plant-slant (meaning little or no meat and lots of fruits, vegetable, nuts, whole grains, and beans). “Finally, a regimen to extend human life expectancy” was exclaimed. How have we done since then? Not well…but recently the tide is turning. And it is never too late to turn back the clock! You can do it, one step and one forkful at a time!

In 1903, Thomas Edison predicted that the doctor of the future would give no medicine but would instead instruct their patient in the care of the human frame in diet in the cause and prevention of disease. One hundred years later the American College of Lifestyle Medicine was born. They prescribe drugs, but also recognize that the leading causes of death are caused mostly by lifestyle – particularly what we put in our mouths: food and cigarettes. Great news – we can stop blaming our genes and focus on the significant portion (over 70%) that’s totally within our control: those 4 simple lifestyle factors bear repeating – not smoking, not being obese, a half hour of exercise and a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and less meat is what’s under our control – reducing our risk of disease by 78%. Following these steps is like turning back the clock 14 years! Have a fantastic Friday everyone!

AND from the archives:

On this Meatless Monday let us talk AGAIN about the Blue Zones – those five places in the world that are nowhere near each other, but their populations live longest and best and they all share the same patterns – much of which is what they consume nutritionally. The twelve super foods that boost your immunity and energy (and don’t we all need that now?!) are eaten in all five of the Blue Zone areas. Let us start today with three: turmeric, barley, and shiitake (she-tock-e) mushrooms. Turmeric is a spice that reduces inflammation and is. potent antioxidant, barley is a whole grain that is loaded with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants (except you do not want to purchase pearl barley – it is not a whole grain) and shiitake mushrooms contain more than one hundred different compounds with immune-protecting properties! Make a soup tonight that is meatless, with barley, turmeric, and these powerful mushrooms and lots of other veggies to power up your immune systems!

Yesterday we talked about the Blue Zones, those five areas of the world where people live longer and better lives, and they eat are twelve super foods for boosting our immune systems AND energy. Yesterday we suggested a soup with three of them – turmeric, shiitake mushrooms and barley and today it is all about beans and greens. All kinds of beans – red beans, pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, black eyed peas, lentils – they all are great sources of protein and are anti-inflammatory, one of the best immune boosting types of foods we can eat. Then greens – wow they are SO nutrient dense, loaded with antioxidants and powerful compounds AND it turns out they are the source of a chemical signal that is important to a fully functioning immune system. So, throw some beans and greens into that soup and have a terrific, healthy Tuesday everyone!

Let us talk more about the top 12 – the twelve best foods to consume to keep our immune systems strong and our energy levels high, based on research on the Blue Zones of the world. We already talked about beans and greens, shiitake mushrooms, turmeric, and barley, and here is a few more: sweet potatoes, garlic, and olive oil. On the sweet potatoes – do not confuse them with yams – they are not the same in health promotion. Sweet potatoes are high sources of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in our bodies and is critical to healthy immune systems. Garlic is one of nature’s most powerful natural medicines, and olive oil is anti-inflammatory, and you would not think it but has lots of antioxidants. Make sure it is green and extra-virgin, and do not cook with it – drizzle it over the garlic and sweet potatoes and in salads. Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

All week we have talked about the Blue Zones and the twelve foods that boost our energy levels and immune systems the MOST: beans, greens, sweet potatoes, barley, olive oil, turmeric, garlic, and shiitake mushrooms. Today we add the last four: fruits, nuts, green tea, and oats. Fruits, well, what can we say – every fruit is loaded with health. Nuts of all kinds are also loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and fiber to help other nutrients get powered up. One of the beneficial compounds in green tea has a powerful ability to increase the number of “Reg T” cells that play a key role in immune function. Lastly, the selenium and zinc found in oats help boost our infection-fighting blood cells and ward off infection to help us live longer and live stronger!

All week long we have been talking about the twelve super foods that boost our immune systems and energy – they are:

  • sweet potatoes and shiitake mushrooms
  • oats and barley
  • green tea and olive oil
  • garlic and turmeric
  • all nuts, greens, beans, and fruit.

We mentioned that they are all high in antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory, but how does that help our immune systems? Many natural processes in our bodies create waste, some of which form free radicals. If they are not neutralized, they can cause damage in our bodies which leads to inflammation, a precursor to many health issues such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Antioxidants BIND to free radicals to stop their damage. Have a fantastic Friday everyone!

Reference: The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner


Content is daily radio script from my KHIS radio spot – tune in at 6:15 (CST) every morning to Justin and Meredith’s morning show 89.9 FM.
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