When was the last time you munched on celery and carrots, enjoyed an apple, or feasted on spinach salad? It’s not uncommon for people to depend on carbohydrates, sweets, or caffeine for short-term energy and then feel tired, groggy, or just plain lousy afterwards. People usually think it’s their own fault when they feel this way. The connection between the way they feel and the food they ate is never made. The chemicals put into most commercial foods play tricks on our bodies, hormones, and taste buds to fool us into enjoying that fabulous cardboard meal.
Many people believe healthy food is boring. I admit that I didn’t always appreciate fruits and vegetables. It took time for my taste buds to catch up, and I needed incentive to go out of my way to eat fruits and vegetables. For this I looked to an important study, which showed that there is a decreased incidence of angina, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, cirrhosis, gallstones, heart attack, kidney stones, and peptic ulcers when people eat lots of fruits and vegetables (Epidemiology, March 1998, vol 9, No.2, p208).
I also checked out the ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of the fruits and vegetables I now like best. Dark greens and brightly colored plant foods have the highest ORAC rating. Some of the best fruits include cranberries, blueberries, bilberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, strawberries, red currents, elderberries, mangoes, noni, peach, pear, plum, pomegranate, tart dark cherries, deep purple plums and prunes. Vegetables with a high ORAC score include spinach, carrots, beets, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables.
The ORAC score is derived from a test that measures a plant’s ability to neutralize oxygen free radicals. Oxygen free radicals create problems in our bodies in the same way that rust creates problems for our cars. Our bodies form harmful oxygen free radicals on a daily basis due to everyday functions, such as digestion and physical activity. Their formation increases when we are exposed to polluted air, rancid food, rancid oils found in many prepared foods, and oxidizing radiation from the sun and other man-made electronic devices. We need to eat lots of healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, to neutralize them so that they can’t harm us.
Our bodies are like cars, which experience wear and tear, and require maintenance. When our bodies break down, they need to be repaired, but unlike cars, they can’t be replaced. The type of care our bodies receive will determine how or even if, they continue to run. Eating good, organic foods keep our bodies in good condition. Our eyes, internal organs, skin, and everything else in our bodies will be healthier and can be repaired as needed for many years with the proper nutrition. Don’t you think it’s time for you to start eating your fruits and vegetables?
To enjoy five to ten servings of fruits and vegetables each day, I eat some raw, and toss others into a salad or a fruit smoothie. I love to sauté fresh, organic vegetables in a cast iron pan with good, unrefined high heat oil, such as sesame or almond. Sprinkled with lots of Celtic sea salt and some raw butter, vegetables make a healthy accompaniment to any meal. I also enjoy grilling vegetables, such as squash, eggplant, mushrooms, or peppers, and brush them with oil and tamari to make them taste even more delicious. If you use tamari, make sure it’s the kind made from good, organic cultured soybeans.
My favorite salad consists of a generous serving of organic baby spinach topped with kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, Clementine’s, peaches, or whatever I happen to pick up on my weekly jaunt to the Farmer’s Market. For protein and extra crunch, I add pine nuts and hemp hearts. Desert is a dish of fruit drizzled with raw honey – something to satisfy my sweet tooth. These are my “feel good foods.” What are yours?
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Dr. William H. Karl, D.C.