When I was young my mom was teaching me about how to take care of the family nutritionally. I remember one such lesson. She said to serve a main dish, a protein, such as chicken, rabbit, venison, a roast or some other meat. Then she said I needed vegetables, (carbohydrates) such as greens, green beans or asparagus. I was also to have a starch, such as potatoes or rice. Then of course we always had a salad with our main meals. The salad was dressed with a dressing we made from vinegar, good oil (fat) and seasonings. It tasted like the salad from Olive Garden-as mom is Italian. She also encouraged me to use variety and along with that an array of beautiful colors with our meals.
I feel that this nutritional start could be compared to building a house and beginning with a strong, firm foundation of concrete building blocks to build on.
In working with others now, which I absolutely love to do, especially since so many are improving their nutrition, I see that some still don't quite know the basics.
So today's column is going back to the basics, and of courses it is for you if you need it. I do hope you enjoy this.
Three Categories of Food
Protein: Protein foods are all meats, poultry, egg-whites and seafood. These are our protein foods, unless of course you are a vegetarian, in which case you must be careful to balance your plant based foods to get your full quota of good protein.
Why do we need protein? We find that our protein is the building blocks of our bodies. In both building cells, skin, muscles and also in repairing all of the parts of the body, as these wear out, and we must have enough quality protein materials on hand to repair and replace.
Carbohydrates are just as necessary, although some people feel that carbs are only the ones that are starchy. This is not necessarily true.
Here's a little information about our carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are more misunderstood than all the calorie-producing foods. They have been blacklisted by many serious dieters who worry that they are what foils us with weight gain. But low-carb dieters may be misinformed. Eating a diet rich in carbohydrates doesn't necessary cause weight gain, but eating too much of the wrong ones can.
Carbohydrates are in all plant based foods. I believe that everything that grows on a bush, a tree or a vine contains carbohydrates.
It was thought for a long time that carbs are only useful for fuel. And, carbohydrates are a good source of fuel, but, that is not the only use of carbohydrates.
A very ultra important group of carbohydrates are called biological sugars, mono-saccarides or glyconutritionals. These carbohydrates are so important that I feel that they are worth their weight in gold or maybe even platinum.
Page 2 of 2 - This group of active biological sugars do not spike blood sugar but research has uncovered very important facts on them and has revealed that these biologically active plant sugars are critical for the transfer of all biological data between each of our 600 (plus) trillion cells. Glyconutrients serve as the body's intercellular messengers to communicate all that is required for proper function of each and every individual cell. For proper cell-to-cell communication, cells use at least eight specific carbohydrates to "speak" to each other. As your cells touch each other, they communicate over this "sugar code" everything a cell needs: nutrition, repair, hormones, etc. So, they are also vital for structure and function.
As you can see, carbohydrates aren't only for fuel. Also, since we are so deficient locally in these important nutrients, a person needs to find important sources no matter where on the globe these resources are found.
Fats or lipids: This is a section of our food that was overlooked for a while. Remember the fat-free craze?
From Dr. Wilson I read:
High-quality fats and oils are one of the most essential foods to consume every day. They are needed for your brain and nervous system, for energy production and for making most of the body's vital hormones. Children, in particular, absolutely require plenty of good quality fats and oils, particularly EPA and DHA. These are two omega-3 essential fatty acids needed for development of the nervous system. Quality fats and oils are also essential for transporting all vitamins, minerals and hormones in and out of every one of the body cells.
Since so-many transactions that take place in the body are only possible because of good fats, we do want to make sure that we use healthy and not damaged fats in our diet. Damaged fats will not promote good health.
What are healthy good fats? No matter which type you choose make sure it has been processed properly, which also means minimally.
I like virgin cold pressed olive oil, almond oil, avocado oil and coconut oil.
Learn how great nutrition contributes to a long and healthy lifespan:
I hope this helps you to build your 'Strong Nutritional Foundation.'
You and those you love will be happy that you learned and applied this information.
(Carmel Aaron lives in Heber Springs, has a degree in biology and has been certified by Proevity in Nutrition and Glycemic Indexing; she operates Anatomy Academy Wellness, where she teaches a Certified Diet Wellness coaching program. New classes starting several times a year–- Group Discounts—Questions? email Carmel at: AWellnessCoach@Gmail.com)