Monday, March 06, 2006

Eating Well for Wellness

Eating Well for Wellness

Eating well for wellness requires eating foods with the 6 basic nutrients that the body needs. Basic nutrition involves understanding the need for these nutrients and planning meals around food sources of each required element. Studies of cultural experiences have shown that people who lack or obtain too much of various nutrients may have serious health problems. Family meal planners are challenged to meet nutritional requirements through basic nutrition, yet provide foods that the family enjoys.

Tip I: Prepare foods from scratch with freshest possible products available for the most flavorful and nutritious meals.

Tip II: Use your kitchen pantry for some medical needs. For example, for a soothing bath, blend 1-cup old-fashioned oatmeal until it is a powder. Slowly sprinkle under running water and stir into tub of warm water and soak your tired, weary body for 20 minutes.

Food for Thought:
Be careful not to use your freedom to eat….
1 Corinthians 8:9 LB

Family Meal Planning
+Lesson plan

The essential nutrients that are needed by the body are proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, water and fats. Three basic reasons for food are to provide growth, development and rebuilding of cells; to provide energy; and to aid in the elimination of waste products from the body. The primary sources of food are meats, fruits, vegetables, breads, milk and water and fats.

Proteins: To maintain proper growth and development and supply energy. Food sources: meat and meat products; milk and dairy products; eggs and some vegetables. In Africa, I saw children with bloated stomachs who were lacking adequate protein. Brazil’s main food protein source (among the lower income) was beans and rice. Since beans have some protein, the source can become complete with another food that has some protein. Although rice has very little, it is enough to create a complete protein dish. Lower income men often prided themselves on having fat wives and children because to them this indicated they had enough money for food. (See page 6 of cookbook for Feijoada: a Saturday Brazilian soup.)

Vitamins: To provide vitality and maintain mental health. Food sources: Vitamin A and C: fruits and vegetables; Vitamin D: sunshine and fortified milk; Vitamin E: organ meats like liver; Vitamin K: meats; Vitamin Bs: meats and breads. People who have lots of natural fruits and vegetables in their diets like in Brazil or Belgium seemed to have great mental health and vitality. In Africa and China, I saw people with bowed legs or rickets because they did not have adequate Vitamin D and calcium sometime earlier in life. People who cannot utilize Vitamin K or do not have adequate supply will have difficulty with blood clotting. People without adequate sources of Vitamin A often have night blindness.

Minerals: Most minerals are obtained though well balanced meals. Calcium is found in some vegetables, but primarily in milk. This is necessary for strong bones and teeth. Sodium is necessary for the flavor of food, but too much can cause high blood pressure and hypertension. The lack of iodine causes goiter and that is why it is often added to common table salt. In Africa and Brazil, we saw people eating dirt because they were probably lacking some mineral in their diets.

Carbohydrates: To provide energy. Food sources: fibrous fruits and vegetables; breads, grain products like rice and cereals. People who do not have adequate fiber in their meals will have problems with elimination of waste products. Since carbohydrates can be stored until future use, it often accumulates in the cells and may be called fat. In China the employer often provided the noon meal of rice. Workers would receive individual pails or containers of hot rice and chop sticks. Since vegetables were grown in the area where we lived, they were often served for breakfast with watery, rice gruel. Supper would also be vegetables and rice. Duck and poultry were served only on special occasions since these were usually raised for the market. Little meat seemed to be available in the common household. (See page 44 for Chinese Fortune Cookie recipe.)

Fat: To provide a padding and protection around the vital organs and energy. People without such protection may soon have damaged hearts, etc. All people need some fat. Fat is stored for future use and accumulates in the cells as fat that leads to obesity when not utilized adequately.

Water: To provide lubrication for all joints and vital organs as well as liquid for cells, plasma, etc. Water is constantly depleted and is the only nutrient that requires re-supply. Even though studies have shown that people can fast like Jesus for 30-40 days without food, the water must be re-supplied often during a day. Water sources include: tap water; juicy fruits and vegetable pulp; water based beverages like tea, coffee, cool aid; even bugs, meat and fiber can generate some water. In China, Brazil and many places in Africa, we had to be careful about drinking the water supply and we usually used distilled water. Major cities like Johannesburg had safe water sources, as did the country of Belgium. Milk is considered the most complete food and is also an excellent source of liquid. Water has no caloric content, but other beverages do and must be considered in the total food consumption.

From nutritionist: Meals and snacks for an entire day should be planned in consideration of the total day’s requirement. If one meal has to be adjusted or is lacking in a nutrient, other meals or snacks can help make up the deficiency. Plan the meats, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Evaluate the calories and nutrients then add breads and fats. From 8-12 glasses of water should be taken into the body every day. Remember all food intake should be to be burned by exercising or physical labor. Happy Meal planning for eating well for wellness!

Recipes are available upon request.
Comments and questions are welcomed.
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