A group of us over here at All Families Natural Health are participating in a Winter Rejuvenation program. The purpose of the program is to expand our food repertoire – to branch out and create new favorite foods, while decreasing our intake of the old reliables (wheat, dairy, wine) .
Research shows that the majority of Americans should join us. According to Dr. Herber of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition there are 50,000 to 200,000 different edible plant foods in the world, and most Americans eat only 3. This is a dramatic decrease from our hunter/gatherer ancestors that included up to 800 different plant foods in their diet.
A recent article in the Medscape Journal of Medicine,by Dr. David Katz discusses the implication of a startling study done by the Center for Disease Control that found that less than 1% of adolescents, roughly 2% of men, and only 3.5% of women met guidelines for recommended daily intake of both fruits and vegetables. And this is despite counting jam, jelly, and orange juice as fruit, and both French fries, and the ketchup poured over them, as vegetables.
This is especially concerning given that The American Institute for Cancer Research cites a varied diet high in fruits and vegetables as one of the best ways to reduce cancer risk. Additionally, a diet focused on plant foods has been linked to healthy weight-loss and a decrease in chronic disease, including stroke and other cardiovascular disease.
In light of this information, we would all do well to follow the dietary advice of food advocate Micheal Pollan:
But where to find these so-called plants and what to do with them?
In the colder months, it often means a trip to the produce department. However, if you are lucky enough to live in Denver, there is the new, year-round farmer’s market to explore. Before you go out to hunt and gather, check out www.whfoods.org. They feature a comprehensive listing of the world’s healthiest foods complete with nutrient information and recipies.
So while changing our ways isn’t always easy, in this case it is definitely worth it. Eat up!