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THE UNMITIGATED TRUTH

When I first started this business, my model was designed around going to doctors’ offices to provide them samples of our meals and load them up with information about how are meals are diabetic-friendly, heart-healthy, and the like.  It seemed a natural fit since many patients who discover they’re pre-diabetic or exhibiting a trend toward hypertension and are told by the doctor to change eating habits don’t know exactly what to do in order to meet their new requirements.  With the doctor handing them one of our business cards, the patient places one phone call to us and voilá: problem solved.  Even if just at the onset of this dietary change, as they accustom themselves to low sodium and whole grain carbohydrates, Eat Well Foods was an obvious remedy.

So I contacted scores of doctors’ offices and prepared dozens upon dozens of in-services for doctors and their staff, giving away hundreds – if not thousands – of lunches for the opportunity to get the word out that we exist.  The response from the staff and medical personnel was nothing short of electrifying.   Great concept, wonderful execution, yep… absolutely, we’re going to tell ALL our patients about you!  Well, one year later, and after exactly ZERO referrals from doctors for all my efforts, I stopped, stumped.  Now stumped is not a word that sits well with me, particularly where it concerns my livelihood.  So, I invited one of the cardiologists over to my house for dinner, and queried why she wasn’t referring my service, why not one of her twelve associates with whom she shared her practice was referring me either.  She answered with great calm, “Because people don’t come to me for dietary solutions, they come to me for medical solutions.  Were I to recommend your food, I would be assuming a shared liability were something to happen to one of my patients owing to your meals, and my malpractice insurance is already astronomically high, thank you very much.”

 Not so easily dismissed, I pressed on.  “But then why do you tell them that they need to change their diet in the first place?”

“Because they do.” “Yes, but then you’re not willing to tell them what to do, to offer them a simple solution.” “That’s right; I’m not.  If they want dietary advice, they should consult a dietitian or nutritionist.  I do tell them that much.”

 “So I should be talking to dietitians and not to cardiologists, huh?”

“You catch on quick…”

I was floored by her answer; it was unbelievable!  No… really, her answer was unbelievable because in truth, her answer was a lie.  Oh sure, she would be assuming a liability by recommending Eat Well Foods, but no more so than when she and her associates allowed Eat Well to serve every single person in their shared office lunch on three different occasions.  Imagine the ramifications of some pathogen finding its way into the food and sickening or even killing a percentage of the personnel working in her office.  (It sends shudders of fear up my spine to even contemplate such an event.)  Is her concern for herself and her staff less important than her concern for her patients?    I think not.

While it is true that people do indeed go to doctors for medical solutions to their problems, it’s also true that doctors thrive on giving people medications that treat or abate the manifestations of the illness, but nothing that cures it.  A Type 2 pre-diabetic patient is diabetes syringetypically an overweight middle-aged person who can eradicate the onset of diabetes with nothing but a change in diet: portion control, fiber-rich carbohydrates, larger vegetable servings, elimination of fried foods, low sodium.  Those five elements will result in weight loss which will dramatically reduce cellular insulin resistance, which will allow the glucose to be absorbed by the cells, which is perfectly normal metabolic function, no diabetes to be seen for miles on any horizon.  Throw in a daily dose of light to moderate exercise, and diabetes will remain something to be spoken about but never experienced.

Of course, this is not to say that diabetics who are currently being treated for their disease should just adapt this healthy lifestyle and throw away all their medicines in one fell swoop.  Au contraire, the incorporation of this lifestyle should be done with careful monitoring and adjustments to insulin intake as daily glucose levels indicate.  Lessening of insulin intake for Type-2 diabetes is generally associated with weight loss and healthy, sustainable weight loss occurs at a rate of 1 – 2 pounds per week, so the reduction of insulin dosages will be very gradual.

Every doctor in the world knows that diet is an effective means of reining in the prevalence of diabetes, but they’re not interested in curtailing it.  Stunning news!  Doctors Don’t Really Give A Damn About Your Health; their main concern is their own.  Okay, on some level they do, obviously; they didn’t become engineers or lawyers, two professions that require much less study than medicine.  But then the reality set in as they began their practice, and they realized that they didn’t go to medical school to tell you how to cure your diabetes; they went there so they could write prescriptions for Metformin, insulin, and the like.  Recent estimates provided by the American Diabetes Association place the cost of treating diabetes at two hundred and forty-five BILLION dollars per year ($245,000,000,000.00)!  And that’s just for medicine, syringes, test strips, and monitors.  Were we to curb the incidence of Type-2 diabetes with something as simple as diet, begin reversing the trend of this chronic self-induced disease, over twenty-five percent of hospitals in the United States would close due to lack of business.  Diabetes is a leading cause of macular degeneration and blindness, heart disease, limb amputation, and renal disease.  Hospital beds are filled with patients suffering from diseases wrought by diabetes, and those associated costs aren’t figured into the $245,000,000,00.00.  In fact, it’s nearly impossible to ascertain those costs, but they fall comfortably into the trillions of dollars!

We’re facing an epidemic spawned by the processed food industry and championed by the unfaltering support of the pharmaceutical companies and their cohorts, the doctors.  Misinformation abounds about the dreadful diet to which one needs to adhere in order to rid him- or herself of diabetes, when in truth no such horror exists.  It’s a matter of exchanging the Big Macs and French fries for consciously prepared Beef Bourguignon with baked sweet potatoes; the latter winning a taste comparison hands-down every time!

It’s always challenging to change habits, even deleterious ones.  Fear of change is the strongest emotion to overcome, one that stops people from initiating a transformation.  Yet the best kept secret of more wholesome dietary choices and losing that unwanted weight is how much better one feels, how much happier one is now that his/her life doesn’t seem to be spinning out of control. How uplifting for a man to see that he’s finally losing that belly fat, for a woman that excess fat of the buttocks and thighs, not to mention the satisfaction one receives when hearing, “Wow, you really look so good!  You’ve lost some weight, haven’t you?”  If further inspiration is needed, keep in mind that no matter how difficult you imagine the change to healthy to be, it’s not nearly so difficult as facing a future where every step one takes is excruciatingly painful due to neuropathy of the feet brought on by diabetes.

The debate has been fast and furious concerning national health care and its effect on the quality of medical care available now and into the future.  The argument though would be much quieter if healthy diet were mandated to the citizenry because it would cost significant trillions of dollars less per year with the elimination diabetes and its corollaries.  The debate would likely turn into one about the right of government to wield such power as to infringe upon our right to choose what we eat and when we eat it.  Still, it paints an interesting picture of the future if unhealthy food were taxed on a level similar to tobacco because of its harmful effect on the physiology of the nation, as the populace in general pays less for health care, while the offenders bear the brunt of their decisions.  Soon, only the really wealthy would be able to afford fast food.  How quaint.

Still, the unmitigated truth is that if people care so little about the state of their health that they’re willing to eat at their nearest fast-food restaurant, knowing full well how harmful consumption of this food is, willing to inject themselves with insulin multiple times a day just so they can continue to eat deep fried foods and consume upwards of 3,000 calories per day, willfully destroy the perfection that is their bodies by ingesting toxins disguised as food, then really, why should the doctors care?  Blaming the doctors for the obesity epidemic is like blaming the teachers for the unruliness of the children who are not taught proper behaviour at home.

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The Inner Smile

Who would have guessed that the most enduring lessons learned while operating a commercial kitchen that offers home delivery of healthy meals would have nothing to do with either culinary practices or logistics, but rather with human psychology?  Nevertheless, that is precisely what occurs.  Based upon thousands of responses, it is clear that people would rather say they want to adopt a healthier lifestyle while they continue their current unwholesome habits rather than actually effect the change.  Even though everyone knows that healthy eating and regular exercise has a much greater and longer lasting “feel good” factor than that cheeseburger sitting in front of them at the moment, the aroma of the burger stimulating their salivary glands, they succumb anyway to the immediate enticement.  After all, they rationalize, this new lifestyle can start tomorrow, the day after, or even next week, and they subliminally foster and then reinforce the idea in their heads that this change is something for the worse rather than for the better.

Clearly, if any one of those individuals feel goodrealized that they’d suddenly won the lottery, they wouldn’t forestall the retrieval of their money for another couple of days or weeks, thinking, nah, I’ll start the lifestyle of wealth next week.  So, the very fact that they’re willing to put off the healthy lifestyle change provides a clear indicator that they innately see this change as something to be resisted, preferring to maintain the habits they’ve forged, no matter how damaging, to improving their choices.  Talk to them though, and they’ll deny such predisposition, even though their actions belie their words.  It matters not how often they hear that the greatest treasure they can bestow upon themselves is good health, that the greatest of all attainable wealth is wellbeing, far surpassing the benefit that money can provide, they remain set in their ways and say they’re unhappy with how poorly they look and feel.

This behavioral pattern certainly isn’t restricted to healthy diet.  It is exhibited by the large number of tobacco users who clearly know the dangers associated with their addiction and continue to smoke and chew it, and drug and alcohol abusers who understand the risk of addiction and withdrawal as well as the damaging effects those chemicals have on the body, not to mention the heightened mortality rate associated with being under the influence while driving or working.  Immediate gratification has been one of the longest running fights between society and the individual, so much so that it is used as one of the key elements in differentiating man from other animals.  Cliché like patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait are part of everyone’s repertoire.

Interestingly, the very nature of this attitude, the concept of making a change is as false as the proclamation that this so-called change is going to happen starting tomorrow.  It is yet another layer of the cognitive dissonance process that creates an added imagined burden to the realization of the dream.  It’s not one big CHANGE, one overwhelmingly difficult hurdle that one must best; it’s just substituting brown rice for white rice and going for a walk after dinner.  It’s eating two tablespoons less of starchy carbohydrate with each meal, and avoiding fried foods altogether.  It’s adding a soup or a salad before the meal, waiting five minutes between courses, and then eating dinner, instead of having a dinner roll swathed in butter with the meal.  It’s cutting down on sodium consumption so your body can rid itself of excess water retention.  These are the BIG DEAL!  Combine those few steps and witness how much better you feel, how much happier you become, how unencumbered by the psychology of I’m doing what I don’t want to be doing you become and how empowered that makes you feel.  You’re in control again!

That’s the idea behind Eat Well Foods: everyday meals with a healthy attitude.

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GMOs, Porn, and Other Dinner Conversations

Once upon a time, people ate food.  Someone prepared it and people ate it.  That was the extent to which food was contemplated in the national consciousness.  Food wasn’t a topic of conversation; it was breakfast, lunch, or dinner, nothing more.  I know that many of you are too young to remember those days, but it’s really true.  Ask your parents or your grandparents if you don’t believe me.

food glorious foodNowadays, and in the span of the most recent twenty years, food has risen to national prominence where more time is spent talking, reading, and writing about it than actually eating it.   We are no longer consuming food; we’re being consumed by it!  While Facebook may be the most popular Internet site for keeping in touch with friends, and pornography sites may be the most visited (however briefly), food is far and away the most discussed item on the web.  Suddenly, a whole new language has become attached to food, blinking into existence and becoming common knowledge so quickly that Darwinism is fast becoming a laughing matter.  Evolution, my butt; just say superfood six times without faltering, and everyone in the world will simultaneously know exactly what it means!  Why is it that that words like anti-oxidants, free radicals, carotenoids, flavonoids, and resveratrol flow mellifluously from the tongues of the common man when they were once reserved for those scholars who studied nutrition exhaustively? And those aren’t even the tough ones!  Try this actual sentence on for size: Glucosinolates are thioethers.   Please don’t say it six times without faltering, or the conversations tomorrow around the water coolers in tens of millions of offices are going to sound incredibly weird!  Yet, for all that, there’ll be a clear understanding of the indispensible value of glucosinolates and other thioethers in the diet, and new recipes that provide gargantuan amounts of them will emerge with the rapidity of a comet blazing across the sky.   Before too long, anyone will be able to download the latest addition to the series, Thioethers for Dummies, and the obsession continues.

Were it to start and end with new verbiage and magical dissemination, that would be fine.  Unfortunately, it goes well beyond just that.  These days, the subject of food has deteriorated into a frenzy of shouting matches between the diverse factions of nutritionists, health experts, and grass-roots naturalists because the number of diet choices available to people actually outnumber the world’s population, and they’re all clamoring to be heard and followed, as though seeking the title of Undisputed Healthiest Meal Choice and that really gaudy belt that accompanies it.  The endless variations of low fat, low carb, low protein, paleo, MCT only, HCG, organic, wheat-free, radical-free, blood type, DNA type, alkaline/acid balance, low sodium, and countless others are dizzying, filling millions of computer screens with information about how their diet is better than anyone else’s and, with militant tonality, demand compliance to their assertions.  “You will eat it, and you will like it!”

If memory serves, conversation around the dinner table used to be about what a liar President Nixon was, how evil the Establishment was in trying to squelch Daniel Ellsberg’s findings, the Kennedy assassination conspiracy, and how well we were doing in Vietnam against Ho Chi Minh.  Nowadays, assuming the family unit is actually gathered around the dinner table at the same time (and what are the odds?), the conversation is about the latest app, the funniest YouTube video, and food: how bad GMOs are and how lobbyists protect those corporations responsible; the surreptitious insertion of high fructose corn syrup into just about everything; how many obese people personally known were today diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes; the bastardization of wheat.   Or maybe the Nixon, Ellsberg, Vietnam talks are all imagined memories when the real discussion also revolved around food back in the seventies.  I can’t be sure; I’ve eaten so many GMOs that I may be suffering from mild hallucinations brought about by the changes to my blood chemistry.

Yes… once upon a time, people ate food, talked about other things, and lived happily ever after.  These days… not so much.

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Heeding Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin holds a unique place of special honor in American history in that the most notable historical figures were Presidents of the republic, but he never had such aspirations.  As President of Pennsylvania – before America declared its independence as a nation – he was present for and added verbiage to the Declaration of Independence and was one of its signers, but nothing more.  And yet, for all that, no American is unaware of Mr. Franklin’s place in forging this nation.  Indeed, he has such a place of high honor that his face adorns the hundred dollar bill, evoking feelings of joy in many at the sight of him.  Noted for his timeless aphorisms, Ben Franklin authored, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound oben franklinf cure, providing us, some two hundred and twenty years later, with a perfect subject line.  Thank you, sir.

The medical community has been and continues to be so involved with treating illnesses and their manifestations that little time or energy has been given to preventative care until recently.  With skyrocketing medical costs, preventative care is the new catchphrase in the health community, placing things like colonoscopies, breast cancer screenings, and blood pressure monitoring in the limelight.  Still, medical science completely ignores other treatments that optimize health because their consequences are less debilitating than cancer or aneurisms.  They’re called home remedies, and while data is insufficient to actually gauge their effectiveness, they’ve been doing wonders for generations.  They’re the ounces of prevention which, if practiced, save not pounds, but tons of cure.

A great many home remedies are don’ts: don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol to excess, and, to quote Mr. Franklin yet again, eat to live, don’t live to eat, etc., but others are actual steps people can take to curb the frequency of illnesses.  A great many people scoff at such remedies precisely because the medical community considers them too simplistic, but that doesn’t affect their true effectiveness.  As an example, a popular home remedy is fresh lemon squeezed in water.  Using warm temperature water, the acid content of the lemon, when swished around the mouth and spit out, helps destroy bacteria build-up, particularly in the morning after a night’s sleep.  It has been used for years as a general prophylactic against the onset of bacteriological illnesses.    Drinking room temperature water with fresh-squeezed lemon has met with great success in alleviating heartburn, bloating, and gas, and many claim that it promotes regularity.  Lemons are high in potassium, making it a great weapon in maintaining heart health, as well as vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.

No home remedy list would be complete without the inclusion of chicken soup.  For centuries, this remedy has helped alleviate colds and flu, often credited with shortening the duration of these illnesses.  The chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine that, released when cooking the soup, thins mucus in the body which helps with the expectoration of the virus from the system.  While this amino acid is available with other forms of cooked chicken, chicken soup has been the prevalent serving method because appetites are generally suppressed during illness and chicken soup is well tolerated.  Additionally, fresh vegetables added to the soup can help the body boost its immune system during its weakened state when combating this malady.  Lest it be left unmentioned, the warmth of the soup alleviates sore throat pain, and pain relief is always welcome.

Not much need be said about the next subject of our list: aloe vera.  Aloe vera has been used as an extremely effective home remedy to treat burns, scrapes, insect bites, and rashes.  More recently, however, drinking aloe vera juice has grown in popularity.  It purportedly helps reduce blood sugar levels by lowering triglycerides.  Additionally, it has been shown to alkalize the body, helping to balance the overall acidity level of today’s diets and promote well-being.  It is rich in electrolytes, replenishing the body when facing illnesses associated with dehydration and diarrhea.

Less popular but equally effective home remedies include:

  • Ginger – Fresh ginger infused in tea has been effective in alleviating arthritis pain
  • Turmeric – Used to treat ulcers, the curcumin in turmeric helps protect the stomach lining
  • Cranberries – a natural prophylactic against urinary tract infections and proper kidney function if     consumed regularly
  • Pineapple – helps alleviate inflammation of joints

The Internet is replete with information concerning the benefits of some home remedies.  Again, be aware that much of the information available is of a self-serving nature, and so it is best to be prudent when incorporating these remedies into your daily life.  It is best to get independent confirmation of the information you read, or better yet, ask a health care professional.

 

 

 

 

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An apple a day really might just keep the doctor away

By Hank Eder
Eat Well Foods Guest Blogger

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Research is uncovering a multitude of health benefits in apples.

Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? I heard this from my teachers and my mother when I was a boy. Since I really liked the taste and texture of crisp, juicy apples, I accepted this as gospel at the time. Now that my school days are long past, I find myself questioning much of what I once took for granted. What I found out about apples showed me just how right teachers and mothers can be. It seems the humble apple may indeed keep the doctor away.

Apples are rich in antioxidants  and phytonutrients. Back in 2000, researchers from Cornell University discovered that these phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) are responsible for the apple’s incredible antioxidant properties. According to the scientists who conducted the study, some of the phytochemicals are known to be anti-allergenic, some are anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-proliferative. What does this mean in layman’s terms? It means that apples are really good for you!

More recent studies at the University of California at Davis show another dramatic health benefit from eating apples.  They discovered that people who eat two apples a day have a significant slowing of LDL oxidation (the process that leads to plaque buildup in our arteries).

How does this work? Scientists have found that apple antioxidants become part of the LDL molecule, so these antioxidants are oxidized instead of  LDL.  This process significantly slows the progression of atherosclerosis. Also, the aforementioned Cornell researchers showed in test tube experiments that the apple phytochemicals not only block oxidation of LDL cholesterol, but they also prompt the lover to sprout additional LDL receptors, with the end result being lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol. Apples also slow down cholesterol production in the liver in a way that resembles the actions of statin drugs, but without the side-effects.

These benefits are brought to you by the interaction of polyphenols and apple pectin, rather than by the isolation of either compound. So once again, a food in its natural state is shown to be far superior to chemical extracts taken in isolation.

Since our relationship with apples goes back many thousands of years, it’s no wonder why our bodies contain receptors to reap the many health-giving benefits of these fragrant and delicious fruits. Apples are far more than just food; they are natural medicines just as nature intended them.

So if you haven’t already developed an appreciation for apples, now is a great time to start.  They might just keep the doctor away.

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Whole Earth in January

In the month of January, Eat Well Foods continued its commitment to give back to Mother Earth with compost deliveries totaling in at more than 75 lbs. to New River Groves, not only a grower of citrus plants, but also a great place to enjoy tasty, fresh-squeezed juices and flavorful meals just west of the turnpike on Griffin Rd.  http://newrivergroves.com.  We also expanded our compost delivery to include the North Beach Garden on Dickens Avenue at 74th St. on Miami Beach.  They grow a wealth of herbs to distribute to their volunteers.20130107_163807

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Mixing Ingredients

Sorting through the clutter of information that bombards us on a daily basis is very nearly a full-time job.  In the health and fitness genre, with so many contrasting – and often opposing – viewpoints, this deluge is positively daunting.  There are those who espouse the virtues of low-carbohydrate diets, while others extol low-fat meal plans, and others still who say that neither choice is healthy.  Each viewpoint has its stalwart proponents who want nothing more than to recruit your loyalty.  They fill your head with data substantiating the merits of their position while paying little – if any – attention to the drawbacks that each choice has.  It’s often so confusing that the public is left in a wobbly state of imbalance.

To make matters worse, these so-called experts deliberately complicate matters to reaffirm their necessary function in society.  A perfect example – among untold millions – of this approach can be found when one is researchingmixed ingredients blog pic green tea.  Green tea is rich in antioxidants, and antioxidants help to stabilize free radicals that cause damage to the body on a cellular level.  This kind of damage, called ‘oxidative stress’, has been linked to a wide variety of ailments, from irritable bowel syndrome to cancer.  So, green tea helps combat this ill.

Then the article(s) will go on to tell you not to add processed sugar or milk to the tea because processed sugar will elevate glucose levels quickly in the bloodstream and milk is high in saturated fat.  Well… is the article in question about fat, glucose, or oxidative stress?  Can we not have a simple conversation that discusses the benefits of something without throwing a wrench into the works and begin dissecting the vicissitudes of other consumables?  Do we have to mix one tablespoon of good information with one-quarter teaspoon of warning, and an added dash of fear in order for the recipe to work?

And what’s so bad about milk and sugar anyway?  The body processes sugar much the same way it processes other white starches, so sugar isn’t any worse for you than rice.  And milk provides your body with calcium and has added Vitamins A & D; so what if it comes with some saturated fat?  Saturated fats, in limited quantity, are actually essential for proper cell function.

Please be judicious when reading about health and nutrition.  Hell, be judicious right now and ask a dietitian, a nutritionist, or a doctor if what you’ve read about oxidative stress and sugar and saturated fat in this article is accurate.  I’d be willing to publicly apologize for any inaccuracy.

It’s time to really address healthy eating from a can-do perspective and stop dealing with it from an afraid to make a mistake viewpoint.  Let’s start creating the right type of recipe.