When I began approaching my forties I started reading everything I could on healthy practices for mid-life and beyond. I found one author in particular to be very helpful, Dr. Nicolas Perricone. Dr. Perricone is a respected dermatologist from Connecticut and an advocate for eating wild salmon three times a week.
I have read two of Dr. Perricone's books and other books on health and aging and found the following basics. Processed sugar, in all its guises, should be cut from our daily diets. Fat is good when it's in the form of olive oil, walnuts, and salmon. Women need about 60 to 90 grams of protein daily. And we all need at least 5 cups of produce a day, preferably those low on the glycemic index.
One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to get enough produce in your diet is with a daily "salad meal". That means a meal of salad, using a 10" plate and leaving about an inch or two open at the edge. The basic ingredients are spinach, arugula, or romaine plus a whole fruit, some onion, herbs and spices, a grilled lean meat, one ounce toasted walnuts or pecans, and a goat's milk cheese or grated Parmesan.
For women 4 to 6 ounces of wild salmon, free range chicken or turkey, or about 10 medium shrimp give you enough protein for one meal. Our bodies don't store protein and we need it daily for repairing damage.
One of the things that signals meal satisfaction is acid. Acidic foods are citrus, tomatoes, peaches, and vinegars. Salads with grapefruit or peaches or oranges are absolutely delicious when contrasted against savory flavors like toasted nuts and grilled meats. This type of food combination is immensely satisfying and so prevents us from finding satisfaction through eating the wrong foods.
The results from eating these foods and of course getting enough water, sleep, exercise and dietary supplements will result in more energy, better looking skin and hair, and healthy weight. There are other long term benefits too like better self-esteem and better attitude.
Dr. Perricone also stresses the importance of fiber and it's relation to weight loss. This was new information to me but it makes sense that when you are properly digesting your food your metabolism is higher. He states that beans and whole grains are good sources of fiber. But if you think simply going to the grocery store and picking up any loaf of bread is fiber, think again. Read the labels. You will only find truly healthy breads by checking the labels. My favorite grain source is Ezekiel sprouted grain English muffins.
One of my favorite little food tricks is substituting sour cream with Greek yogurt. I use it on my tacos, tortilla soups, and in dips. It is wonderful with berries and in smoothies.
Garbanzo beans, organic in the can, are delicious and easy when blended up in the food processor with just lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and olive oil. Instead of using fattening pita chips try celery and carrots. Humus makes raw veggies so much more interesting.
Super foods are best described as highly nutritious foods without additives or preservatives produced without the use of pesticides. All that is fine, but the biggest benefit is that they are also delicious. Blueberries, asparagus, wild salmon, cantaloupe, broccoli, free range chicken, and carrots lead the way but the choices are tremendous especially when you start combining them in interesting ways. Try serving your grilled salmon with a little peach, cilantro, and red onion salsa.
Stock your kitchen with the best of the best food choices. Keep a variety of produce, nuts, herbs, and spices on hand and fish, chicken, and turkey in the freezer. Don't worry about following recipes. Half the fun is preparing meals from the seat of your pants with a wide range of ingredients that don't require a lot of preparation.
Images from Saveur Magazine.