1. Follow the 7 Rules Of Mindful Eating. This is your foundation.
2. Except on rare occasions, avoid foods containing sugar, corn syrup, any ingredient ending in “ose”, concentrated fruit juice, or artificial sweeteners. If you choose to eat dates, honey, sucanat, or maple syrup, eat small portions no more than a few times per week.
3. Test your sensitivity to grains and gluten by following an elimination and sensitivity plan. If you are able to eat bread eat only sourdough bread or sprouted bread. Do not eat yeast-raised bread unless you follow a slow-starter recipe. If you eat other grains, try sprouting them before cooking or eating them raw.
4. Add more raw and living (sprouted) foods to your diet if you are not in a weakened state—most Westerners tend to be “robust.” If you are in a weakened state gently cook sprouted foods and vegetables. Raw foods tend to be “cleansing” and can be somewhat weakening; cooked foods tend to be “building” but may be “clogging.”You must find the balance that is right for you*. This can change from year to year, even from day to day if you are in optimal health.
5. Eat small amounts every day or two, of fermented/soured foods which contain probiotics. Organic, homemade yogurt, saurkraut, pickled vegetables, miso, etc. When buying pickles, saurkraut, miso, tempeh, use unpasteurized versions. If you buy store-bought versions, carefully check labels—most contain no beneficial bacteria whatsoever, and many contain sugar and chemicals.
6. Test your sensitivity to dairy. If you are able to (and want to) eat dairy eat homemade yogurt, soured-milk or cream, cultured butter. Make yogurts, etc. with non-homogenized, organic, milk, preferably from cows that graze (grass-fed).
7. If you eat animal foods, choose organic, free-range/pasteured/grass-fed animal products such as eggs, lamb, turkey, beef, chicken. Over time a strictly vegan or raw foods diet can, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and other traditional medicines, make you very weak, even weakening organs. However, if you do eat animal foods, eat in moderation. Avoid cured meats (luncheon meats, salami, hot dogs, sausages, etc.) Ask your local markets to offer healthy options that are clearly labeled. Ask kosher supervision companies to seek out farms that produce organic, grass-fed products and to certify them.
8. Eat canned or fresh sardines, mackerel, wild or organic farmed salmon a few times a week if you like fish. If not, consider taking some Omega 3 supplements and adding flax oil, borage oil, or chia seeds to your diet. For strength and health-building recipes (which are vegetarian) or contain other fish, poultry and larger animals, see upcoming posts.
9. Avoid soy . Occasionally include fermented soy products like miso, tempeh, Braggs Liquid Aminos, in your diet if you like. Do not eat soy milk, soy nuts, tofu (occasionally you may eat sprouted tofu ), soy oil, and soy ingredients in packaged foods.
10. Eat organic and/or locally grown vegetables and fruit whenever possible. Do not overeat fruit, especially sweet fruits (bananas, melons, oranges, etc.) if you are in a weakened state. If you are in a weakened state and you want fruit, cooked fruit is preferable. Most fruit should be eaten ripe. Eat a broad range of cooked and if you can tolerate, raw vegetables but limit potatoes, sweet corn and other very sweet vegetables, even carrots, if you have blood sugar issues or are in a weakened state. Wash and scrub all produce with a good produce wash according to package directions, even those which you peel such as melons or avocadoes!
11. Eat these oils and fats: extra virgin olive oil, cultured butter, avocados, virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed flax oil (do not heat), organic pumpkin seed/walnut/sesame or other seed or nut oil (avoid heating); fat from organic, free-range poultry (in small quantities), and nuts and seeds. If you heat oils, they produce toxic chemicals, so try cooking without them or cooking them on very low heat. Refrigerate oils (especially seed and nut oils, flax oil, and animal fats) or keep them in a very cool, dark place. Avoid refined (chemically processed) oils, non-virgin oils, and rancid or old oils. Avoid cotton seed oil and all hydrogenated oils and fats.
12. Don’t force yourself to eat leftovers! If they are reasonably fresh, go ahead. It is a mitzvah to avoid waste and you should plan your meals accordingly. However, eating old or even slightly rancid food is not health-promoting.
13. Test your sensitivity to these challenging foods: citrus, tomatoes, eggplant, fish, berries, nuts, seeds, and, as mentioned above, dairy and grains like wheat, rice, barley and oats. Soy, too is highly allergenic (only use fermented products, see above, or avoid completely). Many people who have problems with beans, nuts, seeds, and grains can tolerate them in sprouted or fermented versions (sprouted and sourdough breads, sprouted hummus, rejuvelac, etc.) Some people who have problems with dairy have no problem with fermented dairy products like yogurt.
12. Read the labels on your bottled condiments. Most bottled condiments are wasted calories. Throw out anything containing suspected ingredients and/or limit use.
13. Don’t be hysterical or rigid. If your grandma makes you a birthday cake, go ahead and eat a slice (unless you have an allergy to wheat, are diabetic, etc.) It is important to share meals with the people you love. Know what your tolerance level is and stick to it. If you are on a special diet for a health issue and must be strict, or if a particular way of eating works for you, don’t force your diet on anyone else. Do offer to cook your friends a meal once in a while. Do not condemn others’ food choices. Still, if you are ill, G-d forbid and need to stick to a regime, then don’t make apologies—take care of yourself. Sometimes, it is best not to eat at all, just drink room temperature water or tea rather than eat foods than eat something your doctor or nutritionist or your own common sense says will be harmful.
14. Any food can be harmful in large quantities. Also, “health” foods, like flax oil, whole grain breads, even sprouts and wheat grass are not right for everyone and can make some people sick (G-d forbid).
15. Good health ultimately comes from G-d. (That’s why some people live on pickled herring, scotch, and cigars and live until 102 while others eat right and don’t.) Eating for the purpose of good health, to gain energy to live a good life and do good deeds, is part of being emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy. Be sure to bless and thank G-d before and after you eat and drink.
*For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thank you for your post which was as usual informative.
1) Why should probiotics be taken only every other day or so and in small amounts? Is there a down side to eating them daily if enjoyed? (kefir or cultured vegetables for example.
2) As a newer reader I am not familiar with the concept of “slow starting” when baking a yeast bread?
1. I meant eat them every day or so, it’s generally okay to skip a day! However, I say “small amounts” because in our culture (and I do this instinctively, too) we tend to have very large portions. Pickled, home-fermented foods are salty. Small amounts help us digest everything else we eat, large amounts “pickle” us! (A regular serving of homemade yogurt, about 6 oz., is fine, however, some people can’t stop eating it and tend to have much more).
2. This post should help clarify what I mean by “slow starting” or bread baked with a starter. If you are game, try a real sourdough with no yeast!
Mindful eating could change your life! The lovely Chaya Rivka gave me the advice in this post in May after me wailing to her about my dumpy dough like self and how my eating issues and relationship with food were spilling over to other areas of my life. It is now only ten weeks later but I feel amazing. I have eliminated all the added sugar I can identify, reduced my diary to an absolute minimum and have lost 7lbs! This for me is like losing 70lbs! I have more energy, am happier, a thousand times more positive and am motivated to keep my commitment to my new lifestyle. I can now throw out every diet book in the house, stop counting calories and grams of carbs. I even WANT to exercise! CR, thank you. You are a gift and I treasure you.
Thanks for your sweet words, B and B. It’s so great to hear how well you are doing, you are a very special, strong woman with many blessings.