Food as Medicine: Day 5

Today, I am going to talk about keeping your weight and your waist size down. Two things I am failing miserably at.

When I was young, I was very skinny. Now I hear a lot of people say that and I wonder if they are talking about when they were 5. When I say it – I can attest to the fact that I was sickeningly skinny, well into my 30s, to the point that someone called me anorexic once (probably more than once under their breath) and I had to look it up. The Army was going to put me on a weight gain program. People made fun of me for being so thin and I could never find clothes that fit. But I wasn’t anorexic, bulimic or any of those things. I ate like a cow and sometimes, during “that time of the month” I would actually eat two meals. In my 20s, I weighed 106 at 5’8”. It is no wonder people thought I had an eating disorder. While some people talk about comfort eating, I actually eat less when I am stressed. But I always eat.

I just attributed it to my metabolism. It was and is a family thing as we are all pretty hyperactive – and pretty thin. And ADHD. Eventually, my metabolism and activity level slowed down, but my eating habits did not. So even though technically I am still within normal weight range (but just barely), I have more fat built up and less muscle. I have made a few adjustments to my eating habits, but not enough.

OK enough about me – I just wanted to point out that I recognize how hard it is to change ones eating habits. There is no perfect diet or magic bullet or super drug. What I hope to present here are some suggestions for healthy eating and the rationale behind that. The Institute for Functional Medicine is helping me with these explanations, and I have learned a few other pieces of information along the way.

Why is it important to keep your weight down?

Think if you are 40 lbs overweight. Obviously that weight is distributed throughout your body so it doesn’t seem like it would affect you, but think of it like carrying around a water cooler bottle or two bags of mulch. After a while, your frame is going to get tired of lugging all of that weight around. Your knees, back, neck, hips suffer. Your heart suffers too because it is trying to pump blood to all of your muscles which are working extra hard to carry around that weight. Your blood pressure goes up because your heart is working extra hard and eventually, your heart may get tired and wear out.

Your body fat, also known as adipose tissue, contributes significantly to inflammation. Inflammation is responsible for insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction. As mentioned in the previous blog, inflammation is also related to heart disease. It’s a big viscous cycle because people who have put on a lot of weight have a hard time exercising, but it is exercise that will control some of the inflammation caused by the adipose tissue as well as improve the metabolism of this fat. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6179510/#idm140509769080944title.

What is crazy – is this article is from 2007. So we have known about this for more than 13 years and we still are not treating people with nutritional medicine?

Here’s another more current article: https://www.nature.com/articles/nrendo.2017.90

I could probably go on an on, but I think you get the message.

The food plan I presented here is the CardioMetabolic food plan which is based off of the Mediterranean Diet which helps to decrease inflammation in the body. This plan also aims at insulin resistance.

These food plans are not necessarily meant to be for weight reduction, but you may start to see that eating healthy fats, more vegetables, lean proteins, and less sugars will lead to weight loss. Now I had not weighed myself in over a month, but I was down 2 lbs this morning. That is probably the most weight loss at one time I have had in many, many years. My husband said he was down 4 lbs – which is likely due to the decreased salt intake.

What’s this about your waist circumference?

The “new vital sign” is called the waist to hip ratio. It is a parameter that will indicate if you have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and early death. And you thought it was “just” a beer belly! Men and Women alike can have an increased waist to hip ratio but the cut off is even less for women. There are many charts and calculators out there, but the bottom line is that if this ratio is 1.0 or greater (meaning your waist is the same size as your hips or bigger) you are at higher risk. To be exact, I saw one recommendation for women it should be below 0.85 and for men below 0.9. IFM has a nice flow chart to determine if your body type shows you are more likely to have metabolic disease obesity or hormone related obesity.

Remember, that when you are eating this delicious food, you can also feel good that you are getting many health benefits. These benefits I have outlined here are just the ones that conventional medicine talks about. Once I get through all of the menus, I am going to review other ways that this food will help you to get and stay healthy based on Functional Medicine.

I’m still working on learning how to post the PDFs – so stay tuned for that.

Day 5 Menu

  • Breakfast
    • Strawberry and Peach Kale Smoothie
  • Snack
    • Purple Plum
    • Mixed Nuts
  • Lunch
    • Black Soy Bean Cocoa Soup with Lime Zest
    • Red and Yellow Pepper, Celery strips with LO Homemade Guacamole
  • Snack
    • Marinated Olives
  • Dinner
    • Salmon Pecan Cakes
    • Roasted Beets with Greens
    • Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Strawberry and Peach Kale Smoothie

Almost forgot to take the picture – so it was almost gone.

Not just your run of the mill smoothie – it was pretty thick though so I had to add a lot of extra Coconut milk. This wouldn’t have been too bad except that it was store bought coconut milk which has guar gum or some sort of gum and we all know what I think about swallowing gum. I have a great coconut milk recipe, and bought some organic cotton nut milk bags, so next time I’ll make my own. Then I’ll have the coconut cream left over for my coffee. Also, we used the vanilla protein powder which had stevia, so I thought it was a little sweet. I’ll be looking for a non sweetened powder.

This menu was for Thursday – I was working – I think the boys had left overs all day.

Oh – and I AGAIN forgot to marinate the flank steak. So my hubby took care of it early in the morning. We should get at least 8 hours in.

I don’t think they ate the marinated olives either. 🤷‍♀️

Grilled Flank Steak

As you remember, I flipped the flank steak with Friday’s meal and decided to have it tonight since I did not have canned salmon.

This was extremely tasty – but probably could have stood a few more hours of marination. The recipe said 8-24 hours, so I would definitely side with the latter. In addition, I could have tenderized with the wooden tenderizer. But the flavor was good and I would definitely try this again. Beside the Marinade, I think the meat in general is a little richer tasting, almost like liver. But I don’t want to scare those who do not like liver. 😳

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

With apples. I never thought of putting pepper on Apples, but it turned out to be a great taste.

Overall, beside the mild weight loss, I am feeling energetic – and do not have my usual sugar cravings which is great! Here’s a theory – I always think that by eating smaller portions of food I am doing myself a favor and will help me loose weight. But maybe I end up being so hungry that I start craving sugar for the energy I need. So now I am going to start focusing not so much on cutting back the volume – but having quality foods to fill me up. And higher portions of vegetables because I don’t think you can have too many.

Tomorrow – I am going to talk about the hazards of Smoking.

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