Foods for Longevity
“There are scores of studies demonstrating that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of dying from all Western diseases; in countries where people eat a pound or more . . . a day, the rate of cancer is half what it is in the U.S.” Michael Pollan, Food Rules
Here’s a question I often hear in my practice: “How can I be sure I’m eating the right foods (and the right quantities) to live longer and healthier?”
Quantity is one thing I’ll address in a minute, but what are the “right foods”?
That’s a little more difficult to answer since it varies from person to person. What’s good for me, might not be so good for you. That’s why diet plans often fall short.
There is, however, one simple principle that applies to all of us . . .
Eat Real Food.
By that I mean: things that grow, swim, fly, and graze.
Real food doesn’t generally come in a bottle with added sugars, colorings, chemicals, flavorings, and emulsifiers. It hasn’t been processed beyond recognition. It comes from nature and it’s the stuff that nourishes and heals us deeply.
The next step for anyone interested in feeling better and iving longer: make sure that vegetables count heavily in your food plan. And I get it . . . often veggies are an afterthought, prepared in a way that leaves them dull and tasteless.
The Key to Healthy Longevity
However, vegetables are your key to healing – and healthy longevity. And at a time when the vast majority of us live with some chronic condition, it’s important to get them into your daily regimen.
Here’s how I make it happen . . .
A salad a day
Salads are an easy way to double up on veggies! And, added bonus . . . they’re mostly raw and raw vegetables carry far more nutrients than they do when cooked. Plus, quantity is not an issue with veggies. You can eat yourself full of salads and not gain a pound. Dr. Terry Wahls recommends nine cups of vegetables a day in her protocol for putting MS into remission! When I struggled with chronic vascular issues, it was the loading up on veggies that saved my legs!
How to make a great salad
The key to a great salad is the dressing – and I’m not including bottled dressing here. I’m talking about those from scratch.
When was the last time you made your own salad dressing? Or even thought about making it?
Most of us just grab a bottle on our weekly shop – maybe looking for a healthy brand. Not an easy task. Even many of the “healthy” versions contain inflammatory seed oils, preservatives, and additives that you don’t want on that perfect salad you’re about to make.
World’s best homemade salad dressing!
Here’s a recipe many of my friends love so much they’ve asked me to bottle and sell it. Seriously, I’ve made it for years and everyone – without exception wants to know how to duplicate it. It’s so easy even you can do this and it and it takes only 4 ingredients and maybe 5 minutes of your time – max!
- Juice of ½ organic lemon – approx 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon vinegar of your choice (white or red wine vinegar, Bragg’s Apple Cider, champagne vinegar)
- 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (Here’s my favorite. It’s fabulous and it’s the real thing which many store-bought brands aren’t – you can read more about that here.)
- Squeeze the juice from ½ lemon into a small mixing bowl.
- Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, and Dijon mustard until smooth and creamy and all the mustard is fully incorporated.
- Add in the olive oil slowly, whisking as you go to create a creamy blend. Make sure to thoroughly blend the olive oil
- Taste to correct the flavor, adding a little more oil if the dressing is too tart.
Change up your vinegar for variety – It’s easy to change the flavor slightly by switching up the vinegar or even adding a touch of balsamic vinegar (I’m not big on sweet dressings so if I add balsamic, I keep it to about ½ tablespoon.)
Make it even healthier – Add 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil – I like to add-in ingredients that have healing benefits. Flaxseed oil is one to consider. It’s a plant-based source of “essential” omega-3 fatty acids – so especially great for vegans, and it doesn’t affect the flavor. Substitute 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil for 1 of the tablespoons of EVOO.
Spice it up – add spices like basil, oregano, thyme, red pepper, or crushed garlic.
Turn it into a caesar dressing – Add a little anchovy paste, a tablespoon of mayo (I use this one) to thicken it slightly, a touch of Worchester and Tabasco, and a little parmesan cheese and you have a nice caesar.
Or, just leave it alone and enjoy it on your favorite greens!
In health & love, ♥
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PS – Love to hear how you do! Post your comments below and share your versions with us!