Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

Eat with the seasons and multiply your good flora!

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Spring and summer are my favorite times of year. Not only does it allow me to be out on my bike training for the PMC, but I also really enjoy eating the foods that are in season. You’ve heard from everyone that leafy greens are great for the immune system, but  other vegetables such as asparagus, lemons, garlic and peas are also powerhouses of anti-oxidants, vitamins C and K. Check out the following link for more information about these and other veggies, and some great recipes to keep it interesting.

These days, the nice weather is enticing me to grill more. I put some olive oil and a little salt on sweet potatoes, eggplant, asparagus, red, yellow or green peppers, vidalia or purple onions, zucchini and anything else I find (well, some exceptions, not eggs!) on the grill along with a lean protein like chicken or fish, and voila- dinner in a snap that’s healthy and low-cal. I wipe the grill with olive oil first, and use a vegetable roaster pan with holes, and just throw the pan on the grill. Bon appetit!

You know how I”m always singing the praises of veggies, fruit, fiber and non-processed foods. There’s a whole new (it’s actually been around for as long as our digestive systems) world out there or should I say (in here- your gut) that determines everything from your immune response, energy level, and resistance to food poisoning- it’s all about your resident bacteria. There’s a great article in the New York Times Magazine of May 15th entitled: “Some of my best friends are germs” authored by none other than Michael Pollan, the author of several books with the philosophy: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. An addition to this could be: don’t take antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary. Among the findings in a very condensed form:

– chronic and acute illnesses of all kinds, including even psychological illnesses like depression is likely effected by the health of your microbiotica
– owning a family pet may be good for your health not only for the stress relief it may bring, but also for the germs it spreads!
– prebiotics, which are foods that microbes feed on, may be just as or even more important than probiotics to ingest, (examples are fermented foods with live cultures like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt , etc.)
– The resident bacteria in your gut (of which there are trillions) are now being thought of as a “second genome” and can now be mapped
– we can change our gut flora to be healthier by changing the food we ingest, and the way we interact with our environment.

One last caveat: Keep your toothbrush at least 6 feet away from the toilet (unless you put the lid down before your flush)
OK, I admit it, that last one was to get you to read the article, (but it is discussed)! I believe that once you know the reasons for eating whole grains, unprocessed foods and fresh produce, it will be easier to stick to eating that way 80% of the time. Challenge yourself this spring to enjoy the bounty of the season’s harvest!

Here’s the web address:

To your health!

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