FOOD What the Heck Should I Eat? by Mark Hyman, M.D.
Comments from Dr. Stingl are in italics.
This book is an excellent guide for us individually and indispensable for anyone interested in raising the health of Americans. A leader in integrative medicine, Dr. Hyman helps us sort through the confusion and obfuscation surrounding our food; he also educates us about the environmental impact of our current food industry. The food industry influence on government spending, non-profit advocacy and misleading labeling has led Dr. Hyman to the conclusion that we need a national food, health and well-being policy.
The scale of the problem is immense. More than half of Americans are effected by chronic disease: dementia, auto-immune disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, neurological problems, depression, attention deficit disorder, allergies, reflux, irritable bowel, thyroid disorders, hormonal and menstrual problems, and skin problems, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Health care spending in the U.S. is approaching 20% of GDP, far beyond all other industrialized nations and still growing; yet we are getting sicker and sicker. Eighty percent of the spending is for the treatment of chronic lifestyle diseases that are preventable and reversible.
Food is medicine; it is the most powerful drug on the planet. It can improve the expression of thousands of genes, balance dozens of hormones, optimize tens of thousands of protein networks, reduce inflammation and optimize our microbiome (gut flora). It can cure most chronic diseases; it works faster, better and cheaper than any drug ever discovered.
The biggest line item in our national food stamp program is soda, to the tune of $7 billion a year. The NAACP opposed taxing soda after receiving contributions from the food industry. The American Heart Association (AHA) gets $300,000 when a product's company puts the AHA heart-healthy checkmark of approval on the label (on Lucky Charms, for example). The AHA also demonizes coconut oil (an excellent source of Medium Chain Triglycerides for growing new brain cells) as it recommends health robbing refined vegetable oils. Trans-fat containing processed foods can be labeled zero trans-fats by keeping the serving size small.
Beef can be labeled grass-fed if the animal spent one day on a pasture; it needs to say grass-fed and grass-finished. So far, only New Zealand lamb is grass-fed and grass-finished; Australia is increasing the grain feed of their flocks. American lamb is mostly grain fed. Be careful of bison, venison and elk from game farms; many use grain for feed. Americans love grilled meat, but grilling over an open flame or at high temperatures can lead to the creation of heterocyclic amines and other carcinogenic compounds. Try to cook at lower temperatures. Marinating meat with garlic, onion and lemon juice can reduce the production of toxic compounds. Rosemary added to beef patties cooked at high temperatures significantly reduces heterocyclic amines (up to 90%). Studies suggest the antioxidant content of many spices may reduce toxin production: oregano, basil, paprika, cayenne pepper, turmeric, ginger, and chili. Cooking meat also lowers or eliminates dioxins.
Eggs can be excellent food for health. Emma Morano, a 117 year-old Italian woman who was the world's oldest person at her death in 2017 was told by her doctor treating her anemia at the age of 20 to eat 3 eggs a day; which adds up to about 100,000 eggs in her lifetime. Unfortunately, the current labeling rules leave us little idea what the chickens ate (they are not naturally vegetarian, they eat bugs which increases the quality and taste of eggs and meat). Locally sourced eggs and poultry are best. Industrial chickens are fed antibiotics and arsenic(fatten faster); the chicken industry also creates significant environmental pollution. “Free Range” and “Cage-Free” mean only that the chickens got out of their cage, not necessarily outside. Expect even organic chicken to be mostly entirely omega-6s. Consequently, we don't recommend chicken. Eggland's Best Organic High Omega-3 (fed flax seeds) eggs are what we choose in the absence of a local source; but at $6 a dozen, this should provide motivation for you and your friends and neighbors to support a local source.
Dr. Hyman warns us about the potential dangers of dairy as well as the benefits. About 70% of adults are lactose (milk sugar) intolerant; the digestive enzyme, lactase, drops after age two. He notes milk can cause weight gain, bloating acne, allergies, eczema, brittle bones and possible even cancer. Most American cow's milk contains dozens of reproductive hormones, allergenic proteins, antibiotics, and growth factors, some of which are known to promote cancer, such as IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor). Milk contains beneficial vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, B12, and D(added), plus calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc. There are better sources of calcium. Organic grass-fed milk and butter from cows are best for healthy fat content as they contains conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs - bioavailable omega-3s); unconjugated linoleic acids (also omega-3s) from plants like flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are only about 10% bioavailable to humans. (That's why it is better to feed the flax seeds to hens and eat the eggs.) Modern Holstein dairy cow milk can produce a morphine-like protein tied to autism and schizophrenia from beta-casein A1 (absent in goat and human milk and far less likely in Jersey and Guernsey cows). Most cows milk cartons do not specify the type of cow. Goat milk contains only casein A2 (which boosts the powerful detoxifying antioxidant glutathione) and high levels of brain-healthy medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Casein A1 seems to be a trigger for auto-immunity and diabetes. Dr. Hyman recommends goats' and sheep's cheeses like Feta, Manchego, and Pecorino, and look for the Humboldt Fog brand. We have successfully recommended Lifeway whole milk kefir (it is made from grass fed cows and the bacteria metabolize the lactose, making it virtually lactose-free) combined with psyllium seed powder as a prebiotic for a healthy gut biome on a low carb high fiber diet). In addition, there is strong evidence that the Casein A1 present is broken down in kefir.
It is possible to be on the Path to Health without eating fish, but is it not easy. Marine omega-3s (including algal) are superior to all others. Remember SMASH: wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring. Skip farmed salmon which is high in omega-6s and a disaster for environment. Clams, scallops, mussels and oysters(high in zinc) are on the menu; but watch the source, these bivalves are filter feeders and concentrate toxins, heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants. Since 1975 there have been about a dozen oyster-vectored vibrio vulnificus infections in the U.S annually with a 50% death rate. Norwalk virus is chlorine resistant may also be present in the marine environment. Hepatitis A affected about 300,000 people killing 47 from undercooked clams in China. Natural toxins from bivalves feeding on dinoflagellates can cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP), even if well cooked; bivalves feeding on diatoms containing domoic acid can cause Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP).
Eat your veggies. Skip the french fries and iceburg lettuce; eat the rainbow. Dr Hyman notes the anticancer compounds in broccoli called glucosinolate. Healthy cruciferous vegetables include:
horseradish, kale, collard greens, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, rapini (broccoli rabe), Chinese (napa) cabbage, turnip root & greens, rutabaga (swede), mustard seeds, arugula (rocket), watercress, radish, daikon and wasabi. Who wouldn't agree that is a healthy list of vegetables? Kevin Stock, warning us of the dangers of eating cruciferous vegetables: https://www.kevinstock.io/health/health-dangers-of-cruciferous-vegetables/ Mr. Stock correctly notes that glucoraphanin, a glucosinolate in broccoli, is transformed into sulforaphane by the enzyme myrosinase when the plant is damaged (chewed). He also notes that sulforaphane damages some normal cells, ignoring the studies showing far greater damage to cancer cells. Mr. Stock makes up an analogy that we do not take a small dose of chemotherapy to prevent cancer ignoring a mountain of evidence that sulforaphane, crucifers, brassica and broccoli in particular are associated with lower cancer rates.
The George Mateljan Foundation offers the web site “the world's healthiest foods” offering useful information, particularly about broccoli preparation: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=9
Dr. Hyman supports the Environmental Working Group (EWG) https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php list of foods containing the highest amount of pesticides, advocating buying organic. Nonorganic vegetables should be rinsed and rubbed, Dr. Hyman suggests even using a dilute 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. We would like to note that Rotenone, a pesticide approved organic labeling, is a mitochondrial poison that is extremely toxic to fish and causes a Parkinson's like disease when injected into animals (no surprise if you have read Dr. Perlmutter's and Dr. Bredesen's books). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotenone A study found a 15 minute soak in a sodium bicarbonate solution (1 teaspoon per two cups of water-) was more effective in removing the pesticides thiabendazole (deeper penetrating) and phosmet from apples than the standard industry practice of water and bleach wash. Https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jafc.7b03118 Bicarbonate of soda wash was found to be effective in the removal of 10 typical pesticides from spinach. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6388112/ If you cannot find or afford organic strawberries, a study comparing tap water, wash ozone water wash, ultrasound cleaning, and boiling found 5 minutes of ultrasound cleaning was the most effective removing up to 91.2% of pesticides; boiling was almost as effective (but who wants to boil strawberries?) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4688301/ Organophosphate pesticides were removed from raw cucumbers with bicarbonate wash (31-99%, although the stronger and more dangerous alkali sodium carbonate worked better on trichlorfon and dimethoate), ultrasonic cleaning (50-84%) and 48 hours at 5 degrees C (61-90%)(! From other sources as well – which is hard to explain). http://europepmc.org/abstract/AGR/IND44653196 The problem of removing pesticides is complex with many variables:
Efffect of handling and processing on pesticide residues in food https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3907644/
Our current recommendation: Wash under running tap water all your vegetables and fruits, even organic, using a vegetable brush when appropriate. Stainless steel ultrasonic cleaners are inexpensive on Ebay and we suggest using one with sodium bicarbonate solution (1 teaspoon per pint of cold tap water) for 5 minutes, especially for conventional (nonorganic) produce. Pour the water down the drain (with the pesticides). Rinse with filtered water. If you find certain foods have a residue of bicarbonate of soda that you can taste ultrasound clean them again in filtered water. If you are going to ferment the food, use cold filtered water for the second ultrasound cleaning to remove the chlorine from the tap water and please pay attention to your initial ferment pH. (Did you know municipal tap water has more chlorine than your swimming pool? If you have a pool, just test your tap water with a test strip.)
Frozen vegetables are usually less expensive and often more nutritious than fresh because they are picked at the peak of ripeness. Steam vegetables for 4 minutes (or less) – bright and crunchy. Eat your vegetables with healthy fats to increase the absorption of Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Dr. Hyman eschews deep-frying and microwaving vegetables. Heating tomatoes increases the bioavailablity of lycopene (but skip the pasta); so load up on economical and time saving canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, avoiding salt, vegetable oils and bisphenol A (BPA) cans https://ewg.org/research/bisphenol/consumer-tips-avoid-bpa-exposure
Dr. Hyman suggests a elimination diet for people with weight gain, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, fluid retention, depression, joint pain to see if they are sensitive to gluten (we think everyone should avoid for gut and brain health), dairy, nuts, and soy. He notes people with arthritis or autoimmune disorders are so often sensitive to nightshades (tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplant) that they should try an elimination diet for a week to notice any improvement. We should add seaweed to our diets: wakame, kombu and nori, but not hijiki which contains high levels of arsenic.
Dr. Hyman states naturally prepared fermented vegetables (without vinegar which kills the healthy bacteria) are healthy for our gut biome (and hard to find). Dr Hyman suggests home fermentation using either starter culture or “wild” bacteria and fungi (yeasts and molds) from our skin, kitchen countertop or on the vegetables. Read our review of Brain Maker.
Dr. Hyman points us to a study noting humans consume only 150 to 200 plant species out of 250,000 to 300,000 known edible species. About ¾ of the world's food is generated from only 12 plant and 5 animal species. Fascinating.
Mol Metab. 2016 May; 5(5): 317–320.
A healthy gastrointestinal microbiome is dependent on dietary diversity.
The lead author, Mark Heiman, PhD, is the Chief Scientific Officer at MicroBiome Therapeutics, LLC which sells BiomeBliss, a combination of inulin (from agave), polyphenol antioxidants (from blueberries), and beta-glucan (from oats).
Dietary fiber: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietary_fiber (includes cellulose, lignins, chitins, pectins and resistant dextrins)
There are natural dietary fibers from whole food and synthetic (manufactured) dietary fibers.
This study supported by Coca Cola listed only the health benefits:
Curr Dev Nutr. 2018 Mar; 2(3): nzy005.
Eight health benefits of prebiotic dietary fibers:
Increases in Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli
Production of beneficial metabolites
Increases in calcium absorption
Decreases in protein fermentation
Decreases in pathogenic bacteria populations
Decreases in allergy risk
Effects on gut barrier permeability
Improved immune system defense
Eight categories of prebiotic dietary fibers:
Beta-glucan: from grain endosperm cell walls (especially oats and barley), mushrooms (reishi, maitake and shitake), algae and seaweed
Fructo-oligosaccharides, oligofructose, and inulin: strong bifidogenic effects; especially the longer polymerized (J Appl Microbiol 2007;102(2):452-60), at least in vitro
Galacto-oligosaccharides: clinical effect influenced by the purity, polymerization, type and dosage (J Appl Microbiol 2008;104(2):305-44)
Isomalto-oligosaccharides: aside from sourdough bread, virtual all are manufactured
Guar gum: gel-forming galactomannan from the endosperm of Cyamopsis tetragonolobus (guar beans)
Lactulose:manufactured from lactose (milk sugar)
Resistant Starches and maltodextrin: natural and synthetic
Xylo-oligosaccharides and arabinooligosaccharides: Japan currently manufactures and uses most
The use of these functional food fiber additives is expanding internationally: “Food of Specified Health Use” (FOSHU). Currently, they are only partially identified in food labeling.
Inulin is being added to numerous processed foods, sometimes with undesirable effects:
This study found adding inulin to the diet of mice in which metabolic syndrome was induced helped the metabolic syndrome but it did not restore the gut microbiota composition, but resulted in a new community structure altogether. Moreover, mice on inulin-enriched diets developed extremely severe colitis when exposed to dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). Alarmingly, mice on inulin-enriched diet with discrete innate immune deficiencies developed a rare and deadly form of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma. In addition, the emulsifiers carboxymethycellulose and polysorbate 80 promoted microbiota encroachment and increased levels of pro-inflammatory flagellin and LPS.
How diet can impact gut microbiota to promote or endanger health
Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2017 Nov; 33(6): 417–421.
The authors concluded:
“Thus, while strategies to enrich foods with fermentable fiber may hold long-term potential to induce a more beneficial microbiota composition, at present, our relatively poor understanding of how various dietary components impact microbiota and host in a range of contexts may currently preclude safe engineering of foods as a means of promoting gut health.”
We believe this is one more reason to avoid processed food.
Dr. Hyman's vegetable list is worth the price of the book.
Eat whole low-glycemic load fruit. Fructose is unhealthy concentrated in sodas, but in whole fruit the fiber slows absorption and conversion to fat by the liver. Berries are best. Don't drink your fruit (juice is more like soda), eat it whole or blend it whole at home. Eat avocados, coconuts and olives. Dr. Hyman likes pomegranates and weird fruit. Have lemons and limes on hand.
Fats and Oils
Healthy fats are essential for good health. Conversely, unhealthy fats are dangerous. Dr. Hyman's book “Eat Fat, Get Thin” noted refined vegetable oils promote inflammation and may increase the risk of heart disease, suicide, homicide, and violent behavior. Eating healthy fats speeds up our metabolism and helps keep us from getting obese. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in olive oil, nuts, avocados and grass-fed butter, lard and ghee are the main pillar of the Mediterranean Diet which lowers blood pressure, insulin resistance and unhealthy small dense LDL-B (large light fluffy LDL-A is healthy). Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) include the essential anti-inflammatory Omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid from plants, DHA and EPA from fish, algae, and grass-fed meat) which reduce inflammation, promote cardiovascular health, protect your brain, and help prevent metabolic syndrome and chronic diseases. Americans consume far too much inflammatory Omega-6s, mostly from refined vegetable oils, and 90% of Americans are deficient in Omega-3s. Saturated fats do not cause cardiovascular disease unless you are on a high-carb diet. The fats in your blood that cause heart attacks – palmitic and stearic acid – come from eating sugar and carbs. Margaric acid from grass-fed dairy and butter reduces heart disease. Coconut oil containing medium chain triglycerides (MCT) is essential for brain health; it also helps us get into mild ketosis, which is where we want to be; a ketogenic diet decreases the size of your organs, increases stem cell production, reduces visceral or dangerous belly fat, improves your gene expression, reduces cancer, increases the size our hippocampus (the brain's memory center), improves immune function, improves mitochondrial function, enhances cognitive function, and reduces inflammation and oxidative stress; all good things that promote health and longevity. A study of 9,000 mental patients fed either butter and saturated fats or corn oil showed the corn oil lowered LDL cholesterol. However, for every 30-point drop in LDL, the risk of a heart attack went up 22%. The American Heart Association and even NIH are still recommending incorrectly that we consume dangerous polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Cooking should be done with (smoke point in degrees Fahrenheit) refined avocado oil (520), extra virgin unrefined avocado oil (400), refined coconut oil (450), and ghee (clarified butter – 482), and not too hot with butter (302), virgin unrefined coconut oil (350) and unrefined sesame oil (350): never heat unrefined flaxseed oil (225) or extra virgin olive oil (320) which destroys the MUFAs. Trans-fats are poison; they increase dangerous LDL-B. Watch out, the FDA loophole allows food manufacturers to label “zero” trans-fats by keeping the serving size ridiculously low; if a label says hydrogenated anything put it back on the shelf. Eat veggies with fat to absorb flavonoids, polyphenols and vitamins A,D,E and K. The extra virgin olive oil you are using might be fake; an estimated 70% of U.S. EVOO is adulterated. Criminals make 3 times more money from fake EVOO than from cocaine. Unfortunately, Tom Mueller's web site www.truthinoliveoil.com has disappeared, so we buy only California Olive Ranch brand. Speaking of disappearance on the web, Dr. Hyman suggests we read Kevin Michael Geary's article on Medium.com, entitled “Is the American Heart Association a Terrorist Organization?” if we are interested in corruption of the AHA, how its funding is supported by the pharmaceutical industry, industrial food giants, including sugary cereal makers and industrial vegetable oil manufacturers. Gone. We are not calling the corrupt AHA a terrorist organization, but Dr. Hyman states the content is accurate, so through the magic of the WayBack Machine you may want to glance at: https://web.archive.org/web/20170803075403/https://medium.com/@kevinmgeary/is-the-american-heart-association-a-terrorist-organization-f1c8c98d28ea Try coconut oil in your coffee!
First the good news. There are countless studies linking bean consumption with markers of good health like decreased blood pressure, low inflammation, proper body weight, and lower risk of cancer, diabetes, depression, suicide – even skin wrinkling. Dan Buettner, author of “Blue Zones”, has done longevity research showing eating beans makes you less likely to die, which is about all you can ask of any food. Legumes are a staple of the healthy Mediterranean diet. Beans have potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium, folate,vitamin B6 and a quarter of their weight is protein. How can millions in Myanmar and India be wrong? (India grows the most chickpeas; most lentils come from Canada.)
Dr. Hyman is no fan of beans. He notes meat is better source of protein (sorry vegans). He notes beans contain carbohydrates, although he admits cooked and cooled beans have resistant starch (which he advocates in potato starch and white rice!). He notes plaque deposits on the teeth of Neanderthals (400,000 to 40,000 BC) indicates they ate wild peas and beans https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21187393 but states the Paleo (12,000 to 9,000 BC) diet did not include beans. Dr. Hyman states “beans can promote the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut” but we could not find any reference supporting that claim. One legume that looks good on paper is the Austrialian Sweet Lupin with 40% protein, all the essential amino acids, 30% fiber, low carb, Omega-3s and better bioavailable iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium compared with other legumes, more phytosterols than chickpeas, and negligible amounts of lectins and phytates. Kouris-Blazos A, Belski R. Health benefits of legumes and pulses with a focus on Australian sweet lupins. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2016; 25 (1): 1-17
Dr. Hyman notes lectins can be harmful as well as beneficial. Lectins may damage and penetrate the small intestine leading to leaky gut and inflammation which may be linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative diseases but they also have anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-obesity and anti-heart disease properties. Lectins have been the object of diet discussion since Dr. Steven Gundry's book “The Plant Paradox” who advises avoiding lectins (which includes an extensive list of foods most of us eat). This has drawn some comments; from the Cleveland Clinic: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-weight-loss-on-the-plant-paradox-diet-is-itself-a-paradox/ and Dr. Axe: https://draxe.com/plant-paradox-diet-review/ , as well as some criticism: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/going-lectin-free-is-the-latest-pseudoscience-diet-fad/2017/07/05/45382462-5b4e-11e7-a9f6-7c3296387341_story.html?utm_term=.f05c2426454b . Lectins can be virtually eliminated from beans by boiling them for 30 minutes, widely recommended soaking and rinsing before cooking is insufficient; this excellent study by Drs. Ebere and Godswill contains extensive information about lectins (maybe more than you would like to know): https://www.ijaar.org/articles/Volume2-Number12/Sciences-Technology-Engineering/ijaar-ste-v2n11-nov16-p5.pdf . Because lectins are “keys' that fit into so many human “locks” (and not just blood types), we now know that whether a specific lectin is harmful or beneficial (or maybe a combination) is highly individualized which is why we do Cyrex testing here at the Stingl Eye Clinic. Lectins with potential for anti-cancer therapy.
Canned beans are usually loaded with salt and even if the cans do not have BPA in the epoxy lining the inside of the can, they may have BPS or BPF, which are worse. Dr. Hyman prefers green peas and green beans containing less starch to beans. Avoid peanuts which may have aflatoxin. Because fermentation inhibits the nutrient blocking enzymes, Dr. Hyman is favorable toward fermented soy products (tempeh, natto, miso and soy sauce) but never soybean oil or soy milk, which can cause men and little girls to grow breasts. Skip the tofu, unless it is organic. Natto is stinky and gooey, but contains nattokinase, an amazing clot buster. Aspiring fathers take note: even a half a serving a day of soy-based foods or milk can lower your sperm count significantly.
In summary, because of Dr. Hyman's experience in treating tens of thousands of patients with food, he says beans are not always man's best friend. He advises avoiding beans if you are insulin resistant, have type 2 diabetes, prone to food allergies or sensitivities, overweight, have irritable bowel or have an autoimmune disease. For the rest of us he advises no more than half a cup a day of fermented soy foods, peas and lentils, black beans, garbanzo beans and adzuki beans, organic green beans and snow peas, black-eyed peas, asparagus beans, and mung beans. Skip the sugar laden baked beans and starchy lima and kidney beans.
Flour = sugar. David Luwig, Harvard professor and obesity expert often says the below the neck, your body can't tell the difference between a bowl of cornflakes without the sugar and a bowl of sugar without the cornflakes. Gluten should be avoided for all of us, especially after understanding the connection to neurodegenerative diseases as noted by Drs. Bredesen and Perlmutter. It is not just that the amylopectin A in modern dwarf wheat spikes blood sugar faster than table sugar, it is dosed with Monsanto's Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide which is nasty stuff, according to Dr. Hyman, exposure associated with increased risk of cancer, kidney disease, lymphoma, reproductive difficulties and damage to our gut bacteria. (Stephanie Seneff, who sounded the alarm on statins – see 'the Great Cholesterol Myth' – is now warning us about glyphosate.) It is not just the chemical glyphosate itself, there are many genetically modified crops (GMO) called “Roundup Ready” which are resistant to the herbicide, which are banned in Europe. Monsanto sold itself to Bayer, but a glance at the stock price graph after the transaction (the big drop came after the first 'cancer from glyphosate' lawsuits went against the company with a mountain more behind it) makes one wonder if the seller knew more than the buyer. Gluten-free processed foods are mostly junk. Most breakfast cereals are junk. Oatmeal is not that healthy. U.S. corn is 90% GMO which commonly contains the pesticide atrazine (banned in Europe) which is a proven endocrine disrupter, turning male frogs into females and perhaps newborn male genital malformation in humans from the mother's exposure. If you are going to eat fresh corn on the cob, be sure it is organic. Rice is starch, much of which contains arsenic; but you may want to try the emperor's forbidden black rice (the price will likely control your consumption, which is healthy). See Dr. Perlmutter's extensive list of how to avoid gluten: it is in many things that might surprise you. Buckwheat, amaranth, millet, teff, quinoa and rice have no gluten.
Nuts and Seeds
A handful or two of nuts a day is healthy. Nuts are a good source of healthy, anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fats, antioxidants, zinc, and magnesium, good for weight loss, arterial health and blood pressure, lowering the risk of cancer, preventing type 2 diabetes and keeping you alive longer. Keep the skin (seed coat) on (where most of the healthy polyphenols are) your almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and macadamias. Grind up chia, flax, hemp and sesame seeds in your smoothies. Pumpkin seeds are great to snack on during the day (especially if you are trying to quit smoking – it gives you something to do with your hands and mouth). Shelled pumpkin seeds go great in salads.
Sugar and Sweeteners
The average American eats 152 pounds of sugar and 133 pounds of flour a year. Sugar causes high blood pressure, high triglycerides, heart disease, cancer (including recurrence and mortality rates), increases cell aging and dementia. Fructose causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, now the number one cause of liver disease. Artificial sweeteners are even worse for your brain and metabolic health. John Yudkin published “Pure, White and Deadly” detailing the dangers of sugar in 1972, but unfortunately, he was ignored and even shamed after the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists Fred Stare and Mark Hegsted $50,000 (in today's dollars) to publish a paper that dismissed the link between sugar and heart disease wrongly blaming saturated fat instead. In 2015, Coca-Cola was caught paying scientists millions of dollars to downplay the link between soda and obesity. Sugar is addictive. Quitting sugar improves your health rapidly. Sugar may be hidden in processed foods by 90 different terms on labels. One more reason to avoid processed foods. Artificial sweeteners increase your risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, cause glucose intolerance, destroy beneficial gut bacteria, and contain excitotoxins which can damage neurons and are linked to neurological side effects. Dr. Hyman recommends avoiding all sugar alcohols (mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol and malitol) except erythritol which is absorbed by your intestines, rather than fermenting in your colon; but it causes weight gain. We advise avoiding all sweeteners; we like to say that one sign that you are on the Path to Health is Ceylon Cinnamon tastes sweet to you.
Drink filtered water. Sugar-sweetened beverages are deadly. Coffee lowers the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's, colon cancer, liver cirrhosis, depression and premature death; it contains an abundance of anti-oxidants, vitamin C, magnesium, polyphenols, catechins, flavonoids and chlorogenic acid. Coffee is a potent stimulator of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. Bottled water is risky and bad for the environment. Filtered water is the best. Skip the soy milk. Blend whole fruit into smoothies so you get the fiber and all the nutrients. A glass of red wine (2 for men) a day is better than none at all, but never more. No beer, it is liquid bread. No sports drinks. Green tea daily (we recommend making at least a quart a day; in Florida we drink it on ice, it is an easy and healthy habit). Dr. Hyman recommends coconut water and watermelon water (look for WTRMLN WTR brand).
Emulsifiers and thickeners should be avoided. Carrageenan (derived from seaweed) has been linked to colitis and other digestive tract ailments. Xanthan gum has also been associated with digestive problems and may cause extreme allergic reactions and autoimmune disease.
Spices are healthy: basil, black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, coriander and cilantro, cumin, ginger, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme and turmeric.
Dr. Hyman gives great advice for food shopping and stocking your kitchen and pantry. You can't eat junk if it never comes in your home.
Multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D3, magnesium glycinate, chromium, alpha-lipoic acid, cinnamon, green tea catechins, zinc, CoQ10, resveratrol, milk thistle, curcumin, glutathione, folate or methyl folate.
The recipes are outstanding.