Friday, January 26, 2018

Eat Your Veggies

Winter's almost half-way over. Time to get serious about all those pre-holiday new year's resolutions. The theme I hear lately is "Don't worry about your weight, just get healthy."

I think some of us around here have been dieting for too many years. Instead of worrying about my weight, I find myself contemplating food choices instead of calories or amount. Should I eat that fudge? (click this link, guys!)  Or, will half a pineapple counteract the bad stuff in a bowl of potato chips?


I think it's much better to focus on the quality of the food you eat and not worry about calories or the ratios of carbs-protein-fat. Try to ensure that everything you eat is a high-quality, real food. Most of the time you find this is hard to do, snacks and packaged meals are just so easy, convenient. And good. Sometime, even when given a choice, we'll pick the bad one. But if you want to make one change that will effect your health. This is it.

Eat more real food (especially veggies).

So here's an article from today that describes how "green leafy vegetables" protect against high blood pressure and strokes. Researchers followed 682 people around who had seriously high blood pressure and suffered from a bleeding stroke. This was in Sub-Saharan Africa where we tend to think of a super-healthy "Primaltm" "Paleo" diet. I'm thinking images of giant yams, baobab fruit, and grubs.

As such;
Taken all together, Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly West Africa, ranked better than wealthier regions in North America and Europe, probably because of a diet comprised of lean meats, vegetables, legumes, and staple starches, with less processed foods than countries that fared worse (such as the US and Russia)
Fresh as it gets

But in this study, they've found 682 Sub-Saharan Africans with blood pressure so high it blows holes in their brain. Everyone's first question has to be, "What up with that?"

Yes, what?  

Well, it turns out they looked at several factors. People were more likely to suffer bleeding strokes if they smoked (10 times higher) or had diabetes, high cholesterol, or under lots of stress. The people least likely to have a stroke were those that ate lots of green, leafy vegetables (64% lower risk).


Green Leafy Vegetables

Is this really what the study was about? I don't think so, and certainly the researchers couldn't have believed that it was this simple. I think it's obvious that all of these factors, and many others, are interrelated.  Poor diet-->high cholesterol-->high bp-->diabetes-->stroke. Add in smoking and stress and lack of sleep and alcohol abuse and drug abuse. There's where most people live.  There's a there there.

Face of Stress

I wish the researchers would have looked at intakes of processed foods versus whole foods. I cannot believe that Africa is not under Western influence to eat junk foods. Or maybe junk food is all that's available to some.  

We can use this information to change our own lives. Stop eating junk food and start eating more vegetables. I see so many people eating little bars of organic stuff. Eat a banana. Eat berries. eat a potato. Give in to some temptation, satisfy your sweet tooth if you must, but always try to make the best choice possible. Go for baked instead of fried. Get the salad instead of the French fries. Ask for a whole wheat bun. 

Choose Wisely

Novel idea!

From the article
Researchers say reducing stress and increasing green leafy vegetable consumption may be a novel way to reduce the rates of brain bleeds. 

Wow!  Whodathunkit? 

I think they are onto something!  

Hope you're having a great year so far. Only seven months til next winter! I've been thinking a lot lately about junk food. What makes a food "junk?" Can you turn a good food into junk food in your kitchen? Is goodness a function of ingredients only?

Oh, and I activated a batch of sourdough last week. Fixing to make some bread today. I have a loaf of whole wheat spelt fermenting in the cold garage.  Smelling great!



  1. I feel better when my diet is high in vegetables than when it is not.
    I've not found fruits to have quite have the same impact.

    There is a useful list of prebiotics and which foods contain them on tjis website. I try to eat at least one item from each group each day plus a salad and some brassica plant.

    1. Same here, I feel lots better when I'm surrounded by fresh veggies. Nice article you linked...Laura Paris gets it.

  2. Great minds think alike! I have treated myself to a grain mill and am going to start making my own sourdough bread, but using Einkorn instead. Apparently Einkorn is the oldest of the ancient grains and the least hybradized and/or genetically modified. I have found a miller in Holland who has a webshop. Einkorn is well knonw in both Germany and the USA, but not so much in here. I have made pancakes twice now and they taste delicious. I am going to try a risotto next and will start making a (Irish) soda bread with it. Have to get a sourdough starter going before I can make the bread. Einkorn has 14.0 grams of protein per 100 gr and 10 grams of fiber per 100 gr. All good.

    Jo tB

    1. Do you know how the gluten content compares to modern wheat?
      I read somewhere einkorn does not rise therefore may not be suitable for bread. Or perhaps that just means the bread will be dense like rye bread.

  3. When I first heard of Einkorn I did an extensive search on Google and all my questions were answered. I don't have to worry about gluten, and all I want to do is avoid the modern over hybridized wheat. You can find all you want on the Jovial website.

    Jo tB

  4. Hi Jo tB - I did a lot of research, too, before I started making bread. I think that einkorn, spelt, and even dark rye are very acceptable forms of wheat, especially in "whole grain" form.

  5. Tim, sorry if this Q is in the wrong place, couldn't find proper contact info(I may be blind...) I seem to have read somewhere, don't remember if it was here or somewhere else, where you discuss Korean sweet potato noodles/dangmyun and their RS content. But I just can't find it! If you see this and are able to either answer me or point me to a source I'd be very happy.

    many thanks in advance/sparris

    1. That sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't find anything anywhere. Seems like sweet potato noodles are a good source of fiber and RS, if I remember right.

  6. I cam across this article this morning on a Facebook group that I follow:

    To which I posted the following comment:

    Ah, yes, the pharmaceutical companies want to make money out of it. To do that they have to patent it. "I think it will be the dawn of the era of medicinal foods"

    It’s unlikely you could whack someone with a SCFA pill and get a strong therapeutic affect.

    They are normally sensing low levels of bacterial metabolites. (I read that as bacterial metabolism).

    To solve the problem of low levels of bacterial metabolism is not a pill but get the gut bacteria to work harder by feeding them lots more fiber. The more fiber you eat, the more they will grow. The more they grow, the more SCFAs they will make, the healthier you will be.

    Still, a good article.

    I thouhgt I would share.

    Jo tB