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September 15, 2011

Do you have Orthorexia Nervosa?

There is a scary new disease identified as ‘Orthorexia Nervosa’.  It is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek attack on the elaborate web of food rules we find ourselves trapped in.  ‘Ortho’ refers to right or correct.  The ‘rexia’ is of course taken from anorexia, meaning suppressed appetite.  Interestingly the origin of anorexia is the same origin as the term rack, meaning to straighten.  We straighten our arms when we reach, therefore reaching became tied to appetite as in reaching for food.

Over the years I’ve heard so many versions of what to avoid.  If I avoided every food that I’ve ever been told to I would literally have nothing left except perhaps a few types of lettuce.  Oh, wait, the Chinese medical texts do recommend against raw vegetables.  OK, so cooked romaine.  That would get old fast.   We have to eat something.

 

Many current researchers and public health experts are realizing that telling someone not to eat something bad may be less productive than encouraging them to eat something good.  The best things to go out of our way to eat are the foods that give us the greatest benefits (number of important nutrients) for the least harm (calories).

 

Several authors have embraced the term ‘superfoods’ to describe certain foods that are especially high in nutrients and low in calories.  Although there is no formal list, some of the superfoods are tastier and more readily available than others.

 

Variety is certainly important in the diet, but with modern foods the idea of variety is misleading.  Rotating your morning Pop Tarts between cinnamon and cherry does not count as variety.  If you are talking about foods as great as the superfoods, don’t be afraid to find a few favorites and eat them everyday!

 

So why don’t we eat well?  The biggest concern I hear is that people don’t have time.  Between my family, practicing medicine, training and writing, believe me, I understand about time constraints.

 

The problem is that many have an idea of shopping daily and making every dish from scratch.  Mind you it’s a blast to spend a few hours puttering around in the kitchen, but that is not realistic for our workdays.  Bear in mind that anything you eat from wherever you get it will take some time.  If all of your meals are drive throughs, heaven forbid, you’ll still be spending at least 15 minutes per day just waiting in line.

 

Below are my top 20 easy to find superfoods.  Stay with me and I’ll show you how you can get most of these in a day with under 15 minutes of work, I promise!

  1. Spinach
  2. Broccoli
  3. Blueberries
  4. Carrots
  5. Edamame
  6. Black beans
  7. Tomatoes
  8. Turmeric
  9. Grass-fed beef
  10. Salmon
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Celery
  13. Walnuts
  14. Almonds
  15. Greek yogurt
  16. Avocado
  17. Green tea
  18. Pomegranate
  19. Steel cut oats
  20. Brown rice

When you wake up, make a 5 a day drink.  If you haven’t tried it yet, here’s the

videoon how to do it.    So far we’ve invested 3 minutes.

 

For breakfast, warm some pre-cooked steel cut oats from Sprouts or Whole Foods, just 1/4 cup if you’re watching your weight, add a dollop of non-fat plain Greek yogurt, some blueberries and a few almonds.  Now is also a good time for a cup of green or white tea.

 

So, 2 minutes to warm oatmeal and assemble, our tally is at 5 minutes.

 

Before you leave for work, pour together a nice salad.  Shop right and you’ll have zero prep work to do.

 

Mix into a large bowl:

  • Washed spinach leaves
  • 2-3 ounces smoked salmon
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Prepped pomegranate seeds (you can now buy these already cleaned and separated!)
  • Broccoli florets
  • Black beans, canned – rinsed
  • Walnuts, small handful
  • 1 – 2 tbsp natural guacamole

The guacamole also works as a ‘dressing’ and flavoring for the salad.  This whole process should not take more than 2 minutes so we’re at 7 minutes.

 

For dinner, sauté some lean grass fed ground beef, add in Thai curry paste (Turmeric and lots of great flavor).  Stir in your favorite frozen mixed vegetable blend and serve over pre-cooked brown rice.  Have 1/4 cup of rice only if you’re watching your weight.  Allow 5 minutes for this and we’re at 12 minutes of cooking for the whole day and we ate every single superfood!  How awesome is that!

 

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