As most of my patients know, aside from my professional interest in plastic surgery which is my passion, I am a good student and follower of sensible nutrition.
For me it all started when I first came to the United States almost 37 years ago. As I landed at JFK Airport in New York I was greeted by my colleague, Dr.Michael Schreiber.
After the usual small talk, driving in his car to his apartment in the Bronx, he casually asked “so Erel, what is your first impression of the U.S.?” (it was my first time out of Europe) I paused for a minute and then responded, “you know, Mike, everything here is big, the buildings, the highways and the people.”
When he further prodded me I explained to him that the Americans appear to be larger in height and width. When Mike asked me whether I think it is genetic, I responded with “I don’t know.”
That evening I went out with Mike and a few of his friends to a restaurant in New York City. I couldn’t finish my dish and when Mike took notice he asked if I didn’t like the food. I replied “do you remember our discussion earlier today? well, seems like it’s not the genes but the food, it’s very rich and the portions are enormous, unlike in Europe.”
From that moment I decided to watch out and over the years I developed my own approach with Dos and Don’ts when it comes to nutrition. My approach is paleolithic.
I don’t like diets or calorie counting. I prefer sensible meals of fresh and unprocessed nutrients.The F.D.A. does not require the labeling of preservatives so it behooves you to know which chemicals you are ingesting. Since most individuals do not read the labels you can avoid the detrimental effects of; Sulfites, sodium benzoate, nitrites, BHT/BHA and others by avoiding the processed foods altogether.
1-Eat only fresh foods, if it is not perishable then it is processed, therefor eat only food which spoils if left unprotected. Nutrients that can be left in your pantry for weeks and still can be cooked are full of preservatives and should be avoided. Eat fresh vegetables and fresh fruits but in case of shortage, the frozen ones will do.
2-Do not engorge yourself at the table, eat slowly and leave the table slightly hungry .The satiety center in the brain is slow to react, so get used to stop eating before you’re full.This is a good nonsurgical way to shrink your stomach.
3-Eat small meals throughout the day, preferably 5-6 with snacks in between, Graze. Your main meal should be at breakfast and the smallest meal should be your supper.
4-Drink water. It has been shown that drinking H2O with meals curb the appetite and reduce the caloric consumption. It also helps in quenching thirst and thus avoiding energy drinks. Start the morning with a glass of water.
5-Eat supper early and avoid late night snacks or eating before you retire to bed.
6-The preferred snacks are nuts and mixed trails (without added chocolate). This will supply you with good energy and are sweet enough to serve as desert.
7- Use high quality vitamins, pharmaceutical grade, it is no secret that our food, does not provide us with all the important vitamins therefore, adequate supplementation is necessary. Not all vitamins are of the same quality.
8-Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water. It is important to remove traces of pesticides and chemicals from fruit or vegetables.(Some individuals prefer buying USDA Certified organic food, which is a subject to another debate.)
1-If you don’t know what’s in it do not eat it. If the label features some chemical you can’t even pronounce, avoid it!
2-Avoid the five whites: Flour, rice, sugar, milk and reduce salt intake.(On the other hand I eat white potatoes as long as they are baked).
3-Avoid alcohol. It will provide you with “cheap calories” without any added nutritional value. A glass of wine every now and then is fine but do not make it into a ritual.
4-Read food labels and avoid the Hydrogenated oils and trans fats which not only add calories to your food but also expose you to higher risk of heart disease. Also look for the “infamous” High Fructose Corn Syrup and avoid it in any dish or product.
5-Avoid artificial sweeteners. I’m not totally convinced of their benefit to weight management, they probably reduce tooth decay but they are all processed, even the “natural ” ones. There are other side effects linked to each one.
6- Avoid soft drinks.
Below you will find the ingredients for different meals which are easy to follow and you can use any combinations there of.
Omelette or scrambled eggs. Avocado on fresh toast or bagel or eaten alone. Grapefruit. Oat bran fresh muffin. Fruit salad. Vegetable salad Freshly squeezed orange juice. Cottage cheese.
Mixed trail. Natural mango slices (without sulfites). A home made granola bar. Fig cake. Date bar. fruit salad or fresh fruit. (always opt for fruit of the season.)
Sardines with fresh slice of bread. Vegetable salad and mango slices.
Turkey sandwich with cucumber and mustard.
Tofu salad with olives and lemon juice.
Egg salad sandwich on barley bread.
Grilled salmon sandwich with sliced scallion and baked half sweet potato.
Tuna fish salad and spinach.
Cooked Quinoa grains mixed with sweet green peas and curry.
After noon snack:
8-10 almonds. Pear or apple. 15-20 pistachios. Brazilian nuts +walnuts and raisins.
Spirulina power bar. natural yogurt mixed with strawberries or blue berries.
Chicken breast grilled or roasted,sweet potato and cooked broccoli or Brussel sprouts.
Edamame salad, corn and red peppers with tahini dressing.
Stew of assorted beans, peas and corn. Carrot salad.
Veggie burger, corn on a cob, Ceasar salad (minimal dressing).
Tabouli ,eggplant salad (baba ghanoush) with whole wheat pita.
Artichoke salad, grilled fish of your choice and sauteed mixed vegetables.
Follow these simple rules and you’re on your way to weight control and healthier living.