By: Jen Mager, ANP
I returned last week from what was probably the best conference I have ever been to in my entire career as a health professional. There was so much wonderful information and I want to share some of the key points. The food served at the conferences was beyond delicious as well as nutritious. Meeting Dr. Weil and having had the opportunity to hear him speak several times during the conference was amazing as well.
1. Modern industrial food is bad for us. It promotes chronic inflammation by giving us the wrong kinds of fats and carbs and not providing enough of protective phytonutrients found in fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.
2. We are living in a culture where people have a tendency to demonize foods. The truth is somewhere in the middle and people must be educated about the differences between good fats, bad fats, high and low glycemic load carbs. Rebecca Katz was quoted as saying that “Nutritional analysis leads to culinary paralysis”. Real food is healing. Fat isn’t bad. A diet high in refined carbs is. Get back in the kitchen, cook real food and share it with those you love.
3. A review of 21 studies looking at saturated fat (Krauss 2010) was presented. These studies failed to find a connection with heart disease. The real culprit just kept coming back to a diet high in refined sugar-laden carbs.
4. Health happens when we have a good balance of stress and support. Moderate stress is actually beneficial…Think exercise. Exercise puts our bodies in a state of moderate stress. The benefit derived is priceless.
5. The traditional Mediterranean and Japanese diets are most significantly associated with low risk for disease, longevity and good health.
6. PUT MORE BUGS IN YOUR GUT! An overwhelming theme, which ran through the conference. Gut flora, gut flora and gut flora. Antibiotics as well as the Western diet have a detrimental influence on intestinal microbiota. The intestinal microbiota is linked to many aspects of human health. Probiotics and a good healthy diet is key!
7. Eating a wide variety of plants reduces your risk for illness.
My very favorite recipe, which Dr. Weil demonstrated at the conference. I have been making this often at home and have converted even the pickiest eater. Enjoy!
Best Kale Salad Ever
4-6 cups kale, sliced into shreds, mid-ribs removed. (My favorite is the Lacinto, also called dinosaur kale)
Juice of 1 lemon
3-4 TBSP Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
Salt, pepper and hot red pepper flakes to taste
2/3 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan Reggiano cheese, grated
½ cup freshly made breadcrumbs, lightly toasted (I substitute toasted crushed pine nuts for my gluten free folks)
Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and a generous pinch of hot red pepper flakes.
Pour over kale and toss well
Add cheese and toss again
Let kale sit for 30-60 minutes
Add breadcrumbs or pine nuts and serve