Monday, September 6, 2010

Jell-O is not a vegetable!

Once when I was feeling a little depressed, I went to the doctor who first asked me what my diet was like.  I told her, and instead of prescribing pills, she told me to change my diet for a couple of weeks.  If I didn't feel better, we could talk about pharmaceutical options.

Changing my diet worked wonders.  Instead of pre-packaged foods and junk and canned soda, I started eating more balanced meals, healthy snacks and drinking lots of water. I felt much better in body and soul.

Years later I learned about a European wellness philosophy known as the Kneipp system.  Sebastian Kneipp recommended a way of living that incorporated care of the body inside and out for maximum physical and emotional well-being.
Hungarian Madonna Fountain, along the Kneipp-Meditation Path, 
St. Radegund, Austria

The first tenet of the Kneipp philosophy is water.  Drink the purest untreated water possible, but also indulge in cold water baths that promote circulation and bolster the immune system.  Water and herbal teas are the only recommended drinks according to Kneipp.  Not surprisingly the second tenet of the philosophy is the use of healing herbs:  not as processed herbal supplements but as teas, herbs added to food, or bath preparations (Kneipp makes several herbal bath products, including Sleep Well with Valerian, Hops, and Lavender).

After exercise comes diet, and the Kneipp recommendations are a little different from the food pyramid in the U.S.  Whole grains are highly recommended as the foundation of daily diet, but so are potatoes (not in the form of French fries!).  Fresh fruits and vegetables of local origin are next, followed by dairy products including milk and yogurt.  All meat, fish included, should be eaten in moderation, as should fats and sugars.

Apple harvest, 2007, Irdning, Austria

In other words, we should be eating as healthfully and naturally as possible, which is difficult in today's society.  Prepackaged meals, while convenient, contain high fat, high sugar, high salt and flavor enhancers that leave you begging for more, and no one's really sure about the longterm effects of gentech ingredients or artificial sweeteners.  So many people today are concerned about their metabolism and the right fad diet for their body type that they have forgotten these simple truths:  If you consume 2x the daily recommended calories, you can expect to gain weight.  And if you eat too much meat, your intestines will start resembling sausage.

So today's balancing act is to plan one week of healthy eating, for you and, if you can manage it, for your family.  I'll post some tips and recipes to get you started!

1 comment:

  1. I've never heard of the Kniepp Philosophy but you have me intrigued! I *heart* potatoes! Jeff is getting tired of baked potatoes for dinner but I never tire of them!