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Dr. Richard Isaacson

Food as Medicine: A Holistic Physician’s Guide to Nutrition - Part II

How we prepare and store our food can affect how our body digests and absorbs nutrients.  How much we eat and in what combination affects these as well.  In Part II, I describe what cooking practices to avoid, how best to store food and beverages, and suggestions on portion size, and food combinations.

Food preparation and storage: 

* Do not use a microwave for any purpose (cooking, reheating, thawing, or boiling water).  This form of electromagnetic radiation alters the chemical nature of food/water, severely reducing its nutritional value.  Our bodies will experience malnutrition in response to eating microwaved foods, and we may experience cravings and overeat to compensate.

* Try to avoid storing food in plastic wrap and plastic containers.  Plastics are hydrocarbons that can modulate endogenous hormone activity.  If you must, use paper or unbleached parchment paper to separate the food from the plastic.

* Try to avoid bottled drinking water in plastic bottles, for the same reason.

* Avoid aluminum foil for storing food and cooking.  This heavy metal has been found to be associated with Alzheimer’s and other chronic neurologic conditions.

* Avoid aluminum cookware for the same reason.

* Avoid all cookware made of synthetic materials: e.g. Teflon, and the like.

* Glass and ceramic are good materials for cooking.  Heavy gauge stainless steel and cast iron are good choices also, but make sure they aren’t coated with teflon, graphite or other substances. 

Food combining and portion size:

*  If you are having animal protein at a meal, eat this first, before complex carbohydrates (starches such as potatoes, pasta.)  To digest protein, the stomach needs concentrated digestive juices which become diluted as we eat.

*  If you are eating animal protein, eat between 2 and 4 ounces at a meal, according to my directions.

* Make sure a meal of animal protein has adequate fat.  For example, including the skin on the turkey or chicken is actually healthier for you than eating only the meat.

* With the exception of bananas, fruit should be eaten alone as a separate meal or snack.  Combining fruit with other food types (especially grains) can result in improper digestion. 

* Our bodies are happiest with small meals more frequently, rather than large meals many hours apart.  Going without meals for too long actually puts our bodies into starvation mode; our metabolism will slow down and we will be in fat storing mode.  However, each of us is unique with regard to portion size and frequency.  Some of us need to eat as frequently as every two hours; other constitutions can space meals 4 or sometimes even 5 hours apart.

* Each meal should be able to fit into the palms of your two cupped hands; more volume will not be digested.

2006 Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D.

Dr. Muehsam is a holistic medical doctor practicing in New York City. She can be reached by phone at (212) 946 - 5700.

Click HERE to see Dr. Muehsams listing on The Healing Directory.

* A version of this article was published in The Epoch Times on April 11, 2006

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