Tag Archives: real food

10 Ways To Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats


According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Food Corporations Turn to Chefs in a Quest for Healthy Flavor,” Big Food companies like PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and even fast food giants like Taco Bell, are changing their ways in response to the increasing public demand for healthier food options. To improve their image as healthy food manufacturers, Big Food corporations have called upon top chefs to help them create healthy menu makeovers, infusing real, fresh, whole food into old recipe favorites.

Why is this happening now? Intense pressure brought on by politicians and their constituents (you and me!) has given these food manufacturers no choice but to respond to the public outcry for healthier food. It’s no longer enough for these companies to earn a profit by selling food that tastes good. People are beginning to use the power of the pocketbook to show these companies that the food they sell must also be nutritious.

That’s because people everywhere are waking up. They are beginning to see the dangers of genetically modified ingredients and all the sugar, salt, and fats hidden in our food supply. From fancy restaurants to fast food chains, chefs are catching on that people want their food to make them feel good, not just while they are eating it but hours, days, and years afterward.

Really, this news shouldn’t make the headlines. This is common sense! Paying for food that makes us sick is as crazy as shooting ourselves in the foot. It just doesn’t make sense.

Big Food is finally getting the message and getting on board.

But remember, no processed or fast food option will ever be better than a healthy home-cooked meal. The best way to ensure you are eating the highest quality, most nutritious food possible is to prepare your own food in your own kitchen. We are all chefs. You don’t have to be trained at Le Cordon Bleu to know your way around a kitchen. You just need a little knowledge, some imagination, and a sense of adventure.

A desire for real food is a fundamental part of our basic biological blueprint. Given the chance, our taste receptors will naturally gravitate toward the inherent sweetness found in vegetables, fruits, and even nuts and seeds.

So, how do you reprogram your taste buds to ditch the cravings for sugar, salt, and fats? You can start by eating real, fresh, whole foods. Avoid fake, commercialized foods that come in convenience packages or are made in a lab.

Here are 10 more tips to get you excited about ditching the sugar, salt, and fats:

  1. Sauté or roast your veggies to bring out their natural sweetness. Properly searing your chicken or meat brings out the inherent sweetness by way of the Maillard reaction. This is a fancy name for what happens when you create that nice, brown crust on your meat. Want more cooking tips like this? Check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  2. Play with herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, and oregano to add flavor and phytonutrients! Finish a meal by adding fresh herbs before plating or serving. This last-minute addition kicks the flavor up a notch!
  3. Healthy fats found in avocado, coconut, and tahini not only increase the flavor of your meal, they also add that creamy, luscious texture found in many rich foods. See for yourself just how healthy and tasty desserts can be by trying my Dark Chocolate Silk Pudding from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  4. Try creating a savory, umami (Japanese for “delicious”) flavor. Add moderate amounts of tamari, umeboshi plum paste, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, dried mushroom, or sea vegetables to your next stew, soup, sauce, or stir-fry.
  5. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and even cayenne or chipotle pepper powder are all extremely flavorful additions to a meal. Spices like these excite your taste buds and grab your attention. This is helpful, because, as studies show, when we are focused on actually tasting our food rather than mindlessly gobbling it up, we actually need less food to feel satisfied.
  6. Befriend some kitchen must-haves like real vanilla extract or vanilla bean or coconut butter. Or use common, every-day foods like lemons in some creative ways. For example, use lemon zest to add real zing to any meal!
  7. For the most flavor, eat seasonally and locally. Canned or packaged foods or foods that have traveled great distances in the back of a truck just can’t compare to the succulence of a fresh piece of locally grown fruit.
  8. Check your hydration. Digestion starts in your mouth with your saliva, which helps us taste all the magnificent flavor in food. If you are dehydrated and not producing enough saliva, you won’t really be able to enjoy your food.
  9. Check your medications. Believe it or not, most medications interfere with the body’s ability to taste and smell. Some of them can even create an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. Wondering how you might decrease the number of pills you take? Learn more about functional medicine.
  10. Got nutrition? Nutrient deficiency is an important cause of improper taste perception. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can markedly impair your ability to smell and taste food. Most Americans have several nutrient deficiencies, but there is one in particular that can especially keep you from enjoying your next meal: zinc. Try adding foods like oysters, pecans, sunflower seeds, and lentils to increase your daily intake of this important mineral. Try the recipe for Hearty Lentil Soup from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. If you are deficient, you might also need to take a zinc supplement. Work with one of my nutrition coaches to ensure your nutrition status is up to par.

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For more ways to use your kitchen to take back your health, check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. Get tips and tricks for making healthy and tasty meals. Learn what foods you should eat to boost your metabolism, balance your blood sugar, and lose weight. Try more than 175 tasty recipes that appeal to a variety of budgets, taste preferences, health goals, and lifestyles.

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

Are You Ready to Stop Eating Real Food…Forever?

Lord, no, this is not about starving yourself.

This is the latest start-up by a 20-something genius, engineer Rob Rhinehart who has apparently invented a product that will free the world from the shackles of real food. It’s a vitamin and nutrient-rich drink, derived from plants but entirely lacking in taste or color, which Rhinehart is calling “Soylent” (somewhat ironically/controversially after the 1970s sci-fi film “Soylent Green.”) The founder claims to be subsisting, himself, almost entirely on the vitamin juice at this point – and with good results.

If this is all sounding a bit wacky, then you’re not alone. Many have raised doubts and concerns over such tampering with the human diet. We are, after all, made to eat real food, and such a reduction might sound dangerously similar to an eating disorder. But when asked about the “real food” concern by Vice magazine, Rhinehart responded:

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe or healthy, and just because something is artificial doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy or dangerous. Look around you. Nothing we buy is natural. Everything useful is designed and manufactured, and food should be no different. People are afraid of sweeteners when it’s real sugar that’s killing us. They’re afraid of preservatives when food waste is rampant. McDonald’s is trying to engineer lower-calorie food that is more filling to fight obesity, but people are demanding natural-sounding ingredients. It’s frustrating to watch. The idea of “real food” is just snobbery. Everyone has the right to be healthy, even people who don’t like vegetables.

Still not convinced? Well we may need to get used to the idea of food replacements, says Rhinehart, who sees the growing global food crisis as one of the main imperatives for Soylent. And their company has actually seen considerable success in the short time they’ve been around. Their crowd-funding campaign has raised over one million dollars (much more than their initial goal of $100,000)! And apparently there are already people out there ordering Soylent packages online and enjoying the food-free life.

So, what do you think? Would you ever give up food in exchange for a tasteless juice of pure vitamins? Tell us your thoughts!


Thumbnail credit: Julio Miles / Soylent

The Bottom Line on Gluten – No Longer the “Staff of Life”?

Homemade Wheat BreadWhat’s the deal with Gluten?

With all the hype around “gluten-free” food, this is a question I often get. “What is the big deal?” the question goes. “People have been eating wheat for thousands of years.” They’re right, of course. Wheat is called the “staff of life” for a reason. It has been nourishing us since the dawn of civilization. Traced as far back as the ancient Egyptians, wheat has been a mainstay in the human diet. So, what happened that changed this nourishing grain into a toxin for many people?

The answer is that what we eat now is not the wheat our ancestors ate. It’s not even the wheat our grandparents ate. The wheat we grew in this country a scant 50 years ago does not even resemble the over processed, pesticide-laden, gluten packed stuff that is common throughout the western world. Most of the wheat in our current food supply is a dwarf variety that has been hybridized to have as much as 10 times the amount of gluten as its ancestors 100 years ago. This, plus the pesticides, fungicides, and over-processing over the last 50 years has made wheat almost unrecognizable from it’s original nutritious form.

In just 10 years, the numbers of reported gluten intolerance and celiac disease have seen a meteoric rise. One report found that while only 1 in 2500 people reported a gluten intolerance in 1990, the number is 1 in 133 today.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and related grain species like spelt, rye, barley, and kamut. This grain is used as a “glue” for holding together most baked goods, as well as some candies. It is used as a thickening agent for soups, glazes, marinades and sauces. Gluten can also be found in processed deli meats, textured vegetable protein, lipstick and play-doh, among other unlikely places.

So, what’s the problem?

The problem is that gluten is difficult for many people to digest. Gluten intolerance occurs when the body reacts to gluten as it would to a virus or bacteria. It sees the protein as a foreign invader and attacks. This is called an immune response. This response creates inflammation, and inflammation causes anything from joint pain to headaches to eczema to inability to concentrate to fatigue, as well as the more commonly associated stomach pain and indigestion.

 What is the difference between a gluten intolerance and celiac disease?

A common misconception is that gluten intolerance and celiac disease are interchangeable terms. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease have a common culprit, but the way the body responds to it is different. Both conditions create an immune response in the body. The difference is that celiac disease also creates an auto-immune response, which means that the body not only attacks the foreign invader, but it also attacks itself. This results in the villi in the lining of the stomach being killed off by the body’s immune system. The villi absorb the nutrients from the food we eat, so most people with untreated celiac disease will also show signs of malnourishment.

Either way, gluten intolerance and celiac disease create major disruptions in the way your body digests food. Doctors and scientists are discovering many ways that gluten can impact your health. A newly recognized form of celiac is called behavioral celiac. This condition occurs when the symptoms tend more towards disruptive behavior, and inability to concentrate, than the more common signs of celiac, and is often misdiagnosed as ADHD.

How do I know if I’m intolerant?

Unlike celiac, there is no reliable test for gluten intolerance. The best way to find out if you are gluten intolerant is to take it out of your diet for a while and then put it back in and see how you react. A major problem is that the Standard American Diet is packed with gluten. It is in nearly all processed and fast foods because it is inexpensive and flexible. If you are intolerant, you can be having a chronic low level inflammatory response and not even know it. Maybe you are tired in the afternoon or tend to get headaches or feel bloated. Maybe you think that this is not a big deal. The fact is that this low level inflammation is the root cause of most diseases, and should be taken seriously.

The Bottom Line on Gluten

Everybody’s body is different. If you’re interested in a gluten-free diet, the very best thing to do is try it out for yourself. You may be one of the many people who discovers it improves their health, mood, and overall wellness.

I strongly recommend trying a 7-day elimination diet. Eat absolutely no gluten for 7 days, and monitor your energy level, mood, and mental clarity. On the 8th day eat a bagel (which is like eating a brick of gluten) for breakfast and see how you feel for the next 24 hours. If you find that you get that familiar headache, stomach ache, or feel sluggish, then you might have an issue with gluten and should remove it from your diet.

Need help figuring out how to go gluten-free? Take a look at my list of gluten-free diet substitutes.

If you’re interested experimenting with GF recipes, try my delicious gluten-free banana chocolate chip muffins!

photo by: Emily Carlin

5 Tips on How to Lead the Food Revolution

1. Prepare for a little discomfort: standing up in front of strangers, being  known for something you believe in, breaking your day-glo-colored-snack from a vending-machine habit.  Not comfortable. But big.

2. Stay positive. No need to tear others’ food down, just because you have a better idea. Example: serve a beautiful, real-food recipe (use one of mine-they’re free) at your next party or Sunday dinner. Without the pep talk.

3.  Connect people: they expect it. Healthful eaters are the new silent majority. Tweet, blog, facebook, linked in link, youtube post and comment. Talk to people at church and in the produce section. How about those snap peas? How ’bout that epicurious? How about the Biggest Loser, or Huntington’s schools?

4.  Make your new idea old. Didn’t 7th grade kids used to take "home economics"? Didn’t we used to use the rim of the plate for decoration, instead of more food? Didn’t we used to use plates? Each of these "new ideas" has roots in the past which make them familiar.  

5.  Feel the burn. What you care about leads to your place of leadership. Is it flavor, or child obesity, or diabetes treatment, or organics, or longevity? Take that passion, and bring something new to the break room. Talk to a hospital nurse about what is served to sick people. Work an hour a month at the local Foodbank.  Then actively link up online.  People who are interested will find you, and when they do, they’ll follow you.  Passion itself is transformative. And so are you.

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