"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food." Hippocrates

Six Considerations to Help You Make the Best Food Choices

1. Fiber

Fiber is found in different forms such as pectin, hemicellulose, cellulose or lignin. Younger vegetables often contain more soluble (dissolves in water) fibers (pectin and hemicellulose). Insoluble (does not dissolve in water) fibers (cellulose and lignin) are often more prevalent in riper vegetables or fruits. Overall, the more mature the vegetable or fruit, the higher the total fiber content.

Fiber in foods can be partially digestible or completely indigestible. Partly digestible fibers include pectin, hemicellulose and cellulose. Lignin is not digestible at all and even lowers the digestibility of other fibers.

Even though fiber’s nutritional value and effects vary greatly, daily intake is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are necessary for developing and maintaining healthy levels of probiotics. In addition, fiber can provide health benefits for Type II diabetes, constipation, cancer and numerous other health problems.

Since the mid 1990s Daily Reference Intakes (DRIs) have been developed to replace Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). This table will help you determine what your DRIs for fiber should be.

Life Stage Age Grams of Fiber/Day
Infants 0 - 12 months Not Determined
Children 1 - 3 years 19
Children 4 - 8 years 25
Males 9 - 13 years 31
Males 14 - 50 years 38
Males 51 - 70+ years 30
Females 9 - 18 years 26
Females 19 - 50 years 25
Females 51 - 70+ years 21
Females, pregnant 14 - 50 years 28
Females, lactating 14 - 50 years 29

As you can see, the best goals for consuming healthy amounts of daily fiber range from 19 - 25 grams for children to 30 - 38 grams for men to 21 - 29 grams for women. Most people, especially in more westernized societies like ours, consume well below these DRIs.

In the following food tables, amount of fiber (in grams (g) per serving) is listed in the far right column.

2. Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables (PFVs)

Of 47 foods selected for testing because of their documented abilities to promote and support health and wellness, 41 provided 10% or more daily value per test samples of 17 qualifying nutrients. These 17 nutrients included Fiber, Protein, Minerals (Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Zinc) and Vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12, C, D, E and K).

Reference: “Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach” Preventing Chronic Disease 2014;11:130390 by Jennifer Di Noia, PhD.

The abbreviation PFV and a number for the food’s ranking (1 being the highest) are included in the tables below to indicate the foods most strongly associated with reducing the risk of chronic disease. In other words, these are really good foods to regularly include in your diet.

3. Antioxidants

Antioxidants slow or stop oxidation. Oxidation can produce free radicals. Free radicals can lead to chain reactions that can damage your cells. The more of the higher antioxidant choices you consume, the better your cells are protected from oxidative damage. The number in parentheses after each food choice in the tables below indicates its anti-oxidant ranking within its category (1 being the highest).

4. Protein

Amino acids from properly digested proteins are essential for every function in your body. As all well-informed vegetarians know, proper combinations of vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts can provide complete protein profiles. Problems, however, may develop with the absence, or deficiency, of certain nutrients available only, or more concentrated, in meat sources. One typical example is vitamin B12 which is especially available in meats but deficient, if not completely absent, in most vegetarian food selections.

5. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

Briefly, essential fatty acids are critical for all cell membranes, especially brain and nerve tissues, as well as hormone production, skin health and helping control inflammation. There are different types of EFAs. Two, Omega 3s and Omega 6s, are very important to keep within close ratios. Many natural health care experts recommend and equal ratio of 1:1. Others suggest ratios as high as 1 part Omega 3s to:6 parts Omega 6s. Most typical western diets supply far too many Omega 6s. This relative excess of Omega 6s is one of the major contributors to the all-too-prevalent health problems caused by inflammation in our society.

Great food sources of EFAs are meats, deep ocean fish and nuts and seeds as well as oils made from nuts and seeds. To insure adequate and correct ratios of Omega 3s and 6s, it’s best to eat a variety of foods, especially deep ocean fish. Also, replace vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, soy and sunflower with healthier fats like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and macadamia oil. Other excellent sources of good fats are lard and butter, especially clarified butter or ghee (See Resources) from organically-raised, grass-fed, grass-finished, pastured animals.

6. Certified Organic, Non-GMO

According to a recent article published by Dr. Mercola, “Tests from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed close to 70 percent of conventionally grown produce samples contained pesticide residues. In all, 230 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products were identified in more than 38,800 nonorganic samples.

“Strawberries ranked No. 1 in terms of pesticide residues, with up to 22 different pesticides found on a single berry; nearly all the strawberry samples (99 percent) contained at least one detectable pesticide residue, while 20 percent contained 10 or more."

“More than 98 percent of samples of the top six “dirtiest” produce items (strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries (sic - grapes?) and apples) contained at least one pesticide, while spinach contained 1.8 times more pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.

“The best way to avoid pesticide residues in your food is to choose those that haven’t been exposed to them…” In other words, only use organic, non-GMO foods or grow your own.

The following Information is from charts in Dr. Mercola’s above-noted article

“Dirty Dozen” - Most Pesticide Residues “Clean 15” - Fewest Pesticide Residues
Strawberries Avocados
Spinach Sweet corn
Nectarines Pineapples
Apples Cabbage
Grapes Onions
Peaches Sweet peas, frozen without additives
Cherries Papayas
Pears Asparagus
Tomatoes Mangoes
Celery Eggplants
Potatoes Honey dew melons
Sweet bell peppers Kiwis
Obviously, none of the following tables include all the foods available in each category but they can definitely help you make better food choices.

NOTE: Because of their high simple sugar content, starchy, root vegetables such as white potatoes, are best consumed (with skins) during their "normal" season (See NOTE! below under Fruits).

Amount Type of Vegetable Amount of Fiber
1 medium avocado (technically a fruit) 11.8 g
1 cup cooked kale - PFV 15 7.2 g
1 cup cooked winter squash (all varieties) - PFV 32 6.2 g
1 cup cooked carrots - PFV 26 5.2 g
1 cup cooked turnip greens - PFV 11 5.0 g
1 medium cooked sweet potato - PFV 40 (7) 4.9 g
1 cup cooked broccoli - PFV 19 4.5 g
1 cup cooked spinach - PFV 5 4.3 g
1 cup cooked beet greens - PFV 4 4.2 g
1 medium cooked potato, with skin 4.6 g
1 cup cooked cabbage, red - PFV 25 (5) 4.2 g
1 cup cole slaw 4.0 g
1 cup cooked Swiss chard (all varieties) - PFV 3 3.7 g
1 cup cooked Brussels sprouts - PFV 21 3.6 g
1 cup cooked cauliflower - PFV 24 3.4 g
1 cup raw red peppers (all colors & kinds) - PFV 17 3.1 g
1 cup cooked rutabagas - PFV 36 3.1 g
1 cup cooked turnips - PFV 37 3.1 g
1 cup dandelion greens - PFV 16 (2) 3.0 g
1 cup raw onions 2.9 g
1 cup cooked beets 2.8 g
1 cup cooked Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage) - PFV 2 2.8 g
1 cup cooked mustard greens - PFV 12 2.8 g
1 cup cooked pumpkin - PFV 20 2.7 g
1 cup cooked collard greens - PFV 10 2.6 g
1 medium carrot - PFV 26 2.6 g
1 cup scallions - PFV 22 2.6 g
1 cup sweet peppers (all colors & kinds) 2.6 g
1 cup cooked summer squash 2.5 g
1 cup cooked kohlrabi - PFV 23 1.8 g
1 cup endive - PFV 13 1.6 g
1 cup watercress - PFV 1 1.5 g
1 cup romaine lettuce - PFV 9 1.2 g
1 stalk celery 1.1 g
1 medium tomato (technically a fruit) - PFV 27 1.0 g
1 cup leeks - PFV 39 1.0 g
1 cup chicory - PFV 6 0.9 g
1 cup leaf lettuce - PFV 7 0.7 g
1 cup iceberg lettuce - PFV 29 0.7 g
10 sprigs parsley - PFV 8 (1) 0.3 g
1 cup arugula - PFV 18 0.3 g
1 Tbsp chives - PFV 14 0.1 g
1 radish - PFV 31 0.1 g

NOTE: Cooking tomatoes increases their antioxidant content

Other exellent vegetable choices
Artichokes, French (3) Asparagus Eggplant
Garlic (4) Celery root/Celeriac Sauerkraut and Kimchi (ALL naturally fermented vegies are good choices)
Broccoli rabe (6) Dill pickles Zucchini
Meats, including Organ Meats

Whenever possible, choose organically raised, grass-fed, grass-finished, pastured meats.

Meat Examples
Beef Lamb Wild Game (Deer, Elk, etc.)
Bison Pork
Birds/Poultry and Their Eggs

NOTE: Whenever possible, choose organically raised, pastured poultry and their eggs.

CAUTION: Many people have allergic reactions to eggs.

Bird/Poultry Examples
Chicken Turkey
Goose Wild Game (Dove, Duck, Pheasant, Quail, etc.)
Fresh Water Fish, Deep Ocean Fish (Best for Omega 3s) and Shellfish

CAUTION: Avoid all farmed fish and farmed fish products.

Fish Examples
Cod Halibut Trout
Flounder Herring Salmon
Haddock Sardines Tuna, etc.

CAUTION: Many people have allergic reactions to shellfish.

If you're not allergic,

Shellfish Examples
Clams Lobster Oysters Shrimp, etc.
Crab Mussels Scallops

NOTE! Because of their concentrated sugar (fructose) content, consume dried fruit and fruit juices very sparingly. Whole fruits, however, because of their very high anti-oxidant benefits, are valuable additions to a healthy diet when added during their naturally ripe seasons. For example, the typical apples in a grocery store are actually picked six months to a year prior to your placing them in your shopping cart. These apples never reached their full anti-oxidant potential and/or have lost a significant amount of their anti-oxidants.

In addition, your body's metabolism varies throughout the year. It begins to increase in the early spring and peak during the early summer. Then, it begins to slow in early fall with an annual low during winter. Therefore, ripe fruits in your diet should be consumed primarily during the spring and summer. Likewise, higher carbohydrate vegetables, in season, should be consumed mostly during the fall and winter. In other words, by paying attention to and eating "seasonal" foods when they are ripe, you should naturally gain a little weight to prepare for winter and naturally lose a little weight as summer approaches.

Amount Type of Fruit Amount of Fiber
1 cup blackberries - PFV 38 (20) 7.6 g
1 cup raspberries, black (6) and red (21) 6.4 g
1 medium pear and dried (14) 5.1 g
1 medium apple, with skin 5.0 g
1 cup strawberries - PFV 30 (22) 4.4 g
1 cup blueberries (13) 4.2 g
1 medium banana 3.9 g
2 medium figs, dried (29) 3.7 g
1 medium navel orange - PFV 33 3.4 g
3 pieces peaches, dried 3.2 g
1/2 medium grapefruit (pink & red) - PFV 35 3.1 g
1/2 medium grapefruit (white) - PFV 41 3.1 g
4 pieces apricots, dried (31) 2.9 g
1 medium peach 2.0 g
1.5 oz raisins, golden (12) and white (24) 1.6 g
1 cup cantaloupe cubes 1.3 g
1 medium plum 1.1 g
3 medium apricots 1.0 g
1 lime, juice (use freely w veggies or fruits) - PFV 34 0.2 g
1 lemon, juice (use freely w veggies or fruits) - PFV 28 0.1 g
Other high-antioxidant apples
golden (7) golden delicious (33)
dried apples (18) Gala (34)
red delicious (23) Fuji (35)
granny smith (25)
Other high anti-oxidant berries
bilberries (2) chokeberries (8) currants, black (17) and red (28)
barberries (3) serviceberries (9) crowberries, black (18)
lingonberries (4) elderberries (10) mulberries (19)
maquiberries (5) cranberries (15) gooseberries (30)
Other high anti-oxidant fruits
Pomegranate, yellow pith (1) Dates, Medjool and California (26)
Persimmon, Japanese (11) Cherries (27)
Prunes (16) Olives, Kalamata (32)
Peaches, dried (24)

NOTE: Extra virgin olive oil is great for cooking and for making salad dressings

Other fruits to consider
Grapes Melons, all types Passion fruit
Kumquats Nectarines Pineapples
Mangoes Papayas Tangerines
Nuts and Seeds - Great Sources of Proteins, Minerals and EFAs

Also consider adding nut and seed butters, flours, milks and oils to your food choices.

NOTE: Seeds and nuts must be “sprouted” to deactivate their difficult-to-digest enzyme inhibitors. Or, purchase them already sprouted from Higher Power.

Amount Type of Nut or Seed Amount of Fiber
3 Tbsp flax seeds 6.9 g
1 oz Almonds (8) 4.2 g
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds 4.1 g
1 oz pistachios (5) 3.1 g
1 oz walnuts (2) 3.1 g
1/4 cup sunflower seeds 3.0 g
1 oz peanuts 2.3 g
1 oz cashews 1.0 g
Other excellent choices
Pecans (1) Coconuts
Chia seeds, black (3) and white (6) Macadamias (macadamia oil makes the best tasting mayonnaise)
Chestnuts (7) Pine nuts
Hazel nuts (Filberts) (4) Sesame seeds
Brazil nuts

CAUTION: Peanuts may contain aflatoxins. These are carcinogenic molds often found in improperly stored foods and spices such as cassava, chili peppers, corn, cotton seed, millet, rice, sesame seeds, sorghum, sunflower seeds, tree nuts, wheat, etc.

Grains, Cereals and Legumes (Beans and Peas)

CAUTION: Grains and Cereals, especially corn, oats, soy and wheat, often test positive for glyphosphates. The most common sources for this type of contamination are Roundup™-type pesticides used on these and numerous other crops.

CAUTION: To decrease the amount of indigestible lectins in legumes and grains, soak and rinse them several times overnight before cooking until very well done (See Handout).

Lectins are abundant in grains and legumes. They evolved as a plant’s defense mechanism against microorganisms, pests, and insects. Because your body does not digest lectins, it often produces antibodies to them. The result is often an allergic response.

Highest fiber-containing grains
1. Sumac bran 6. Sorghum grain, high-tannin
2. Sorghum bran 7. Rice bran
3. Sorghum, black bran 8. Sorghum grain, black
4. Sumac grain 9. Sorghum grain, red
5. Sorghum bran, red 10. Sorghum bran, white
Amount Type of Grain or Legume Amount of Fiber
1 cup bran cereal 19.9 g
1 cup cooked black beans 13.9 g
1 cup cooked red lentils (18) 13.6 g
1 cup dry rolled oats 12.0 g
1 cup cooked kidney beans, red (14) & black (15) 11.6 g
1 cup cooked peas and split peas 8.8 g
1 cup cooked Lima beans 8.6 g
1 cup cooked soybeans 8.6 g
1 cup cooked quinoa, black (11), red (12) & white (13) 8.4 g
1 cup dry brown rice 7.9 g
1 cup whole wheat pasta 6.3 g
1/4 cup dry quinoa seeds 6.2 g
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans 5.8 g
1 cup sweet corn 4.6 g
1 cup green (string) beans 4.0 g
3 cups air-popped popcorn 3.6 g
1 slice whole wheat bread 2.0 g
Other high fiber legumes
Pink beans (16) Peas, black-eyed (20)
Pinto beans (17) Navy beans
Turtle beans, black (19)

NOTE: Cooking rice (any type), letting it cool and leaving it in the refrigerator overnight before using it has been reported to help convert its simple carbohydrates to more complex carbohydrates.

NOTE: To minimize the digestive problems prevalent with gluten, the only type of wheat flour or wheat products we recommend are made from Einkorn wheat. The company best known for organic Einkorn products is Jovial Foods (See Resources).

NOTE: Also consider flours made from seeds and nuts

Flavorings, Seasonings and Spices

NOTE: All these should be purchased separately and NOT as mixtures

Listed According to Antioxidant Activity
1. Cloves, ground 2. Oregano 3. Rosemary
4. Thyme 5. Cinnamon 6. Turmeric
7. Vanilla bean 8. Sage 9. Pepper, Szechwan
10. Allspice 11. Marjoram 12. Parsley
13. Nutmeg 14. Basil 15. Cocoa powder, unsweetened
16. Cumin seed 17. Chocolate squares, baking, unsweetened 18. Curry
19. Pepper, white 20. Chocolate powder, Dutch 21. Ginger, powdered
22. Pepper, black 23. Sage 24. Mustard seed, yellow
25. Thyme 26. Marjoram, sweet 27. Paprika
28. Saffron 29. Pepper, cayenne, red 30. Parsley, French chervil
31. Tarragon 32. Ginger root 33. Star anise
34. Rosemary 35. Savory 36. Pepper, jalapeno
37. Garlic, powder 38. Cilantro 39. Dill weed
40. Onion, powder 41. Cardamon
Also very high in anti-oxidants
Bay leaf Wasabi powder, natural

Salt has acquired a bad reputation in some health circles, especially as it relates to cardiovascular conditions. This may be due to negative effects of commercial salts. Your best choice is salt from ancient sea beds. Cook without salt and only add it to your foods after doing a “taste test.” Moisten the tip of your little finger. Touch it to a little salt and taste it. If it tastes really good, add it to your food. If not, leave it out of your meal.

Condiments, Cooking Aids and Sweeteners

Among many others:

Condiments: Make your own OR purchase ketchups, mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressings, etc. from Primal Kitchen

Cooking Aids: baking soda; gelatin, unflavored; horseradish sauce, homemade; vinegar - Bragg’s unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider brand (available in most grocery stores)

Sweeteners: date sugar, local honey or monk fruit. Avoid regular sugar and anything made with it. Just as important, if not more so, avoid MSG and Artificial Sweeteners

Dairy and Dairy Products

NOTE: Whenever possible choose milk and milk products from organically-raised, grass-fed, grass-finished, pastured animals.

CAUTION: A significant number of children and adults are allergic to cow’s milk. Pasteurization increases the difficulty for humans to properly digest cow’s milk and milk products. Consider goat or sheep milk and their products OR seed or nut milks.

Butter: Ghee (clarified butter) and/or Kerrygold brand (available in many grocery and health food stores)

If you digest and metabolize milk and milk products without any negative symptoms, select cheeses made with a bacterial culture and aged at least 30 days.

Example Cheeses and Suggested Usage:

Brick Asiago Blue
Cheddar Brie Camembert
Colby Edam Gorgonzola
Dry curd cottage cheese Gouda Limburger
Gruyere Monterey Jack Muenster
Havarti Parmesan Port du Salut
Manchego Romano Roquefort
Provolone Stilton

Ice cream, homemade with no sugar

Yogurt, homemade, fermented for 24 hours

Drinks: 1st Choice - Pure Water

NOTE: Your kidneys process about 4 ounces of water every hour. Download a free timer for your computer (or use a kitchen timer) to remind you to drink about 4 ounces of water every waking hour throughout the day. For anyone who “just doesn’t like the taste of water,” try EartH2O (See Link Below) or another brand. You may also find water is lots easier to drink if you add a little fresh lemon or lime juice.

EartH2O brand bottled water as well as their home and office dispensers; Carbonated water such as Pelligrino, Perrier, Voss, etc.

Coffee, Purity brand

Some of the Highest Anti-Oxidant Teas
Peppermint (1) Ginger
Hibiscus (2) Green
Lemon balm (3) Spearmint
Black Tulsi

Beverages containing alcohol should be used very occasionally and in small amounts. A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of pure water for every alcohol-containing drink you consume. Best choices, for lowest sugar content, include very dry wine, bourbon, gin, vodka or whiskey.

Some Mushrooms Reported to Enhance Immune Function

NOTE: Mushrooms are an excellent addition to most meals.

Highest first then in alphabetical order:
Chaga (1) Coriolus Poria
Reishi (2) Cordyceps Royal sun blazei
Maitake (3) Enkitake Shiitake
Oyster (4) Hericium Suchirotake
Agarikon Himematsutake Tremella
Amadou Lion' mane Turkey tail
Antrodia camphorata Mesima Umbellatus
Artist’s conk Polypore, birch, split gill and true tinder Wood ear
Some Herbs with the Highest Reported Antioxidant Activity
Highest in anti-oxidant activity
1. Dragon's blood 2. Triphala powder 3. Cascara powder 4. Water hyssop
5. Baobab fruit powder 6. Black cohosh 7 Grape seed 8. Licorice root
9. Acai berries 10. Rose hips 11. Gotu kola 12. Camu camu
13. Ginkgo biloba 14. Mistletoe 15. Brazilian grape tree 16. Astragalus
17. Dandelion root 18. Moringa 19. Ashwagandha root 20. Burdock root
21. Maca root 22. Sea buckthorn berries 23. Goji berries 24. Tamarind fruit
Additional Thoughts and Suggestions

Food preferences are uniquely individual. Take your time to determine which dietary choices make the most sense to you and what works best for you. If you’re trying a “new” food, consume small amounts at first. As long as you have no negative reactions, add increasingly larger amounts, each of the next few times you try it, until you’re sure it’s OK for you.

Many people ask what to order when they go to restaurants. Never hesitate to inform your waitress or waiter that you have special dietary preferences and would like to modify what you see on the menu. Not only the wait staff but also chefs love the opportunity to “try something a little different.” Think of it as a great way to help them experience something out of the ordinary during their routine work day. The chef may even add a meal named after you to his/her menu.

With this in mind, select your choice of meat and vegetables. Or, if you’re a vegetarian, select which grains and legumes combinations you prefer. Don’t forget to ask about and have them omit, or leave on the side, any creamy sauces. Then, let them know you prefer to pass on the bread and starchy vegetables such as white potatoes. As a final note, ask that your entree be grilled, baked or broiled, with no added flavorings, rather than fried.

I’ve never had this not work. And, it’s not unusual for the chef to come to the table to discuss particular requests, likes and dislikes. Good chefs love being creative.

Example: During our last “date night,” I ordered the blackened Ahi tuna dinner. I requested no blackening herbs, no sauces, jasmine rice instead of carrots and ordered the tuna rare. It was served perfectly prepared with extra steamed broccoli florets. A truly superb dinner with Voss sparkling water instead of tap water.

Food Cravings

We all have them. The more you resist, the stronger they become.

The stress of trying to resist a food craving can be as bad or worse for your body than eating the food, no matter how bad the particular food may be for you.

A patient sent me a great quote in an email: “The feast truly is in the first bite.” This is directly in alignment with a technique I’ve often recommended.

Instead of letting the stress of resisting build until you finally “eat the whole thing,” take a bite, put your spoon or fork down, savor the flavors, chew excruciatingly slowly, let it melt in your mouth and wait five minutes after swallowing. Then, consciously question whether you want more or not.

Most people discover “The feast truly is in the first bite.” If not, one more bite, consumed the same way, usually does it. Your craving is satisfied without all the stress. And, best of all, you eat significantly less of a food you know is not the best choice for your body.

Enjoy Your Healthy Food Choices and Your Improved Health