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Savor The Flavor Of Eating Right


We eat every day, several times a day. But in our fast paced culture,
more often than not we are eating on the run, grabbing a toaster pastry
and a cup of coffee to gulp down in the car on the way to work. We grab
fast food for lunch, or we multi-task our meals by sitting at our desk
and eat while working. Then, because we are so wiped out from our
fast-paced day, we look for the quickest way to get dinner on the table,
often resorting to microwavable dinners or instant meals from a box. In
the incredible pace of our lives, we have lost the connection between
what we eat and how we feel, and we have forgotten what it means to
truly nourish ourselves.

Eating is more than physical nourishment. How, when, why, and where we
eat are just as important to our daily health as what we eat. In an
effort to educate and empower Americans to slow down, smell the coffee,
and enjoy the experience of nourishing ourselves on many levels, the
American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has established National
Nutrition Month — a month long education campaign held annually during
March — aimed at educating and empowering Americans into healthier

The theme for 2016 is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” which
encourages everyone to take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate
the pleasures, great flavors, and social experiences food can add to
our lives.

Everyone has a different idea of what it means to “eat right,” but most
can agree that eating right encompasses opting for foods that nourish
our senses as well as our bodies.

Plant foods contain many beneficial compounds that give them their
organoleptic properties — the aspects of food that we experience with
our senses, such as taste, sight, smell, and touch. These compounds are
also responsible for the many health benefits contained in our foods.

Garlic, for instance, is affectionately known as “the stinking rose”
owing to its distinct pungent aroma. The compounds responsible for
garlic’s characteristically pungent odor, alliin and allicin, are also
the source of many of its health-promoting properties, including
anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-cancer, and
cardiovascular benefits. You can increase the health benefits you
receive from garlic by “savoring” it before eating or cooking. Letting
garlic sit after you’ve chopped or crushed it allows special enzymes in
the garlic to activate the alliin and allicin, giving garlic an
opportunity to work on behalf of your health.

The bitter tastes in foods are always an indication of high antioxidant
content, which is why most leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables such
as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale have a bitter taste. Teas,
coffee, grapefruit, and cacao are bitter in their natural form, and we
can offset and savor their flavors by pairing them with natural

We can “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” in many other ways as well, by
taking the time to enjoy everything that a healthful and tasty meal
brings with it. With that in mind, here are some ways to make the most
of your eating experience:

Savor the Flavor of Health
Eating more fruits and vegetables can ward off chronic diseases
including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. But it’s not just about
eating more plant foods, it’s about making sure you get enough variety
and color in your produce choices. The colors in plant foods represent
certain phytonutrients — beneficial compounds, including antioxidants,
that give these foods their disease fighting properties.  Each vibrant
color group of fruits and vegetables offer unique health benefits that
the other colors don’t have, so it’s important to make sure you include
all of them in your meals.

  • Purple fruits and vegetables, such as grapes, raisins, blueberries, red cabbage, purple potatoes, and eggplant promote brain health.
  • Orange fruits and vegetables, such as apricots, oranges, carrots, pumpkin, and other winter squashes promote eye health.
  • Green fruits and
    vegetables, such as broccoli, leafy greens like lettuces, spinach and
    kale, and cucumbers, green beans and peas promote the health of your
    cells and your blood. They are great cancer fighters.
  • Red fruits and vegetables, such as apples, grapes, peppers, cherries, and berries, promote heart health.
  • White fruits and vegetables, such as garlic and
    onions, promote bone and joint health, in addition to their natural
    anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

You can savor the flavor of health by eating 5–13 servings of vibrantly
colored fruits and vegetables per day, which is about 2.5 to 6.5 cups a
day depending on your gender, age, and activity level. To get the most
benefit, make green leafy vegetables a daily staple food, while varying
the other four color groups several times a week.

Savor the Flavor of Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is an ancient practice that is as relevant and important
today as it was generation ago. It is a conscious approach to eating
that is the complete opposite of “blindful” eating — the type of eating
that unfortunately most people engage in on a daily basis. Eating on the
run, eating while working or watching TV, eating when not hungry,
eating foods that you know are not in your best interest, eating for
emotional reasons, entertainment and distraction, are all forms of
“blindful” eating.

Mindful eating is more than eating slowly without distraction. It means
paying attention to what and when you eat, and learning to make choices
based on actual true hunger. It is a responsible manner of eating that
allows you to be present so you can notice and enjoy your food and its
effects on your body. Mindful eating also means learning to value the
quality of your food. Learning to value the quality of your food also
means learning to value yourself: a more important factor in improving
your health than anything else.
Savor the Flavor of Family and Community

Research shows that eating as a family or with groups of friends and
loved ones has great benefits for your children as well as adults.
Conversations during meals provide opportunities for families and
friends to bond, plan, connect, and learn from one another. It’s a
chance to share information and news of the day, as well as give extra
attention to children and teens. Family meals foster warmth, security,
and love, as well as feelings of belonging — all important aspects of
overall health. It can be a unifying experience for all.

Celebrate National Nutrition Month this March by slowing down and taking
time to be present when eating and to appreciate the health benefits
and the positive emotions that accompany mealtime. These are all
important steps in developing a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

Dee McCaffrey is an organic chemist, nutritionist, and author of The
Science of Skinny and The Science of Skinny Cookbook. Dee lost 100
pounds and has kept the weight off for over 20 years by following a
whole foods diet. She is the founder of Processed-Free America, a
non-profit organization dedicated to bringing a national awareness of
the effect processed foods have on our health, and the healing
properties of natural whole foods. She offers fee based one-on-one
nutrition counseling to help clients find the right nutritional balance
for their lifestyle. Contact Dee at 888-322-9442 or

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