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Color Cuisine Guiding Principles

Today's fast-paced lifestyle has robbed us of the time we need to care for the most basic human need: sustaining life by feeding ourselves well. We eat more than enough calories, but the quality of what we eat is so poor that it doesn't sustain optimum health. The grab-and-feed mentality of the twenty-first century has obliterated the once-important practice of providing healthy family meals, and we are paying a heavy price. More than half the adult population and a growing number of children are classified as "obese" and poor diet is implicated in all chronic diseases.

As a culture, we're desperately searching for ways to combat the trend, but we most often look in the wrong places and toward extreme diets and pills.

The plan presented in this book is really simple: Just consider that everything you put into your mouth becomes part of you.

If you are not energized by the color of the food you're eating, that's a clue that it will wind up as fat around your abdomen, waist, thighs, and buttocks.

And you may not have the right stuff to think clearly and to combat stress. Do you make a habit of eating on the run? If so, you may be plagued with digestive problems and be less able to access food nutrients. It's also extremely likely that you will not have the quality of life you hope for in older age.

My choice, and I hope yours, is to travel along a different path to eating better with the fresh and colorful foods provided by nature.



7-Color Cuisine: Healing the Mind and Body

In the mid-1970s Dr. Stephen DeFelice first used the term nutraceutical to describe a broad class of nutrients with disease-fighting properties. Since that time this category has been further defined to highlight important disease-fighting chemicals found in plant and animal foods.

Phytonutrients give plants their bright colors, and we access their healing powers when we eat those brightly colored foods. Animals that eat phytonutrient-rich foods transform them into zoonutrients that color egg yolks and make butter appear yellow and make salmon and trout pink.

Range-fed animals and wild game eat phytonutrient grasses and, as a result, their meat contains higher levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid than does that of their grain-fed counterparts. Range animals are also leaner and, if organically raised, their meet doesn't contain hormones or antibiotic residues.

Over the last century, changes in the way animals are fed, shifting from range-fed to feed, has led to substantial change in meat quality. If you're a big meat-eater, it's even more important that you get your daily servings of vegetables and fruits to balance the potential health challenges presented by a diet rich in meat.

Eating the right colors every day is the basis of my new system, but other factors play into it for a full and satisfying culinary experience, including mindfulness, shopping without distraction, and preparing meals with intention.

The Need for Mindfulness

The 7-Color system emphasizes the need to be fully engaged in what you're doing, whether you're shopping, cooking, or eating. Set aside multitasking and enjoy cooking to its fullest.

Get to know the deep satisfaction in shopping for the most colorful foods and planning menus around them to nourish your whole person as one of our greatest weapons against stress.

As we grow older, mindfulness becomes more important. One definition of aging includes a decline in our being's ability to cope with environmental,
psychological, and physiological stresses.

As our adaptive ability decreases, our immune systems are less able to respond appropriately to challenges, leading to an increased tendency toward illness. By keeping your mind fully engaged in the current moment, you may be able to reduce stress and mitigate the chance of developing chronic conditions.

Shopping Without Distraction

When you shop, do so with as little distraction as possible so that you have time to read labels and think about what you're buying. Plan two or three shopping times per week, including during the weekend and midweek. These trips can be short stops to the produce, fish, and dairy sections, because you will have already established and maintained your dry pantry of staple goods.

Make shopping times a priority by scheduling them as weekly events. And be sure to take a shopping list and avoid browsing in supermarkets, because if you don't, you're much more likely to buy items with clever marketing and packaging that hide less healthful qualities.

Before heading to the store, review your menu plans and list the items you'll need for the menus needed for the suggested menus.

(Worksheets are included in Appendix C to help you figure that out as an on-going task). As you become more adept at working with the 7-Color system, you'll get used to selecting the choicest fruits and vegetables and be able to pair them quickly with grains, legumes, and animal source foods to build your own color-based menus. Using the menu plans, you'll also have an endless array of combinations to choose from.

To keep your pantry well stocked, you'll maintain a running list of needed items in a convenient location, perhaps on the refrigerator.

If you've noted specifics, you'll see when particular shelf pantry items are running low, as you will with staples freezer that you always want to have on hand in the refrigerator. You'll want to update your list as you prepare meals to replenish any ingredients used. (Complete lists of wet and dry staples can be found in the book).

Preparing Meals with Intention

You'll find daily menu plans with recipes and list of ingredients to buy in Part Two. With a purposeful plan for meal preparation, the first step is to establish your food preparation area and remove all nonessential items. That's important whether your kitchen is small or large.

Arrange the items you use most in a drawer adjacent to the food preparation area. Make sure that the area is clean and, as you work, use a damp bar towel to wipe your hands and clean spills fast.

Rinse the bar towel frequently and change it daily.

If you make clean-up a part of food preparation, you'll eliminate the unpleasant task of returning to a disaster after a great meal when everyone is relaxed.

Reserve one chopping board for raw fish, poultry, and meat and scrub it thoroughly with detergent after each use. Other boards used for vegetables need only to be cleaned with water.

Assemble all of the ingredients, cookware, and utensils you need to prepare a recipe.

Small items like fresh herbs, onions, and garlic can be chopped and set aside in small bowls until you're ready to use them. (There's a list of essential equipment and gadgets in the book).

While you're preparing the meal, someone who's going to eat it might well help you by setting an attractive table. Many working couples use the tag-team idea, and that's much more fun than working alone, plus it allows you to release the workday mind-set.



If you eat your meals alone it's even more important for you to "stage" your dining area with an attractive place setting and soft music or whatever helps you relax. Candlelight sets a wonderful mood for dining anytime. A candle flame's intense energy can serve to remind you of the renewed energy your food will provide and help you focus on what you are eating.

Parents can get children involved with meal preparation and make it a time for informal conversation and discussion about proper nutrition. Traditionally the kitchen has been the hub of the home where family and friends gather during meal preparation. People are drawn to the sight and smell of good food being well prepared, and that warm feeling also helps stimulate
good digestion.

When the mind is fully engaged in food preparation, signals are sent from the brain to the digestive organs, allowing them to produce the right blend of acids and enzymes to digest the meal's contents.

Article Source: http://www.articledashboard.com.

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Excerpted from 7-Color Cuisine: Making healthy, colorful foods a lifestyle for nutrition and good eating by Marcia Zimmerman, M.

D. (Penmarin Books, February 2006). .

By: Marcia Zimmerman



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