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+ Healthy Food Guide: Keys to Longevity & Vitality
+ Mediterranean Diet and the Bible
+ Sweets Transitioning Tips
HEALTHY FOOD GUIDE
Since the USDA "revised" their Food Guide in 2005 by flipping it on its side and offering color-coded "stripes" rather than the more definitive labeling of food categories, there has been some confusion as to what constitutes a "healthy diet". For example, nutritionists point out that the new USDA Food Guide does not clearly differentiate between "healthy" foods and the "junk foods" that we are supposed to eat sparingly in order to maintain optimum wellness. 
THREE DIETARY KEYS to a Longer, Healthier Life
Research studies and analysis indicate that a plant-based diet rich in whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and contribute towards healthy weight management over the long-run. 
An analysis of 147 studies has found that a diet emphasizing the following three keys --
1.) incorporating lots of fruits , vegetables, nuts and whole grains,
2.) substituting non-hydrogenated, mono-unsaturated "healthy" fats such as olive oil in place of saturated and trans-fats, and
3.) boosting consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from fish, fish oil supplements and/or plant sources
-- are instrumental in building heart health and reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. 
This is important, considering that heart disease caused one-third of all deaths worldwide in 1999, according to the American Heart Association, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. as well as in Europe , and will be the leading cause of death in developing countries by 2010.
Ideal for Longevity and Vitality: The Mediterranean Diet
An impressive body of evidence, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association and elsewhere, points to the merits of adhering to a food program akin to the Mediterranean Diet. People groups in the Mediterranean part of the world who have adhered to this food guide — eating a diet rich in complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables with plenty of fiber and healthier fats such as that from nuts and olive oil — have lower rates of heart disease as compared to the rest of the world. 
In addition, the first-ever study to measure the impact of the Mediterranean Diet in the U.S. population has found this healthier way of eating increased life expectancy among Americans. The study surveyed over 380,000 people in the U.S. during a five-year period and found those who ate closest to the Mediterranean diet had significantly lower heart disease and cancer rates as well as lower death rates from all other causes. 
It is interesting to note that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, while on earth, lived in Israel which is in the Mediterranean part of the world which consumes this healthy diet. Even to this day, Israel has among the very lowest death rates in the world among the industrialized countries. 
Components of the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet may be summarized as follows (in decreasing order of prominence as you go up the triangle, divided into daily, weekly and monthly frequencies):
I. DAILY CONSUMPTION
Bottom Level (BASE of triange): Largest component of the diet
> Whole Grains & Other Complex Carbohydrates: Whole-grain breads, pastas, rice, polenta, other whole-grain products such as cereals (please see the whole-grain cereal recipe on the "Recipes, Vol. 2" page) potatoes and other complex carbohydrates.
Next Level Up:
> Fruits: Apples*, oranges, pears, bananas, pomegranate, cherries, apricots, pineapple, kiwi fruit, grapes*, papaya, avocado (in moderation), strawberries*, papaya, etc. (*To reduce pesticide residues, buy organic, especially asterisked fruits.)
> Vegetables: Lettuce*, radichio*, dandelion greens*, parsley, celery, radish, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, eggplant, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, various squash* (zucchini, acorn, butternut, etc.), collards*, etc. (*To reduce pesticide residues, buy organic, especially asterisked vegetables.)
> Beans, Legumes and Nuts (for a delicious mixed nut recipe and information about heart-health benefits of nuts, please see "God's Candy" on the "Recipes, Vol. 1" page).
Next Level Up:
> Olive Oil* as an important source of the "good fats" for heart health. (*Be sure to buy ORGANIC olive oil to reduce exposure to pesticide residues.)
Next Level Up:
> Dairy*: Cheese and yogurt (*Because dairy products are made from fat -- the "chemical depositories" of animals -- it is prudent to buy organic versions of these products to reduce chemical residues). Those who cannot digest milk products might consider a reliable, balance calcium supplement (see the "Teaching page" which features criteria for a good supplement). According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 25% of all adults in the U.S. are unable to completely digest lactose (a sugar that occurs naturally in milk), so calcium supplementation would be especially important for these individuals to consider.
II. WEEKLY CONSUMPTION:
(in descending order of quantity)
> Fish: Healthy examples are salmon*, mackarel (smaller sized), snapper, sea bass, whitefish. Avoid larger species of fish (tuna, swordfish, tilefish) which are higher up on the food chain, and tend to contain higher amounts of toxic metals such as mercury.
*Caution: Make sure salmon and other fish you buy is NOT farm raised (for example, "Atlantic salmon" is farm-raised). Farm-raised salmon have TEN times the PCB toxin level as wild salmon, according to a salmon analysis done in British Columbia, Canada, and farm-raised salmon contain large amounts of pesticides, antiobiotics and other toxins. In addition, farm-raised salmon is ARTIFICIALLY COLORED, because otherwise it would be gray in color! It is always better to opt for WILD, ocean-caught salmon.)
> Poultry: Purchase organic chicken whenever possible to reduce the possibility of pesticides, antibiotics and other chemicals.
> Eggs: Buy organic whenever possible. The superior taste, nutrition and reduction in chemicals is worth the extra cost.
> Sweets: Consume in moderation. (See the "Sweets Transitiion Tips" on this page, below)
III. MONTHLY CONSUMPTION:
> Red meat: Because of the chemical residues in conventionally grown meat, consider organic, free-range beef grown without antiobiotics or artificially administered hormones. Key: Read labels carefully, especially in prepared red meat products. Especially AVOID processed meat products, as well as any meat products with nitrites and/or nitrates, which are potent carcinogens.
Paradigm shift: Think of meat as a seasoning, rather than as an entrée.
The Mediterranean Diet is in the Bible 
The Scriptures have many references to foods that are part of the Mediterranean Diet in the following list:
* Dark grainy bread, high in fiber which offers protection against heart disease and cancer (Exodus 12:8, 15; Ezekiel 4:9)
* Wheat, barley, grapesº, pomegranates, honey (Deuteronomy 8:8)
* Beans (Ezekiel 4:9)
* Cucumbers, melons, leeks and onions (Numbers 11:5)
* Garlic, which naturally contains cancer-fighting properties and raises good (HDL) cholesterol (Numbers 11:5)
* Olive oilº, which helps "clean" artery walls and strengthens the immune system (Deuteronomy 8:8)
* Yogurtº, milkº of cows, sheep, goats (Isaiah 7:15,22; Proverbs 27:27, Amplified Bible)
* Fish species that have scales (wild, not farm raised) (Leviticus 11:9; Deuteronomy 14:9)
* Clean, lean meatº from specific animals (Leviticus 11:2-3)
º Buy organic whenever possible, especially items marked with (º) to reduce present-day pesticide residues.
Note that shellfish (e.g., crab, oysters, lobster, etc.) and products from the pig (e.g., bacon, ham, sausage, pork, etc.) are omitted from the Mediterranean food guide. They are from scavengers -- the earth's "garbage collectors" -- which God never intended for us to eat! In one of Charles and Frances Hunter's healing training videos, a doctor testified that for several hours after a healthy person eats a pork dinner, their blood when examined under a microscope looks IDENTICAL to a cancer patient's blood!
For a shopping list sample incorporating many of the foods in the heart-heatlhy Mediterranean food guide, please see the "Healthy Shopping List" page.
 Tim Radak, DrPh, R.D., nutrition director, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, commenting about the fundamental shortcomings of the 2005 USDA Food Guide.
 A wide range of research, including the National Weight Control Registry and the China Health Study, point to the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet.
 Hu, FB, Willett WC: Optimal Diets for Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease, JAMA, Vol 288, No. 20, 2569-2578, Nov 27, 2002.
 European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics, 2000 Edition, British Heart Foundation.
 International Task Force for Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease.
 Panagiota N. Mitrou, PhD, et al: Mediterranean Dietary Pattern and Prediction of All-Cause Mortality in a US Population, Archives of Internal Medicine, 2007;167(22):2461-2468.
 World Factbook: Published death rates (estimated) by country, all causes, as of Sept. 2005 (industrialized nations).
 Mediterranean Food Guide diagram adapted from Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust graphic.
 Scriptural references regarding foods that are in the Mediterranean diet are mentioned in Benny Hinn's teaching, "The Biblical Road to Health", 1998.
SWEETS TRANSITIONING TIPS
Adapted from Nutritionist Shelley Keast's recommendations and other sources
Here are tips to help you taper off gradually towards healthier alternatives. You will most likely find that when you switch to healthier foods, your taste buds will "change" and these good-for-you foods will actually start tasting BETTER than the foods you used to eat.
GOOD GOAL — Transition to HEALTHIER SWEETENERS: Fructose, fruit concentrates (not grape or raisin; too much sugar), malt or date sugar, or stevia (sold as a nutritional supplement; may have tendency to leave bitter aftertaste, however).
These sweeteners are OK in very small amounts: Honey, blackstrap molasses and real maple syrup.
FRESH FRUIT, however, is the healthiest alternative to any of these.
(Editor’s note: Try to avoid artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame/NutraSweet® [which have been known to cause adverse reactions] and a “newer” sweetener, Splenda® [Sucralose], which is a sweetener made by combining sugar molecules with chlorine molecules; there have also been indications of adverse reactions with Splenda/Sucralose, and its long-term safety record is still unknown.)
KEY: Read ingredient labels carefully.
The following are arranged in steps from SWEETEST (least healthy) to MOST BENEFICIAL (most healthy) in each category:
to MARTINELLI SPARKLING JUICE
to FLAVORED SPARKLING WATER
to PURIFIED WATER (with fresh lemon or lime)
to HONEY HILL FROZEN YOGURT (honey)
to ALTA DENA FROZEN YOGURT (fructose and honey)
to RICE DREAM (rice syrup)
to FROZEN YOGURT
(Caution: WATCH LABELS -- Beware of sugar and fat, and only buy ones made with fructose, non-fat kind.)
to WHOLE GRAIN & HONEY COOKIES AND GRAHAMS (Health Valley)
to WHOLE GRAIN COOKIES sweetened with fruit juice and/or malt (Health Valley, Westbrae)
KEY: Read labels carefully; look at sweeteners.
CANDY & CHOCOLATE
to CAROB (sweetened w/ fructose)
to CAROB (sweetened w/fruit juice)
to DRIED FRUIT (un-sulfured and without added sugar)
to FRESH FRUIT (buy organic whenever possible)
JAM / JELLY / PANCAKE SYRUP
GRAPE CONCENTRATE JELLY
to REAL MAPLE SYRUP (a bit healthier, but still very sweet)
to ORGANIC BROWN RICE SYRUP (Lundberg)
CAKES, BAKED GOODS
to HEALTH FOOD STORE ITEMS
to BEST CHOICE: HOMEMADE USING ORGANIC WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR & ORGANIC INGREDIENTS