Crucifers Heal You! Canola Congeals You! Why Nutrition Rules
Real food heals. Some popular pharmaceuticals kill. Crazy, you say? Ahem … here’s a solid fact: Every year, over 125,000 Americans die as a side effect of taking a legal drug. No one has ever keeled over from too much cauliflower, watermelon or olive oil.
Real food — not the fake processed foods filled with nasty chemicals and naughty additives — prevents disease, too. Real food also gives you sustainable energy, versus the Red Bull family of energy shots that later leave you sleeping on the subway.
Even if you flunked biology and think the Krebs cycle is a new kind of adult three-wheeler, you can appreciate that every cell of your body and brain works or doesn’t work according to the nutrients it does or doesn’t get. It’s a delicate balance, and if you don’t get the mix of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and acid-to-alkaline just right, you get sick. Sometimes very sick — think heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more.
Last week — acting responsibly, as your most personal trainer — I explained why having a gifted nutritionist on your health care team is more important than teeth brightening. Your body chemistry is uniquely your own. Just because your best friend takes calcium, iron or vitamin D doesn’t mean you should.
Doctors know more about pet care than they know about nutrition, so don’t depend on them to clear up your confusion. The smart way to improve your nutritional profile is to get tested and discuss your blood chemistry, line by line, with an expert who can prescribe food — real food first, supplements second — to get you back in balance.
Carmen Fusco is one of those experts — a nutrition professor, clinician and research scientist with a very big brain and a very low tolerance for healing patients with drugs. She started her career back in the ’70s, teaching pharmacology. Once she realized the destructive side effects and misleading claims of many drugs, she switched her allegiance to healing with real food –focusing on “the nutritional aspects of aging” — and that’s her specialty now.
That’s why I went to see her, and it turned out to be a mind-blowing experience. I was Carmenized! And you should be, too — if not by Fusco, who lives in New York and refuses to be cloned, then by a gifted nutritionist of your own careful choosing.
Meanwhile, here’s a sprinkling of Carmenology:
— “Corn oil is terrible,” says Carmen, speaking biochemically. “Very carcinogenic.” Yikes! Avoid margarine and canola oil, too, which “contains erucic acid, a cardio toxin.”
(NOTE: Carmen — a cross between Dr. Ruth and Marlo Thomas — is an Olympic class speed-talker. You can develop carpel tunnel, which she treats with vitamin B6, trying to keep up with her dazzling display of micronutrient minutia. When you consult with your own nutritionist, bring a tape recorder or friend to take notes.)
— Eat cold-water fatty fish rich in anti-aging nucleic acids. Halibut, cod and scrod, haddock, wild salmon, sardines. Limit tuna to once a week. Avoid swordfish and snapper — two of the many tainted varieties with too much mercury.
(NOTE: Carmen is keen on wild Blueback Salmon by Bumblebee and handed me a small can to take home. A cook, she also offered up a tantalizing recipe for mixing it with chopped celery, red onion, a little real mayo and turmeric. She adores turmeric! Why? …)
— Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-oxidant and an immune booster. She’s also big on low-sodium tamari, garlic, mustard and oregano to flavor food. Go light on salt, and if you are one of millions trying to regulate blood sugar, season with pure cinnamon.
— “No artificial sweeteners!” (This is when I almost kissed her.) Bad, bad, bad. If you must, sweeten with Stevia. Tupelo honey is a good natural sweetener. (SET ITAL) Everything (END ITAL) in moderation, Carmen says, including her glass of red wine.
— Cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale are all sacred crucifers that lead the list of her cancer-righting foods. It’s all because of the indole-3 carbinol (L3C) and the DIM (diindolylmethane), she says. I believe her.
I’m just getting started, but my shitake mushrooms need stirring. There’s more Carmenizing on her website: www.Rejuvenex.net. She does sell a few of her own formulas — a multivitamin, some skin care products — but her main pitch is the extraordinary healing power of food. Mine, too.
ENERGY EXPRESS-O! GOBBLING IT UP
“Chicken once a week. Eat turkey! The CLA in it is anti-belly fat!” — Professor Carmen Fusco