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We Need A New Image Of What A Healthy Meal Looks Like

As an anti-aging consultant, I am all too familiar with the type of anti-aging "enthusiast," who is constantly on the lookout for the latest "magic bullet," which will reverse the aging process so powerfully, that the "enthusiast" can continue to eat a sub-par diet, sit on the couch, and generally fail to do simple and sensible things to support wellness.

Readers of Growing Young, my recently published guide to powerful, natural anti-aging methods, understand the unique power of certain little known nutraceuticals to reverse the aging process, when combined synergistically. A key aspect of this age-reversing synergy depends on the right kind of diet, which is why a significant portion of the book covers the critical importance of diet in anti-aging.

While diet is presented in the book as just one of several, strategic keys to "unlock" the exciting, built-in age reversing cellular mechanisms that have been discovered over the past few years, it is what I would call, an essential key. What this means is that, if you implement everything else carefully and rigorously, but fudge on the diet portion, you are shortchanging yourself.

What is so exciting to me is just how easy it is to adopt an anti-aging diet, and how satisfying this way of eating can be. I would not want to go back to my old, pro-aging ways of eating. Sure, just as I recommend in Growing Young, I have a splurge day where "anything goes," but the other six days, I really have no desire to "fall off the wagon," because I really enjoy the "anti-aging" way of eating.

I have discovered a few things as my own eating habits have evolved, in my quest to eat food that supports my own wellness goals, and I'd like to share them, to help make the transition easier for anyone who would like to follow suit.

One of these discoveries was that I needed to develop a "new picture" of what a healthy meal looks like. I mean a mental picture, to help guide me when picking things to put on my plate. Keep in mind that like most people, at least 10 meals per week are eaten outside my home, most often at the hospital cafeteria.

Until I had this mental picture of a "hearty meal" in my mind, I instinctively felt a sense that something was missing from my plate. Now that I have that picture, it's gotten a lot easier to choose, and enjoy healthy food. In order to help other folks create the mental image of truly healthy meals, I am going to begin posting photos of what I am eating, along with some comments about the reasons for choosing this or that portion of a meal.

I will also critique my own meals, especially because many of them will be a compromise, where none of the choices open to me were "perfect." The idea is to present a snapshot of the food choices of an anti-aging consultant who lives in "the real world,"just like the readers of this blog.

Let's get started, shall we?

Meal Number One: Grain-Free Salmon Cakes, with Fresh Garden Salad, and Homemade, Gluten-Free Tamari and Sesame Oil Dressing with Chopped Cashews

OK, so this one doesn't look like much of a compromise, I'll admit. But it illustrates a few things. Most importantly, notice the size of the salad, compared with the protein portion. I think this is a healthy ratio. Also notice that there are three salmon cakes, not just one or two.

One of the stumbling blocks on the way to eliminating carbs and especially grains from our meals, is a tendency to undersize the portions of the foods we do want to eat. When we leave out the bread, pasta and white potatoes, we have to remember to make up for it with somewhat larger portions of good things.

This is a pleasantly filling evening meal, which will stay with me all night, with no just-before-bedtime cravings. There are virtually no soluble carbs here, so there is little stimulus for insulin release (that's what keeps between meal cravings at bay). Notice that this meal is in no way, "heavy;" after dinner, you could take a nice evening stroll, or even do a workout session. This one won't pin you to the couch.

Omega 3's are abundant here of course, not just in the salmon, but because they are made with whole, fresh free-range eggs, which provide additional omega 3 fatty acids (yes, free-range eggs have lots of DHA in them, just like salmon, though not nearly as much). There are also abundant micronutrients, and complete protein, both from the salmon and the whole eggs (don't discard those yolks!). In addition, avocado provides abundant, healthy, anti-inflammatory, energy sustaining monounsaturated fat.

This meal has it all: plenty of protein, lots of essential fats for brain and vascular health and anti-inflammatory goodness, trace minerals and other micronutrients galore, B-vitamins, vital enzymes, and no carbs, or inflammatory grains. If Americans ate more like this we wouldn't be in the midst of a chronic disease epidemic.

Just as important, this meal has flavor and texture galore, to satisfy the eye, the heart and the palate. Made with sustainably harvested, wild Alaskan canned salmon, it's also environmentally responsible, and affordable.

Stay tuned for more meal snapshots!

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