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    Lesson Three – Plant Slant

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | May 2nd, 2021

    Lesson Three – Plant Slant

    I remember hearing a radio ad from a  fast food restaurant advertising – pick 5 items for $5.00. You had your choice of a hamburger, cheeseburger, fish sandwich, chicken nuggets, salad, fries, soda or cookies. I asked myself how this was possible. What was the quality of the food? I kept thinking, yes, it is cheap now, but what was the long term cost to our health. Who was buying this food? Why were we not advertising rice and beans? Why do we not advertise fruits and vegetables? When I asked this question to a friend of mine, I was told companies do not make money advertising healthy food. What a shame.

    In Dan Buettner’s  book, Blue Zones, Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, lesson three is Plant Slant – avoid meat or processed food. This does not mean that to live a long healthy life, you have to be a vegetarian or a vegan. Most of the people interviewed ate meat but not all the time and not that much. They ate plenty of beans, vegetables and fruits. They were not subjected to the constant advertisements that push us to eat food that is not good for us just to make a profit.

    So what do we do? Whenever I talk about lesson three in the blue zone, I think about Michael Pollan’s book titled In Defense of Food where he writes –  Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. What does this mean?

    EAT FOOD  – There is a difference between real food and food like products. We should work on eating real food. Mr. Pollan offers the following suggestions on how we can distinguish real food from food like products.

    • Read the labels of packaged foods. Do not eat food with more than five ingredients listed on the box or with ingredients you cannot pronounce. Avoid foods that contains high fructose corn syrup. When you see that ingredient, it is a sign that it is an over-processed food.
    • Eat only food that you have cooked or could be cooked –  If it is not a food that you could not cook if you had the recipe, may you should avoid it.
    • Eat only food that your great, great grandmother would recognize as food.

    NOT TOO MUCH – think about lesson two – Hara Hachi Bu.

    MOSTLY PLANTS – Vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grain.

    We are creating our blue zones based on the nine lessons outlined in Dan Buettner’s book. Below are the nine lessons and you can click on lessons one and two for previous blogs.

    1. Move Naturally – Be active without having to think about it
    2. Hara Hachi Bu – painlessly cut calories by 20%
    3. Plant Slant – Avoid meat or processed foods
    4. Grapes of Life – Drink red wine (in moderation)
    5. Purpose Now – Take time to see the big picture
    6. Downshift – Take time to relieve stress
    7. Belong – Participate in a spiritual community
    8. Loved Ones First –   Make family a priority
    9. Right Tribe – Be surrounded by those who share the Blue Zone values

    2 Responses to “Lesson Three – Plant Slant”

    1. Cleopatra Martey says:

      I was just having this same conversation with my fifth grade students after noticing a pattern of what they were bringing in for lunch which consisted of various overly processed snacks, candy, cookies & high fructose laced drinks. There is a great need for education around healthy eating choices in less disadvantaged communities. They are under the assumption that eating healthy is costly. However, they are not considering the price they are paying for the long term negative effects of consuming those non-foods on their overall health & wellbeing.

      Thanks for sharing.

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        I commend you for starting this conversation with the fifth graders. The earlier we can teach, the better. Thanks you.

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