Follow ‘Food Rules’ to health
By GEORGE PELLETIER
“Food Rules: A Doctor’s Guide To Healthy Eating” by Catherine Shanahan, MD; Big Box Books; paperback; 165 pages; $12.
Taking the most rudimentary tenets of eating and flipping them over like organic flapjacks, Dr. Catherine Shanahan, of Bedford, illustrates the correlations between “eating mindfully” and establishing an uncomplicated diet – especially as we lumber through the dog days of summer.
“This is a good time of year to be eating healthy,” Shanahan said. “We have access to the farmers markets. People tend to get so excited about them once they’ve read the book.”
An easy yet informative read, “Food Rules,” covers everything from using the right fats or oils for cooking to not wasting food to educated snacking.
As for the simplest morsel that any reader can glean from the book with one quick perusal, Shanahan reverts to the wisdom of grandmothers.
“The idea is: If your grandmother knew how to cook it is probably going to be something that you want to keep doing,” she said. “Especially preparing the more traditional comfort foods, such as soups or roasts, casseroles with vegetables.”
Shanahan also pointed out that grandparents tend to be thrifty and have gardens to grow their own vegetables.
“That, plus knowing how to use spices,” Shanahan said. “So, I suppose this would be the take-home message from the book, which I like to repeat as often as possible: Our grandmothers were the original nutritionists.
“That’s how we got here; because people who knew how to cook, cooked stuff. Our genes developed in that milieu. And that’s now what we need to keep doing.
“If our genetic heritage was such that people ate different things, for example, only ate meat, our bodies and our makeup would be drastically different. But the fact is we are continually evolving, even now, under the influence of this constant stream of carbohydrate-rich foods and calories, that’s why we’re seeing all the diseases that we’re seeing.
“That is an evolutionary process. And if you don’t like that disease-promoting aspect of the process, which I don’t, you don’t want to eat that way.”
The research that went into “Food Rules,” along with its predecessor, “Deep Nutrition,” provided the author with some “earth-shattering” information, which she said, “is basically what I’m telling patients on a daily basis in my clinic.”
Shanahan is quick to clarify that just because Greater Nashua doesn’t have a Wild Oats or Whole Foods market doesn’t mean we have to make sacrifices to eat nutritionally.
“What we do have that those two stores don’t have is raw milk, which is legal in our state,” she said. “And raw milk from cows that are raised on grass is such an amazing super-food, and all products made from that – the butters, the creams, et cetera – are extremely powerful super-foods.
“And don’t forget yogurt, which is very popular. We have access to all this, and it’s affordable. And if you wanted to get that [fresh dairy] in New York City, you couldn’t, because it’s not legal to sell this stuff in grocery stores.
“The other thing that we have in the state is the only USDA-approved slaughter house, which happens to be in Goffstown. For all of the animal producers in the entire state, they have to bring their products there to sell it.”
Shanahan said she orders her food there a month or two at a time, and that meat there is available year-round.
“It’s quality, pasture-fed, not ‘torture meat,’ as we call it,” she said. “This is even better than a Whole Foods store because it’s better and cheaper.”
Other important chapters in Shanahan’s book cover the importance of the relationship between food and diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.
“Often, doctors are under-informed in this area because the science of eating is not something that we learn in school,” Shanahan said. “We attribute things to family history without acknowledging that our family’s eating habits have altered the genetics.
“Diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s are unmasked when your diet is high in carbs and trans fats and low in nutrients. That’s the common element between almost all of these chronic diseases that I see and treat every day. That’s why I’m so focused on food.”
Shanahan said another reason some doctors don’t jump on the proverbial nutritional bandwagon is because “we don’t really learn what a healthy diet is. We have an upside-down version of a healthy diet, where we learn about things like whole grain, which is actually about 3 percent lower in sugar than refined white flour, rather than focusing on [reducing] the wheats and rices.
“The idea that (whole grains) be the foundation of the diet is very dangerous and unhealthy. That was my experience for the first 10 years of my life in the medical field.”
As Shanahan learned the components of a healthy diet, she said, “That changed everything. You give people the right advice, they get better. It’s a no-brainer.”
Other areas of the comprehensive “Food Rules” cover “do-it-yourselfing” such as making your own mayo or salad dressing. But who has the time?
“Surprisingly, a minority of people will even do that,” Shanahan said. “Because when they’re instructed by somebody who clearly believes what they’re telling them, people step up.
“For example, I have a program called the T..R.I.M. Program – Treatment to Reverse Inflammatory Metabolism – which I started about a year ago, and I’ve had about a hundred people go through, and for those that I’ve seen who make the changes, they remain committed to it. I’ve been so impressed.”
Shanahan cited one participant, a single mother who, without a kitchen and facilitated with only a refrigerator, a microwave and a hot plate, has been able to “do the right things.”
“I’m amazed at how people can adapt,” Shanahan said.
For more information, visit Shanahan’s Web site at www.drcate.com.
the newspaper article is located here;http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/livingbooksauthors/927802-224/follow-food-rules-to-health.html