Summary of 5/1 Be Well class

Be Well is a unique monthly class offered to all Progressive Health patients (and non-patients, too) that focuses on the power of lifestyle modifications to improve health, reverse disease processes, and reduce the use of medications. Here is a summary of the Be Well class held on May 1.

Group discussion: Be Well participants are leading by example! Over seventy-five percent of health care dollars go toward paying for chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, gout, kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease…however, there is a revolutionary new idea that most of our super expensive chronic diseases can be reversed with healthy lifestyle!

Several participants shared that increasing their consumption of fruit (4+ fruits daily) helps them eat less processed foods (cookies, candy, etc.) and decreases cravings. Tips for promoting weight loss when you reach a plateau were shared: review what you are eating, identify high-calorie density foods (nuts, oils, processed foods) and reduce consumption of these foods, increase consumption of low-calorie density foods, especially vegetables and fruits, vary your exercise routine - try interval training, be patient.

Dr. Donohue shared valuable insights on adopting a healthy mindset and how to overcome our self-defeating voice, or the way in which we tell ourselves that we will not be successful. He recommended, "Thinking, Fast and Slow," a book by Daniel Kahneman. Each of us has an executive/healthy thinking self, and an emotional/fat-thinking self. Often, our fat-thinking self tells our brain stories that prevent us from being successful. Others also tell us stories of failure. It is important to identify who cares about our success - is it restaurants, the food industry, our coworkers, our family? And, how do we begin to overcome the stories of failure we hear from ourselves and others? 1. Surround yourself with health partners (come to Be Well!) 2. Make a lifetime commitment 3. Change the stories you tell yourself

Karen reviewed what foods are the healthiest for longevity and disease reversal: whole, plant-based foods - VEGETABLES, FRUITS, WHOLE (UNREFINED) GRAINS, LEGUMES, NUTS, AND SEEDS. Your food choices are just that, CHOICES. We are not promoting a “diet, " which is often associated with a list of foods that are acceptable and a list of foods that are forbidden to eat. Instead, consider your reasons for choosing or not choosing to eat certain foods. For example, instead of telling yourself, "I can’t eat meat," tell yourself, "I choose not to eat meat." Why? For any number of reasons that are more profound than the reasons I chose to eat it…    I really like feeling good and being pain-free, I do not want to support an industry that slaughters 2 million animals per hour in the U.S. alone, I do not want to promote the destruction of the rain forests, I want to run and play and enjoy life with my family for decades…

Karen showed how to make two delicious dishes, red lentil curry (served over brown rice) and zippy collards and sweet potatoes. Here are the recipes:

Red lentil curry (adapted from Minimalist Baker website)

Ingredients: ½ cup diced carrots, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 1 tsp minced ginger, ~¼ cup water or vegetable broth, 3 Tbsp. red curry paste (make sure there is no fish in the paste), 1 6-oz can tomato paste, 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, 1 cup water, ⅔ cup dry red lentils, thoroughly rinsed in cold water and drained, ½ tsp ground turmeric, plus more to taste, ¼ tsp black pepper, ⅓ cup light coconut milk

For serving (optional): chopped cilantro, cooked brown rice

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, ginger, and garlic to dry pan, and stir frequently for about 1 minute to prevent sticking. Add water or vegetable broth in small amounts, as needed, to prevent vegetables from sticking and burning. Saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomato paste, vegetable broth, water, and stir to combine. Then add lentils, turmeric, and pepper, and stir. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat slightly to low (or medium-low), and gently simmer for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Stir frequently to incorporate flavors, and add more vegetable broth, as needed if the mixture becomes too thick. Stir in coconut milk, and cook additional 2-3 minutes. Serve over brown rice.

Zippy collards and sweet potatoes

Ingredients: 1 small onion, thinly sliced, 2 large garlic cloves, minced, ¼ cup water or vegetable broth, 2 sweet potatoes (or yams), cut into bite-size chunks, 1 bunch collard greens (~½ pound), rinsed and with stems removed, 1 Tbsp. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp red curry paste (make sure there is no fish in the paste), ¼ tsp ground black pepper, 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Place chopped onion and garlic into a skillet or wok over medium heat and saute until fragrant. Add sweet potatoes and water or broth. Place cover on and cook sweet potatoes for 10 minutes. Stir in collards and cover. Keep temperature on medium for 3-4 minutes, then reduce temperature to low. Add Worcestershire sauce and chili paste. Simmer until the collards and sweet potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork. Add pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon over the mixture and serve.


BE WELL, PHODKaren Smith