Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kaiser's Flawed Dieting Advice

My healthy insurance (realized the mistake after I typed it, but am going to keep it) is with Kaiser Permanente. Today I received an email from them in my inbox, and the contents of this email was an outline of the Mediterranean Diet, and their advice on what you should be eating to improve your health. This was the email:
Registered dietitian Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD, answered our questions about the Mediterranean diet. Get even more tips for following this good-for-you eating plan.
How did the Mediterranean diet come about?
In the late 1950s, a comparative dietary study of seven countries found that people living on the Greek island Crete had the lowest heart attack, stroke, and mortality rates.
It was called the Seven Country Study and was one of the first times diet was linked to health. Since then, the Mediterranean diet has been the subject of countless studies and continues to be associated with an array of health benefits.

What are the key elements of the diet?
While it’s originally from Greece, eating a Mediterranean diet doesn’t mean eating Greek food. It’s a plant-based diet that features plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as fish, certain types of fats, and whole grains.
The Mediterranean diet includes:
  • fruits and vegetables—between 6 and 10 servings every day
  • beans
  • peas
  • lentils
  • nuts and seeds
  • red meat (beef, pork, and lamb)—only once or twice per month to be replaced by poultry, fish, or plant protein such as beans
  • fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, and herring—twice a week
  • extra virgin olive oil and canola oil in place of saturated and trans fats
  • fat-free or low-fat dairy—1 to 2 servings every day
What are the health benefits of the diet?There have been many studies reporting health benefits, including the Lyon Diet Heart Study,* which found that people who stuck to the Mediterranean diet experienced the following:
  • a 73 percent decrease in coronary events
  • a 70 percent decrease in mortality from all causes
  • a 61 percent decrease in cancer
In addition, The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study in 2004** that linked the diet to a decrease in inflammation—which is associated with many diseases from heart disease to cancer—and a lowered risk for metabolic syndrome.
Other studies have shown that the Mediterranean eating style may lower your risk for Alzheimer’s, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
whole-grain cereal or oatmeal with fat-free/soy milk and fresh blueberries
whole-grain bread with nut butter
What does a sample menu look like?
lentil soup
salad with walnuts, fresh veggies, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil and vinegar
sliced bananas, oranges, and apples
grilled salmon
steamed broccoli
brown rice
salad as above
fruit for dessert
Where. Do. I. Begin. First, this is why I did not choose the route of becoming an RD. I didn’t want to be taught this crap. While I agree that the Mediterranean Diet can be beneficial, and is far super than the SAD (Standard American Diet) this RD took something potentially healthy and made it unhealthy by providing an extremely flawed menu.
Breakfast: Most “whole-grain” bread and cereal are extremely processed and hard for your body to digest. And even though things are labeled “whole-grain” they often in fact are not, and contain high fructose corn syrup. So this…with fat-free/soy milk? Neither fat-free nor soy milk is good for you. Whole, raw milk is ideal, or if you’re not into dairy, hemp/almond/coconut milk. Fat-free milk is processed doo doo. Soy milk is generally made from genetically modified soybeans and soy is just NOT GOOD FOR YOU.
Lunch: I really don’t have any beef with lentil soup (haha). I mean, if you’re going to eat lentils, you should soak them beforehand to make them more digestible, but you could be eating worse. Salad with a “splash” of olive oil? Are you freaking kidding me? You need fat! You should drench that damn salad in olive oil.
Dinner: The dinner suggestions ain’t so bad. Granted, you need more fat than one piece of salmon and a stupid “splash” of olive oil per day. Though, if you’re eating whole-grain cereal for breakfast, lentils for lunch and brown rice for dinner, I do think that’s way too many grains and carbs that could be replaced with veggies. I also don’t like that they suggest fruit for dessert. Fruit should be eaten first thing in the morning, or by itself, as it digests differently in your stomach.
Basically, eat WHOLE foods. Not processed milks/cereals/breads.
Here’s a sample menu I might have suggested, had Kaiser enlisted the expertise of a young, holistic health  practitioner to be who has not yet graduated and is slightly cocky of her general know-how when it comes to food:
Breakfast: A big tall glass of green juice accompanied by hard-boiled eggs (eat the yolks! they’re good for you!), with salmon, red onions and tomatoes (I suggest this because I have been ALL about eating this lately).
Lunch: A big brown rice wrap with beans, raw red pepper and lettuce, with a side of homemade pico de gallo (tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lemon) and a whole avocado on the side. This is my lunch for today.
Dinner: organic, grass-fed meat sautéed with peppers and onions in a sauce of liquid aminos, garlic chili powder (whatever sauce you want) tossed with raw kelp noodles.

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