Web site suggests new ways to eat well

I'll probably regret what I'm about to say. It's possible it will produce a deluge of responses I'm not ready to handle, but here I go anyway. I absolutely love getting e-mails or telephone calls suggesting, "Check this out" or "Did you know "¦?" Even ones that say, "Tut-tut, you didn't include such and such in your recent column." These comments are usually followed by information regarding a Web site or a reminder to read a particular article or book.

I've received two suggestions I must share. Let me begin by recommending you check out the following Web site when you have the chance. It's http://health.msn.com/ssprint.aspx?cp-documentid="100169914"&imageindex.

I know it's a longer than preferred for a Web address but it's really worth examining. I printed out each of the gloriously colorful slides displaying "The Eight Foods You Should Eat Every Day" and honestly, I cannot take my eyes off them.

I know, I know: Those lists of "best foods" are everywhere lately, but I think this one is better than most. It might change your way of thinking about food. It recommends the foods you expect such as tomatoes, beans, carrots, blueberries, spinach, walnuts and yogurt, but they're offered up in an extremely beckoning manner. (May I ask this, "Have you personally eaten any of those foods today? I was just wondering.") It's more than a list. The photographs are glorious and the information provided is practical and beckoning. For example, the list contains oats, which I admit I've not eaten today, let alone this week, but I do intend to revisit a bowl of oatmeal sometime soon.

If oatmeal's not to your liking, what about a whole-grain substitute? Ever tried quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)? This Web site suggests a "breakfast salad" composed of quinoa (boiled in pear juice) tossed with diced apples, blueberries, walnuts and fat-free yogurt. It's a very clever the way to encourage combining those "best foods" into a meal. (By the way, quinoa has "twice the protein of most cereals and fewer carbs—" thought I'd mention that).

Here's another suggestion. I've been encouraged (a recommendation from several people) to read "The China Study." And so I am. It's not something you do quickly, since there's lots to digest. It's written by a father-son team (T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell). It's an exposé of sorts, focused on the relationship between diet and disease.

I'm on Chapter 11, the point at which the authors talk about eight principles of food and health. It's very provocative; you might want to get your own copy. When the libraries reopen I intend to donate mine, so there's another option.

In the meantime, consider this. Principle No. 6: "The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages (after diagnosis)." The answer lies in the "multiple health-based benefits of consuming plant-based foods and the largely unappreciated health dangers of consuming animal-based foods, including meat, dairy and eggs." Some folks eat that way already. Others think it's pretty drastic. Aw heck, just try a little of the quinoa-fruit-and-nut combination mentioned earlier and give the whole idea some continuing consideration. It's food for thought.

Sharon Johnson is an associate professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University and on the faculty of the OSU Extension Service. She can be reached at s.johnson@oregonstate.edu

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