My Nutritional Regimen

Nutritional Regimen Overview

My approach to food consumption is based upon nutritional criteria I’ve developed and established over an extended time period. I’ve developed my approach to nutrition based on researching various dietary concepts and health recommendations from highly credible and reputable sources, and from personal experiences over the course of decades.
 
There are multiple foundational principles within my nutritional regimen. One principle I adhere to is that only fresh foods should be eaten. The concept of food freshness, and the other principles described here, are each explained and further clarified in separate sections below. Another of my nutritional principles is to eat foods in a state as close as is reasonably possible to their living state, using only the least amount of processing and/or cooking reasonably necessary prior to their consumption. 
 
Among my nutritional principles is to fulfill various additional nutritional criteria as follows. I focus on consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits, because they are the primary dietary sources of most vitamins, and because vegetable and fruit components provide the best core nutrient values. My nutritional system is also focused on consuming lean proteins, as explained further below. In addition, I focus on consuming a minimum of 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily. There are also a set of foods I do not eat, each because of various principles that lead me to consider them unhealthy. I also avoid starch oriented carbohydrates, which are the core of junk food, especially when starch and fat are combined, as in junk foods like potato chips, which is a quintessential junk food. I also consume basic vitamin supplements, as I have described elsewhere. As a list, my nutritional principles are:
  • eat fresh foods, avoid preserved foods
  • eat foods as close to their living state as is reasonable
  • eat fresh vegetables and fruits, the primary source of dietary vitamins
  • eat lean animal proteins, the most efficient way to obtain protein requirements
  • eat 25-30 grams of fiber daily, achieved primarily from high fiber cereal
  • supplement with a basic multi-vitamin, plus core minerals: calcium and magnesium
  • avoid starchy carbohydrates
  • avoid saturated fats
  • avoid preserved foods: fermented, cured, cultured, pickled, dried, smoked, aged, etc.
The following paragraphs describe my implementation of each of the foregoing concepts in greater detail.
 

Fresh Food Approach

There are multiple aspects to my concept of fresh foods. This concept is best understood from two perspectives. The first is to discuss and describe foods that are not fresh. One such food type is foods that have been preserved in some fashion with one of a variety of processing methods. Most such food preservation methods were developed before the invention of refrigeration as a means to extend food viability. However, all such food pre-refrigeration era preservation processes introduce either chemicals and/or bacteria that control food spoilage, but which putrefy the food in some way as a result. I avoid such foods. These sorts of preserved foods include foods that have been: salted, cultured, cured, smoked, aged, fermented, pickled, dried, sun dried, and so on. All such foods contain bacteria that my gastro intestinal system has never been able to properly digest. All such preserved foods contain unhealthy bacteria, unhealthy chemicals, or both. An example of this is type of unhealthy bacteria laden food is cheeses. For example, each cheese has a smell produced by the specific bacteria growing in the cheese. Similar bacterial food types include: pickles, salamis, dried vegetables, vinegars, and so on. Each of these foods has a specific odor. Each of the odors these food produce is specific to the bacteria contaminating each such food, as if to serve as nature’s warning sign.  
 
Anecdotally, some years ago there was a severe epidemic of esophageal cancer in southern China. Multiple studies were undertaken to discover why an enormous number of people were developing and dying from this quite specific cancer. The researchers discovered that an entire dietary culture had developed around sun drying persimmons. After extensive cultural, dietary, and environmental, research it was discovered that the sun dried persimmons contained highly carcinogenic – nitrite and nitrate – related chemicals that formed during the sun drying process. Once the population stopped producing and eating the sun dried persimmons, the esophageal cancer rate there dropped dramatically. Such dangers represent an example of the basis for my focus on eating only fresh foods.
 
Among the freshest foods are fruits and vegetables, eaten raw with their full content, usually including their skin, to obtain their fiber and not miss any of their nutrient content. For example, pureeing whole fruit at home is much better than consuming just the juice, since juicing eliminates much of the fiber and many aspects of the fruit or vegetable’s vitamin and phytochemical content. Eating fruit and vegetables raw also preserves their enzyme content for use during digestion, and for immune system maintenance.
 

Selected Fruits and Vegetables

My nutritional practice includes a variety of fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. I consume a variety of uncommon vegetables in the belief that their core phytochemical benefits haven’t yet been fully understood by dietary science, but are likely highly beneficial. The highlights of my vegetable and fruit choices include:
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Orange Bell Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Mushrooms (various varieties: cremini, button, shiitake, etc.)
  • Okra
  • Rutabaga
  • Parsley
  • Kale
  • Collard
  • Escarole
  • Turnips
  • Leeks
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Lettuce (various varieties)
  • Zucchini and other squash
  • Sweet potato (occasional, seasonal only)
  • Garlic
  • Pineapple
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
On an average day, I consume at least a third of an onion, a stalk or two of celery, three or four cloves of garlic, some parsley, a carrot or two or a half a bell pepper, depending on the type of evening meal recipe prepared. Sometimes I make a snack of a whole raw carrot, which I buy by the 5 lb. bag. Obviously, the available methods of preparing vegetables is far too vast to describe within the scope of this overview.
 
I also make fruit puree beverages. I do not make smoothies, as they are generally made with yogurt, as yogurt is a cultured bacterial food I do not eat. Combinations of pureed whole fresh fruits, with a little fiber supplement powder added, result in a supreme form of nutrition in my opinion.
 
When eating salad, I do not use salad dressing! Salad dressings are a terrible invention, almost always laden with fat and often containing fermented bacterial foods such as vinegars, yogurts and cheeses. Because salad dressing is usually just concentrated fat sauce, salad dressing is an unhealthy bacteria laden, junk food.
 

Preferred Proteins

Based on the way grocery stores currently sell proteins, I have evolved my selection of proteins to some very specific choices in recent years. My selection criteria include: reduced fat and cooking convenience. The following list illustrates some of my animal protein choices:
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Filet
  • Shrimp
  • Bay Scallops
  • Sea Scallops
  • RockFish Filets
  • Turbot Fish Filets
  • Haddock Filets (when available)
  • Catfish Filets
  • Boneless Center Cut Pork Loin Chops (occasional) (fat trimmed, very lean) 
  • Beef Tenderloin (a four times a year special occasion food)
  • Chicken Drumsticks (for making homemade chicken stock – skin removed at home)
  • Turkey (once annually – boned before roasting)

Fiber Food Regimen

I have developed a focused approach to maintaining an adequate level of fiber in my diet. I have discovered a specific list of high fiber foods which I have made a staple component of my nutritional regimen. Recently however, as of fall 2013, I have migrated to oatmeal as my primary fiber food. My very specific fiber food list has evolved to include:
  • Oatmeal
  • Spoon Sized Shredded Wheat (eaten dry like nuts without milk) (1 cup – 170 c. – 6 grams fiber)
  • Bartells Brand – Premier Value – Clear Soluble Fiber Powder (2 teaspoons - 3g grams fiber)(added to fruit purees and to milk)
The cereals and the fiber supplement powder described above represent just about the only food products I purchase that come packaged in boxes. Other than these few very specific fiber foods, I avoid foods that have been processed in factories.
 

Dairy Consumption

There are only specific forms of dairy foods within my nutritional regimen. First, I drink fresh 2% fat milk. After not drinking milk for decades, I began drinking milk again a few years ago for its stomach coating and calming effect. 
 
When I drink milk, I measure an 8 oz. cup quantity, and add a squirt of Hershey’s chocolate syrup because I can’t stand the flavor of plain milk. I do not knowingly consume other milk based products.
 
I do not eat eggs by themselves. For one thing, the sulfuric smell of a cooked egg is nauseating to me. However, I do consume eggs on rare occasion as a component of a baked good. Consequently, my annual consumption of eggs is probably less than a dozen, and only as a result of having eaten some egg in a baked food item that was a rare treat. 
 
I also don’t use butter very much. I only purchase butter when it is needed for preparation of a special occasion food. On a regular basis, the only oil I use within any food preparation is extra virgin olive oil, which is a fruit oil that doesn’t contain any cholesterol. 
 
I do not eat cheeses or yogurts of any kind. My first reason for not eating such foods is because they contain massive quantities of bacteria. Since childhood, I have experienced what is best described as a food allergy to, or intolerance of, such bacterial foods. I can’t even be in the same room with most cheeses, especially when they are being cooked, without having a gag reflex. The mere smell of vinegars, pickles, and other related bacteria heavy foods, also gives me a similar gag reflex. More importantly, the bacterial nature of such preserved foods is a proven health hazard.
 

Foods I Do Not Eat, and Why

There are a variety of additional foods that I do not eat. There are multiple categories of such foods, each with a well reasoned basis for not eating them.
 
Packaged Foods - I avoid almost all processed “packaged” foods entirely. In other words, when I shop for groceries, I rarely even venture into the center of grocery stores where all the processed and pre-packaged foods are shelved and displayed. 
 
Preserved Foods - I avoid most foods that have been processed for preservation by mechanisms that include traditional food preservation processes, such as: culturing, curing, smoking, aging, fermentation, pickling, salting, drying, sun drying, and so on. The list of such foods includes:
  • Cheeses
  • Yogurts
  • Pickles
  • Salamis
  • Bacons
  • Dried Vegetables
  • Dried Meats
  • Vinegars
  • Kimchi like foods
I also do not eat certain oil heavy foods, such as – salad dressings - that often combine the worst of the most unhealthy types of foods in existence. Unhealthy foods like salad dressings combine massive quantities of oil with bacterial foods such as cheeses and vinegars. Many such foods are manufactured these days in corporate food processing plants as well. 
 
Junk Foods - I do not eat junk foods. I have a simple definition for junk foods. Junk foods are processed foods which combine starchy carbohydrates, fats, and/or sugars. Potato chips, French Fries, and doughnuts, are prime examples of junk foods. Such foods are extremely calorie dense by volume and weight, while lacking vitamin oriented nutrient content. They are also usually low in fiber, while containing hundreds of calories of fat and processed carbohydrates in even the tiniest serving.
 

Fresh Food Entrees from Scratch Only

My nutritional regimen consists entirely of meals made from scratch. I no longer eat out at any restaurants, and haven’t for years because I don’t believe they can be trusted to create healthy selections.
 
Most of my current approach to evening meals is focused on stews and soups, as illustrated by the following example entrée descriptions. I make seafood stew with: onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley, scallion, garlic, shrimp and scallops, and spices. I make a chicken and rice soup with: onion, celery, carrot, garlic, spices, skinless boneless chicken breast, spices, and my own homemade chicken stock, and a small amount of varying types of rice. I make a chicken chili with: onion, bell pepper, garlic, fresh Serrano peppers, chili powder, spices, boneless skinless chicken breast, and dark red kidney beans. I also occasionally prepare a Chicken, Shrimp, Scallops, Gumbo with: onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, okra, chicken stock, chicken breast, shrimp, scallops, with spices including sassafras powder.
 

Typical Daily Food Intake

I currently eat approximately three meals a day. Most people would probably consider the first two meals no more than the size of their snacks. My typical breakfast is a dry 8 oz. cup of high fiber cereal, along with a separate measured 8 oz. cup of milk with Hershey’s chocolate syrup and fiber supplemental powder mixed into it. A couple hours before going to the gym in the evening, I consume an additional small meal. This meal is sometimes similar to the breakfast meal, or is varied with consumption of a fresh whole fruit puree beverage instead of milk. I add fiber powder supplement to my fresh whole fruit puree beverages. Upon return from the gym, I consume my evening meal, which contains my primary protein consumption for the day, usually in the form of a serving of soup or stew, as described previously.
 

Summary

I have developed the nutritional regimen described here over the course of multiple decades. My approach is based upon having read a variety of books on nutrition and diets, picking and choosing from them, the concepts I believe are scientifically sound. In addition, some of my choices are based upon my own personal, individual, dietary needs. 
 
Based upon years of development, I believe my personal approach to nutrition is optimal for me. My approach provides: high fiber content; efficient protein consumption; fresh vegetables and fruits in ample quantities; assurance of vitamin and mineral content; and importantly, the enjoyment required to sustain a nutritional regimen long term. 
 
Marilyn Perry