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THE GREAT PHYSICIAN'S Rx for WOMEN'S HEALTH
By Jordan Rubin Nicki Rubin Pancheta Wilson
Nelson BooksCopyright © 2007 Jordan and Nicki Rubin with Pancheta Wilson, M.D.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneKey #1
Eat to Live
Nicki: Growing up, Mom tried to teach me her favorite time-tested recipes, but for some reason, the basics of Southern cuisine escaped me. My cooking experience was limited to frying Steak-ums in a saucepan, heating spuds in a microwave, and making sweet tea by the gallon.
In college, I didn't have to cook because I could rely on dorm food, Hot Pockets, or fast food for sustenance. But when I got out on my own and realized that I couldn't afford two restaurant meals a day, I told myself that I had better expand my cooking abilities, or I would be destined to relive each dinner like in Groundhog Day. Back then I couldn't summon the culinary skills necessary even to fry drumsticks. Boiling water was about the range of my kitchen talent.
Fortunately for me, my roommates were often content to cook for the both of us from the time I left college until the day I exchanged marriage vows with Jordan. Unfortunately for my newlywed husband, he married someone with limited cooking skills-and an even more limited desire to cook.
I'm sure that Jordan, following our honeymoon, was in a state of shock when he discovered my appalling lack of aptitude in the kitchen. But eating out every night would have blown a hole in our finances, so that wasn't a viable option. Since Jordan was into health foods and I wasn't, we decided that he would shop at a local health food store for what he liked to eat, and I would buy my favorite foods at a supermarket. This was fine with me because I knew how important it was to Jordan to eat natural and organic foods; I had gotten that message loud and clear during our courting days.
To illustrate how silly the food détente became, he carried home plastic sacks filled with free-range chicken, organic vegetables, and snacks such as organic blueberries. Meanwhile, I filled my shopping cart with Tyson chicken and "regular" fruits and veggies. My snacks were convenience foods like tortilla chips and bottled salsa. Jordan purchased organic Gala apples; I preferred shiny (and waxy) Red Delicious apples from Publix because they were prettier to my eye.
I know-pretty ridiculous, but I was tenaciously hanging on to the foods I had grown up with. But Jordan was very smart: he knew better than to compel me to eat his way, so he started slowly. Once, after dinner, he offered me a Pamela's Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookie, which was a wheat-free organic treat. Now that pleased my sweet tooth! I probably finished the box that night. On another occasion, I sampled his baked French fries from Cascadian Farm, dipped in organic ketchup. Way tastier than fast-food fries cooked in heavy grease!
Over the next few weeks, I sampled more of the organic fruits, veggies, and natural foods that my husband had purchased-and they tasted better and felt "cleaner" as they made their way through my system. Each bite produced a starburst of flavors. I began to think, Maybe there's something to eating this healthy stuff.
Sometime toward the end of our first year of marriage, I made a conscious, deliberate switch: whatever Jordan ate, I ate. But I still wasn't handy in the kitchen. Dinner at our place was like trolling the buffet table at a Super Bowl party: one night we'd eat organic chips and salsa; the next night I would set out organic cheese and blanched almonds. To break up the monotony, I would dice up pineapple, melons, and strawberries. Bottom line, I didn't feel confident enough to tackle a hot meal from scratch.
I could tell that Jordan, who was no Iron Chef in the kitchen either, was becoming exasperated. He was busy launching a health and wellness company that demanded insane hours, but my schedule with the Arthur Andersen accounting firm was even more intense. By the time I got home from my numbing, hour-long commute, I was shot from the long day and cranky from hunger. Popping a pair of Amy's organic pizzas into the oven summoned all of my remaining energy.
But after Jordan casually mentioned one night that we sure seemed to be eating a lot of organic pizza, I decided to give cooking a try. Even I could dice up chicken breasts and brown them in a frying pan. When I was done, I would ladle them atop a simple salad. Or I would cook fresh fish or meat in a saucepan, along with some organic vegetables. I discovered that garlic and butter could make anything taste good.
I added eggs to my repertoire because Jordan shared with me that eggs were nutritional powerhouses, nutrient-dense food that packed six grams of protein-plus vitamins B-12, E, and D, lutein, riboflavin, calcium, zinc, iron, and essential fatty acids-into a mere seventy-five calories. That was news to me. All I had ever heard was that eggs were high in cholesterol and could clog up your arteries.
Jordan suggested that I scramble the eggs in extra-virgin coconut oil-instead of margarine or vegetable oil-because coconut oil is high in healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids. I began scrambling several eggs in extra-virgin coconut oil and found that scrambled eggs mixed with some goat's feta cheese made an excellent breakfast or dinner.
I had heard it said that if you can read, you can cook, so I tackled my first homemade soup by following a recipe I found in an excellent cookbook, Nourishing Traditions. Dice an onion? I could do that. Peel and chop carrots and celery? No problem. Measure out water and add organic chicken? Easy as pie. Chicken soup became a staple early in our marriage.
Jordan: After seven years together, you wouldn't recognize Nicki in the kitchen today. She could give Rachael Ray of the Food Network a run for her money. Nicki probably cooks from scratch four or five nights a week. And I like rolling up my sleeves and cooking for the family as well. Recently I made Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, a phenomenal organic salad with salmon, avocado, and fresh herbs and spices-all topped off with coconut chocolate mouse pudding. When I can't pitch in, I'm happy to report that Nicki is way beyond making reservations for dinner. When I have ministry partners in town, I'd rather invite them to our house to feast on Nicki's spinach-and-goat-cheese lasagna, made with ground buffalo meat, than to take a chance at finding something decent to eat in a restaurant.
These days Nicki loves to experiment with recipes and fashion meals that are tastier and even healthier. She contributed two dozen recipes to the Great Physician's Rx for Health and Wellness as well.
Nicki: We like to eat under our own roof because we enjoy eating fresh, homemade meals. Sure, I enjoy dining at nice restaurants, but I like to reserve eating out for special occasions. Jordan and I are content to eat at our dining room table because we know that our meal is going to be healthier and better tasting than what we could find in restaurants. One of my favorites recipes is a meat loaf made from grass-fed beef, bison, or venison. I adorn this delicious dish with real mashed potatoes made with organic heavy whipping cream and real butter. My way of thinking in the kitchen has changed to this: if I'm going to go to the trouble to cook a meal from scratch, then I want to use the best ingredients possible. Then the meal not only tastes better, but it's much better for you. We pretty much eat all organic all the time: meat and vegetables, eggs and fruit, cheese and nuts. And anything with mushrooms is great for me.
Jordan: Our philosophy behind good food is based on the first key to unlocking your health potential, which is "Eat to live." This principle involves choosing something that will be better for your body in the long term rather than a quick fix to squelch cravings. The apostle Paul described the attitude we should have about food and eating in 1 Corinthians 6:13 (TLB), with a small addition by me: "For instance, take the matter of eating. God has given us an appetite for food and stomachs to digest it. But that doesn't mean we should eat more than we need. Don't think of eating as [overly] important, because some day God will do away with both stomachs and food."
Sadly, too many people "live to eat"-they indulge their palates with deep-fried, high-calorie, high-sodium, high-sugar, and high-fat foods that are also high in taste-or so they believe. Many are unaware that their taste buds have been manipulated by fast-food restaurants and food conglomerates that slap breaded coatings on chicken, sweeten meats with "secret sauces," and cover everything else with bacon and melted cheese.
Fast food is the antithesis of eating to live, but meals-on-the-go are a popular option for harried women (some who've worked outside the home all day) trying to get their kids fed after a long day of carpooling, piano lessons, and soccer games.
Moms, you know the scenario: It's 6 p.m., and you've just picked up your last child from team practice. You're tired, it's getting dark, the kids are cranky and hungry, and you don't have anything in the refrigerator. So you follow the path of least resistance and turn into a McDonald's drive-thru, where you're handed a sack of Happy Meals for the kids and a Bacon Ranch Salad with crispy chicken for you-including a packet of high-fat creamy buttermilk dressing. (And when you're single, it hardly seems worth it to fix a healthy and nutritious meal for just one person.)
What I've described is commonplace since 70 million fast-food meals are served daily across the fruited plain, from behemoth chains like Mickey D's to upstarts like Chipotle. Fast-food restaurants are as abundant as street lamps and found on every main boulevard and commercial thoroughfare in America.
The problem with fast food-or any sort of meal-on-the-go, like TV dinners, turkey potpies, or chicken nuggets-is that you and your family are eating processed foods that God definitely did not create and in a form not healthy for your body. Anytime your dinner is assembled by teens in paper hats or line workers in hair nets, you can be sure you're eating foods that have been adulterated with sugars, salt, chemically charged additives, and unhealthy preservatives that make them cheaper to mass-produce-and more appealing to your tainted taste buds.
That will need to change. The idea behind Key #1 is to eat what God created for food, and in a form healthy for the body. I'm convinced that a diet based on whole and natural foods is the bull's-eye of eating to live. And, as Nicki discovered, healthy food can and does taste great.
So, what kinds of foods should be finding their way to your cupboard and refrigerator? Well, a few examples are whole grains like wheat and barley; nuts and seeds; healthy dairy product like yogurt, cheese, and butter; fish and fowl; fruits and veggies such as berries, tomatoes, and avocados; and healthy red meats like beef, lamb, venison, and bison. These foods, which come as close to nature as possible, will nourish your body, sustain energy throughout the long day, and give you the best chance to live the healthiest life possible. Whole and natural foods are especially important for young bodies because bones, muscle, and sinew only grow to maturation once. That's why I'm a proponent of natural foods grown organically or raised sustainably, because God created these foods in a form healthy for the body.
Shopping for Organic Food by Nicki Rubin
Shopping in health food stores, like Whole Foods Market or Wild Oats, is becoming more and more popular as women discover the benefits of natural and organic versus conventional foods. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers purchased organic foods and beverages in 2005, up from about half in 2004, according to Consumer Reports. During the past decade, sales of organic foods have grown 20 percent or more annually.
No longer do you have to shop in out-of-the-way stores for organic foods. Major grocery chains like Safeway, Vons, Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Publix, Winn-Dixie, and Albertsons are dedicating entire aisles to organic foods. Costco has added organic eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables, and wild-caught salmon and tuna. Even Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, is responding to market forces. In 2006, Wal-Mart doubled its organic offerings and developed a plan to encourage fisheries to adopt Marine Stewardship Council practices so that it could sell more wild-caught fish. Sam's Club, owned by Wal-Mart, also began offering "sensational low prices" on organic foods.
Wal-Mart's entry into the organic-food market could change the shopping landscape in years to come, but for now, many moms balk at the cost of going organic. Organic fruits, vegetables, meats, and eggs are more expensive-any- where from 25 to 200 percent-than "conventional" groceries. I have several thoughts on this:
1. Yes, organic foods are more expensive, but the taste and quality are far superior and much healthier for you and your family. Eating organic foods greatly reduces your exposure to chemicals and pesticides prevalent in conventionally produced food. You can also save money by purchasing organically grown produce in season at farmer's markets and roadside stands, which are often cheaper than the supermarket. (Be sure to ask if the fruits and vegetables are organic and pesticide-free.)
2. Eating organic food prepared at home is cheaper than taking the family to a fast-food stop like Burger King or a "fast casual" restaurant like Panera Bread. It's hard to get away for under $20 at a typical fast-food joint (for a family of four), and the tab is closer to $30 for two parents and two kids at a fast casual restaurant. Believe me, you could feed the family several scrumptious organic dinners, complete with grass-fed beef or wild-caught fish, for what it would cost to go out one evening at a quick-service restaurant. The family could dine an entire week on home-cooked organic food for the price of a sit-down meal at a well-appointed establishment with linen tablecloths, shiny silverware, and snooty waiters.
3. Eating organic food is less expensive than following a special diet or dietetic meal plan. Forbes magazine examined the weekly menus from the top ten most popular diets on the market: Atkins, Jenny Craig, Ornish, NutriSystem, SlimFast, South Beach, Subway (yes, the Jared diet of eating low-fat Subway sandwiches twice a day), Sugar Busters!, Weight Watchers, and Zone. A week's worth of Jenny Craig-supplied meals cost the most: $137.65 per week; the Subway sandwich diet was the least expensive, at $68.90. But all ten diets were 50 percent more than the $54.44 that the average single American spends on food weekly.
If losing weight or childhood obesity is an issue in your home, let me make one more point. The Seven Keys laid out in The Great Physician's Rx for Women's Health may not seem directly related to weight loss, but they are part of living a healthy lifestyle and will help you attain and maintain your ideal weight. Many people have told us that the Great Physician's prescription has helped them lose pounds that wouldn't come off with any other diet. In fact, at a recent Women of Faith conference, dozens of women approached Jordan and shared their phenomenal success stories, complete with a few tears of joy.
If you're looking for a total women's health plan that can help you shed those extra pounds, you've come to the right place, but if you're looking for even faster weight loss, I urge you to check out Jordan's book The Great Physician's Rx for Weight Loss.
Not only are organic foods tastier, but they also pack more nutritional punch, both in terms of dry weight and nutrients. The Journal of Applied Nutrition, over a two-year period, purchased both organically and conventionally grown apples, potatoes, pears, wheat, and sweet corn in the western suburbs of Chicago and analyzed these foods for their mineral contents. Four to fifteen samples were taken for each food group.
Excerpted from THE GREAT PHYSICIAN'S Rx for WOMEN'S HEALTH by Jordan Rubin Nicki Rubin Pancheta Wilson Copyright © 2007 by Jordan and Nicki Rubin with Pancheta Wilson, M.D.. Excerpted by permission.
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