Nutrition & Fitness Blog

The Perfect Meal Plan for Kids

The Perfect Meal Plan

What’s a Meal Plan? Why People Keep Asking Me for One?

I get very annoyed when someone ask me for a meal plan.

First of all, I didn’t not go through years of school, internship, training and getting licensed and all that just to dough out a premade meal plan that anyone can just google and download.

Second, meal plan does not work. If it works so well, obesity would not have exist. People just like the idea of having something to follow, but no one ever follow. And even if they follow the meal plan and lost weight. they never keep the weight loss because by blindly following the meal plan they did not learn how to make good choices and why certain food are good for their body. They do not know how to handle daily situations, such as family gathering, holidays, etc. How many times before I’ve given out a meal plan, and the patient’s reaction is “I don’t eat that”, “I don’t like that”.

I recently saw a 15 year old who requested to see me because he cannot go on a carnival ride because he cannot fit into the seat. He’s 350 lbs. He and his family joined some weight loss program and followed a standard meal plan for 21 days with great results. He lost 20 lbs in 21 days. That was about 9 months ago. When I asked what happened, parents said “thanksgiving, then Christmas and New Year came”. If only this family has been taught how to make real lifestyle changes for themselves, learn how to make new foods for holidays, and learn to take better care of themselves.

Basically, the reason why I don’t like giving out meal plan is because I do not want to dictate your eating. I’m supposed to be teaching you how to make good choices on your own in any situations and will all kinds of food. So you don’t eat the same food every day and miss out on social events and family gatherings where there will be tasty foods that you can eat too.

The USDA finally get their act together and came out with the MyPlate Campaign. It’s the best tool ever since when they started telling people how to eat.

The Perfect Meal Plan for Kids

This is the PERFECT MEAL PLAN!!!

The MyPlate makes healthy eating so simple to understand for all ages. Over the years, I realized there is a HUGE discrepancies between what people know and what they actually do. We’re bombarded with so much health and nutrition information everyday, it’s confusing.

But the MyPlate solves the problem. You basically just follow the picture, you can even buy plates that already have the division on it, and you just fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with plant-based protein and the last quarter with unprocessed carbohydrate choices, such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, etc.

No special food to buy, no need to measure food. You just change the portion of your fruits and vegetables compared to meat and starch.

That’s it…how easy is that?


Exercise…the Other Happy Pill

I have a teenager, who is grumpy all the time and speaks “grudge”, which I don’t understand.

Recently my daughter started working out with me at the gym. She’ll be her grumpy self on the ride to the gym, then the ride home, she’ll be a pleasant happy and chatty self.

What a transformation?!

Thank you, endorphin!!!

Endorphin is a hormone your body makes during exercise. It’s a chemical in the brain that act as natural painkillers but it also improves mood.

You’ve probably heard of the runner’s high. This is the cause of “runner’s high”. I used to do marathons and triathlons. When you run so much, you “crave” running. I know it sounds absurd. But you do because of the adrenaline rush and endorphins you get during running.

Endorphins also helps to reduce stress. Scientists have found that regular aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, improve mood, sleep, and self-esteem. Just five minutes of aerobic exercise is enough to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.

Stress is everywhere. It is an inevitable part of life. While a little stress is okay — some stress is actually beneficial — too much stress can wear you down and make you sick, both mentally and physically. It’s impossible to eliminate stress completely, but you can learn to manage and cope with daily stress.

Exercise is the most common recommendation by health care professionals for coping with stress. When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well.

RELATED ARTICLE: Signs and symptoms of  Stress 

Exercise not only helps to reduce stress, it also helps to reduce fatigue, improve alertness and concentration, and enhance overall cognitive function. In the book, SPARK, the author mentioned studies when students significantly improved their cognitive performance after school implemented mandatory physical activities every morning before classes start.

 

Benefits of Exercise

 

It turns out, exercise is not the only activity that increases your endorphins level. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, even breathing deeply can stimulate your body to produce endorphins and makes you feel good.

Did I mention there’s minimal side effects from exercise compared to antidepressant?

Common Side Effects of Anti-depressant:

  • Constipation
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite

Not-so-common Side Effects of Anti-depressant:

  • Nausea
  • Nervousness or feeling edgy
  • Sleep problem

Serious but rare Side Effects of Anti-depressant:

  • Chest pain
  • Allergic reaction, such as hives, sob, swollen lips or throat, difficulty breathing
  • Manic behavior
  • Suicide ideation

Detox with Exercise

Our human body has 2 circulatory system – the first one is the one where blood circulates, the other is the lymphatic system. The heart is involved in moving blood throughout the body into and out of all organs sort of like a transportation system. The lymphatic circulation is more like a “police patrol” system going around the body looking for “criminals” to arrest. Basically, this is our detox or criminal system. The lymphatic circulation does not have an assistance to help with circulation. The only way to keep this system flowing is by moving. The movement of muscle helps to stimulation circulation of the lymph fluid through the lymphatic ducts.

How to Start?

You don’t need to join the gym or sign-up for Cross Fit to get the benefit of exercise. Just put on some comfortable shoes and go for a walk or jog. Or pull up yoga for beginners videos from Youtube.com

It’s going to be tough in the beginning finding the motivation. So start asking yourself “why” you want to do this. Focus on “how good you feel emotionally” after a good workout.

I work out on the elliptical for an hour. Trust me, starting is never easy. I like meditating. So I meditate while working out on the machine. It’s safe enough that I can close my eyes and relax. It’s so peaceful.

Commit to your new routine for at least 21 days, that’s how long it takes to form a new habit.

Keep track of your progress. Studies have shown that people who tracks their fitness progress tend to have better results and continue on with the new lifestyle changes.

 


How to Get Your Picky Eater to Start Eating?

When it comes to picky eater, most parents have been told, “when they’re hungry, they’ll eat”. But there are a few really, really, really stubborn children that hunger does not bother them, and that “your food” is so disgusting that they rather starve themselves than to eat your food.

If you know what I mean, keep reading.

I have experience with picky eaters, not just from a professional point of view, but from my personal motherly point of view.

My daughter has always been a picky eater from the get go. She was nursed exclusively for the first year by her stubborn refusal of anything, including expressed breastmilk, from a bottle. I returned to my full-time work 6 weeks after giving birth. The whole time I was at work, she refuses all food and breastmilk from bottle. She rather starve than to eat anything else. She’d wait till I got home from work and she’ll nurse.

I finally forced her to wean at 18 months because she is failing to thrive. She does not want food and does not want anything to do with a bottle, cup, sip cup, what so ever.

I used to try all kinds of tricks just to get some calories in her, oil or formula powder mixed with her food, mini m&m’s mixed with rice. Nothing works. I would try to feed her. But the moment I touched her spoon, she’d throw a fit and meal time is over.

Then when she gets a little older, she discovered noodles. She’d eat that 3 meals a day every day if I let her. I usually add flaxseed oil in the noodles for some extra calories and omega-3. One time instead of flaxseed oil, I used olive oil.

Boy…that girl has laser sharp taste bud. She took one bite of the noodles and stopped and asked in her little angry voice, “what did you do to my noodles?”.

Feeding this child has always been a struggle. Every meal was a fight with yelling, shouting and crying.

The epiphany came one when I threw in the towel. I was too tired to keep fighting with her with no end in sight. I let her eat whatever she wants even if it’s not the most nutritious food. I grinched, but whatever.

From then on, she started eating no just the junk she likes, but also trying new foods. Let’s just be clear. Her pickiness is not completely resolved. Today, at 17, she’s still very picky. But at least she’s eating I’m not complaining.

She also learned to cook because she doesn’t like my cooking 90% of the time. There are only a handful of things I make that she’ll eat.

Eating is a Sensory Experience

Eating involves all 5 sense – how the food look, how it smell, how it feels, how it tastes, and how it sounds.

Think of the most disgusting things that someone ask you to eat. Think poop. Do you want to look at it? Do you want to touch it? Do you want to smell it?

That’s how your child think of the food you want him/her to try. I know you’re not feeding your child poison, but that’s what’s going on in your child head. He/She has already made a decision about that food.

Your job as the parent is to change his/her thought about eating or that particular food. Kids would do anything when it’s fun, so your job is to make eating fun. Hopefully, he/she will start associating eating with fun memories and slowly forget about the old rules.

Expect Little

As adult, when we try a new food, we mean taking a bite, chewing and swallowing the food even it is taste bad. In some occasions, you may spit it out if it’s really gross.

I just have some salad that did not taste all that great, but I chewed and tasted it, and finally swallow it despite the bad taste.

In children, you have to change your expectation. The definition of trying may mean really just an attempt, such as touching the food, smelling it, kissing, licking, or if your child took a bit and spit it out. That’s fine too.

Applaud at each attempt to try something new.

It’s totally okay for your child to reject the food initially. It’s just that the sight, the taste, the texture are unfamiliar.

It’s also okay if your child coughs, chokes or gags with new food. Stay calm as long as your child is not turning blue. Your panicking can alarm your child and they may think something is wrong with them.

Every child is different. That’s why you have children who are picky and some are not. Some find more enjoyment in eating than others.

Make Eating a Fun Activity

To most children, eating is just another activity, just like drawing, watching TV, reading, dancing, etc. For them, they are not getting as much enjoyment out of eating than, say, riding a bike. So eating is just not a priority. They want something more stimulating.

You can turn eating into an activity by getting your child involve in the shopping, meal planning and preparation. Give them age-appropriate task to help. Let them get hands-on with food, such as taking food out from refrigerator, mixing sauces or salads, cut fruits and veg with plastic knives, etc.

True story…one day my daughter ask to bring a jar of Nutella to school. Curious, I asked why because she does not eat Nutella. She told me that she and her friends were each bringing something from home and mixing all the food together into a concoction and eat it.

When I picked her up from school that day, she gave me a run down of the food on their list. As she went through the list, I couldn’t stop thinking why she would eat that “disgusting” mix than food that I meticulously prepared for her. Then it dawned on me…it’s because it is FUN.

My daughter is still very picky to this day, which forces her to be more involved in meal planning so she can make her own food when she doesn’t like what I make. Again, I don’t want to fight. I just want to enjoy a pleasant meal everyday.

The saving grace is that my daughter loves fruits and vegetables. She doesn’t eat all them, but she has enough variety. So I’m happy.

Give up your control, drop your expectations and let them be. Eating should be enjoyable for the whole family.

Other Reasons Why Your Child is a Picky Eater?

When Should You Be Concern?

  • Your child’s pickiness with food is affecting his/her growth.
  • His/her food choices continues to decrease with absolute no luck with new foods.
  • Your child have significant sensory issues, such as not transitioning to table food by 12 months of age, eats on dry foods or only pureed.
  • Your child coughs, chokes or gags when eating or drinking.


Benefits of Plant-based Diet

A diet high in animal-based and highly processed foods makes people sick and overweight. But many of these sicknesses can be prevented, halted, and even reversed by eating a whole-food, plant-based diet.

Watch Rip Esselstyn's (author of Engine 2 Diet) TEDTalk on how the Plant Strong Diet improved the health of his fire house.

By the way, Rip Esselstyn is the son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George's Hospital in London. Dr. Esselstyn has been associated with the Cleveland Clinic since 1968. He was studying about how a plant-based diet can reverse chronic diseases, such as heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, etc.

No kidding...we have cures for these common killers already.

A whole-food, plant-based diet has been shown to:

• Lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar
• Prevent and reverse heart disease
• Prevent and reverse obesity
• Lower risk of cancer and diabetes
• Slow the progression of certain types of cancer
• Improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
• Improve overall quality of life

Then, why agen’t we aware of this miracle diet?

Pharmaceutical companies are not advertising it. Doctors are not believing it, because they're trained to prescribe medications.

Anyway, watch "Forks Over Knives" documentary in Netflix, and you'll know who Dr. Esselstyn is and what the China Study discover.

BENEFITS OF A PLANT-BASED DIET”

Lower Oxidative Stress & Reduce Inflammation

Studies show that a diet rich in whole plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, see, tea, coffee, red wine and olive oil, decreases levels of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, which are associated with the development of chronic diseases.

In the Adventist Health Study II, a vegetarian diet was linked to lower CRP levels, a marker of inflammation.

Promotes Healthy Gut/Immune System

Increasing evidence shows that a fiber-rich plant-based diet promotes healthy gut microbiota, and it is also linked to better immune support and digestive health.

EPIC study found lower rate of hospital admissions and risk of death from diverticular disease among vegetarians.

Protects the Brain

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress lead to development of Alzheimer’s. Consuming a plant-based Mediterranean diet is linked to lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Protects the Environmental

All meat is NOT created equal. Lamb, beef, pork and cheese generate the most greenhouse gases. They are also high in saturated fats and have the worst environmental impacts.

Animal meats and dairy products require large amount of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel, feed and water to cultivates. And, as a result, generates an enormous amount of greenhouse gases, toxic manure and other pollutants that contaminate our air and water.

Environmental Benefits of Plant-based Diet

How to Lose Weight for Good

How to Lose Weight For Good

To figure out how to lose weight for good, we need to first understand how our body works and what makes us gain all the extra weight in the first place.

The human body is hard-wired or programmed to survive. That’s how the human race has out-lived many species and survived.

Based on this fact, we know our body has special mechanism to keep us alive, such as the fight-or-flight response when we’re in a dangerous situation.

Let’s talk about nutrition a little…

There are 3 macronutrients that make up all the foods that we eat - carbohydrate, protein and fat.

I’m going to focus mainly on carbohydrate here…Carbohydrate’s main function in our body is to provide energy. Energy for us to breathe, for blood circulation, thinking, walking, running, etc. Everything that happens in our body needs energy.

Most of the time this energy comes from food we eat, specifically carbohydrates. Our body can, in very rare occasions, convert protein into carbohydrate for energy. But we don’t want this to happen because it means losing muscle mass.

Our body can also convert fat to carbohydrate to use as energy. This is usually the results that we wanted in terms of achieve weight loss goal.

Ok…now we know the function of carbohydrate, then let’s look at where our carbohydrates are coming from.

A typical American diet consists of lots of carbohydrates and most of us are not aware or thinks that it is good carbs, then it’s okay to eat.

Let’s look at a typical healthy diet…

Breakfast: oatmeal or cereal with milk or granola with yogurt, and a latte.

Mid-morning snacks: granola bar

Lunch: turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, baked chips, an apple.

Afternoon snack: trail mix made with granola, chex mix, nuts and a latte.

Dinner: Grilled chicken, brown rice, steamed vegetables and orange juice.

Do you spot all the carbohydrates?

Oatmeal, cereal, granola, granola bar, latte, whole wheat bread, baked chips, trail mix, orange juice, brown rice.

These are “healthy carbs” right?

Related article: Plant-Based Diet Saves Lives

Our body needs carbs for energy. What happens when we consume more carbs for energy than our body can use up.

Our body does not have a switch that you can flip at the end of the day to purge the excess carbohydrates eaten.

Remember, our body is a survival machine. It’ll convert all the excess calories from the carbohydrate into fat for storage for use later.

Why does the body do this? Because of survival. Our body stores the excess energy in preparation for possible famine or starvation.

It is this mechanism that human beings have lived for as long as history.

This weight problem starts here. When was the last time you didn’t eat for at least 24 hours because of lack of food (not for medical reasons)?

The answer to this question is “NEVER” in 99% of the population.

So our body is preparing for something that is almost never going to happen. Just like the dooms’s day people.

Our body also creates body fat to protect us from toxins in our environment (namely the food we eat and air we breathe). Many environmental toxins are fat-soluble, and that’s how the body can hide them away from the rest of the body.

Nutritional Rebalancing

As days go by, the fat storage increases alone with your weight and your risk of developing chronic illnesses.

Excess body fat interrupts the endocrine system, resulting in thyroid problems, hormone problems and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

We now know when we consume more carbohydrates than our body can used up, it gets stored as body fat and stays there until something happens.

To achieve weight loss (specifically fat loss), we need to stop the body from making more body fat and start using what is already stored.

First of all, you need to restrict carbohydrate intake and focus on eating only high quality, nutrient-dense carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and beans.

Then, you need to increase your physical activities that will help create an energy deficit along with the diet change.

The diet change stop the body from making more fat, while the physical activities will create an energy deficit that will force the body to use stored up fat for energy.

And fat starts to melt figuratively. When this happens, the toxins that’s been stored in the body fat is released into the blood stream, and you’ll feel an initial “lousiness”. But your high quality, nutrient dense diet is going to save you.

All that extra vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from the fruits and vegetables that you’re eating is going help boost your body’s detox system and get rid of the toxins.

In no time you’ll feel brand new, lighter and fresher, with more energy.

And that’s how you loss weight for good.

Related article: Juice Fast

Disclaimer: Weigh loss is never a desired goal for growing children. Weight management in children should be supervised by an experienced provider, such as a pediatric nutritionist, who can determine your child weight management goal.

Is Juice Fast Safe?

I’m sold.

 

Juice fast works…

This guy Joe Cross is good. For someone without any medical experience and/or background, he successfully demonstrated how reversing chronic diseases and weight loss are totally achievable with lifestyle changes that include dietary changes and exercise. 

I know many medical professionals who are watching this documentary would disagree with the juice fast approach. After all, we've been taught in school that starving or fasting is a bad for the body. This idea has deeply ingrained in us.

But I disagree, as a registered dietitian.

The juice fast introduced in the documentary makes perfect sense. You're not 100% starving. You’re still getting calories and nourishing nutrients in its purest form. 

Related article: Juicing for Detox

You have no idea how long the human body can survivor without food. I see that every day in the hospital. Patients on NPO (nothing by mouth) for 5-7, sometimes up to 10 days or longer with only IV (intravenous) fluids (aka salt water).

Usually these patients have some kind of gastrointestinal disorders that prevents them from ingesting and digesting food. And in most case, these patients would have intravenous infusion of saline solution, sometimes sprinkled with some dextrose and electrolytes.

Then, there are adults and children starving without food or water in third world countries.  These are more severe cases of starvation that last even longer than patients we see not eating in the hospital for medical reasons.

Technically, the juice fast is not a real “fast”. You’re just replacing your usually calories with pure nutrients. And in doing so, there is a small caloric deficit.

The juice fast feels like a “fast” because it is significantly a lot less calories and food compared to the usual diet someone eat to gain the excess body weight.

The juice fast probably provides enough calories to maintain a healthy weight, it’s just that our normal way of food consumption is so distorted that when we're consuming the APPROPRIATE amount of calories, that it seem deficit.

After all, it’s a lot easier to consume 2,000 calories in ONE meal of cheeseburgers, fries and milkshake than to consume 2,000 calories of pure fruits and vegetables juices in one day.

While the juice fast does create a caloric deficit (from 4,000 calories a day to 2,000), it also introduces an abundant of very high quality and powerful antioxidants that optimizes the body's detox system to facilitate cleansing. 

With the caloric deficit, the body is forced to used the stored up fat from all those years of overeating and lack of physical activities for fuel.

As the body fat is being converted into energy and used, waste products are generated. The body fats also stored up toxic chemicals and artificial additives that we consume from our contaminated food supply. When fat cells are blasted up for energy, the toxic waste also leaks out. That explains why most people experience a period of ill-feeling during the initial weight loss process. However, as you continue to introduce the healing fresh fruits and vegetable juice potion, the body’s detox system will get more and more efficient.

The dark cloud eventually clears up, and you’ll feel brand new.  

I promise you won't die in this process.

Do you remember why we have body fat in the first place?

Have you noticed that we, as a nation, eats a lot of carbs.

Think of the last meal or even snack you ate. Carb is the focus.

Almost all the convenient snacks that we consumed frequently for convenience are carb, such as crackers, rice cake, granola bar, cereal bar, chips, Belvita cookies, etc.

All these so-called healthy snacks are not so healthy after all.

The main purpose of carbohydrate is to provide energy. Our body needs energy for basic body functions, such as breathing, heart pumping blood to circulate the body, thinking, digesting foods, etc. We also need energy for physical activities, even sitting, standing requires energy, and, of course, fun activities, such as hiking, swimming, sports, etc.

However, when we consume too much carbohydrates from food and beverages, especially simple carbohydrates and our body is not using up all the energy. Your body will start to store the extra energy in the form of body fats.

Our body does not have a purging mechanism that purges all the excess calories at the end of the day. Instead, our body stores the excess calories consumed and stored them as body fat, which is the storage unit of excess energy.

Our nation, in general, consumes a lot of carb, and that was the old idea from the historic Food Guide Pyramid.

The body stores excess energy just in case famine happens. But when was the last time you did not eat for 24 hours because of circumstances you cannot control?

Like never?

The juice fast induces the body to start dipping into the body fat to use as energy while infusing the body with life-enhancing powerful antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables. 

This is exactly what should happen In weight loss. You burn body fat while cleansing the whole system.

The Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2 is even better. I wasn’t even going to watch this thinking that most sequel are disappointing. But Cross proves me wrong.

In this follow-up of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Cross shows the continued challenges people face after losing lots of weight initially with the juice fast.

The show dealt into the emotional aspects of eating, life stressors, social isolations, and how having a supportive community is crucial to life long success in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

The documentary shows a surprising side effect of changing our lifestyle. It went back to some people featured in the first episodes. It shows that changing YOUR OWN lifestyle not only impacts your own life, but can potential affects the people around you, and possibly your whole community.

I have to say, it is very inspirational and motivating not only for people who wants to lose weight, but for anyone who wants to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

I wish more people struggling with weight loss and making lifestyle changes would watch this and be inspired as well. 

Related article: Juicing Recipes for Kids

Plant-Based Diet Saves Lives

What is a Plant-based Diet

What is a Plant-Based Diet?

A plant-based diet focuses on whole, unrefined, or minimally processed plants, such as organic fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, seeds, nuts and legumes. It excludes or minimizes animal protein, such as meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs. This diet also exclude highly refined or processed foods like bleached flour, refined sugars and oil.

It’s very interesting that a vegetarian or vegan diet is often frown upon in the medical setting. I get lots of consults from concern pediatricians and parents.

A plant-based or vegan diet is almost synonymous as starvation or malnutrition or a cover for an eating disorder in teenagers.

Pediatricians freak out if parents is vegan, and the child is at eminent risk of malnutrition. Parents freak out if their child wants to be vegan. The consult is either for me to educate the family of a proper vegan diet or the parents want me to pursuede their child to change their mind.

Despite all the things we’re taught in school about risk of protein deficiency, iron deficiency, calcium deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency in a vegan diet, I have never, in my professional life, see a vegan or vegetarian with any of these deficiencies.

I’ve seen iron deficiency in women, children and teenagers who eats a regular American diet. I’ve seen protein deficiency, calcium deficiency and calcium deficiency in very sick children who eats a regular American diet.

Interesting…

How Does the Plant-based Diet Work?

To understand how the plant-based diet works, we need to first understand the chemistry of the human body.

Human Body Chemistry

Don’t worry…I’m not going to pull out my organic chemistry or biochemistry hat and start lecture.

What I want to get to is that the human body is a giant water bag filled with interacting elements. The human body is kept alive and functioning by thousands of chemical reactions. Every single one of these reactions requires a “catalyst” to make the reaction happens.

And coincidently, these catalysts are minerals and vitamins found in lots of fruits and vegetables that God made for us.

So in order for the human body to function well to include staying focus, having energy, fight diseases, etc, we need all our chemical reactions to work at their best, which requires lots of minerals and vitamins.

Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables also plays significant role in our body functions. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals and speed the healing process.

The living body is a dynamic structure where cells are constantly dying and being replaced with new ones. With proper nutrition (or ingredients) our body can build better replacement cells and tissues that works even better than the last.

And there’s something to say about “cravings”. We have always been right about cravings. It’s our body’s way to tell us that some important ingredients are missing. But we have been tackling cravings wrong all this time.

We’ve been told to drink water when you have a craving. Or try to figure the texture (crunchy, gooey) or taste (sweet or salty) of the food that you crave, and find the food with the right texture or taste to curb the cravings.

In fact, what our body is really craving for are nutrients. Vital nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, to facilitate life-supporting chemical reactions.

That’s the point we’ve been missing.

When your body is well-nourished, your cravings will stop. You can look at cravings as thirst or hunger. You need hydration when you’re thirsty, energy from food when you’re hungry, and nutrients when you have cravings.

Look at the United States, you think we’re a well-informed and well-fed nation. But look at our spending on healthcare, and statistics of people dying from lifestyle diseases, such as heart diseases, cancers, obesity, diabetes, etc.

The Healthcare costs well-exceeds the GPD. will eventually bankrupt this country. And 1.2 million deaths that could have been prevented.

Leading Causes of Death in US

All these are diseases of malnutrition (or overnutrition) and nutrient-deficiencies.

What About the Nutrients in Animal Protein?

It’s true that animal protein does provide all 20 essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) in one source. However, it turns out animal protein is not the best or only source of protein or amino acid, or calcium, iron, zinc, etc.

High intake of animal protein (to include dairy and eggs) are associated with increased risk of certain cancers and chronic conditions.

According to the China Study, dairy products are not even a good source of calcium as we’ve been told by the Dairy Council.

It’s a big fat lie to get us drink loads of milk and eats tons of cheese so dairy farmers to make money.

In fact, the milk protein in dairy products increase risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia, and certain types of cancer. Studies have also shown that countries with the most dairy consumption also have the highest incidence of osteoporosis and osteopenia.

Red meat, as we know, increases risk of cardiac disease due to the oxidative effects of iron.

Despite the fact that plant protein is consider “incomplete”, it is the best source of protein. The human body does have 20 essential amino acids that we just can’t create on our own, and we need to acquire these essential amino acid from food that we eat. We’ve been told for decades that animal protein is ‘the best” source of protein because it provides ALL 20 essential amino acids. However, our body does not care where these amino acids come from.

Consuming animal protein to acquire these amino acids comes with a price - carcinogens, hormones, antibiotics, free radicals, etc.

On the other hand, assuming you’re eating a wholesome plant-based diet with a variety of unprocessed fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds and whole grains, you’re guarantee to have all your essential amino acids complete.

Keep reading: Benefits of a Plant Based Diet