A Fish and Vegetable Diet

We have heard about low-fat diets, gluten-free diets, vegetarian diets, and other approaches to healthy eating. Perhaps the best low-fat diet is not only gluten free, it’s grain free.

Grains tend to cause weight-gain problems, and grains can irritate your intestinal walls, resulting in inflammation and irritable bowels. (I have read that after 50, we all have abnormal bowels.) But fruits and vegetables contain more antioxidants than grains, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will provide enough fiber. If your digestive system is particularly irritable, then switch to frozen fruits and vegetables. Freezing kills some germs and partially breaks down abrasive fiber (and I have an easier time eating vegetables and fruits that I have thawed in the microwave or cooked from the frozen state). According to The National Center for Home Food Preservation, “Freezing does not kill all bacteria, yeasts and molds present in food, but it does prevent their multiplication if the food is held at 0°F or less. When thawed, the surviving organisms can multiply again.”

Fish is good for your brain, heart, skin, and digestive tract. But choose wisely. According to Toronto Public Health, children, teenage girls, and women of childbearing age may eat one serving of pollock or wild Pacific chum, coho, or pink salmon a day (and men, teenage boys, and women over 50 can eat more than one serving a day).

Toronto Public Health also lists fish that children may eat twice a week (2 servings a week), teenage girls and women of childbearing age may eat 4 times a week, and men, teenage boys, and women over 50 can eat more often: Atlantic mackerel, wild Arctic char, herring, wild chinook, sockeye, and steelhead salmon, sardines, smelt, sole, Atlantic cod, flounder, and haddock. (I have not included their recommendations for shellfish and tuna. Plus I never eat freshwater or farmed fish. And for both medical and ecological reasons, I stay away from marlin, shark and swordfish.)

Frozen fish is usually fresher than “fresh” supermarket fish. Buy North American fish — not fish from China, which often contains preservatives or experiences suspect processing and delayed freezing.

Fish is low fat and anti-inflammatory (unlike red meat, which can bring on or exacerbate inflammation). If you want a more varied diet, eat skinless chicken and turkey breasts once in awhile.

Bake or steam your fish and poultry. And read about Dr. Sear’s Zone Diet: The Zone Diet