Cheers! Here’s to your health!
After 467 consecutive daily blogs, this is my first post about beverages. My top ten list shown here includes four in the healthy category and six in the not-so-healthy column. Occasionally, we hear some good news about our coffee or alcohol, but generally the report card is not that good when it comes to some of our favorite beverages.
Here is my Top Ten List—ranked in order of health—in my opinion
1. Whole plant smoothie (fruit, veggie, nuts, seeds, etc.) This is a 100% healthy drink with nothing but whole plants in liquid form. Still has all the fiber and nutrients with no added ingredients. Definitely a 4Leaf meal in a glass.*
2. Water and/or herbal tea. We hear people recommending a certain number of glasses of water per day. It all depends on how much water you’re eating—and if you’re eating at the 4Leaf level, you’re eating a lot of water. I just drink water when I feel like it, beginning with the very first thing that enters my stomach each morning. With regards to the herbal tea, I am obviously talking about tea with no caffeine and nothing added.
3. Fresh fruit and/or vegetable juice. When I first started learning about nutrition in 2002, I was doing a whole lot of juicing. But when I started thinking in terms of maximizing my consumption of whole plants, I realized that I had probably thrown away 1,000 pounds of fiber during those first few years. Even without the fiber, we all know that fresh juice is very good for our bodies.
4. Milk substitutes, unsweetened (rice, almond, soy, oat, etc.) Most of the these milks are used for adding to our coffee, tea or breakfast cereal. I use a mixture of vanilla flavored almond and water on my oatmeal each day, but I am just as happy with a mixture of fruit juice or smoothie. If we had never started drinking cow’s milk in the first place, these kinds of drinks may not even exist.
Now for the not-so-healthy
5. Coffee and/or tea (without sugar or cream). Okay, I know it’s not good for me so I decided to cut way back on this morning habit. My average consumption now is one small Starbucks Pike Place, black. Prior to 2002, I was drinking four times as much. See Greger video below on coffee. As for the tea, I am talking about any tea with caffeine—not herbal tea mentioned above.
6. Packaged fruit or veggie juices. These are pretty much sugar drinks nowadays and are probably no better than soft drinks. You should work with your kids to find a ‘smoothie’ formula that they LOVE. Then give it to them everyday—and stop buying this not-so-healthy choice.
7. Infant formula—have you checked the ingredient lately? Pretty scary stuff, see my analysis below with an ingredient list from one of the big three brands.
8. Soft drinks (with or without sugar). No explanation needed here; zero nutritional value.
9. Alcohol (wine, beer, vodka, gin, etc.) — See McDougall video below. I didn’t have my first alcoholic beverage until I was 21; and at one point in my life, I consumed quite a bit more than I do today. I agree with Dr. McDougall, this stuff is not good for you, but it’s okay as long as it doesn’t become a problem for you or anyone else. If by chance you or someone you know does take drinking alcohol to the extreme, a Florida alcohol rehab treatment center would be worth looking into, and attending.
10. Cow’s milk. Unfit for human consumption at any age; it is associated with heart disease, cancer, & diabetes. It contains casein, the most powerful carcinogen ever discovered, according to T. Colin Campbell. Read Nigel’s “Beware the Sacred Cow” piece.
*As for our 4Leaf score, beverage #1 wins by a score of 100 to zero when compared to any of the other nine beverages. It is the only one that has ANY whole plants.
Dr. Michael Greger on Coffee (#5 on my list)
Here’s what Dr. Michael Greger had to say about coffee—beginning with the good news:
Each daily cup o’ joe was associated with about a 3% reduced risk of cancers, especially bladder, breast, mouth, colorectal, endometrial, esophageal, liver, leukemic, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. BUT, before you triple your daily dose, read about the down side:
Some health conditions may be worsened by coffee, such as insomnia, anxiety, gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn), high blood pressure, and certain heartbeat rhythm irregularities. There are also compounds in coffee that increase cholesterol levels, but are effectively removed when filtered through paper, so drip coffee is preferable to boiled, French press and espresso. Pregnant women should restrict caffeine consumption to less than two cups of coffee a day.
And here’s his one-minute video on Coffee & Cancer
The New York Times had a piece about the benefits of coffee this week (5-16-12)
Now for Infant Formula at #7—scoring slightly better than soft drinks, alcohol & cow’s milk
Have you taken a look at the ingredients list lately? It doesn’t matter which brand you’re looking at, they’re all pretty scary. Unable to breast feed your newborn? Then find an enlightened MD to help work out a truly healthy way for you to feed that precious child. Here’s what most babies are getting today—and the collective impact on their future health is unknowable data.
WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE (FROM COW’S MILK, ENZYMATICALLY HYDROLYZED, REDUCED IN MINERALS), VEGETABLE OILS (PALM OLEIN, SOY, COCONUT, AND HIGH-OLEIC SAFFLOWER OR HIGH-OLEIC SUNFLOWER), CORN MALTODEXTRIN, LACTOSE GALACTO-OLIGOSACCHARIDES*, AND LESS THAN 2% OF: POTASSIUM CITRATE, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM CHLORIDE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM CITRATE, MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE, FERROUS SULFATE, ZINC SULFATE, SODIUM CHLORIDE, COPPER SULFATE, POTASSIUM IODIDE, MANGANESE SULFATE, SODIUM SELENATE, M. ALPINA OIL**, C. COHNII OIL***, SODIUM ASCORBATE, INOSITOL, CHOLINE BITARTRATE, ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, NIACINAMIDE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, RIBOFLAVIN, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, FOLIC ACID, PHYLLOQUINONE, BIOTIN, VITAMIN D3, VITAMIN B12, TAURINE, NUCLEOTIDES (CYTIDINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, DISODIUM URIDINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, ADENOSINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, DISODIUM GUANOSINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE), ASCORBYL PALMITATE, MIXED TOCOPHEROLS, L-CARNITINE, SOY LECITHIN.
- *A prebiotic fiber sourced from milk.
- **A source of arachidonic acid (ARA).
- ***A source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
McDougall on Alcoholic Beverages
Like soft drinks or coffee, we know that the less we drink of these the better. Even though they are all plant-based (Thank God), they have a No-Leaf score on our 4Leaf system. The good news about alcohol; unless it becomes a problem for someone, is this:
- It’s probably better for adults than infant formula is for babies.
- It’s definitely better for adults than cow’s milk, which is associated with heart disease, cancer, & diabetes. It contains casein, the most powerful carcinogen ever discovered, according to Dr. T. Colin Campbell.
Two minute video from Dr. McDougall
Cheers, and have a great weekend!
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation