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Start With The Pebbles October 28, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness.

Our thoughts play tricks on us . . . in order to maintain the status quo.

For example, if we start thinking of clearing out the clutter, our thoughts gravitate to the MOST DIFFICULT issue first :

What are we going to do with the grandma’s silver tea set? 

Stymied and unable to come up with a satisfactory answer, we abandon the task entirely.

If we want to make changes in our lives, we can start small, moving step by step in the right direction.  Instead of worrying about the antique tea service first, we can clear out the “real clutter” ~ STUFF that is not giving us ANY VALUE and is just taking up SPACE in our homes and our thoughts.

After we’ve tossed the old magazines, the toys and games that have been outgrown, and clothes that no longer fit, we can tackle the tea service.

Every move in the right direction counts . . . a bucket is filled drop by drop.

Instead of tackling the BIGGEST boulders straight out of the starting block (before we’ve got momentum going), we can start with a few SMALLER pebbles.

Kicking several small pebbles aside, and side-stepping a few small potholes along the way, will give us the confidence we need to “climb every mountain and ford every stream.”

When it comes to nutrition, we need not change ALL of our “bad habits” to improve our health and wellness.  Instead, we can make a series of smaller changes and build momentum before attempting to tackle any BOULDERS that are standing in our way.

We should enjoy eating.  If we want to choose foods that help prevent and treat illness, and enhance our well-being, we don’t have to be fanatic about it.

Instead of marching into the kitchen to throw away ALL the junk food that is lurking there . . . we can start on the road to better health by adding some “better for us” choices to the grocery cart and to our meals.

These 20 Healing Foods offer exceptional nutritional value:

1.  Artichokes ~ aids digestion and assists liver, gallbladder & kidney function.

2.  Broccoli ~ antioxidants (beta-carotene, vitamins C & E), iron, folic acid, calcium and zinc.  Ideal:  2-3 servings a week.

3.  Cabbage ~ raw cabbage contains more anti-oxidants than cooked.  Ideal:  2-3 servings per week in tossed salads or cole slaw.


Wikipedia ~ Carrots (in Public Domain)

4.  Carrots ~ high fiber, low calorie with plenty of anti-oxidants.  A carrot a day keeps the doctor away.

5.  Lettuce & Salad Greens ~ excellent source of raw fiber.  Eat freely.

6.  Onion ~ eating 1/2 an onion a day helps combat infections.

7.  Sweet Potato ~ great source of anti-oxidants, vitamin E, potassium, iron.  Ideal: one per week.

8.  Blueberries and Bilberries (wild blueberries) ~ improves circulation and counters infections in the digestive track.

9.  Cranberries ~ assists bodily defenses and fights UTI’s.

10.  Oranges ~ eating the fruit is more beneficial than drinking the juice. Use orange zest, rich in orange oil, to garnish salads & desserts.

11. Pineapple ~ beneficial enzymes are killed with cooking.  Eat fresh.

12.  Chili Pepper ~ stimulates circulation, clears airways, aids digestion, and raises the rate at which we burn calories.  Got chili peppers?

13.  Garlic ~ defends against colds and flu (and vampires).  Improves blood flow.  Best eaten raw.  Ideal:  1-2 cloves a day.

14.  Ginger ~ fights colds and coughs and aids circulation.  Delicious in stir fries, curries, desserts, and tea.

15.  Tea ~ Green tea has the most anti-oxidants.

16.  Oats ~ Soothes nerves and lowers cholesterol.  1-2 ounces a day ~  more may limit absorption of calcium, zinc, and iron.  Oatmeal pancakes, bread, granola, and muffins.  Hmm . . . Oatmeal Raisin Muffins!

17.  Sunflower Seeds ~ richer in Vitamin E than any other commonly available food.  Ideal:  2 Tbsp. a day.  Delicious sprinkled on salads.

18.  Walnuts ~ reduces severity of rheumatoid arthritis.  Omega-3 fatty acids.  Ideal:  5 a day.

19.  Yogurt ~ live cultures don’t survive long in digestive track.   Ideal: 1/2 c. of low fat yogurt with live cultures a day.  Delicious topped with fruit, nuts, and honey.

20.  Oily Fish ~ eating 4-13 oz. of fatty fish a week supplies beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids.

Wikipedia ~ Catfish (in Public Domain)

How many of these have you eaten in the past week?  How many are in your pantry and fridge right now?

How many will you incorporate into your meals today?

Related posts:  Food Matters ~ You Are What You Eat * Focus On What You’re Gaining * Friday’s Fabulous Facts ~ Chocolate & Smiles (Reflections From A Cloudy Mirror) * Great Nutrition Starts On Your Plate


1. Jackie L. Robinson - October 28, 2011

What a wealth of resources you have given us! Definitely some ‘food for thought’ and I know I can really get focused on making some changes–in many ways. Thank you my friend…xo

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

Thanks, Jackie. When we focus on adding good-for-us foods that we LOVE to eat . . . we have less room to fill up on “junk.”

2. Lisa Wields Words - October 28, 2011

Kick . . . ping. I love the sound of little pebbles shooting out of my way.

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

Same here. It’s quite satisfying to avoid “potholes” too! 😉

3. jodikendalldi - October 28, 2011

This is fascinating. I never knew that about chili peppers!

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

According to Healing Foods, the burn from chili peppers burns up 25% MORE calories from other foods.

I love adding chili oil to Chinese food and curries, and crushed red pepper to pastas and pizza.

4. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - October 28, 2011

I love everything on that list. Well not walnuts, but baklava is good!

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

I eat and ENJOY most of these items (except the fish and the yogurt) with regularity.

I love baklava . . . but don’t eat it often. A sweet treat.

5. souldipper - October 28, 2011

Since I prefer eating raw, plant-based foods, I get the optimum benefit from those foods. When I had an exquisite 5 course meal a while ago, all vegetable and all uncooked, we finished eating at 7:30 pm. I was so full of energy that I didn’t go to bed until around 2 am. Usually, we lunch with these delicious offerings from our local chef.

I love soups and stews in the winter so I supplement my intake at those times. During cold weather, it’s hard for me to get excited about a salad so I add other sources of nutrient-laden foods.

I refuse to buy products with chemicals i.e. anything processed. Shop often – buy fresh – read the labels.

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

I loved the sound of that meal, Amy.

From what I’ve been reading, some vegetables benefit from cooking because heat unlocks hidden nutrients. We eat some raw and some cooked veggies each day.

Most fruit we eat raw ~ including fresh pineapple. Yum!

6. BrainRants - October 28, 2011

I get the feeling some of this may be directed at me and my crappy eating habits.

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

Not at all. You are “Di’s problem,” not mine. 😉

This “series” on nutrition stems from my belief that the best way to learn something is to share what you’re learning with others. It reinforces and cements new knowledge.

I have a general understanding of what foods are better for me than others, but want to learn more about specific fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. And I want to share what I learn with anyone who’s interested.

If you feel good and are satisfied with your present diet, then keep on, keeping on.

No heaping helpings of guilt served here. 😀

7. Sandra Bell Kirchman - October 28, 2011

Great post, Nancy. I have studied beneficial foods for a number of years, yet I hadn’t heard about the beneficial qualities of some of this food, specifically chili peppers, walnuts, and oats. The rest were really good reminders. We eat a number of these items, but our diet could certainly use a few more.

You might be interested to know that vets recommend blueberries as beneficial to dogs because of their anti-oxidants. Instead of calorie-filled treats we often give dogs, they recommend a few blueberries. The dogs love ’em too.

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

I’m right there with you, Sandra. I eat many of these with some degree of regularity . . . but I’ve gotten a bit “lazy” and lax about meal preparation. We tend to cycle through the same “tired” options week in and week out.

I want to kick it up a notch! {{B~A~M}}

I just added some of these items to our grocery list ~ and I’m picking out a few new recipes to focus on. E.g., Baked sweet potatoes with maple syrup and walnuts.

Thanks for the tip about blueberries for our canine companions. Tigger steers clear of almost everything we eat ~ he’s a carnivore through and through.

8. Carl D'Agostino - October 28, 2011

Had to move again in March. Had to really, really unload things. But if you have recently done that a while back you have already been reduced to necessities. Things you can’t do without but must as they will inhabit more space than you have. Again. This time was devastating because I had to divest myself of all my tools accumulated over decades. Have 2 screw drivers, a hammer and a pliers left. But in 7 months I have had no call to use any of the now gone tools. You can’t refinish a rocking chair you found in the trash now living in a condo anyway. Goes to show you not to define who you are with all these attachments. We are still us without them.

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

Excellent points, Carl. The smaller our living quarters, the more we are limited to housing only true necessities . . . we must let go of the rest of our accumulated attachments.

Have you considered working part-time for a cabinet or furniture maker so that you can still enjoy handling wood and using tools?

9. kateshrewsday - October 28, 2011

Oh, I love this, Nancy: this is really achievable….I have just bought a bag of sweet potatoes today. I shall start with those…

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

If we focus on what we WANT to ADD to our diets . . . perhaps we won’t notice the “stuff” that no long makes it into our shopping carts, menu plans, and tummies! 🙂

10. 2e0mca - October 28, 2011

Dispel the myth – Garlic does not keep away Vampires – As a half Vampire I should know. I can’t keep away from my good lady and she eats loads of Garlic 😉

Nice selection of foods of which around 75% appear in our regular family diet. The missing ones in our weekly consumption are Oily Fish, Raw Cabbage and Artichokes. We do well on the Red kidney Beans and Chick Peas – additional good foods that didn’t make it too your list 🙂 Don’t forget to cook in sunflower oil or olive oil and don’t add salt!

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

I’m going to do another list of “Good For Us” foods soon. Beans and lentils are on that list ~ they are awesome for us.

I love artichokes but don’t eat them all that often because they are too “fussy” to fix and eat.

Good to know about garlics and vampires . . . especially with All Hallow’s Eve just around the corner. 😯

11. sufilight - October 28, 2011

Another gem of an article! Didn’t know that more than 2 oz of oats can limit absorption of calcium, zinc and iron or that it soothes nerves. Knew it was good for cholesterol, reason why I sometimes have oatmeal at breakfast.

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

I didn’t know that either . . . but I doubt that I’ve ever eaten more than 2 oz. of oats in a sitting.

In the winter, I like hot oatmeal for breakfast (with brown sugar). I also like making oatmeal bread, pancakes, and muffins!

12. crumbl - October 28, 2011

Eaten within the past week and/or have in my pantry/refrigerator at the moment? Everything on the list except sunflower seeds and pineapple. I like sunflower seeds, to snack and to cook with, just happen to be out. I love fresh pineapple but it gets wasted unless I remember, and have space, to freeze it.

Which will be in tonight’s meals? Hmmm … onions, garlic, carrot, broccoli, blueberries (in my yogurt, with some bran buds), cranberries, yogurt, chilis, ginger, oats, walnuts, maybe green tea before bed.

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

Sounds like you eat lots of “real food” ~ onion, garlic, carrots, broccoli, and chili are staples in many of our meals.

We hadn’t had sunflower seeds or a fresh pineapple in a while, but bought them both on Wednesday . . . before seeing this list for the first time in ages today. Coincidence, or not?

Haven’t had blueberries or cranberries in awhile either. Added them to our list.

13. eof737 - October 28, 2011

I’ve always eaten healthy… and then I had a few major surgeries that threw me for a loop. I’m back on track and can confirm that healthy, organic foods make us feel better. Add brussel sprouts to the list. TY! 🙂

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

I have not always eaten healthy, and lately I’ve been a bit too lazy and lax. Instead of eating fruits and vegetables in all colors of the rainbow, we’d gotten into the habit of eaten the same ones over and over again. The last few days, our meals have been way more colorful!

Brussel sprouts is on the next list that I’m putting together. 😉

14. Paula Tohline Calhoun - October 28, 2011

Aren’t we the fountain of info today? 🙂

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

Aren’t we always? 😛

15. Linda - October 28, 2011

Well let’s see, I have had yogurt, cabbage and loads of tea this week. A bit deficiant in the other areas. I did buy what I thought were blueberries and they turned out to be concord grapes. Much too much trouble to eat. I am going to print this list out and take it with me to the grocery store. Thank you for this.

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

I don’t eat ALL these things ALL the time, but if you’re looking for some good stuff to add to your shopping list, these are 20 “winners” ~ sounds like Papaya is a Super Food too! 😀

16. jannatwrites - October 29, 2011

Aw, I didn’t see Oreos on the list 😦

Okay, I didn’t have any of those this week (yay!). I did have 9 of the things on the good list. This leaves plenty of room for improvement!

nrhatch - October 29, 2011

What?! No Oreos? {{double checks}} Nope, they are not on the list. 😦

We don’t “save room” for desserts by skimping on fruits and veggies, but we don’t ban sugar either. We should enjoy ourselves while we’re here because we don’t know how long we have. If I get hit by a bus next week (and all bets are off) . . . I don’t want to have to slap my forehead to say, “I should have had dessert!”

I just focus on filling up on a diverse variety of the “good stuff” and keeping snacks to nibbles . . . not great big gnoshes!

17. Cindy - October 29, 2011

Very informative, Nancy, I naturally gravitate to healthy foods, guess I am lucky that way.

nrhatch - October 29, 2011

You also have the benefit of loving to cook with REAL ingredients. When I’m in the mood to chop, slice, and dice, we eat better. 😀

18. Tilly Bud - October 29, 2011

This came at just the right time – my pre-declutter panic before the pre-Christmas declutter is rising, but I have squashed it after reading this 🙂 I’ll start with one small bag of junk and work my way up the lounge.

nrhatch - October 29, 2011

There is a GREAT benefit of starting . . . no matter how small a start. It builds energy and momentum. We start seeing the “clutter” and we WANT to remove it. Maybe, if you have clutter that others would like, you can raise enough money to buy yourself a new computer chair! That’s motivation!

19. shannon sullivan - October 29, 2011

Thank you for this post 🙂

nrhatch - October 29, 2011

You’re welcome, Shannon! Happy noshing! 😀

20. bluebee - October 29, 2011

Great post, Nancy – I eat many if those healing foods that you list already but your intro to the post gives me the much-needed fortification to continue a daunting task I started yesterday – springcleaning. Thx 🙂

nrhatch - October 29, 2011

That’s exactly what we’ve been doing, BB ~ only we’re “fall cleaning” our fridge and pantry! 😀

We used the list to add some more healthy stuff to our shopping list. I’m doing better at ignoring the foods in the circular that are 1/2 price but LOW in nutritional value. And we’re spending more time in the produce section and with meal planning.

If you need any clutter busting tips ~ just type “clutter” into the search bar and several posts will appear through the magic of cyber searching.

Good luck. Have FUN!

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