Hungry for Health by Dr. Susan Silberstein

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

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Because March is National Nutrition Month, I wanted to review a cookbook that reflected my own philosophy about eating healthfully. I found it in Susan Silberstein’s slim volume entitled Hungry for Health.

The first 32 pages should be read to grasp Dr. Silberstein’s philosophy, which is very similar to mine. (That is why I am so excited about this book. Finally, I have found another local person who shares my ideas about diet and health. This is very empowering, since I often feel that I am out on a limb about my own philosophy of “The Good Taste of Health.”) Even the headings in the first few pages grabbed me: “So many diets, so little health,” “Are you digging your grave with your fork?” Overfed and undernourished.” These are all very current issues that lead the reader to continue.

The core of these introductory pages explains the four nutritional secrets mentioned on the cover. These are:

1. Eat primitive – This means eating less and less of meats and sweets, pies and fries, chips and dips, cakes and shakes (nice rhyming!!!) and embracing more of roots and fruits, greens and beans, seeds and weeds (plus some fish and wild game). In this section the author discusses “The Skinny on Fats” with a quick discussion on the importance of good fats and information on fighting free radicals that are produced when fats break down in air, heat, or light. She ends this section with an emphasis on unadulterated foods: no pesticides, no hormones, no bioengineering, etc.

2. Eat colorful – In this section the author writes that all vegetables are not equal and that the “Five-a-Day” campaign is too low. We need at least three servings of fruit and six or seven of vegetables, with an emphasis on green veggies and cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower and kale, all of which will provide more colorful and more healthful menus. In this section there is also a brief discussion about the importance of fiber and the relationship between low fiber diets and cancer.

3. Eat alkaline-In this section Dr. Silberstein discusses the importance of an acid-alkaline balance in our diets. She emphasis research that suggests that 80% of our foods should be plant-based, with only 20% animal based. (I also read this many years ago when I first became a vegetarian.) According to the author, this ratio correlates approximately with an 80% alkaline diet and a 20% acid diet.

4. Eat organic-The author’s discussion here emphasizes how organic farming differs from “pesticide farming,” resulting in “an abundance of minerals that are lacking in non-organic produce.” There is a short list of four vegetables grown organically compared with non-organically grown, based on a study from Rutgers University. Four minerals are listed and in each case, the mineral content of the organic produce is superior.

Starting on page 35 we find wonderful recipes in the following categories:

1. Appetizers & Snacks
2. Soups & Broths
3. Salads & Dressings
4. Entrees & Sides
5. Sweets & Treats
6. Juices & Smoothies

Below is one sample recipe that you can enjoy without much fuss. I actually made it from extra brown rice made the day before.

Rice Pudding

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1 ½ C cooked short or medium grain brown rice
1/3 c almond milk (or vanilla rice milk)
¼ c maple syrup (or honey)
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
¼ c raisins

Place rice in a large saucepan. Pour in almond milk and stir. Bring mixture up to a boil, then down to a simmer. Add raisins, vanilla, salt and maple syrup. Simmer, stirring often, until liquid thickens to a pudding-like consistency (about 10 minutes). Add cinnamon and stir. Allow to cool. Place is dessert bowls and refrigerate.
Yield: 2 servings

Note: I found that I only had to cook the mixture about 5 minutes. Also, this makes 2 large servings, but in my photo I made 4 small servings.

Dr. Susan Silberstein’s wonderful cookbook is available at www.HungryforHealth.net or through her non-profit organization, the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education. The website is www.beatcancer.org and the email address is info@BeatCancer.org. Hungry for Health costs $17.95 and the net proceeds benefit her Center’s work of coordinating health conferences, giving talks on cancer prevention, and counseling health-seekers. I also heard Dr. Silberstein speak at the end of February and she is passionate about her life’s work.

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