Fast food is taking over the American diet, and the effects are deadly. Processed meats, such as pepperoni or bologna, could be considered carcinogenic. Moreover, highly processed foods and fried foods set us up for heart disease and dementia. All the foods in bags and boxes with white flour and synthetic ingredients are a major source of calories but provide very little in the way of crucial micronutrients. What can we do about this problem?
Is Junk Food Addictive?
People who eat highly processed treats with lots of sugar, salt and industrial fats may find it challenging to give them up. Yet the food industry may be aware that these foods affect the reward center of the brain in much the same way as certain drugs. Calories that hit the bloodstream quickly may stimulate the dopamine-fueled reward centers of the brain. How can we avoid junk food addiction and adopt healthier eating habits?
Feeding Our Children:
Kids may like fast food and sweets, but such a diet is terrible for their developing brains. What should we be feeding our children to promote their lifelong health? Can we learn to retrain our taste buds so that we prefer foods that are good for us? Dr. Fuhrman believes that unhealthy eating has a negative impact on emotional health and that nutritional excellence is therapeutically powerful.
What Should We Eat Instead of Fast Food?
Dr. Fuhrman recommends we focus on the quality of what we are eating. He offers the memnomic GBOMBS: greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds. All of these foods are rich in nutrients and absorbed slowly. Recipes such as fudgy black bean brownies use no white flour or sugar and fit well into a whole-food plant-based diet. The recipe can be found on Dr. Fuhrman’s website, as well as below.
This Week’s Guest:
Joel Fuhrman MD is a board-certified family physician, nutritional researcher, six-time New York Times bestselling author, and President of the Nutritional Research Foundation. Dr. Fuhrman is on a mission to wipe out heart disease, diabetes and cancer with his best-selling books and PBS television shows which detail how you can reverse chronic illnesses nutritionally and naturally. His newest book, (with Robert Phillips) is Fast Food Genocide: How Processed Food is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It.
His website is https://www.drfuhrman.com/ The photo of Dr. Fuhrman is by Sandra Nissen.
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Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
Makes 16 Squares
2 cups cooked black beans or canned, no-salt-added or low-sodium black beans, drained
1 1/4 cups dates, pitted
2 tablespoons raw almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup natural, non-alkalized cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Combine the black beans, dates, almond butter, and vanilla in a food processor or high-powered blender. Blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again. Pour into a very lightly oiled 8×8-inch baking pan. Bake for 90 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into small squares.
NOTE: These brownies can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week. For an added treat, serve with a dollop of Avocado Chocolate Pudding (page 296) on top.
PER SERVING: CALORIES 94; PROTEIN 3g; CARBOHYDRATES 19g; TOTAL FAT 1.9g; SATURATED FAT 0.4g; SODIUM 1mg; FIBER 4.2g; BETA-CAROTENE 13ug; CALCIUM 30mg; IRON 1.1mg; FOLATE 37ug; MAGNESIUM 43mg; ZINC 0.6mg; SELENIUM 0.6ug
From EAT TO LIVE COOKBOOK: 200 Delicious Nutrient-Rich Recipes for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Reversing Disease, and Lifelong Health. Copyright © 2013 by Joel Fuhrman, MD. Reprinted with permission by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.