One great feature of AcademyHealingNutrition “Longevity Diet” is that it is international, not limited to fads or “junk foods.” It is neither a vegetarian,keto, starch, or starvation diet but offers a wide range of whole foods and herbs that support digestion, vital health and beauty. Registration for the Fall session in New York is now open. Online classes are available.
Are you tired of the same old proteins: eggs, beef, chicken and fish? There are lesser known specialty foods that knock them out of the ball park. For example, snails, caviar, fish maw, seaweeds, chia and hemp seeds, lentils, bee pollen and mushrooms. We will look at how they are harvested and enjoyed as health foods. One bite goes a long way.
Organ meats, fish eggs, and snails offer intense nutrition with lots of protein but are also higher in cholesterol. However, a dab of pate on toast or an hors d’oeuvre of caviar are small portions with intense flavor.
The trick to staying healthy when using rich fats, high protein or organ meats is to keep it simple: One protein per meal.
A dab of caviar on a cracker with a salad, raw vegetables or an herb pasta; not with a piece of meat or charcuterie, cheese and a dessert. One protein at a time. In my healthy weight loss book Feed Your Tiger, I stressed using one type of protein per day. On a fish day, have fish, on an egg day have eggs etc. There is an exception that I observe: cooking chicken or red meat with lardon for flavor. Lard is considered a healthy fat in “The Longevity Diet” and is traditional for Coq au Vin.
A Little Bite
The terms hors d’oeuvres and appetizers are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference: hors d’oeuvres, which is French for “out of work” has come to mean “outside the meal.” It is generally a one-bite item that’s either stationary or passed and served separate from or prior to a meal. Imagine a protein source that is a bite instead of a pile of food. An hors d’oeuvre might spice up a grain and vegetable meal or salad.
How much protein per day?
The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. For example, a 125 pound woman should have 45 grams per day. High-protein diets claim weight loss, but it is often short-term. Excess protein consumed is stored as fat, while the surplus of amino acids is excreted. This can lead to weight gain over time. Symptoms associated with too much protein include:
- intestinal discomfort and indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, dehydration.
- unexplained exhaustion or irritability, headache.
Blood Sugar/Blood Pressure Spikes from Animal Proteins
Here is how to reduce a surge in blood sugar/pressure that may result after eating protein.
- Moderate the spike by adding fruit especially berries, vegetables, red wine, avocado or nuts (healthy fats) Try a dessert of a few frozen blue berries, black berries, cherries or cranberries. Add frozen berries to red wine as ice cubes.
- Limit intake: Japanese, Chinese or French cuisines are not known for huge portions. They stress flavor. Two or three small pieces of oyster, escargot or no more than 1 teaspoon of caviar on crackers are enough for a flavor boost. Eating a pound of them dulls the experience.
- A number of the weird proteins are sources of cholesterol, but our brain is mostly made up of cholesterol which improves our memory and mental clarity. Studies have shown that a low cholesterol diet can lead to aggressive behavior and depression. Here are some delicious unusual examples of high-protein foods.
The good news: This food is a good source of Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Iron, Magnesium and Selenium. Caviar contains around 10% of the daily requirement for iron, as well as decent amounts of selenium, magnesium. It contains an array of vitamins B2, B6, B12, C and it is a rich source of Vitamins A and D. It is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which fight heart disease and has been said to help with depression. Caveat: Caviar is high in cholesterol and sodium. One tablespoon of caviar has 94 mgs cholesterol and 240 mgs sodium.
Affordable and Healthy
You don’t need to eat the most expensive sturgeon caviar for the benefits. Much less expensive caviar (cod roe) comes from Norway. Fish eggs don’t have particularly high levels of mercury. Some of these contaminants like PCBs and DDT tend to settle in the fatty areas of the fish (like the liver), but mercury is found throughout the fish. Salmon fish roe, Ikura, in Japanese, shouldn’t be a problem.
Storage: Refrigerate caviar in the original jar with an insulated bag with frozen gel ice for 10 days to 2 weeks. An opened jar or tin of caviar can be stored in the refrigerator covered for no longer than two or three days. Freeze unopened caviar for up to one year, but it will lose flavor and texture.
Scallops are highly nutritious, rich in protein and low in calories. However, they can cause allergic reactions in people with shellfish allergies. Depending on where they are caught, scallops contain varying levels of heavy metals and may have other contaminants.
You may wonder why Chinese cooks prefer dried scallops. They are easier to preserve, but their value goes beyond that. Dried fish, like dried fruits, offer concentrated nutrients and taste. Dried scallop is mild and salty; it replenishes blood and improves spleen. In every 100 grams of dried scallop, there are 65.7 grams of protein, which is 2-3 times that in the chicken, beef or shrimp.
Soups and Stir Fry
Rinse dried scallops in warm water, soak them in fresh water overnight to re-hydrate them and add them to cook with soup. Fresh scallops can be steamed or sautéed for two minutes with olive oil and lemon juice.
These mollusks are a delicacy in many parts of the world. They’re often served with champagne, liquor, wine and other fine drinks, offering both flavor and nutrition. Their zinc content is higher than that of any other food. Maybe that’s why Casanova preferred to begin a romantic evening with oysters. Each time a man has sex, he loses zinc which supports sexual potency, prostate and general health. According to the NIH. one serving of oysters provides nearly 500 percent of the daily recommended amount of zinc — that’s 10 times more than the amount of zinc in beef.
Oysters are among the best dietary sources of vitamin B12 which supports brain function and mental health. They’re also rich in minerals, electrolytes and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Each serving of about six medium oysters, offers: 57.1calories and 5.9 grams of protein, 67 percent of the DV (daily value) of vitamin D, 272 percent of the DV of vitamin B12, 509 percent of the DV of zinc and 565 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids
Oyster benefits include a stronger immune system, sexual wellness, male fertility and improved cardiovascular health, among other perks. This delicious food has long been promoted as a natural aphrodisiac. Oysters boost dopamine, a hormone that increases libido in both men and women.
Smoked oysters are a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium and magnesium which promote cardiovascular health due to their beneficial effects on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A meta-analysis of 19 studies, which was published in JAMA in 2016, indicates that seafood and plant-derived omega-3s may protect against heart attacks and coronary heart disease. These heart-healthy fats have been shown to lower triglyceride levels, improve endothelial function and regulate blood pressure.
Raw oysters may be contaminated with bacteria and cause infections. However, smoked and cooked varieties don’t pose this risk because heating destroys most pathogens.
Easy 1 step Steamed Oysters Recipe:
Buy organic whole oysters in the shell from a healthy source. Put them in a pot with a little water and wine or lemon juice. Bring them nearly to a boil, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Allow the oysters in shells to steam for 5 -8 minutes. The oysters are done when the shells open.
Abalone (marine snail), fresh and rich, are extremely delicious and nutritious. They are harvested from California and Mexico to Japan and Australia. Often they are canned which preserves their fresh flavor and moisture. Abalone is a yin nourishing food which means it supports the health of internal organs. It moisturizes lungs, which improves breathing and complexion. It clears inflammation and nourishes the liver and improves eyesight. Long-term consumption has been shown to help prevent cancer. The most recent research has found abalone provides a good source of: Protein, Iron essential for building red blood cells, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, Selenium and Omega-3.
The Chinese say, pregnant women who consume Omega-3 will have healthy and intelligent children. And it also improves the quality of breast milk. Omega-3 is essential for improving mental and physical health of the baby.
When compared to protein sources such as beef, tuna, salmon or eggs, snail protein content is higher than all sources except mutton. Snail contains vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B1, B3, B6 and B12. Vitamin A is beneficial for the health of the eyes, while vitamin E may act as an antioxidant. Vitamin B1, B3, B6 and Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that is needed to prevent and control diabetes. Snail provides choline which is an essential component of the nervous system and is a high source of iron. Snail contains high levels of magnesium. Magnesium plays important roles in the body, which is needed for more than 325 enzymatic reactions, including involved in the synthesis of fats, proteins and nucleic acids, neural activity, muscle contraction and relaxation, cardiac activity and bone metabolism.
Abalone is very expensive, especially when it comes from Japan where it has been a delicacy for a thousand years. Ama (sea women) traditionally dived for it 40 feet down into cold ocean water. Chinese cooks add canned abalone to soups and stir fries along with pork, dried scallops, mushrooms, chicken or goose meat or prepared sea cucumber.
Land Snail, Escargot Recipe
Canned escargot land snails from Roland, sold at Amazon.com and some supermarkets, cost a fraction of the price and have much the same nutritional value. Soak them for 10 minutes in water with a slice of ginger or lemon to refresh the taste. Steam or stir fry them with butter, garlic and parsley or olive oil or a tomato base sauce and add them to pasta or toast. They are smooth, soft and buttery. Do not overcook them. They will be tender and delicious.
Like most land vegetables, seaweed contains vitamins A (beta carotene) and C. It is also rich in potassium, iron, calcium, iodine and magnesium, which are minerals concentrated in seawater. Seaweed is also one of the few vegetable sources of vitamin B-12. Nori is a red seaweed with the highest measured protein content (up to 47 percent) of any seaweed. Nori is common in Japanese cuisine in soups, salads, and as a wrap for sushi rolls.
Most seaweed contains high levels of iodine, and a person may consume too much if they eat a lot of seaweed over an extended period. While many people, especially hypo-thyroid, overweight people, can handle high levels of iodine, some are more vulnerable to its effects, which can include thyroid dysfunction.
Although nori has the highest amount of protein, other seaweeds are wonderful sources of minerals necessary for health and metabolism. See seaweed soup combinations at www.theseaweedman.com
Try a light snack of rice cakes, dried seaweed and green tea. It’s slimming and nutritious.