by JoAnn Fogler
The Spectrum; A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, Gain Health
by Dean Ornish, M.D. with recipes by Art Smith.
There are many books out on what to eat and how to exercise, but this one is unique in that it is based on three decades of research. It is also by a well-known doctor and author and researcher. He wrote the prominent book Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease and many others which suggest healthy lifestyles that have been proven to work in an amazing number of cases. He is part of a non-profit group comprising the Preventive Medicine Research Institute. They are now conducting many studies in prostate cancer and breast cancer.
People often think that advances in medicine have to be a new drug, a new laser, or a surgical intervention in order to be powerful–something really high-tech and expensive. But Dr. Ornish and his colleagues prove that just simple choices such as what we eat and how we respond to stress will either prevent or slow down the progress of disease. Amazingly, 99 percent of patients on their programs were able to stop or reverse the progression of their heart disease.
The Institute began in 1993 with training personnel in more than fifty hospitals and clinics around the country in their lifestyle program. What is really surprising to this reviewer is that now forty insurance companies besides Mutual Of Omaha are covering their program! Hopefully, more insurance companies will follow in the near future. Still much insurance money goes to pay for surgical procedures such as angioplasty and bypass surgery.
Dr. Ornish says to first make small changes in your own lifestyle. If you are brave enough, make a comprehensive lifestyle change all at once. With the latter you really see the difference quickly. This book is about freedom of choice. The more you move toward the healthy end of the Spectrum and faster, the greater will be the benefits.
If we understand that what we gain is so much more than what we give up, it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. This is an opportunity to work toward joy and abundance.
This book has charts to help you compare carbohydrates and fats. “Eat good carbs and fewer bad carbs. Avoid trans fat, saturated fats, and particularly hydrogenated fats (bad fats)” There are many tables to help you with decisions. I really like the chart on the “Health Benefits of Various Foods” It is very concise and to the point. Apples may keep the doctor away. The pectin in apples may lower your cholesterol and help stabilize your blood sugar. This helps prevent lung cancer especially in smokers.
Stress is also part of this program. A DVD is in the back of the book made especially as a guided meditation to assist you in this part of the program. Practicing meditation and other stress management techniques on a regular basis gives us more power to control how we react to external events. Dr. Ornish gives some basics about meditation. Focus on something peaceful (a sound, word, prayer, song, picture, etc.), and practice mindfulness meditation which is living in the present moment.
Of course, any program for a healthy lifestyle includes exercise. Did you know that the latest research in exercise shows that people who exercise regularly have better memory, are better at multi-tasking and can focus better on each task? This book also relates much about how to maintain exercise.
This book covers cancer and preventing and reversing cardiovascular disease in respect to changing your lifestyle. Here is a short summary for the nutrition aspect.
1. Eat less saturated fat (animal fats, etc)
2. Eat fewer foods containing trans-fatty acids (cookies, cakes)
3. Eat fewer simple carbohydrates (white sugar, white flour)
4. Eat more unrefined complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains)
5. Lose weight (will help lower cholesterol, too)
This famous author gives us hope with “your genes are not your destiny”. They play a role for predispositions, but we make many choices. The Spectrum is based on love, not will power. It’s about feeling good, not just avoiding feeling bad. Joy of living, not fear of dying. Losing weight and gaining health. This book will tell you how.
There are quite a few recipes in this book. Some are pictured in color. However, they may seem complicated at first. I have chosen three that are simple and easy.
Mango and Blueberry Muesli
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup coarsely grated apples
½ cup fat-free plain yogurt
1/3 cup cut-up fresh mango or thawed frozen mango
¼ cup blueberries
Put the oats, apple juice and lemon in a bowl and soak for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight. Add the grated apple and yogurt and top with mango and blueberries. Variation: add honey or maple syrup to the oat mixture.
Three Bean Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
1/3 cup fat free plain yogurt
1 tablespoon dried dill or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
one 14-ounce kidney beans
one 14 ounce can chick peas (garbanzo beans)
2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces and blanched
Put the sour cream and yogurt in a bowl, then whisk in all the other ingredients except the beans. Stir until well blended. Toss the dressing with the beans a few tablespoons at a time. Keep extra dressing for up to a week in the refrigerator.
Fat-Free Yogurt Trifle
Two 6-ounce containers plain yogurt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cranberry juice
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries, cut into ½ inch slices
1 kiwi, peeled and cut into pieces
2 cups cubed cantaloupe
In a bowl, mix yogurt and juice. In a clear bowl, layer the fruit and yogurt. This can be made in advance and refrigerated. Variation: Add 1 tablespoon of honey to yogurt or sprinkle ¼ cup of unsweetened coconut, shredded and toasted, on top.
Remember the book and the ingredients for the recipes can be found at your co-op, Tidal Creek Cooperative Food Market.