I cannot tell you how many times I have heard it said by mothers of all generations, “Eat your broccoli.” I know I heard it from my mom, and I have said it too, (fortunately my son really does love broccoli), but I still say it when he’d rather eat pizza.
Being an athlete and food fanatic for the last two decades I know broccoli and blueberries are two of the best antioxidant around, but I don’t think my mom, or her mother for that matter did. And yet, they always told me to eat my broccoli.
What I think is interesting is how they knew that my sister and I should be eating our broccoli without today’s Internet, science and technology to tell them why it was so important. Home grown food, or natural foods were more the norm during my childhood. I grew up as a grandchild of poor farmers and it’s just what we ate. Until my mom divorced and I was a teen. Time and circumstances changed our diet from one of whole, natural nutritious foods to easier, prepackaged, processed foods.
Sadly, I found myself going the easy route with my family lately. I knew it had to stop and in my quest to simplify all aspects of my life, I also chose to follow a simpler diet, one with less ingredients. I wanted simple. I wanted whole foods. I wanted easy. I decided to use a very restrictive food list as my grocery list. Nothing processed (except milk and yogurt), a very short list of fruits and vegetables and meat types. You know what? I was a much better cook! Less choices meant I had to be really creative.
I was surprised, but I loved the simplicity of fewer choices and knowing the food was good, natural and fresh.
Fortunately my family is reaping long term health benefits too (as is our budget!) according to a recent article on Scope, Stanford’s School of Medicine blog. A short list of five foods top the list in fighting cancer. Broccoli, blueberries, onions, tomatoes and soy.
Stanford cardiologist, John W. Farquhar, M.D., says evidence shows these foods all have nutrients to fight cancer. Despite the uncertainty of nutrition’s role in preventing cancer these five foods should be included in the daily diet, believe Farquhar, and his colleague, Joyce Hanna, associate director of Stanford Prevention Research Center.
Farquhar and Hanna co-teach Standford’s popular course, The Best Diet Ever, and in an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle tell the benefits of eating a diet that includes the five super foods. Farquhar states in the article,
There’s still uncertainty about how important nutrition is in cancer prevention but I’ve found that if you deal with these specific foods, there’s evidence that they all have cancer-fighting nutrients. As opposed to genetics, nutrition is something that people can control.
It seems that “mother really did know best,” even if she didn’t know exactly why we should be eating our broccoli. See, “old school” eating values pair nicely with new and modern technology!
Eat Well, and Love the Life you Live.