Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Eating Well for Your Health

Eat your reds, yellows and greens. (Flickr/David Saddler)

Larry Plesent

Over-the-counter pain reducers (NSAID’s) are a $2 billion-a-year industry in the USA, just 11% of the total $18 billion annually spent on pain medication. Over 100 million Americans are in chronic pain. It’s time to take a step back and ask WHAT THE HECK is going on here?

One in three Americans adults are in pain every day. Is this normal for humans? Probably not.

So once again your hippy grandmother had it right. If you don’t have a hippy grandmother, try to borrow one. Just remember to bring her back.

My hippy grandmother believes in vegetables. She also believes in saturated fats and thinks current food fads and processed convenience meals are hurting people’s health. She includes home canned fermented vegetables in her diet and King Arthur Flour in her bread.

What she doesn’t believe in is equally important.

She doesn’t believe in bottled water, except in emergencies. And she doesn’t believe in sweetened drinks either, except when there is no other decent option available. Like many a hippy grandmother she makes her own Sun Tea by the half gallon glass jug regularly. This makes even more sense once you realize that she has a scientifically justifiable fear of plastics in the food supply.

She does not believe in packaged heat-and-serve food and I agree. Nor in microwaving plastic.

There is always a lot of hype about superfoods and super nutrients. Here are the local superfoods we use in our home.

Cheddar cheese. We pretty much consider this the queen of the superfoods. Our household motto: Chedda makes it bedda!

Eggs. Especially the local ones where the chickens get to go outside. These so-called free-range birds eat the insects they find when they go out to forage. Insects produce essential fatty acids, which are oil molecules that humans have lost the enzymes needed to make them. The birds eat the insects and the magic oil molecules go into the eggs. Voila!

Greens and veggies, cooked and raw. Once you get used to them for breakfast there’s no going back. Wash all your veggies with diluted organic liquid soap and rinse well.

Nutritional yeast. I used to take up to one-quarter cup a day when I was run down. Nutritionally dense and high in trace minerals and B vitamins. The bulk yellow flakes at the co-op taste the best and are fortified with B-12. Goes great on eggs. Avoid if gout-prone.

Blueberries. Especially wild blueberries. Another go-to when feeling run down.

Salmon. If I could, I would eat it every day just for the Vitamin D and the essential fatty acids. Maine ocean-farmed is what you want. Coho is highly recommended.

Mason-jar-preserved vegetables. Thars magic in them thar veggies! Especially the ones fermented with salt. The bacteria in them are hugely good for your belly too so do not be afraid. This the good bacteria you heard about on TV. You need it. Go get some. Now.

Rice. Is it really a superfood? No. But it fills you up on the cheap and substitutes for sketchy carbs packaged from the store. Make a pot of rice once a week and incorporate into your meals. It will save you a bunch of hard-earned dollars. How about some rice and eggs with spinach cheddar and nutritional yeast? Yum! Goes great with homemade or bakery-made bread.

Stop by your local co-op and try the bulk soy sauce. It’s called tamari there and blows away any other soy sauce you have tried outside of Japan. It’s made in the same tank and at the same time as miso, a paste that is used to make a kind of instant soup. Take a heaping teaspoon and put it into a cup. Add three to four ounces of boiling water. Stir and sip slowly. Miso soup is incredibly healing and especially useful when recovering from illness.

Adding cooking lessons to the current school curriculum (taught with a mix of personal hygiene and science) has the potential to boost immune systems, reduce chronic pain, speed healing and improve quality of life across the nation. This educational change reduces long term legal and illegal drug dependency and helps large numbers of people to live socially redeeming lives. Public school cooking classes might just be a government program as helpful to society as universal literacy and sewage treatment plants.

But wait! Did the Soapman just say that hippy squirrel food might actually reduce the need for medicine and medication?

You heard it right. What I am advocating for here is basically a return to the pre-WW2 rural diet. Fresh, local, organic when possible. Just like your Great-Grandmother had. You know, eating what is now called the expensive stuff.

But what is more expensive in the short term usually brings greater returns in the long. It is easier, cheaper and far less painful to lose your taste for processed foods and spend more time and attention cooking fresh, natural and organic ones than it is to end up with a chronic disease.

And you do lose your taste for that type of food. Over time the taste for sweet and salty carbohydrates and chemical preservatives drops away and you start craving fresh stir-fried spinach with your breakfast.

It’s pretty simple. You don’t build your house out of rotten boards. And you don’t build healthy people using rotten food. Let’s get it together America! Get out there and take some cooking lessons! Online, offline or by the book it’s always a good idea to learn something new.

This is the Soapman wishing you all a happy spring! Get out there and make a mess!

Larry Plesent is a writer living in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Learn more at and

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