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Santa Monica Library Offers Tips to Evolve a Healthy "Food Mood" for 2017
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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

January 3, 2017 -- Santa Monicans who tried but failed last year to eat healthier by relying on calorie or fat-counting diet fads can start the new year by turning to more ancient methods.

Jordan Hoffman, a California-based practitioner of Oriental medicine, acupuncture and Chinese herbology will provide tips at the Santa Monica Library this month on evolving a healthy-eating “food mood.”

“Cultivating Food Mood Awareness: A Step-By-Step Guide to Eating Well and Feeling Well” will take place on Saturday, January 14, at 3 p.m. in the Main Library's Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium. The program is free but space is limited and on first-arrival basis.

Hoffman, a California-licensed acupuncturist and expert in Oriental medicine, will explain the five stages of better food choices, building a pantry, meal planning, Chinese medicine and food mood awareness, event organizers said.

It starts with a five-day "food mood" journal to help gauge how you determine your food choices and how those choices feel inside your body after you eat.

“Food is the first to hurt and the first to help,” Hoffman wrote in his blog.

You’ll still do some counting in the beginning with a goal to reach zero, as in zero caffeine, zero dairy and minimal sugar of all kinds (including limits on fruit), he said.

“The longer I am in clinical practice the more convinced I am that lifestyle will always offset even the best medical intervention," Hoffman said. "And what is often most within my patients’ control to change is how they choose to nourish their bodies.

“Unfortunately, there is so much conditioning and misinformation these days about food that a big part of my role in working with patients is to get back to basics and help them rediscover a deeper understanding and connection with their food."

As a start, Hoffman suggests skipping the coffee, although tea –- in any amount -– is okay, he said. The coffee bean is the problem and not the caffeine, which poses a problem only for those experiencing high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety and pregnancy.

Coffee, Hoffman says, is highly acidic and inflammatory and can contribute to indigestion, cardiovascular conditions, inflammatory joint conditions, osteoporosis and colon and bladder cancer.

Hoffman also suggests staying away from dairy.

“Cow’s milk is for cows, goat’s milk is for goats, and human’s milk is for humans,” he said. “And we all stop drinking it after infancy.

"No species drinks another species’ milk, except us. Dairy can be replete with bacteria and viruses that dead or alive can disrupt our health.”

Eat minimal sugar, which is inflammatory and feeds infections, including those that occur in the gut. Stevia, a plant extract, and Xylitol, a sugar alcohol, are okay, Hoffman said, and no more than two pieces of fruit per day is recommended. Juice, he added, is pure sugar.

Among Hoffman's others recommendations:

Cook vegetables, especially leafy greens, which are hard to clean. Cooking kills bacteria, which can upset the gut’s delicate balance.

Eat plenty of fiber. Constipation is defined as having one or fewer dry hard bowel movements per day; 97 percent or Americans are deficient in dietary fiber, he said.

Eat small frequent meals. Stable blood sugar stems cravings and over-eating.

Always choose organic, when possible.

A whole food plant-based diet with beans, peas, lentils and organic non-GMO soy as protein sources is optimal, he says.

Drink more water. Women should drink four to seven cups a day, and men six to 11 cups, adjusting for water content in food, weather and climate.

And no wolfing down meals. Chew each bite 20 to 30 times.

“Digestion begins in the mouth with your saliva coating the broken down food,” he said.

Also, if you want to gain weight, Hoffman suggests eating late at night.

“It takes 2-3 hours for food to pass through your stomach,” he said. “If you recline too soon after a full dinner, you are likely to gain weight, not sleep well, wake up tired and full, skip breakfast and start the rollercoaster ride all over again.”

But Hoffman also believes that food changes “must evolve slowly over time, be based on a willingness to experiment and question previously held beliefs, a willingness to be wrong, and a well-cultivated self-awareness to lead to what is right for you.

“This is the key to lasting lifestyle change," he said.

For more information on the event visit smpl.org<http://smpl.org> or contact the Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600.

The library is wheelchair-accessible. For special disabled services, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606 one week prior to the event. The Main Library is directly served by Big Blue Bus lines 1, 7, R7, R10, and 18. Bicycle parking racks are available at the library.


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