What Men Want
Q: Dr. Perricone, I have followed the Perricone Prescription since my mother-in-law gave me the book. How do you apply this diet to a 6'4” 220 lbs. man? I know he would feel better so any suggestions on how to slowly change his diet would be appreciated. Salmon is not one of his favorites is there an alternative? Thanks for your help!
A: I often get asked this very question. Since I have a number of celebrity patients, many people think that the Perricone anti-inflammatory diet is geared toward women, especially actresses and models. But men often crave foods that they perceive to be more satisfying - especially a big, juicy steak.
However, while eating a lot of fish and fresh fruit and vegetables is ideal for creating beautiful skin and eliminating body fat, in essence it does much more, making it ideal for men as well. In fact, if your goal is a physique that rivals Matthew McConaughey, Brad Pitt, Usher, Taye Diggs, Christian Bale, David Beckham or Mark Wahlberg, following the Perricone program is for you. As you will discover, the good news is that you don't have to forgo that steak to keep your diet from being pro-inflammatory and thus, age-accelerating.
Keep on the Grass
Most men that I know enjoy eating red meat. But they are told to steer clear (no pun intended) because of high levels of pro-inflammatory saturated fats. However, there is a healthy alternative to the meat found on most grocery store shelves, and that is 100% grass-fed, pasture-raised beef and lamb. When it comes to lamb, all New Zealand and Australian lamb is grass-fed. When it comes to beef, we have to be a little more creative, but just about every state in the union has farms that raise beef on grass and hay as opposed to grain. Here in New England, The Stannard family farm in beautiful Benson, Vermont is a great resource and will deliver, for more information visit them at www.vermontnaturalbeef.com. Other sources can be found on www.eatwild.com.
Part of the rise in obesity can be attributed to the changes in the way we raise beef and other animals. Grass-fed beef is up to three times leaner than grain-fed beef, and can have up to 15 fewer calories per ounce than meat from a grain-fed cow. Grass-fed meat also provides more balanced omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids, which help guard against a variety of ailments.
Grass-fed beef is up to three times leaner than grain-fed beef, and can have up to 15 fewer calories per ounce than meat from a grain-fed cow.
Like wild salmon, grass-fed beef is an excellent source of high quality omega-3 essential fatty acid, as well as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is a fatty acid that has number of health benefits. But because of the dietary change from grass to grain, levels of CLA dramatically decreased in meat and dairy products. In addition to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing actions of CLA, many studies show that CLA helps prevent muscle loss and weakness associated with aging and disease.
Researchers have also compared key antioxidants in meat from pasture-fed and grain-fed cattle. The grass-fed meat was higher in vitamin C, vitamin E and folic acid. It was also ten times higher in beta-carotene. These health benefits decline significantly after just three months of grain feeding, even if the grain is organic.
In an article published in the magazine Mother Earth News, Jo Robinson, author of Pasture Perfect stated:
"...mad cow disease has never been found in grass-fed beef, which is also far less likely to contain dangerous E. coli bacteria. Grass-fed beef has "no extra hormones and no traces of antibiotics and is both cleaner and more wholesome than ordinary beef by far. " Feed lot cattle may eat "all kinds of products in addition to grain, including chicken manure, chicken feathers, newsprint, cardboard and municipal garbage waste."
I also recommend organic, free range chicken, and organic omega 3 eggs from free-range chickens.
Many people feel that spending a little more on organic foods is not worth it - but the health benefits are both immediate and long-term.
With the re-introduction of pasture-raised beef and free-range chickens, we can now eat more like our grandparents and earlier generations - a time when obesity, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's and many other diseases were much less prevalent.
In creating the anti-inflammatory diet, I have discovered that the greatest gift I can give my readers and viewers is permission to eat healthy and delicious food.
As an avid weight lifter and runner since the age of 16, keeping body fat down, while maintaining muscle mass has been an important goal. This applies to both men and women, because as we age we gain 10 lbs. of fat and lost 5 lbs. of muscle with each decade.
We can reverse this trend, and it starts with the foods we eat. Every day we need to make sure that our diet includes the following:
- high-quality protein, like that found in fish, shellfish, poultry, grass-fed beef and lamb and tofu;
- low-glycemic (will not provoke a glycemic response when consumed in moderation) carbohydrates including colorful fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains such as old-fashioned oatmeal, legumes such as beans and lentils;
- healthy fats, such as those found in cold water fish (especially wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, sardines, herring, anchovies, etc.), nuts, seeds, and olive oil
- 6 - 8 glasses of pure spring water per day
- Anti-oxidant rich beverages such as green tea
As an active researcher, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Nicholas Perricone, MD, FACN, CNS