The ION’s: 3 categories of food

Today is Thursday, May 28th

The Topic or Question of the day

The ION’s: 3: Categories of Food

     Today we will talk about 3 categories of food and how they work in the body.  The categories are:

  • Construction
  • Digestion
  • Infection

Construction Foods

Proteins are comprised of amino acids (building blocks) that make various proteins our body uses to build or repair tissue, form enzymes, and carry molecules our bodies need to the specific receptor sites.  Our body makes several of these building blocks to comprise a protein, but there are several the body must get from food.

Examples of foods containing a good amount of protein:

Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, peanut butter, cheese, whey protein, pea/rice protein, soy, milk, beans.  Portions are important! Portions are smaller than you think.  Try to eat some protein at every meal.

What protein could you eat at Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?

Food that help Digestion

Foods containing fiber aid in digestion. Most Americans are not eating enough fiber. Intake = 11 g on average, needs are 25-30 g

Examples of digestive foods: legumes, tree nuts, fruits/vegetables, oatmeal, barley (beta glucans), wheat bran, wheat germ, and psyllium.  Soluble and Insoluble fiber aid in bowel regulation, fighting cancer, lowering cholesterol, improving irritable bowel diseases, and controlling blood sugars to name a few.

* Some people with GI distress do not digest raw fruits and vegetables well, and must eat them very well cooked.

What digestive foods could we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Food that Fight Infection

Certain foods are high in phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Most are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans.

These foods are good for fighting infection and inflammation. 

  1. Colors are very important.
  2. Almost every disease state encourages intake of fruits and vegetables for prevention as opposed to eating  sugar, fat or salt.

Tip or quote of the day:

Eat those fruits and vegetables!

Take Action Today:

Answer questions of what types of construction, digestion and infection foods you can eat at each meal.



Nurture and Protect

Today is Tuesday, May 27th (My deceased mother Janice’s birthday)

The Topic or Question of the Day:

Nurture and Protect

     Nurturing and protection is what mothers do for their children. My mother was one of the best. I had 3 sisters and we were very well cared for. We also had a big garden in our back yard that my dad mostly tended and I remember eating sweet peas in the pod, warmed by the sun that were better than candy. I compare the importance for protecting and nurturing our bodies with the way we protect and cultivate our plants.

We protect our plants by:

  1. Building fences and walls to protect from animals
  2. Using insecticides to prevent infection
  3. Using plant food to nourish soil
  4. Planting flowers, mint, use gum? To keep certain insects away
  5. Watering

We protect our bodies by:

  1. Feeding proper food
  2. Drinking water, hydration
  3. Using sunscreen
  4. Brushing and flossing our teeth
  5. Taking care of our back while lifting something
  6. Building “fences and walls” to protect us from indulgence

However: We can do everything we believe is “right” and still experience a storm that rips through our gardens or a strange disease that overtakes our produce just like in life. There is often not a concrete reason for cancer and other devastating diseases. My own father ate what I would consider healthy, never smoked or abused alcohol, stayed approximately the same weight his whole life, and was a man of integrity. He contracted lung cancer and died in 6 weeks.

This doesn’t mean we become fatalists and give up on trying to tend our bodies, it just means we are not in control of everything. We control the things we can.

  1. What we eat
  2. What we drink
  3. The attitude in which we eat and drink (the why).

Quote or Tip of the Day:

Nurture your body, and protect all your thoughts

Don’t be a fatalist, and do what you ought

Take Action Today:

Keep a food and drink log today (I do this periodically)

Keep track of why you ate what you ate. Hungry, bored, sluggish, craved?


“Free Fall” Weekends

Today is Saturday, May 10th

The Topic or Question of the Day:

Do you typically “Free Fall” on the weekends?

     I often find that many people trying to drop a few pounds are very organized during the week.  People may drink a protein shake or eat a small bowl of yogurt with cereal for breakfast.  Lunches are planned and packed, or a TV type dinner is brought to work for a quick heat in the microwave. Snacks are portioned and planned and then Friday arrives!  All control departs and mega calories are consumed over the weekend. These extra calories will upsurp all the good choices made during the week and most people will only maintain their weight at best and never lose.  This is one reason I found that people give up because they refuse to change their “Free Fall” Weekends and they “over celebrate” weekends.

     I urge anyone trying to lose weight to plan your weekends a little better and make a commitment to go on a very long walk if possible.  I once read if a person walked 2.5 hours on a Saturday, it could positively affect your health in many areas.  Time is a problem for most people, but like my friend Bill says, you’ll find time if you want to.  I also heard about a new book called Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung.  I have not read it yet, but plan to soon.  I find myself saying and hear others saying, “I am so busy”. It is sad when the “world” gets too busy for real people.

Tip or quote of the day:

Let’s not get too busy. People are important and we all need each other in this world.

Take action today:

Review your schedule. What can you adjust to make room for someone needing your friendship or help? When can you go for a long walk? For quiet time? Can you have someone to dinner instead of going to a restaurant that serves too much food anyway?

Re-evaluate your busy-ness.  

Food vs. Schedules

Today is Monday, May 5th

The  topic or question of the day is:

Does your food intake reflect your daily schedule?

When you happen to have a late dinner and a few too many calories, do you stay on your “normal” eating schedule the next day or do you adjust and eat breakfast a little later?  When you know the day will be busy and you will be “on the run,” do you have a plan or do you wing it?  Do you pack food for the day or rely on fast food?  When your day is uniform, do you eat at the same times and with the same content of nutrients?  Brian Wasink (Mindless Eating) says we make over 250 decisions a day about eating.  Thinking is important and I believe most of us struggle because we don’t think.  I have witnessed many clients who are successful in managing their health by experimenting with various methods of eating.   It takes time.

Life was more “uniform” back in the 50’s and 60’s and it was easier to stay on a good eating schedule for most people.  Today, more people work long hours, night shift or swing shifts, so our routine must be planned and adjusted accordingly.  I like what Sara Josepha Buell Hale says about eating and encourage people to stop and consider their days and how they should eat.  This week we will discuss some different modes of eating for crazy schedules so stay tuned.

Quote or Tip of the Day:

“Nature has no mixed or particular hours for eating.

  1. When the mode of life is uniform; adopt fixed hours of eating.
  2. When the mode is irregular; be guided by real wants of the system dictated by appetite.
  3. A strong laboring person, engaged in hard work will require more food and more often then an indolent sedentary person.”

– Sara Josepha Buell Hale

Take Action Today:

Think over your schedules, especially on the weekends and discover how you might improve your energy by intelligent eating.


Daughter’s Treat

Today is Thursday, May 1st

The topic or question of the day is:

Flavored Coffees

     The flavored coffees at various coffee shops and restaurants can be chock full off calories or diet syrups with chemicals.  The other day my daughter was telling me her secret of saving money, calories, and chemicals.  She makes black coffee, adds a little ditty of milk and sprinkles with a good cinnamon.  For most people, this concoction will not taste as delicious as a full blown sugary tasting, creamy coffee, but it will certainly be healthier, cheaper, and help one get away from the desire for sweet tastes.  It is worth the try.  Remember, the brain is the control center of your body.  When I gave up coffee with cream and sugar back in my 20’s, I had to tell myself, “You are going to like this, there is no other choice if you want to prevent weight gain or stop cavities.

Tip or quote of the day

“You can’t eat or drink whatever you want, whenever you want and lose weight.  You have to make a choice” – Dr. Beck, Penn State

Take action today:

* Talk to yourself, don’t listen to your desires and try black coffee with a bit of milk or cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon!

* Go to and check out the different cinnamons they sell!  

Are you grateful for water?

Today is Thursday, February 13th

The topic or question of the day:


When I ask people to recall everything they ate or drank in the past 24 hours, most will not mention water, yet water is one of the 6 nutrients our bodies need to survive.  In fact, the human body cannot go without water for more than a week, short of a miracle.  We tend to take water for granted and yet it is amazing.  We should be much more thankful for our clean water here in Oklahoma since over 1 billion people lack safe access to water (University of Nebraska).

We need about 2 ½ quarts of water per day from drinking and eating foods to maintain good health.   Adequate water intake supports digestion, elimination, hydration and dental health.  “Doctoring” up our water at home has several benefits.  Ginger is known to help with nausea and lemons cleanse the mouth and can dislodge phlegm.  Lemons also work as a  powerful bacteria fighter.  Cucumbers have a unique, clean taste and in my opinion, neutralize the saliva in our mouths as does parsley.

Bottled waters have become fashionable and there are many types of water sold on the market today, each a little different.  Mineral water, such as Pellegrino must contain at least 500 mg of minerals per liter by law.  Spring water is bottled from underground springs and can only be labeled natural if it is bottled directly from the ground without further processing.  Seltzer is artificially carbonated tap water and does not contain minerals or salts.  Sparkling water contains dissolved carbon dioxide gas to make it bubbly.

Oklahomans get approximately 63% of its water from surface water sources and 37% from ground water sources such as aquifers.  According to Morris County, New Jersey municipal utilities authority, if all the world’s water were fit into a gallon jug, the fresh water available for us to use would equal only about 1 Tablespoon.  I know this makes me much more grateful to God and for RWD #7 water station in Claremore, Oklahoma that delivers my home clean, tasty water.

Quote of the Day:

“Water is the only drink for a wise man” – Henry David Thoreau.

Take Action Today:

  • Drink fresh water in a glass, not plastic.
  • Try some of the following water recipes:

Ginger – Lemon Water 

½ gallon water (8 cups)

¼ cup fresh ginger

root peeled and sliced

1 lemon sliced in rings

Soak ginger overnight in

water; remove ginger and

float lemon rings in ginger

water.  Serve over ice.

Basil-Orange Water

½ gallon water (8 cups)

6 basil leaves

1 sliced orange

Soak overnight in refrigerator.

Carrot Water

Soak 2 large carrots, cut into chunks into 8 cups cold water.  Chill overnight.

Parsley Water

Soak 1 cup parsley in 8 cups cold water.  Chill overnight.


Today is Friday, February 7th

The topic or question of the day is:

What are orange, yellow, red and sometimes green?


            Carotenoids!  These are the beautiful colors of fall found in many fruits and vegetables.  Red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables usually are loaded with carotenes with the exception of corn.  Carotene is found in foods such as apricots, cantaloupes, carrots, red and yellow peppers and sweet potatoes.  Beta-carotene is the most popular carotenoid and is a precursor for vitamin A.  Broccoli, kale, spinach and romaine lettuce also contain carotene only the yellow-orange color is masked by the chlorophyll in the leaves.  Fancy that!  There are 563 known carotenoids.

            No dietary RDA or reference has been established for carotenoids except as precursors to vitamin A, so once again be careful.  These carotenoids are anti-oxidants (see yesterday’s blog).  Eat yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables and you will acquire all the wonderful anti-oxidants and phyto-chemicals (another topic for later) your body needs from the carotenoids.  It is always best to get them from food sources and not supplements. 

Tip of the day: 

Supplements of beta carotene can be dangerous, especially for smokers.  It is always best to stick to the real foods God created and eat intelligently.  Remember excess of food can be dangerous.  I have seen several people turn orange from overeating carrots!

Take Action Today:

Make pumpkin fluff with a can of pumpkin (full of Beta-carotene), mixed with 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, 1 tsp. vanilla, and pumpkin pie spices to taste.  Chill and enjoy.

(Some people need more sugar and add some brown sugar, but try to change your taste buds and use only the small amount of maple syrup)



Sign up for one year of intelligent eating!

My name is Suzanne Forsberg MA, RD/LD, CDE, founder and owner of the Food Thinkery. I believe thinking is vital to healthy living. I encourage people think about what they are doing and eating daily; where they are heading, to realize there is hope today and a cause for joy in an attempt to correct and prevent bodily disorders and ill health. Poor habits can be changed and disorders improved, just as muscles and minds can be exercised and enhanced. We can exercise our taste buds and learn to like foods we may disdain. What we think and believe leads us to take action.
By thinking and making better choices, our body rejoices and our health span may lengthen. You see, we all have a life span and a health span. A life span is the time you are born until you die. The death rate is the only thing that is 100% full proof in the world. We all have an appointed time to die. The question is…how long before we begin with health problems that derail our dreams? Your health span is how long you will keep that skip in your step, how long your mind will be sharp, and how long your bones, heart and organs will remain strong and free from diseases. Your health span can change for many reasons besides poor dietary intake. It may change from a freak accident, an unexplainable cancer, a genetic mutation or an autoimmune virus to name a few as a result of a fallen and broken world.

The Food Thinkery is beginning a unique 1 year course for all those seeking wisdom for intelligent eating. It is designed for weight loss, but is also plain good business. There is a direct connection between time, calories and money says author Gary North. Come and learn about health- building foods, time/money saving tips, and renew your soul. Even if you have failed miserably with your food choices in the past, fear not! You can start eating your way back to bodily health and wellness.
Yours in health,