This Issue

Healthy eating key to living well

A salad a day

Dining out: Food can be fast and healthy

Q & A

A closer look

Health benefits associated
with healthy eating

It lowers the risk of:

Image courtesy of
Public Health Imaging Library
Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol

Type 2 diabetes

Overweight and obesity

Certain cancers



Diverticular disease —
development of pouches in
the large intestine

Iron deficiency anemia

Macular degeneration

Source: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010

Health benefits associated with healthy eating

Know your limitations

Healthy eating includes not only what you should eat, but what you should not. Learn to read food labels to keep track of limited substances.

Substance Daily limit — less than ...


2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon)

1,500 milligrams for those with hypertension


300 milligrams

Saturated fats

7 percent of total calories ― 15 grams or 140 calories for a 2,000 calorie diet

Trans fats

1 percent of total calories ― 2 grams or 20 calories for a 2,000 calorie diet

Source: American Heart Association

The facts about fiber

How much of what?

Keep your fats straight

Know your limitations

The facts about fiber

Fiber — carbohydrates that cannot be digested — comes only from plant foods and is important for our digestive health. It prevents constipation and keeps us regular.
At least 25 grams of fiber a day are recommended. Look for products that contain five grams or more per serving.

Major Sources:
Fruits and vegetables
Whole grains

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A closer look

A key to good health is a well-balanced diet. The foods you eat and the amount largely depend on your age, gender, physical activity and daily required calories. Consult a physician or nutritionist to learn to eat healthy or refer to educational resources, such as to help plan a program that is right for you.

  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole
    grains and fat-free or low-fat milk products.

  • Include lean meats, such as beef sirloin, or
    choose fish, poultry and legumes as a
    substitute for fatty meat.

  • Choose foods that are low in trans and
    saturated fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.

  • Drink water instead of fruit drinks and regular soda.

  • Choose liquid oils for cooking instead of solid fats.

  • Watch portion sizes. Eating too much of even healthy foods can lead to weight gain.
A salad a day

Wiley Mullins — dubbed the “Salad Man” — compiles one of his famous salads called Under
the Big Top. Connecticut Post photo by Jesse Neider.
Wiley Mullins is on a mission to improve the health of black people — one salad at a time.

It hasn’t been easy.

After earning a business degree from the University of Alabama and an MBA from Duke University, he gave up his job in marketing with Procter & Gamble to start his own business, Uncle Wiley’s Inc., that brings out the flavor of soul food without using ham, bacon, lard or butter.

But he found out the hard way that many doctors do not emphasize preventive care and weren’t as supportive as he initially had hoped. Still, he persisted and developed a line of 13 products that, according to Mullins, enables one to eat their favorite soul food without the added unhealthy salts, fats and sugars.

To Mullins, 55, it’s personal. At one point in his own life, Mullins said he carried more weight than he liked. But he exercised and changed his eating habits and was able to lower his body mass index to a more acceptable level.

Diabetes runs in his family, he explained, and he has seen too many friends and relatives suffer the consequences of hypertension and obesity.

Mullins grew up in Alabama and knows all about soul food. But he also realized that soul food involves taking healthy foods — collard greens, sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas — and making them unhealthy with added fats and salts. Instead of warning people against soul food, he embraced it, making it palatable and healthy at the same time.

His seasoning for sweet potatoes or yams includes cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, fresh brown sugar and just a hint of pineapple essence. The seasoning contains no cholesterol or fat and 30 milligrams of sodium. Typically, flavorings for the same dish have 8 grams of total fat, 21 milligrams of cholesterol and 170 milligrams of sodium.

Mullins is big on fruits and vegetables and encourages people to try different types. “Most of us tend to eat the same three or four vegetables over and over,” he said.

Yet nutritionists recommend choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables in a wide array of colors — the deep greens of broccoli, collard greens and spinach; the oranges of carrots, acorn and butternut squash; the reds of strawberries and watermelon.

Mullins has introduced America’s Wellness Team, which is endorsed by the National Medical Association, the largest professional group of African American physicians. The team offers nutrition and wellness advice for consumers through a free monthly electronic newsletter. He also works with diabetes educators in an effort to stem the high incidence of the disease among blacks.

Mullins is big on salads. “There’s more to salads than iceberg lettuce, tomato and Miracle Whip,” he said.

He takes full advantage of National Salad Month in May. Wiley is trying to get people to look at salads in a different light.

It’s not that little side dish you eat before the entrée, Mullins proudly proclaimed. They can be the main course. And he has written a book — “Salad Makes the Meal: 150 Simple and Inspired Salad Recipes Everyone Will Love” — to prove it.

“A salad can serve as lunch, dinner, or even dessert,” said Mullins. “You can get a lot of your daily required nutrients from
one salad.”

Marc Anthony Bynum
Consulting Chef/Owner MBynumCreations
Jim Lennon/Jim Lennon Photographer, Inc.
Mullins keeps himself busy. He has worked with the Congressional Black Caucus to continue on his road to wellness. It started in his home state of Alabama. “We’re doing a ‘wellness march’ to get the point across,” he said.

Despite Mullins’ efforts, many still believe that food should be about taste — and lots of it.

But according to Marc Anthony Bynum, there are healthful ways to achieve that taste. Bynum, 33, a self-taught chef in New York, is skilled in all kinds of cooking. “I cook everything,” he said as he ticked off his specialties. “I cook Caribbean, Kosher, soul food. I have to be well-versed.”

He got started not only because he enjoys cooking, but oddly enough because he likes to please people. “Food makes people happy and gives them pleasure,” he said. “I like to watch their expression as they eat something they like.”

Bynum did not learn his skills in school — at least not technically. He learned from trial and error and from watching others, starting with his mother. He also leans on his background — his family is African, Caribbean and Latin.

He recognizes that it is hard to make changes in one’s diet. “Take small steps,” he advised. “Make minor changes that won’t be so noticeable.”

He recommends sautéing instead of deep frying. He swears by his fried chicken, but it’s pan-seared instead of deep-fried. He uses a coating of panko (Japanese bread crumbs), flour and egg, pan-sears it quickly, and then lets it finish cooking in the oven. “It retains its moisture that way and is still crispy,” he said.

Bynum emphasized that there’s “more than steak and chicken. Try fish — salmon and swordfish, for example. And if you do start eating more fish, grill or bake it instead of frying it.”

He rails against people who overcook collard greens. “All the nutrients come out with extended cooking,” he said. “Probably the water is more healthful than the greens themselves by that point.”

Instead, he recommends cooking greens quickly in olive oil with finely chopped onions and turkey bacon or turkey breast
as seasoning.

But he does caution again shocking the system totally. “Move slowly until your taste buds have adapted to the changes,”
he said.