Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, annotated

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This is almost certainly one of those posts that I will continue to revise over time (much as I keep updating my current diet advice). Most recent update: 21 Dec 2022: correcting cause of wooziness (with link to pacemaker post) and reason why chocolate is no longer included.

Basic meal pattern I follow

The following meals check all the boxes from the Daily Dozen list in the section below. Generally I get “extra credit” because (for example) the greens might be kale (2 servings = 2 checks for cruciferous vegetables plus 2 checks for greens), plus I often mix 1 tablespoon horseradish into a meal (another check for cruciferous vegetables).

Each food category in the meals list represents one (1) serving, though in fact for Beans and Whole Grains I usually eat 1/2 serving (1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup). Details for each category follow the menu list.

Serving size adjustmen
t: After gaining some weight, I adjusted the amounts (easily done, since I routinely measured each serving). For now, the new servings are: 2 tablespoons each of Nuts/Seeds, Beans/Lentils, and Grain (cooked intact whole grain), 1/3 cup Greens, and 1/3 cup Other Vegetables.

Breakfast is a pint of hot tea and 3 pieces of Fruit — usually a tangerine, a pear, and an apple, but with summer I’ll swap in other fruit, like peach, pluot, and plum. Another combination in the fall: clementine, persimmon, apple. Occasionally, I’ll eat a dragonfruit or some such. Avocados I eat fairly often (in salads), but I count those as “Other Vegetable” rather than “Fruit,” which is handy but inaccurate. I also chew up a B12 tablet and eat 1 brazil nut (for selenium) and have 1 square of 100% cacao chocolate (currently Baker’s unsweetened chocolate) with the fruit. —

Update: Starting around November 2022, I developed a new eating pattern: Breakfast now is a chia pudding (recipe at the link), along with 3 pieces of fruit, 2 sheets of nori, 1 brazil nut, 3 brewer’s yeast tablets, and a pint of hot tea or (two days a week) coffee. Breakfast is now the big meal. For lunch I have cooked vegetables (greens and other vegetables, and almost always a cruciferous vegetable) with a tempeh I’ve made (with beans/lentils and intact whole grain, 50-50) or perhaps tofu and cooked (intact whole) grain. Supper is just a bowl of vegetables I’ve fermented, perhaps with hemp hearts. I stop eating at 5:00pm and take my first bite at 9:00am (and sometimes not until 10:00am). That eating pattern seems really to have helped my blood glucose levels. I seem to have quit alcohol altogether, also a help.

Lunch: Around 12:00 or 1:00. I’ll eat a meal of Nuts/Seeds (walnuts, usually), Beans/Lentils (today, Du Puy lentils, sometimes tempeh), Grain (today, whole-kernel Kamut®, sometimes oat groats, unpolished millet, quinoa, etc.), Greens (today Sultana Spinach), and Other Vegetables (today Summer Edition), using serving sizes listed above. This meal also includes 1/2 teaspoon ground Turmeric, about 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (helps turmeric absorption), 1 tablespoon ground Flaxseed (using an electric spice/coffee grinder), 1 teaspoon amla powder, and 1 teaspoon Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast (that brand being a good source of B12).

— Often now I’ll cook enough for two meals, lunch and dinner, and structure the meal with the Daily Dozen in mind: see this post for a good example that shows clearly how the Daily Dozen can come together in a meal.

Snack: Around 3:00 I’ll have a bowl of thawed frozen mixed Berries (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries).

Dinner: Around 4:30 I’ll have the final meal of the day: Beans/lentils, cooked whole Grain, Greens, and Other Vegetables, using the serving sizes already listed. After 5:00pm I do not eat anything until the next morning. I do drink iced hibiscus tea or white tea or water, but no food.

Sometimes for lunch or dinner I will make a salad (generally using red cabbage or savoy cabbage as the greens) using my Salad Checklist. The salad will have Bean/Lentils and Grain along with scallions, daikon radish, sweet bell pepper, mushrooms, often 1/4 or 1/2 avocado, a few halved cherry tomatoes, perhaps 3-4 Kalamata olives, and so on. ( I generally mix in a teaspoon of Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast along with a homemade or store-bought vinaigrette, or use this homemade salad dressing. The salad almost always uses red or savoy cabbage, which takes care of Cruciferous Vegetable, or the Greens will be Cruciferous Vegetable as well (kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, or other), or I’ll just add a tablespoon of horseradish from the refrigerator section, which is 1 serving of Cruciferous Vegetable.

I sometimes — rarely — use a very small amount of salt in cooking. My salt intake had dropped too low, with the result that I was occasionally getting woozy. [update: As it turned out, the wooziness was not due to diet but due to a heart condition (AV blockage). Getting a pacemaker solved the problem. /update]

Beverage (hot tea or coffee)
Whole Grain
Other Vegetables
Flaxseed (ground)
Turmeric (ground)
Nuts/Seeds (unsalted nuts or unsalted pepitas)
1 teaspoon amla powder
2 teaspoons dried mint
2 teaspoons ground black pepper (to help with turmeric)


Whole Grain
Cruciferous Vegetable (e.g., 1 tablespoon horseradish)
1 tablespoon hot sauce


Whole Grain
Other Vegetables
Berries (dessert)

During afternoon and evening I consume multiples servings of iced tea (white or hibiscus)

Nordic walking, and I use GPS Odometer, a smartphone app, to measure the walk in terms of time, distance, and speed. Example: 2.412 miles at 3.41mph, duration 00:42:26. (I keep a spreadsheet of the stats because I like to see my progress.)

Basic meal pattern — As you see, for lunch and dinner the basic meal pattern is Beans+Whole Grain and then either Greens or Other Vegetables. Breakfast is loaded: both Greens and Other Vegetables, along with Flaxseed, Nuts/Seeds, and Spices. Thus my big meal is breakfast, in accordance with chronobiology.

More on the Dozen and the servings

Categories are listed here by the number of daily servings recommended, where represents one serving. For each category, I list some foods to provide ideas as a starting point.

I don’t use any added salt, and I avoid salty foods like sauerkraut, pickles, capers, and the like. When you stop using salt, your food will taste flat for a few days, but within a week your taste will adjust and the food will taste fine — and your body will thank you for the health benefit.

To cut meal preparation time, I cook food in batches, which I refrigerate. For a meal I take a portion of each as needed. Thus my refrigerator usually contains four containers of cooked food:  Beans, Whole Grain, Greens, and Other Vegetables. If you want, you can label the containers with food name and date prepared by using masking tape and a fine-tip Sharpie.

Beverages — ☐ ☐ ☐ ☐ ☐
Serving: 12 ounces water, sparkling water, flavored unsweetened water (for example, La Croix water), tea (black, green, or white — for me mostly white), coffee — definitely not fruit juice or soda pop. If you sweeten the beverage, do not use erythritol or refined sugar or other artificial sweeteners. [Update 27 Feb 2023: erythritol has been linked to heart attack and stroke. – LG] I mostly drink unsweetened iced tea, either white tea or hibiscus tea, or water flavored with a dash of bitters and a little Rose’s lime juice. I start the day with a pint of hot tea, usually a black tea or a black-and-green combination (for example, Murchie’s No. 10 blend). Nowadays I mostly drink iced water flavored as noted.

Beans — ☐ ☐ ☐
Serving: 1/4 cup hummus; or 1/2 cup cooked beans (black, pinto, chickpea, soy, kidney, navy, Lima, red, and others, including mixed beans), split peas, lentils, edamame, homemade tempeh, or tofu. A bowl of split-pea soup would be a serving. A patty of homemade tempeh sausage is delicious and is a serving.

As noted above, I dropped the serving of cooked beans to 1/4 cup, and when I went to lose weight, to 2 tablespoons.

For cooking dried beans, I use different methods depending on my mood and how I plan to use the beans. This post for details.

Whole grains — ☐ ☐ ☐
Serving: 1/2 cup cooked intact whole grain: oat groats, hulled barley, wheat berries, whole rye, Kamut, spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, red fife, etc.; or pseudo-grains like amaranth, buckwheat groats, quinoa, or chia seed. I recommend that you avoid grain that has been cut (steel-cut oats, pot barley) or polished (pearled barley, white rice) or smashed (rolled oats, barley flakes) or pulverized (foods made from flour such as bread, pasta, bagels, English muffins, pancakes, tortillas, boxed cereals, and so on). I particularly like Kamut®, a brand of organically grown Khorasan wheat. Watch the video at for more information.

Most grains follow the same recipe: Add 1 cup intact whole grain to 3 cups boiling water, reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the grain has absorbed all the water. Depending on the grain, that takes from 1 to 2 hours or more — just continue checking from time to time. The water level’s easy to see. Toward the end, stir the grain to make sure the water’s all been absorbed. I use a timer to remind myself to check on it. Pseudograins (amaranth, for example) generally take 2 cups of water to 1 cup of seeds.

Millets are a good grain, and I often eat unpolished millets (i.e., with the bran intact). Millets are cooked in 12-15 minutes and use the ration 1 part millet to 2 parts water. See this post for more info on their nutritional value.

Once the grain has cooked, put it into a storage container and refrigerate. This step makes the starch resistant, so digestion takes longer and thus lengthens satiation.. Then for each meal take a portion and eat it hot or cold with whatever accompaniments you want. I usually use 1/3 cup for a serving.

The pseudo-grains (quinoa, etc.) use a different proportion of seeds to water (generally 1 part seed to 2 parts water) and cook more quickly. Rinse quinoa before cooking to remove the bitter coating of the seeds.

I do not eat rice or corn in any form (steamed, chips, popped, cakes, etc.) because I’ve found those tend to spike my blood glucose levels.

Fruit Other Than Berries — ☐ ☐ ☐
Serving: 1 medium fruit or 1 cup cut-up fruit or 1/4 cup dried fruit. It took me a while to realize that this is easy if I keep a good selection of fruit on hand. I now have a basket that holds apples, pears, citrus fruit (navel oranges, mandarin oranges, tangerines, lemons), pears, and (in season) persimmons, peaches, plums, nectarines, and so on. Note on apples and pears: Eat all but the stem. In general, a fruit’s skin is high in antioxidants, so don’t peel the fruit (except for citrus fruit, bananas, watermelons and the like — though I often used diced lemons including the peel in cooking, and preserved lemons are unpeeled).

Watermelon is a good source of lycopene, higher than tomatoes (which are themselves high in lycopene, though in tomatoes the lycopene is bioavailable only if the tomatoes are cooked).

I avoid bananas and grapes: insufficient nutritional punch.

Useful note: make a fruit-fly trap and keep it near the fruit basket.

Greens — ☐ ☐
Serving: 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked greens, either a single green or a combination of greens: cabbage (green, red, savoy, or Napa), kale, collards, spinach, chard, dandelion greens, mustard greens, tung ho, bok choy, turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, romaine, leaf lettuce, watercress, endive, radicchio, chicory. Note that many of these count both as a green and as a cruciferous vegetable.

I rinse greens thoroughly and shake off excess water or dry them in a salad spinner. Then I mince the stems, chop the leaves, and cook in a little liquid, often with a splash of vinegar. Cook to the degree of tenderness you prefer. Even if you just wilt the greens, they are safe to eat. (Unlike undercooked meat, undercooked vegetables are not a parasite risk.) I generally cook a mix of greens — here’s a recipe for a typical batch.

I often will include a diced lemon (including peel, though I discard the ends) with the greens when I cook them.

Other Vegetables — ☐ ☐
Serving: 1 cup raw leafy vegetable; or 1/2 cup raw or cooked non-leafy vegetables. Important note: a serving can consist of a single vegetable or a mix of vegetables. I prefer a mix, so the batch I cook has a variety. I usually cook them just al dente — it’s not as though I’m cooking pork.

I always include allium (garlic, leeks (including the leaves), spring onions (including leaves), scallions (including leaves), shallots, red or yellow onion, or sweet onion). I usually use garlic and another allium.

I also use some of these: diced beets, tomatoes, tomato paste (no salt added), chopped asparagus, diced eggplant (Japanese, Italian, Indian), diced carrots, chopped celery, chopped green beans, chopped sugar snap peas, snow peas, chopped red/yellow/orange bell pepper, finely chopped chiles (jalapeño, habanero, serrano, Anaheim, poblano, banana, Thai (green or red), New Mexico green chiles), chopped or sliced mushrooms (white, crimini, oyster), diced bitter melon, diced squash (summer squash, zucchini, chayote squash). Here’s a recipe for a typical batch of mixed vegetables.

Winter squash (delicata, kombucha, butternut, buttercup, ambercup, acorn, carnival) I usually cut into pieces and roast after removing the seeds, which I toss with a little oil and roast with the squash. Spaghetti squash is also good: cut it in half, seed it, and roast it, then remove the “spaghetti” with a fork. Spaghetti squash skin is like a shell: inedible.

I avoid potatoes in all forms (chips, baked, hash browns, french fries, etc.) because I have found that potatoes spike my blood glucose.

Cruciferous Vegetables — ☐
Serving: 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked broccoli, broccolini, rapini (broccoli rabe), romanesco broccoli, Chinese broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage (red, green, savoy, Napa), Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, bok choy (also: baby bok choy, Shanghai bok choy), turnip, rutabaga (Swedes), turnip greens, watercress, mustard greens, mustard seed, kohlrabi, arugula (rocket), watercress, radish, daikon; or 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish from the refrigerated section. I often use 1-2 tablespoons horseradish to ensure I’m getting three servings of cruciferous vegetables, adding it to vegetables or greens.

I generally have a container of steamed broccoli in the fridge, which I use in salads, along with beans and intact whole grain and other vegetables like bell pepper, daikon radish, scallions, endive, etc. I make my own salad dressing. I have a little jar and put into it the juice of a lemon, a tablespoon of olive oil, ground black pepper, Dijon mustard or ground (dry) mustard, dried mint or marjoram, smoked paprika, a dash of tamari or soy sauce, and sometimes a little toasted sesame oil. Shake well and pour over salad.

Berries — ☐
Serving: 1/2 cup fresh or frozen. I usually buy frozen mixed berries (blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries).

Flaxseeds — ☐
Serving: 1 tablespoon, ground. I use an electric coffee/spice grinder for this.

Nuts/seeds — ☐
Serving: 1/4 cup unsalted walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, pepitas, sunflower seed, hempseed; or 2 tablespoons nut butter (raw, unsalted, no sugar, salt, or other additives). I eat these by themselves or mixed with Berries or Greens or Other Vegetables or Whole Grain.

Herbs & Spices — ☐
Serving: 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (always) plus other salt-free herbs and spices: minced fresh turmeric, minced ginger root, dried mint, Ceylon cinnamon (never cassia cinnamon), ground cloves, oregano, Mexican oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, dried basil, curry powder, ground chiles (ancho, chipotle, Chimayo, cayenne), ground cumin, amla powder, and others.

I add no salt to food during or after cooking, and I eat no salty foods (such as sauerkraut, pickles, capers, olives, and so on). I use pepper sauce, but pick brands with low sodium content. — update: My salt intake turned out to be too low, and I started getting occasional woozy spells. update to the update: The problem wasn’t too little salt. It was not enough pacemaker. /updates

I use pepper sauce, and because I minimize my salt consumption, I once picked brands with low sodium content. Now I don’t pay so much attention to that.

Exercise — ☐
Serving: 90 minutes of moderate activity or 40 minutes of vigorous activity. Nordic walking is my choice. Strength-training exercise is also advisable. For the elderly, strength training minimizes frailty.


And I have one more food I eat daily, so I eat a Daily Thirteen (less alliterative but more accurate):

13. Nori: I eat two sheets of Nori (the seaweed sheets used in making sushi). Two sheets will provide an adequate iodine intake for those who, like me, don’t eat seafood or use iodized salt. Avoid kelp: kelp contains too much iodine. Nori — two sheets a day — is fine.

Formerly, I was eating a square of 100% cacao chocolate each day, but then I read an article in Consumer Reports on the high degree of lead and cadmium contamination in chocolate. While an occasional piece of chocolate or a cup of hot chocolate may not be a problem, having (contaminated) chocolate on a daily basis would be a very bad idea. And because manufacturers change sources (and have an incentive to go with the cheapest reasonable source), it’s hard to be sure what you’re getting. The solution would be a legal requirement that the label clearly state the amount of lead and cadmium in each chocolate product, but that probably won’t happen anytime soon. In the meantime, I now avoid chocolate.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2020 at 1:11 pm

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