Let Food be Your Medicine & Medicine be Your Food
Welcome to our Beginner Nutritional Plan. For most people who read this page, it’s probably best to start at the beginner level of any kind of nutrition program. However, if you have some experience in selecting, preparing and eating a health and balanced diet and you have become committed to improving your health, you will be able to (soon!) go straight to our intermediate or advanced section.
I do advise reading through each plan though as recommendations mentioned in each plan are not repeated in the next level. There are two major reasons why I recommend most people start at the basic level:
- It takes time to adopt healthy habits just like it takes time to achieve anything worthwhile in your life, no exeptions. The several requirements in the beginner take time and patience to integrate into your daily life, you will find that they lay the foundation for good health and are essential to move on to my intermediate and advanced nutrition plans.
- You need to allow your body to adjust to the lowered levels of insulin, cholesterol and blood pressure. You should experience some weight reduction as well, and for some this can be dramatic, for others it will be minimal. With all these changes occurring to your body, there will almost certainly be emotional and psychological changes as well, so allow yourself time to adjust to these changes before we go on and advance to the Intermediate and Advanced levels.
Beginner Nutrition Plan
Here are some quick links that will take you to different pages of interest:
- Health On A Budget
- Healthy Food Choices
- High Value Foods
- What Is An Antioxidant?
- Dietary Supplements
- Lifestyle Changes
Eric’s 3 General Principles
- Form Good (Great is better) Habits. It is important to remember that you don’t decide on your future, you decide on your habits. And your habits will decide the future for you. Mix with the ‘right crowd’ rather than people who are more likely to lead you astray and encourage you into drinking alcohol or eating the wrong kinds of foods regularly. The ‘wrong crowd’ may also be more likely to influence your behavior or attitudes negatively, and in some instances even bordering on criminal acts.
- Listen To Your Body (Always). Become more intuitive, if any food, beverage or supplement recommendation we make makes you feel unwell in any way – then discontinue it. If something makes you feel good when you take it (excluding alcohol 😉 then maintain it in your diet but be careful of not consuming too much. Ease off a little on the exercise and your work if you feel tired, you will be more able to perform at your best soon, once you feel really well again. Are you an A-Type person and do too much, expect too much and want too much from yourself or others? Then you probably have adrenal fatigue to some degree.
- Don’t Be A Slacker In Life (Don’t Be Lazy…). Getting well and staying well takes time and commitment on your behalf. You are doing this for yourself so you can look and feel great, being impatient by expecting results too quickly or giving up easily won’t give you the results you are wanting. Procrastination, boredom and lack of commitment are some of the biggest reasons why many don’t get well and stay well. I recommend that you don’t become the kind of person who always has to make excuses why he or she can’t do something in life. Engage positively with people you come into contact with and try to achieve something positive in your life on a regular basis, plan ahead and stay inspired by mixing with the right kind of friends. Take regular holidays and relax on a regular basis but balance this by working hard and smart when you are required to do so.
With the advent of “food processing” at the end of the last century, it became quite possible for a person to interfere with natural foods in such a way as apparently to “improve human nutrition”.
However, it has become quite clear for many years now that many of the effects of food processing can be detrimental to the very nutritional quality of food, and more recently, that this has considerable long-term consequences for health.
For example, the refining of flour has not only removed most of the dietary fibre, it has also stripped the grain of most of its essential vitamins and minerals. The whole idea of food-processing is to reduce the rate of deterioration thus giving these “foods” a longer shelf life. This in turn makes it easier to warehouse and distribute, and through the use of colors, preservatives and flavorings to make foods more appealing. Many of these chemical substances added to common supermarket foods by the food manufacturers can be harmful to susceptible individuals. It is my hope that by an increasing public awareness, pressure will be brought on the food industry to produce foods which are much less contaminated by such artificial additives, many of which are even derived from industries such as petrochemical and unnecessary.
Natural and organic nutrition and healthy diet is what naturopathy is all about. Naturopaths are the specialists when it comes to healthy eating and nutrition. We always talk to our patients about adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle habits. These are the things we do best, we can advise on the optimal ways you can help to prevent chronic ill health by focusing on some of the biggest causes which attribute to the common diseases of Western civilisation like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. There is a big emphasis on fresh and healthy foods, minimal sugar and alcohol, minimal gluten or refined wheat products and hardly any processed or take-away foods. Naturally, we encourage regular exercise and stress management and plenty of sleep . Common sense really, but I have on this page explained in detail basically what entails a “healthy diet”, and you will find other information relating to lifestyle on this website as well. Just click on the links to the left to straight to a topic, or scroll down to the bottom and click “Next Page”.
There are several different types of diet I recommend, but here is the beginner’s diet plan. It is simple to adopt yet the results are far reaching. Perhaps you have already adopted a healthy diet but wish to fine tune your eating plan? Then you can go onto the intermediate nutrition plan or the advanced plan if you are very experienced. These diet plans are not on-line yet, we have started with the beginner’s plan and will update in time.
Basic Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats
Are You A Baby Boomer ?
I was brought up in a Dutch household, my parents left Holland in 1953 after World War 2 to find a better life in Australia. Mother would buy fresh meat each week and supermarkets were not really happening at that stage in Brisbane where I first grew up, and the vegetable man would come by with his truck once per week. Milk was delivered to the door by the milkman and supplied in (real) glass bottles and ALL our meals were home cooked. If you wanted sugar and flour, the corner store would dispense in sturdy brown paper bags. There was no artificial sugars like aspartame or Diet foods at that stage. I can remember the first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet appearing in Brisbane in 1969, and there certainly was none of the grease dripping chicken in those days, the pieces of chicken were BIG as the birds were not killed after a mere 12 weeks.
Chicken was expensive in the 60’s, and caged birds and eggs were not quite happening at this stage. My father kept a respectable vegetable garden and Rhode Island red chickens. We would on occasion have a roasted chicken meal on Sunday evening and it was a special treat. Today, chicken is readily available and cheap and if you look at the breast – laced with fat, and in addition, commercial poultry is contaminated with antibiotics and birds are even fed back their recycled wastes which are sprayed with antibiotics to stop disease. Dried poultry food (often stored in large silos) is treated with an arsenic containing anti-fungal treatment to discourage mold and bacterial growth.
Eat free range, you will be blown away to discover that free range chicken actually tastes like real chicken should. My mother stayed at home and cooked all our meals, unfortunately today most mothers have to work all day in addition to their partner, both need to work to pay all those bills and then rush home to provide their family either with a take-out meal or something quickly warmed up in the microwave. These ‘latch key’ Gen-X children come home hungry and grab what ever is on offer nutritionally, and in many cases we are talking cookies, doughnut, white bread, margarine and jam, or nutritionally depleted boxed cereals with milk.
Eating In Front Of TV
Gone are those days when the family would sit around the table and talk about the day’s events. Over half of families today sit in front on the television as they eat their evening meal with a meal dropped on their lap. The TV room has become today’s dining room. A study has found that television has replaced the dining room table in many families of the 21st century, and the flat screen has become the hub of the family life. Good bye communication – “be quiet, I’m trying to listen” – does this sound familiar?
Yes, I am a Baby Boomer (born between 1946 – 1964) , but do have four children and they belong to generation Y (born between 1980 – 2000). My parents were from the “silent generation” (born before 1946), and this generation was generally a lot more self-reliant. They cooked, cleaned, actually repaired appliances and had high morals and the work ethic that unfortunately a lot of the younger generation of today lack. The younger ones want food NOW, and many are simply not interested in lengthy meal preparations like their grandparents were. And why should they? Facebook needs attending, and so does their mobile phone or other electronic device. It has to be had NOW, according to the cashless “me” generation. This doesn’t mean that they still can’t eat healthy, and there has been an increasing awareness amongst this new generation coming through that many of the older values perhaps weren’t that “stupid” after all. I hope you enjoy this page, whether you are from the silent generation, a boomer or are from generation X or Y.
Are You Generation Y?
OK, if you consider yourself a Gen-Y you would have been born from eighties through to 2000, you will be aged between your 15 years of age through to your mid-thirties. Your parents were Baby Boomers who were hard working people. While the Boomers learned to work hard like their parents did, (the silent generation), Gen-Y prefers to work smarter and embrace technology the most out of all generations so far. This also means that this group is also more likely to suffer the most with conditions such as adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism and the other manifestations of burn-out and stress than almost any other generation as well. In my clinical experience, I’ve seen a consider amount of Gen-Y patients over the years with insomnia, heartburn, many different kinds of digestive problems, including food allergies, leaky gut syndrome and constipation.
Are You Generation X?
O NO!, it’s the kids and pre-teenagers generation gap! If you are in this group you were born from the year 2000 until now. You tend to be more tired than the previous generation at your age, and this can be due to the use of technology, particularly the wide spread use of the internet with your age group. You will be sleeping on average almost two hours less per day than the baby boomer generation of those who were born in the 1950’s and 60’s. Boomers didn’t grow up with computers, let alone Google or Apple. There were no cell phones and television was still black & white until the mid 70’s for many. Gen-Y has come to consume more caffeine than ever before at this age, no doubt fueled by hectic professional and social lifestyles along with the internet and lack of sleep. I find that acne is still a big problem with youth, and so is constipation for many. Some of the most common reasons I’ll see somebody of this age group in my clinic is because of food allergies and intolerances, infections involving the immune system.
Caffeine is also a favorite with the Gen-X remember, and if you notice anxiety, sleeping problems like insomnia or behavioral issues with your Gen-X child then you may need to assess your child’s caffeine consumption levels and modify accordingly. Children are consuming too much caffeine has come to my attention in the clinic, particularly from the year 2000 onwards. Energy drinks are popular, as are ‘shots’ of high single-dose caffeine hits, and overactive adrenals often lead to insomnia.
Unfortunately I also see young children with obesity as well as having anxiety and depression. Violence and behavioral problems in this age group can come about due to poor diets and often from a poor, unhappy or highly stressful lifestyle the child will be experiencing at home. As a father of both Gen-Y and X kids, I strongly believe that it is critical that as baby boomer parents we spend plenty of quality time with our Gen-X and Y kids for the sake of their health and well being.
Now What About Generation Z?
These people will start appearing from 2020 onwards, they will be born into incredible technology. My concerns are that they will also be born onto an age of a declining biosphere and increasing stress on this planet. They will (at out current rates almost certainly) witness in their lifetime the extinction of most all large land and ocean animals. Salt water fish extinction is a possibility by 2048. Of the 44,838 animal species assessed so far using the IUCN Red List criteria, an amazing 16,928 are listed as threatened with extinction.
They will be living in increasingly uncertain times politically and environmentally as well. There will be increasing pollution of the air and water burdened by a steadily increasing global population. But there will also be many advances in science and technology and in medicine. Will this be the generation that suffer the most with stress, lack of exercise and an increasingly processed diet? In time I firmly believe we will also see a revival of some more of the ‘older’ and ‘traditional’ values coming back to society – like regular exercise, eating healthy home-cooked meals, understanding the relationship between stress and health and the high importance of leisure time and real vacations, valuing the importance real ‘face-to-face’ communication (rather than online like Mobile or Skype).
Gen X will be able to connect quickly and cheaply with anybody anywhere more so than even in history. I can remember a telephone call from Australia to Europe made in the 1960’s was a very costly exercise, about three days wages for a crummy 5 minute call you could barely hear the person over the line due to crackling and noise. Today I connect with patients in more than 30 countries quickly, efficiently and very cheaply on Skype, what a revolution in such a short period of time!
Why I Recommend Most People Start With The Basic Nutrition Plan
Most people today need to detoxify their bodies. Those who eat a basic diet, drink regular alcohol like wine, eat bread, biscuits, chocolate or confectionery (lollies, sweets or what some call candy), drink regularly a few cups of coffee or tea daily, eat take-out once a week and eat canned or processed foods may well benefit from a detox program at least annually. Their bowels and digestive system may become problematic over time. Their bodies need to adapt slowly as their diet improves which positively affects their health and metabolism. Changes occur in their insulin levels and bowel flora, the body’s pH shifts into the more alkaline and toxins are released. Their liver and gallbladder may not be used to the cleanse and weight-loss may well occur with the average person attempting top detox and clean up their diet. Toxins are locked away in body fat and become released into the bloodstream as weight drops, and this can cause potentially a mild headache or fatigue in the first week of their detox. Did you know that one third of cancer is linked to diet ?
- Compliance increases as a better level of health increases. There are several basic requirements that will take time and patience to integrate into your daily life, and these requirements are essential to move on to our intermediate and advanced nutrition plans.Those who eat a basic diet tend to have less compliance at sticking to their newly adopted diet than those with more experience at choosing and eating the right foods. Hence they need more motivation and encouragement. People who are more experienced with a health diet and lifestyle are more prone to stay on track because they have learned the benefits and advantages of staying on track.
- It takes time to adopt new healthy habits which replace the old ones. Those who eat a basic diet can easily over time move into a more intermediate diet and eventually as they really start to improve adopt the advanced eating plan. I generally find that it takes between one to two years to go from a beginner’s eating plan to the advanced plan. Why is this so? Because the person has to learn plenty and make the change slowly over time. This will ensure that the newly acquired healthy habits will stay there for life. Habits adopted overnight can also go back to how they used to be overnight. I’m not a believer in rapid, overnight changes in diet and lifestyle.
- Digestion improves and you will be able to eat more raw foods as it does. Those who have adopted excellent eating habits have a better digestion (and more balanced bowel flora) as a consequence. Their digestive systems can tolerate a higher level of raw foods. They find it easier to “say no” when it comes to daily temptations.
- Bowel function improves over time as well. Those who have adopted excellent eating habits have better functioning kidney, liver and gallbladder health. Their bowels work well and tend to be more regular than those who have very average diets which most people have. In our experience, most all people who see us with health problems need to improve how and what they eat – they are often surprised and delighted to see that their bowel habits improve over time as well. Is your bowel habit not satisfactory? Then start with this nutrition plan.
- It takes time to learn how to shop, select and eat the foods which suit your digestion best. Those who have already adopted excellent eating habits tend to be more compliant with their diet, they have fine tuned what they eat over time and know what suits them and what doesn’t. However, even if you’re healthy and highly committed to improving your health, you may still learn from the information on this page.
The Basic Nutrition Plan
- Remove the obvious junk from your diet
- Plan your diet
- Eat more vegetables for brain health, heart disease cure
- Eat the healthiest fruits and healthiest vegetables (PDF Downloads)
- Stop eating wheat and highly allergic foods.
- Limit all sugars and highly sweetened foods
- Avoid low blood sugar, eat the right carbs
- Eat cultured food like yogurt, Here’s a recipe.
- Eat the right fats
- Choose your protein sources wisely
- Reduce coffee & tea and drink more water
- Adopting a healthy diet even on a tight budget
- Take a few basic daily dietary supplements
The 3 Basic Beginner’s Steps
- Develop healthy eating habits, it really isn’t as confusing or as restrictive as you imagine. I’d like you to eat a wide variety of fresh foods – fruits, vegetables and proteins (meats, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds). This is vitally important because all these different foods make different nutritional contributions. This will ensure you don’t fall victim to anty nutritional deficiencies, like so many patients do who have consulted me over the past 25 years.
- Point number two is that the bulk of your calorie intake should come from fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, foods which are high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. I’m not averse to dairy products, but prefer the non-homogenised and non-pasteurised variety of cow’s milk and quality cheeses and natural yoghurt. The rest should come from lean meat, free range poultry, and fish.
- Always strive for maintaining a balance between calorie intake and calorie expenditure, the point here is to avoid eating more food than your body can utilize – or you’ll gain weight. The “secret” is to become active, in fact, the more active you are (and the less you use your remote control) the more you can eat and still maintain this balance.
Following these three basic steps doesn’t mean that you have to give up your favorite foods. As long as your overall diet is balanced and rich in nutrients and fiber, there is nothing wrong with an occasional crappy food in your diet. Just be sure to limit how frequently you eat such crappy foods, and try to eat small portions of them. My motto has always been: “Eat crap, then expect to look and feel like it too”. Your choice.
Research has shown that almost one-third of the diet in many Western developed nations consists of carbonated drinks, potato chips, meat pies, muesli bars, take-away foods like fish and chips, canned foods and processed foods in general. Even with the rising number of people joining the low-carb craze, a study of 4,700 adults revealed that fizzy drinks and sweets, which contain what are known as “empty calories” because of their low nutritional value, were at the top of the list of most calories consumed. Statistics showed that these empty calories accounted for almost 25 percent of all the calories eaten by Australians and and New Zealanders. Salty snacks and fruit juices made up an additional 5 percent. Some experts have placed the blame for the obesity epidemic on these shocking revelations. You may not or only consume these foods occasionally.
A survey consisted of the collection of interview responses of 4,760 adults. The survey took place over the years 1999 and 2000 and involved questioning the participants on all the foods they had eaten over the past 24 hours. Results of the study revealed that sweets were the number one calorie consumed followed by hamburgers, pizza and potato chips. The other highly consumed calorie was fizzy soft drinks, which made up for 7.1 percent of all the calories consumed.
On the other hand, nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables accounted for 10 percent of the total calories consumed. Amazing, but in England fruit is hardly consumed and many British like the American population exists on a “stodgy” diet full of fried and deep fried foods – still. Naturally, there many enlightened people out there in many countries, but for most the sad reality is still junk food several times a week, no vegetables, canned fruit and plenty of deep fried foods. Imagine how healthy the digestive will be on such a diet. No wonder many people end up with chronic degenerative diseases prematurely.
Experts have stressed for many years that a significant portion of Western diets are severely lacking essential vitamins and minerals and recommended that people focus on the kind (quality) of food they eat, not necessarily on eating smaller portions.
Do you at take-away once or twice a week? How about we cut out that bad habit right NOW. You will save dollars and build a better health down the track. You know what you shouldn’t be eating regularly, so let’s control this bad habit now – at the onset of our dietary make-over. The bottom line – eat crap, the please expect to look and feel like crap. Point taken? Take a look at the less obvious junk in your diet, the hydrogenated fats.
Step 2. Plan Your Diet.
Just like anything in your life, if you want success, it is not by chance. It is about careful planning. The first thing you must do is to make a menu, and if you look at the recipes page you will get some good ideas as to what to eat. I make up recipe cards which I laminate and use in my kitchen. After you have made the recipe a dozen times, you can discard with the instructions.
I have personally found that most people have great difficulty implementing our dietary suggestions unless they sit down once a week (at a time when you are well rested, fresh and relaxed) and plan the shopping trip as well the the choices of meals for the week ahead.
If you and your partner are both working, a good rule is to prepare your meals ahead of time, or at least partial preparation. For example, make your lunch for the next day before you go to bed. I make my lunch each morning after I’ve had my shower and had my breakfast. Also determine what you will be eating for dinner before you leave the house in the morning. This will allow you to go to the store if necessary, or take the appropriate food items out of the freezer. This is strongly advised ! How many times have you come home, looked at the refrigerator, freezer or pantry and thought to yourself “What are we going to have for dinner tonight?” Probably a thousand times I’ll bet. And I’ll also bet that on more than one occasion you said to your partner: “Don’t worry dear, I’ll just go diown the road and pick us up some…. (fill in the blank yourself, it will be some take-out food of choice).
Those who don’t do this planning will more easily slip back into their old, more comfortable, and less healthy eating habits. They grab whatever is close at hand – a glass of wine, a piece of bread, you get the message. Be prepared and you will save yourself a lot of hassle, money – and suffice to say, a lot of weight problems down the road which you “desperately” want to shift one day.
Health Tip – You only need seven to ten different healthy and tasty recipes
Did you know that most families rotate between seven to ten recipes most of their lives? All you need to do is find at least up to a dozen recipes that you like. You may not believe this but that is all that most families use. You might have to try many recipes to find one that you and your family enjoy, it is important to pick those dishes which are enjoyed by the majority. You’ll never please every member of your household, however! It is vitally important to have variety. It is pretty pointless just having two or three different dishes to choose from, you will soon get into a rut and drop into those bad habits again. Variety is the key.
Step 3 – Eat More Vegetables
We have all heard it before – eat five serves of fruit and vegetables every day. But who realistically does? I have not met many people who spend hours in the kitchen preparing and eating vegetables. There is no doubt, and all the research into preventative medicine points out that nearly everyone would benefit from eating as many vegetables as possible. But it all depends on your requirements and desire to consume vegetables in addition to your unique biochemical individuality. It is always worth remembering that you are a totally unique individual; your body knows what suits it best, and will tell you what is an optimal type and amount of vegetables are suitable for you. No book, diet guru or nutrition website can ultimately tell you what best suits your needs. It took me a few years to figure out that certain vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, green beans, carrots and more) and certain proteins (especially fresh eggs and fish) best suited my needs. I simply feel better in myself on this diet. What makes you “feel good”? Always avoid any foods which bring you down in any way and become more intuitive – your body will always tell you if you only listen to it. I’m no follower of “blood type” diet concepts anymore than I would advocate you eat “according to your social security number”. I worked with different diets in the clinic for years, including the blood type diet. I can tell you this, some but not all improved, and it is my belief that “diets” work for most because they become more nutritionally aware and cut out the junk. Do Eskimos go on diets?
An Eskimo simply can’t eat as many vegetables as a person who has adopted a vegetarian diet. Not only would they feel poorly, but they’d likely develop metabolic imbalances and eventually degenerative process and emotional imbalances. Their genetics has determined that their optimal diet is high in fat and protein. Whether it is because they have type O, A or AB blood makes no difference. The Kalahari bushman will eat more than twenty times the fibre as a guy living in New York, he was brought up to live and eat like this. So, while we all need vegetables to stay healthy, the type and amount should be determined by what nutritional requirements you have, which is based on your unique individual biochemistry.
Remember to let your body report back to you how accurate your appetite/taste buds are at gauging what is right for you. And it will, stay tuned to your bowels, keep an eye on their texture and frequency. Do you feel sensations in your digestive system after a meal? Did that meal you had an hour ago make you feel different or bad in any way? It is called “intuitive eating” and it works for me and many people we have worked with in the clinic over many years. Once you are eating the right types and amounts of vegetables (and other foods), your body and mind will respond favourably, and many common health issues will begin to resolve.
The Vita-Mix One of the easiest ways to fulfill your vegetable intake is through regularly consuming fresh vegetable juice. But juicing is messy and you have to spend ages cleaning up the juicer. Well, not any more. The Vita-Mix is my favourite kitchen appliance and will turn your vegetables into a drink in seconds. And – all the fibre remains intact. I don’t recommend juicers anymore which just express the juice – and then you throw the fibre away and spend the next 15 minutes rinsing all those bits and pieces. In my experience, just about everybody I know who has bought a vegetable juicer is all enthusiastic at the start, but then the juicer ends under the kitchen bench after a few months of use. But why? they end up too much of a chore to clean and get ready for use the next time. Well you can forget that with the VitaMix. It takes 60 seconds to clean and is not a “plastic toy” like most similar devices I’ve seen.
Health Tip – Select and purchase only the freshest of vegetables
Do you grow your own vegetables? I try to grow all my salad veges in summer. But in winter I prefer to stay inside thanks. If you are unable to obtain organic vegetables, don’t freak – you can rinse non-organic vegetables in a sink full of water with a 1/4 of a cup of apple-cider vinegar. Soak your veges in this vinegar for about 20 minutes if you can.
When storing fresh produce, be sure and squeeze as much air as you can out of the bag that holds the vegetables and then seal it. Keep your vegetable crisper clean and give it a good rinse and dry at least once per week. Keep an eye out for rotting vegetables or mould.
Fruits and vegetables release ethylene gas while ripening after harvesting or picking. This ethylene gas accelerates ripening, ageing and unfortunately also the rotting process. Removing as much air as possible out of the bag can help de-accelerate this process. Hold the plastic bag and squeeze out the air, this can potentially double or even triple the normal storage life of your vegetables. Remember this also – the content of fragile nutrients decline rapidly after harvesting – especially folate. For leafy greens like spinach consume as soon as you can. Root crops tend to hang on to their nutrients longer. The more flimsy and fragile the produce (lettuce, spinach, etc) the quicker the nutrient loss.
Step 4 – At Least One Third Of Your Diet Could Be Raw
This is where your Vita-Mix will come in very handy, regular vegetable juicing will easily help you reach this goal of 1/3 raw food in your diet. Did you know that when you heat foods, that you end up destroying many of the valuable trace elements and micro-nutrients? Just by cooking and processing fresh foods you alter the chemical composition of these life-giving nutrients. Is it any wonder many people living in the West end up with malnutrition? Elderly residents who face malnutrition is an article which highlights the concern for our older citizens who, along with our youngest, are more prone to malnutrition.
A little know fact is that malnutrition (nutritional deficiencies) which often comes about from eating a diet high in processed or refined (supermarket) foods, is one of the major causes of people overeating – and gaining weight or becoming obese. If you’re consistently feeling hungry, it is probably because you are not getting sufficient amounts of the nutrients your body needs to thrive.
Step 5 – Stop Eating Wheat and Highly Allergenic Foods
This is the toughest part of your nutritional make-over. I never said that it was going to be easy! Whenever we make the suggestion for a person to stop eating breads and flour-based products they freak out! I believe that most people have never tried to seriously stop eating wheat based products long enough to really experience the difference it makes in their lives. The comparison between eating a diet rich in wheat flour, pasta, breads, cakes and biscuits in comparison to one where a person consumes primarily meats like fish, chicken, eggs, beef and venison and then in addition eats plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits in NO comparison.
In my experience, there is an epidemic of hidden intolerance to not only wheat products, but to a host of other potentially allergenic foods. And these foods just about all seem to be the protein foods – dairy products, wheat, eggs, corn, etc. Many people today simply cannot tolerate gluten for one reason or another and I believe that it is a combination of increasing stress people live under, poor eating habits, alcohol, caffeine and other factors which are making the average person allergic to gluten and wheat products as well as potentially a host of other foods. In addition, wheat grown today is not wheat how it was cultivated yesterday. Gluten allergies seems to be getting more frequent too, we see more people each year who have a gluten issue. There are many different proteins in wheat and grains like oats, barley and rye but gluten is the primary protein found in wheat. There are frequently no obvious symptoms and patients may complain of “non digestive specific” complaints.
The “safe” grains appear to be buckwheat, millet, quinoa and amaranth.
Health Tip – Going gluten-free
Everybody is doing it today – going gluten free. Be careful of product labels however, can be very misleading and I simply don’t trust them to be honest. Some companies list their products as gluten free, without understanding the scientific basis of the problem and may actually incorporate some food a unless you are dealing with a very reputable company. If you consume an item frequently and are not sure, call them up and ask them if their are any additives or food components which may have been manufactured into their food product containing gluten or gliadin, the allergenic protein itself.
In the first instance, first make sure you really are gluten intolerant before you decide to permanently avoid gluten. Here are a few articles on gluten intolerance you may find interesting. The BIG problem with going gluten free is that unfortunately, most people don’t feel better immediately after eliminating gluten from their diets as it may take a few months or more for the inflammation to subside, and up to one year to two years for the lining of the small intestine to actually heal. On the rare odd occasion, a person may experience significant improvement within weeks of eliminating gluten from their diet. But in most other cases people may feel considerably worse upon initially starting a gluten free diet, and this is my common experience in the clinic with patients. So – be patient, healing the body from the inside out does take time! These aggravations are usually due to other unidentified food allergies and food sensitivities, they are often “opportunistic” problems which present in addition to the gluten issue such as bad bacteria being present in your bowel (we call this “dysbiosis“). You have one problem and before you know it you start to develop more, it always seems to be the way.
In fact, food cravings can often serve as a gauge of food sensitivity. Craving dairy products or breads, for example, can be an indication that you are sensitive to that food, especially if you crave it but then feel worse after eating it. People often crave the very foods which cause their problems in the first instance. It does take about 6 to 9 months of eliminating wheat and gluten products completely from one’s diet before the real mental and emotional benefits are experienced however. The mental and emotional improvements initially are an improvement in well being and self-esteem. Long-term however, the person who significantly improves their digestive system senses a very deep seated mental and emotional improvement and I have seen people undergo major changes in their outlook in life with depression disappearing, insomnia lifting and the person feeling a lot more in control rather than feeling controlled about their life’s situation. It all takes time.
When you eat a food that you’re quite sensitive to, it can also potentially cause a series of negative biochemical imbalances and reactions in your body, especially in your digestive tract, immune and nervous systems, as described earlier. However, immune and adrenal gland problems which often underpin allergies can also alter your serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) levels, which can have a marked negative impact on your mood, and can cause you to crave simple sugars and carbohydrates for relief. Is it any wonder that chocolate, bread, wine, candy and other sweet carbohydrate foods tend to be the supermarket’s biggest selling items?
In most instances, I have found that when you remove the potentially allergenic foods (like gluten) from your diet, your cravings for sweets will diminish, your moods improve, your weight reduces to the “normal” zone, and your overall health will noticeably improve for the better.
Therefore, your first step is to reduce or to avoid any allergy-forming foods. This is especially the case if you have problems with your immune system. These foods are not “bad”, but will challenge your immunity, they are all potentially highly allergenic and will frequently keep your immune system in overdrive by continually triggering the inflammatory response.
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