If there is one profound and immediate way to influence your health, wellbeing, and risk for different disease conditions is by focusing on eating a healthy diet. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of the power of their diet, and many other people don’t really know what actually constitutes a healthy diet. Listening to most of the messages put out by either food companies or even by government agencies, it’s easy to get confused about what’s really healthy.
In the last several decades, dietary recommendations have shifted to including many more carbohydrates in the diet in order to reduce the amount of fats. Unfortunately, this has only served to contribute to higher levels of inflammation in the system and has resulted in increased levels of obesity and chronic illness. The truth is that fat is not an evil food to be avoided, but when in combination with large amounts of carbohydrates can be problematic. In reality, humans do not need the high levels of carbohydrates that most people consume today, and the solution is not to reduce the amount of fats, but instead to reduce the amount of carbs – especially simple carbohydrates and sugar.
In fact, when the amount of carbohydrates consumed is low, the body readily uses good fats for energy and metabolism. Good fats include extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, medium-chain fatty acids (MCT oil), egg yolks, avocados, other nuts and seeds. Many fats are touted to be “healthy” but are actually quite inflammatory, such as canola, safflower, and corn oil. Fats are an essential part of the body’s structure and function, and are used for healthy membranes, hormone production, and nervous system.
Equally important are the nutrients that you extract from your food. All of the vitamin and minerals that your body uses for its thousands of processes, as well as essential fats and proteins, must all come from the diet. When considering your diet, remember that you are partly feeding yourself, and partly feeding the billions of bacteria that live in your digestive tract. They help convert your food into the many of the micronutrients that you then absorb from your intestines into your circulation.
One of the best things that you can do for your health is to eat a variety of non-starchy vegetables daily in order to get both your fiber and several phytonutrients that are essential for proper functioning of the body. It seems that this is a big obstacle for most people because we have all been conditioned to think about food in a way that is not related to health. Instead, people usually think of convenience and comfort before nourishment and health.
Difficulties also arise when planning just what goes into a meal. Most people have been conditioned to think of a protein first when planning a meal, then adding a carb to it. Vegetables are usually an afterthought or left out altogether. The healthiest way to start meal planning is to think about a non-starchy vegetable first, then think of a second non-starchy vegetable. After that, you can add a small amount of protein and a healthy fat. This way, you can maximize the phytonutrient content of your diet and provide sufficient fiber to keep your body detoxing properly.
Finally, one very important factor regarding your diet is your unique genetic ability to extract the nutrients from your food and absorb them efficiently into your cells. Some examples of this include your ability to use B vitamins, convert beta carotene to vitamin A, or make active vitamin D, to name a few. All of these and more can be determined by examining your genetic profile. Your genetics will also influence your ability to detox and heal yourself. Your risk for disease can be greatly reduced by discovering all of these genetic differences and correcting for them in your diet and supplements.
To learn more about your particular dietary requirements for optimal health and how you can heal yourself with food and micronutrients, please book a consultation with me.