As all of you know from my newsletter and facebook posts, I had a major thoracic surgery 10 months ago. I can tell you without a doubt that it has been my focus on proper diet, the proper supplements (that is supplementary to my diet and based on what I required to heal), and the proper exercise that has enabled me to have a recovery that has been nothing short of miraculous.
That said, how do we balance our need for good health with our need for FUN? Is it FUN vs. pain, suffering, calorie counting, sacrifice, and discipline or is there a way to balance our approach?
A Healthy Diet …. The Paleo Diet
I have told many of you about the Paleo diet (no grains, legumes or dairy) as a way to get you on the road to health and wellness. This lifestyle (it is really not a diet) is based on the way ancestral man ate before the advent of agriculture. This does not mean that all foods since agriculture are not tolerated; it means that you must test foods to see what foods cause sensitivity reactions, i.e. gas, bloating and just not feeling well to full blown allergic reactions. The Paleo diet seems to be the best way to have a nutrient rich, non-inflammatory diet.
Some will say, “well, there is nothing left to eat!” This is not true. It is your individual biology with which you must become familiar. For those of you into statistics, there is a bell curve of food intolerance and sensitivity which means that most of us are somewhat sensitive or intolerant to varying degrees of certain anti-nutrients in grains, legumes and dairy. Both cooking food and fermenting food get rid of or diminish many of these anti-nutrients in many grains, legumes, and dairy.
The foods recommended are:
1. Meats of all types, preferably organic (grass fed): red meat (cows, bison), pork, poultry, wild caught fish
4. Roots and Tubers: Yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips.
5. Nuts and seeds (remember peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes)
The foods not recommended are:
1. Grains: all grains, not just wheat. The current research says you cannot cook away or ferment away the gluten in wheat, rye, barley, etc.
a. Rice and oats seem to have the lowest sensitivity rates so these would be the best to add back into your diet.
a. Organic cream and fermented dairy seem to have the lowest sensitivity rates (cheeses, some yogurts, sour cream, kefir, some cottage cheeses, cultured buttermilk, acidophilus milk, and certain soy products).
b. A certain percentage of the population is intolerant to lactose and to casein. There are those of you who are, as we say, “@#$% out of luck.” Those who are not can eat fermented dairy and organic cream and maybe some non-pasteurized, non-homogenized milk (we cannot purchase non-pasteurized milk in Maryland so I recommend the Trickling Springs Creamery Milk which is at least non-homogenized and organic).
So how do you balance FUN with good nutrition? How do you empower yourself and regenerate your body? It is all based on the choices you make.
1. Start logging in your foods to the Fate on Your Plate online software and learn exactly what nutrients are missing from your diet. For a free 7 day trial email me the word SUCCESS to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you know what your deficiencies are, you can simply click on them and learn what to eat to put those missing nutrients into your diet.
2. In addition, with the Fate on Your Plate software, you will learn the percentage carbohydrates make of your diet (of your total caloric intake). Once you know this, you can see WHAT types of foods make up those carbohydrates, highly processed, nutrient void foods or non-processed nutrient dense foods. The bottom line is, we all must control our glucose metabolism by minimizing the need for so much Insulin release. Eat of us needs a different amount of carbohydrate, but we ALL need non-processed, nutrient dense carbohydrates in our diet. If you are an athlete, you will probably need much more than a sedentary person.
3. You can do the same with fats and proteins….learn what the percentage each is of your total calories, and what foods make up those fats and proteins. Again, the bottom line is food quality.
4. Once you really know what you are eating, you can start removing foods that can cause sensitivities. I recommend that you try going “hard core” Paleo for one month and see how you feel. Then you may add back in foods one by one and see how you feel. This is the way I learned what I am sensitive to and what I am not. For example, I have been pretty strict Paleo since about March 2011. About 6 weeks ago, I added two 8 oz servings of organic, Greek, plain yogurt with nuts and dried cherries or cranberries. This caused significant nasal congestion which used to be a problem for me before going “Paleo.” I learned that for me, I just cannot eat the yogurt. BUMMER, but it is not worth the negative effects on my body.
5. Other important factors are good sleep (try magnesium supplementation), Vitamin D, and the right type, volume, and intensity of exercise. When it comes to exercise, our Functional Movement Screen is really the sister of the Fate on Your Plate program. You must learn what your body can and cannot do and build a program based on your body’s needs and your goals.
Get started today!