“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” – Thomas Edison
In a recent blog post I outlined the benefits of consuming wholefoods over convenience foods. This is a follow up to that article in which I’ll outline key strategies for healthy nutrition.
Included at the bottom of the article is a recommended reading list should you wish to research this topic further. Whilst this is by no means a comprehensive list, I feel it is a good starting point to familiarise yourself with health as it relates to nutrition. The rest is up to you to implement!
I urge you to take ownership of your health by becoming acquainted with sound nutritional habits. Never take at face value the advice echoed in an article or your doctor’s guidance. Research and ask questions – it is in your best interest to know more about how to nutritionalise your body.
The following points are ways to kick-start your health immediately. You will instantly notice an overall improvement in your well-being and body composition within weeks. Do not be discouraged if you slip up (as you will) – get back on the horse as it were and continue to advance forward.
Key Nutritional Strategies
- Consume 90% or more wholefoods: Organic foods are highly recommended for their nutritional composition and lack of chemicals. For those with families, this may be difficult so use the following advice as a guide; avoid the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables which contain the highest pesticide load and go for the clean fifteen instead when purchasing produce. Always shop the perimeter first at your local supermarket.
- Reduce & eliminate convenience foods: Gradually wean yourself off convenience foods especially those containing sugar, trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup. As you reduce your exposure to packaged foods, you’ll notice your food allergies and intolerances gradually disappear over time. Many of the additives in modern foods nowadays may be responsible for triggering food allergies.
- Avoid dieting: Dieting is never a long term solution for maintaining good health. You cannot diet for life, since it deprives you of essential vitamins and nutrients. Consult with a health professional if you feel you have special dietary requirements. Do not self-manage without proper supervision. Dieting creates mental, emotional and physical havoc on your body in the long run.
- Rebuild your digestive system: If you have suffered any of the following symptoms over time, your digestion may be compromised; constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, IBS, lower abdominal distension, foul smelling stools, lack of energy, headaches, brain fog, irritability, mood swings and allergies to name a few. Consume wholefoods, fermented foods and take a good probiotic that has various strains of good bacteria until your gut has fully healed. Work with a healthcare professional proficient in holistic nutrition.
- Consume more Omega 3’s and less Omega 6’s: Both represent essential fatty acids which the body cannot manufacture and must be obtained externally. Omega 3’s are found in fish, plant and nut oils and are essential for many bodily processes. The correct omega 6:3 ratio should range from 1:1 to 5:1, preferably 4:1.
- Avoid processed drinks: Eliminate carbonated, caffeinated and sugar drinks from your diet. They are highly toxic and will cause damaging long term health issues. Your organs are not equipped to process the toxins present in these drinks. Manufacturers have become astute disguising sugar substitutes and unknown chemicals inherent in such drinks.
- Know your caffeine constitution: Caffeine can be a curse or a blessing depending on the person consuming it. If you are highly stressed with poor digestion, lacking in sleep and exercise and constantly tired, then caffeine is likely to create more health problems. If you are addicted to caffeine and cannot start the day without it, then all the more reason to avoid it. It may cause a host of problems with your sympathetic nervous system by driving you into a ‘stuck’ stressed state.
- Drink plenty of natural spring water: You should aim to drink filtered water containing plenty of minerals. The following are considered to be the gold standard in pure water sources; Reverse Osmosis Filters, Ion Exchange Filters and Carbon Block Filters. Be aware of the bottle-water marketing trap – many of the manufacturers may add flavouring to water to sweeten it. Use the following formula to determine your daily requirement of water intake: 0.033 x your body weight (kg) = litres.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Especially in the evening and be aware if you use alcohol as a means to wind down or relax. Also be mindful if you’re addicted to the “buzz” feeling alcohol provides. You may be addicted to alcohol for this reason. Allow for 2 -3 alcohol free days during the week. Only consume 1 – 2 glasses of quality red wine with an evening meal (may aid digestion) and be attentive to social drinking (excessive or binge drinking).
- Consume protein daily: Depending on your diet, you will need to consume the correct amount of protein for your body type. This will vary according to your physical demands and level of activity. There are a number of calculations for determining daily protein requirement ranging from 0.75 g/kg – 1.2 g/kg and beyond. The upper limit is aimed toward athletes or those engaging in regular and strenuous (endurance sports) physical activity.
- Limit fruit intake: Despite being labelled healthy, most fruits still contain sugar. But Tony aren’t they natural sugar’s? – Yes and sugar cane is also natural! Sugar is sugar no matter what form it comes in. Fruit sugar, called fructose may be harmful since it is directly metabolised by the liver and can derail blood glucose levels. In doing so, it does not require much insulin so it is circulated into your blood stream much quicker, thus converting to fat in the long run. It can also disrupt your blood-glucose levels, especially in the afternoon. Despite its fibre content, I would encourage you to limit its consumption and lean toward vegetables for fibre instead.
Recommended Reading List
- The Fourfold Path to Healing by Thomas S. Cowan, M.D.
- Pottenger’s Prophecy: How Food Resets Genes for Wellness or Illness by Deborah Kesten, Gray Graham & Larry Sherwitz
- Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Catherine Shanahan and Luke Shanahan
- Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon & Mary Enig
- Super Immunity by Joel Fuhrman
- The Second Brain by Michael Gershon
- The China Study by Colin T Campbell
- The Ten Secrets of 100% Healthy People by Patrick Holford
- In Defence of Food: An Eaters Manifesto by Michael Pollan
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
- Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes (A MUST READ!)
- Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski Ph.D.