PILLARS OF INFORMED EATING
It starts with an acknowledgement and acceptance of the following:
- We’re currently in a health crisis. We’re fatter and sicker than ever before and we’re facing health challenges that our ancestors never encountered. The rise in the incidence of chronic disease coincided with a change in our diets. A basic understanding of evolutionary nutrition can help guide us. Our bodies are designed to function best when provided specific nutrients in the right amounts and we have fewer problems when we respect that.
- Food matters. Beyond weight management. In the short-term (energy, digestion, skin) and for generations to come. What you put in your body determines your disease risk, as well as that of your offspring. Compounds in food can literally turn on and off disease-promoting genes.
- It’s much easier to prevent disease from taking hold in the first place than to wait around and hope you can deal with it once it strikes. Disease prevention is on the individual and it starts with what you put in your body (nobody ever ate anything “by accident). Our healthcare system has largely been taken over by the pharmaceutical industry and conventionally-trained physicians offer little beyond prescription drugs, the side effects from which greatly diminish quality of life, while ignoring the root causes of disease.
- You’re in control of your destiny so take responsibility for the dietary decisions you make and the consequences they lead to. Very little sickness can be attributed to faulty DNA or bad luck. Most disease is triggered by an environmental “switch.” Toxins. Most of which can be avoided.
- We’ve been misled and in some cases lied to about what constitutes a healthy diet. Myths abound and that misinformation has become the basis for mainstream dietary guidelines. We’ve all been victims of this manipulation. Greed, politics, money, and power have all played a role. Much of what we think we know about nutrition was based on flawed or outdated science. This isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s been documented, the myths debunked and now we have the knowledge to empower ourselves and change our course.
- We need to be curious, open-minded, and flexible. We need to embrace new ideas and ways of doing things. We need to challenge conventional wisdom, even when it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient and goes against everything we’ve ever been told. We need to ask questions. Be food detectives. Immerse ourselves with the knowledge provided to us by leaders in the fields of integrative and functional medicine, naturopathic and holistic health, and epigenetics. Read everything we can get our hands on. Take advantage of the growing arsenal of resources. This site is just one.
INFORMED EATING 101
There’s no one best diet. A personalized approach to nutrition is needed, one that’s based on individual needs. But there are certain undeniable truths supported by mounds of scientific and anecdotal evidence and informed eating is based on that template. Eating this way helps the body fight processes like inflammation and oxidation, which trigger disease formation.
My approach combines traditional practices, cutting edge science, common sense and intuition. It’s based on:
- The work of leaders in the field of integrative and functional medicine, like Drs. Mark Hyman, Josh Axe, Joseph Mercola, Stephen Sinatra, and David Perlmutter.
- The teachings of the Weston A. Price Foundation, an organization dedicated to researching, educating, and promoting nutrient-dense foods, “accurate nutrition instruction, biodynamic and organic farming, pasture-feeding of livestock, community-supported agriculture, honest and informative labelling, prepared parenting and nurturing therapies.”
- Personal experience. I spent years eating what I was told was healthy but instead I got sick. The Food Pyramid and other government health recommendations never made much sense to me, as they are in near complete contradiction with the way humans have eaten throughout history.
Here’s the best part of using ancestral health and evolutionary nutrition as a guide in determining what you should eat: the same practices that help you lose weight also lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Those principles can also improve your skin, make your joints feel better, and give you energy.
- Whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense, antioxidant-rich food, ideally locally grown and naturally raised
- Avoiding and eliminating – whenever possible – pharmaceuticals, artificial colors and flavors, pesticides, carcinogens and other toxins
- The use of specific nutritional supplements supported by solid science showing life extension and health benefits and produced and sold by reputable companies
This is what has worked best for me and for my clients. The transition can be uncomfortable, particularly if you’re used to the standard American diet. It gets easier as you go, cravings disappear, and you begin to look forward to real, unadulterated food.
Meat (from pasture-raised animals)
- more nutrients than meat from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)
- a more favorable omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio
Eggs (from pastured chickens)
- more vitamins (B, E, A)
- more omega-3 fatty acids
- fewer disease-causing chemicals than farmed fish
- more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids
Organic produce (preferably local)
- more nutrients (antioxidants, vitamins C and E)
- no pesticides/herbicides and therefore fewer cancer-causing chemicals
Industrial seed oils
Refined sugar and sweetened beverages
The gray area (dependent on individual tolerance, sensitivity, activity levels, and health concerns)
Non-gluten containing grains, such as rice, buckwheat, and quinoa
Legumes, such as lentils, beans, and peas