Building your diet is not unlike constructing a house, and if the existing structure is mold infested, leaning over and feasted upon by termites, then your best approach is to tear it down and start from the foundation. A Standard American Diet (SAD) is in the category of condemnable. Here’s my take on the priorities, starting from the ground up.
1. REMOVE CHEMICALS
MSG and related compounds, like autolyzed yeast extract, need to be snuffed out. Dorito’s chips, Goldfish cheese crackers, spicy fries at pubs, and Campbell’s soup are common examples of where to find glutamates. Always eliminate aspartame as well – “sugarless” is not healthy if aspartame is the substitute. This first category also includes food colours and dyes, artificial preservatives, metals in high mercury fish, GM foods, and pesticides. Your safest bet: choose organic. This is priority #1.
2. LOW GLYCEMIC
Countless times I record from the client notes a high sugar and flour diet, and hear “but it’s organic!” Well, if you think your house doesn’t need anything more than a basement, then go ahead and try to live in it. But we’re trying to build walls and a roof too. A high sugar diet, organic or not, increases the risk of diabetes and inflammation. So now that the chemicals are out, proceed quickly to cut back the sugar. Stevia is a better alternative for baking – if you must bake.
3. LOW ANTIGEN
Dairy and gluten are the 2 of the most antigenic (allergy and inflammation causing) food products one can eat – and all too often they are eaten multiple times a day. A low antigen diet removes them, perhaps with eggs and corn too. Despite its controversy and detractors, particularly among Allergists, an IgG Food sensitivity test can be helpful with proper interpretation. It is blood derived from a pinprick, and looks at 96 foods or more.
Gluten sensitivity is a spectrum – not everyone that needs to avoid gluten necessarily has celiac disease. Bloating, weight gain, brain fog, rashes, even osteoporosis may be benefited by gluten-free eating.
For some, i.e. the milk intolerant or celiac, Category 3 is a higher priority. But for the general population, I still consider chemical-free and low glycemic the place to start.
4. ALKALINE DIET
By following the first 3 priorities, usually one can’t help but become more alkaline in the tissues. Over-acidic tissues, associated with a chemically-based, highly refined, high glycemic diet, in biological medicine at least, is a harbinger of bad things to come health-wise. Diet isn’t the only factor, but it certainly is one of the most important. Quite simply, follow the first 3 recommendations, then include the bulk of your portion intake from greens and coloured vegetables. At least 3-4 servings of vegetables per day, limiting fruit to 2 per day from the low glycemic category, is my general recommendation. Even easier than that – start by at least making a salad a day a priority. For those on the go, a high speed blender with the right mix of organic veg is a quick and simple way to get 10 servings in one drink. Like I said: “from the ground up” – it starts with organic produce.
The 4 priorities listed above, in that order, are my take on diet construction/reconstruction. The building then needs some landscaping, in the way of targeted supplementation, and once in a while needs a good de-cluttering and cleaning, using detoxification support from a CAM perspective. But healthy nutrition is the foundation (and walls, and roof).