Emily Kennedy blogs about her first month at MIM, and some simple lessons to keep in mind going forward.

I’m extremely grateful for the experiences I’ve had during my first month at Markham Integrative Medicine. I’ve learned a lot and (I hope) I’ve also taught some valuable lessons in eating for optimal health, weight management and immunity.

As an evidence-based clinical nutritionist, I strive to be constantly learning and keeping abreast of the recent developments in nutritional science. However, the most valuable lesson I’ve learned this month is not about a new way to up-regulate liver enzymes or decrease production of inflammatory hormones.

It’s about keeping it simple. Doing one thing at one time. One. Just one. Recommend just one thing that is entirely achievable and sustainable for the individual in front of me.

There are brain benefits to doing one thing at a time. The natural inclination is to feel rushed when we’re trying to do too many things at once. This decreases serotonin levels and causes us to take less pleasure in the things we have managed to get done. Nobody wants yet another thing that lowers serotonin levels, especially when daylight hours are decreasing and the holiday hustle is just around the corner.

If I “take five to prioritize”, these would be the three most important changes I would ask people to accomplish first for their nutritional health. (Please pick one, the one that is most applicable and most do-able for you.)

1. Start your day with at least two cups of water, ideally with a squeeze of lemon or chlorophyll.
Give up that cup of coffee that’s dehydrating and acidifying your body with a cup of coffee and start your day with a long drink of water. Every cell in your body will thank you.

2. Shun refined carbs for “good” fats.
Most of us don’t have a good ratio of good fats to bad fats in our diet and this causes inflammation in our bodies that lead to health problems like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A lack monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats combined with an excess of sugar can make our skin and hair dry, encourage belly fat, dampen our mood, and decrease fertility and libido. So skip the crackers, chips, chocolate and granola bars, and grab a handful of nuts (or seeds) or a scoop of avocado instead!

3. Eat a small dinner.
Have a huge breakfast, complete with a couple servings of protein, veggies and a few whole grains.  Then eat moderately at lunch, maybe a soup and salad. Then taper off at dinner and just have a soup, or just have a salad. You’ll notice something amazing – you’ll lose weight! Why? Because you’re eating according to your activity level and optimizing blood sugar control. (This is especially helpful for those who often have a late lunch because of a busy work day.)

Dr. Gannage comments: In the age of evidence-based medicine, I bear in mind that there are 3 pillars a) what the research says b) what my clinical experience tells me and c) patient preference.  It is important to not devalue any one aspect.  At MIM a premium is placed, through personalized care plans, on understanding patient preferences.

Next newsletter: How to feast with no regrets. It’s gobble gobble time…stay tuned!

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