Having reviewed hundreds of books and articles on medicine, health, and nutrition, and interviewed dozens of doctors and nutritionists, I’ve learned that scientific fact is a moving target. What is touted as being good for you one day can turn out to be damaging down the road. Why? Either we didn’t have the right research tools or ask the right questions at the time, or we did, but the results were ignored or suppressed. You would think that scientists, companies and Federal Agencies would put the public’s health ahead of money – right? Ah, are you a cynic too?
Yes, it’s sad, but unfortunately it’s up to us to have our own best interest at heart. We all need to be wise consumers, and base our choices on the best information we can find. It can be challenging to cut through all the marketing hype, misinformation and greenwash out there, but we have two powerful weapons: the Internet and common sense. Be skeptical, and use the both.
What’s so crazy-making is that since humans weren’t made with cookie cutters, you have to tune into your body and figure out what it needs. We have different combinations of blood types and metabolic types, and while one person might thrive on a high-carb vegan diet, another may need a low-carb, high protein regimen.
How do you figure out what you need? It’s trial and error, but hey, tuning into your body is a good thing. Whatever diet lets you maintain a good weight, feel clear-headed and bursting with energy is the diet to go for. If you’re piling on the pounds, have aches and pains, don’t sleep well and your head feels like it was stuffed with cotton, you better do some serious rethinking, because it’s only going to get worse. It’s worth the effort, because you’ll get a lot more mileage out of your body if you’re nice to it, instead of flogging it on like an exhausted mule, stuffing it full of pills instead of real food.
OK, so much for the sermon. Time for some practical information. You’ve heard of the 80:20 rule where you get most of the effect from a fraction of the effort? Here are five tips that summarize some of the best advice out there today, and should give you some great health dividends.
1. Sugar – cut it WAY, WAY down. It spikes your insulin, stresses your liver, and lowers your immunity for a start. It also leaves sludge in your body, like burning cheap gas does in your engine. Note to you with the sweet tooth – aspartame/NutraSweet/Equal is a neurotoxin, like MSG, and is even worse for you. A new Heart Association report says Americans eat an average of 22.2 teaspoons of sugar a day, half in sodas and half hidden in packaged foods. No wonder we’re becoming obese and diabetic – READ INGREDIENTS!
2. Fat – AVOID hydrogenated fats like the plague. Use mainly butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Of these, use only coconut oil for high temperature cooking.
3. Refined Carbs – AVOID THEM! They act very much like sugar in spiking your insulin levels, and are deadly in combination with fat and sugar. (Bye, bye Krispy Kreme) Go for whole grains that are metabolized more slowly and still have their fiber and vitamins. SUGGESTION: since an astonishingly large percent of people are gluten intolerant at some level, try avoiding all wheat products for a few weeks and see how you feel.
4. All those additives – AVOID THEM! If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. Think about it, preservatives are there to prevent bacteria from breaking down food on the shelf, but digestion depends on bacteria breaking down food in your gut. What’s wrong with this picture? READ INGREDIENTS!
5. Protein – avoid meat, fish, eggs and dairy from hormone and antibiotic-laden animals. They are given to creatures raised under crowded, inhumane conditions. Can’t be good for you, and certainly does not make for happy cows. Consider reducing the amount of protein to 2 to 4 ounces per serving. SUGGESTION: since many people are lactose and casein intolerant at some level, try avoiding all dairy products for a few weeks and see how you feel.
Well I could go on, but I think that’s enough to make a BIG difference in how you feel. You might also consider adding fruit and veggies to your diet for their vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Note: French fries and ketchup don’t count; dark chocolate and red wine, on the other hand, do.
To your health!