Spoiler alert: there is no one-size-fits-all perfect diet. Not for anyone. And your own “perfect” diet changes with the seasons and as you change over time. While 75-80% of people will get better with some version of the following Best Food Practices alone, another 10% will need a diet that addresses their specific imbalances—targeted nutrition plans like SCD, low FODMAP, Anti-inflammatory, Autoimmune-Paleo, or Low Histamine. In my practice I have seen that the remaining 10-15% will require more testing and care than dietary tools alone—people with autoimmune conditions, fungal overgrowth, H-Pylori, mold toxicity, SIBO, Lyme disease and its co-infections, fructose malabsorption, parasites, or other bacterial or viral infections. In my experience what most disease states have in common is inflammation and some form of gut dysbiosis (an imbalance or infection in the gut, causing or preceded by an imbalance in the microbiome, which affects digestion, nutrient absorption, hormone levels, serotonin levels and mood, food sensitivities “leaky gut”, auto-immunity, and the physiology of the gut lining itself). Underlying conditions and/or infections impact everything from body temperature and fat storage to hunger levels and cravings. And these issues all make weight loss and healthy eating more complicated. Digestive issues and symptoms like brain fog and fatigue make weight loss and healthy eating more challenging. For most people, however, chronic symptoms start to disappear with the application of these simple practices.
For those of you who want a personalized plan that will target your specific health needs, or for those of you ready to go deeper into your healing, contact me at: www.healthwithinreachcoaching.com for more program information. Or visit me at Savor The Holidays 10-day Reset to get started.
9 Best Food Practices:
- 1. EAT CONSCIOUSLY—Not only is unconscious eating stressful for your digestion, but when you sit quietly and chew your food thoroughly and are grateful you get full quicker and you absorb the nutrients better. (As a culture living in overconsumption we have gotten so focused on weight loss that we have forgotten that the purpose of eating is to digest and absorb nutrients to feed the cells of our bodies so that they can thrive!)
- 2. EAT CLEAN—whole, organic, non-gmo, real food—That includes grassfed, free-range, organic meats and dairy, if you eat meat or dairy. You don’t want to be introducing more toxins into your body whenever possible. (Toxins add to the stress load.)
- 3. EAT MOSTLY PLANTS—Living foods like vegetables and fruits should be the staples of your diet. These foods are where we get the most nutrient-dense building blocks for health. (We are still discovering new phytonutrients, etc. that plants give us. They are information for our DNA!)
- 4. EAT GOOD FATS—Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, grass fed butter and ghee, plant fats like those found in avocados, raw nuts and seeds . . . (We have been lied to about fats in general and saturated fats in particular. But good fats are essential to the function of every cell is your body!)
- 5. HYDRATE—Drink water; half your weight in ounces every day. Tricks: start your day with 16-20 oz of room temperature water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Drink the lion’s share of your water between meals, not during. Get all your water in before 7:00pm so that a full bladder doesn’t interrupt your sleep. (Our bodies are between 65 and 75% water. Every chemical reaction in your body requires water, including waste management!)
- 6. Protect and feed your gut with FERMENTED FOODS—things like raw cultured cow or sheep or goat’s milk, fermented vegetables, and fermented coconut products. Another great source of good bacteria is in your garden, so consider growing your own produce! Go outside—sunlight and fresh air also feed your whole body! (The health of your microbiota is directly related to overall health, mood, and longevity.)
- 7. ELIMINATE PROCESSED AND FAKE SUGARS—Cut out high fructose corn syrup, sodas, and diet drinks altogether. Instead of fruit juices, eat real fruit. Eliminate processed sugars and grains. (There are thousands of studies linking sugar to all of our top 10 disease conditions.)
- 8. DON’T EAT FAKE FOOD—like: processed meats, grains, hydrogenated and trans fats, highly processed and nonfat dairy products. (These false foods will increase your risk of alzheimer’s and cancer, put you at a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, etc.)
- 9. MODERATION—This merits a category all to itself. People don’t like to hear this one, but it’s got to be said: the body works much better when we don’t overdo it. (That includes exercise, food, supplements, even water!) The body can process out the toxins in our food, and even deal with low-level food intolerances, if we consume trigger foods in small portions. Eat to satisfaction, but not to the point of bloatedness or a “food coma”—both being signs of digestive distress. Make friends with your hunger. We have forgotten the pleasure of eating when we are truly hungry and not just bored or “peck-ish.” Hunger makes food taste better. Hunger also allows your body to tell you what it needs—unless you are ill your body will crave what it needs.