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Eating for Health

heart-healthy-foods-sqFew things could possibly be more confusing than dietary recommendations. So much conflicting information abounds. When I was 11 years old, my dad suffered a heart attack that threw my family into a tail spin. Thankfully he survived but there were huge changes at our dinner table. I remember switching from butter to margarine and restricting my egg consumption to only 2 per week. I was devastated because I loved eggs on toast slathered with butter.

In 1980, cutting butter and eggs out of your diet was considered a healthy choice as these products were thought to contribute to coronary artery disease. In place of butter we ate margarine. Instead of eggs I ate breakfast cereal. Today eggs are considered one of the most nutritious food substances available while hydrogenated oil found in margarine is thought to cause heart disease.

45 years later and dietary confusion still exists. Recommendations seem to change every year. Experts cannot agree on whether you should eat vegan, vegetarian, paleo, carnivore or a mixture of all. The food pyramid tells us to eat grains as a staple while other health authorities inform us we should eat grains very sparingly. We even have climatologists weighing in on the topic encouraging us to eat less meat to save the planet.

Just to add to your confusion, I am going to give you my own professional opinion. It’s important to understand the recommendations I am making are based on a wellness plan and not designed to treat any symptoms, conditions or diseases you may be dealing with. I will not be telling you exactly what to eat. The guidelines I am proposing are not a diet or weight loss program. That is outside the scope of my practice. If you are looking for weight loss recommendations I would encourage you consult a nutritionist.

Human beings have specific genetic requirements with regards to the foods they should be consuming. All living creatures have developed diets that are specific to each creature and to their needs and genetic make-up. As an example, think of a lion and gazelle living in the wilds of Africa. We would not see the gazelle feeding on meat and we would not see the lion eating grasses. A lion is a carnivore, feeding on the gazelle and other grass eaters of the African plains. If the lion began eating grass it would eventually make him sick, cause disease and kill the lion. Same goes with a gazelle trying to digest meat. These are incompatible with the genetic requirements of each animal.

Likewise we see other herbivores like koalas eating a very specific diet of mostly eucalyptus leaves found high in the trees. If the koala started eating plants it’s unaccustomed to, it would eventually become ill and die. The specific needs of a koala have developed over millennia. Their genetic requirements for healthy cellular function had evolved with a very specific diet of eucalypt leaves. Human beings are exactly the same. We developed over time as omnivores, consuming foods that we either hunted or gathered. This has been going on since the dawn of man.

If we consume the foods our genes require for proper function and all our other requirements to be healthy are met (adequate exercise, minimising stress, eliminating toxicity, positive self-talk and remaining subluxation free), the natural result will be awesome health. Sickness and disease are not our natural state. We should be experiencing and abundance of health and vitality by default.

What I am proposing is quite simple; the closer our diet is to nature the better we will perform physically, mentally and emotionally

I. Eat fresh. Shop the perimeters of the grocery. This is where the perishable, unprocessed foods predominate.
II. Eat as unprocessed as possible. Eating a potato is going to be better for you than eating potato chips. Consuming vegetables, fruits and meats in as natural state as possible will provide more nutrient and reduce additives that our body has a difficult time processing.
III. Avoid or reduce processed white flower, sugar and milk. All of these substances have little nutritional value and promotes inflammation in the body which causes dysfunction and disease.
IV. Eat raw. Cooking of foods diminishes their nutritional value. Vital enzymes in foods will be destroyed when we cook. Obviously some foods must be cooked but making raw foods like a salad or fruit part of your meal will provide greater nutritional value.
V. Eat colourfully. A variety of colours in your food selection will provide a spectrum of nutritional content.
VI. Eat as organic as possible. It is important to minimise the chemical load on our body to reduce toxic stress upon our system.
VII. The majority of our food consumption should be in the form of fruits and vegetables. Roughly 65% of our diet should be fresh, preferably organic produce. About 30% of our diet should be clean sources of protein including meat, eggs, poultry and fish. The other 5% would consist of nuts and legumes.
VIII. Break the rules!!! Give yourself some leeway to cheat. It’s gonna happen so do not beat yourself up. Think of your diet like a scale and every positive step you take will push the balance towards a healthier, more vital you.

I realise eating meat is controversial for some. If the dietary recommendations are confusing, the pinnacle of that confusion can be found around the consumption of animal products. A great deal of conflicting data and philosophies exist about the value of meat in a healthy diet. Unfortunately some of the more recent science attacking meat consumption has become political and questionable. There are forces at work with the goal of greatly restricting meat in our diets under the guise of controlling climate change. Cow farts are said to be increasing greenhouse gasses that are warming the planet.

Politics aside, I believe that meat is an important component of a healthy diet. The human genome has developed over hundreds of thousands of years with meat being a staple in our hunting and gathering past. Some people seem to do better without meat, while others suffer. I appreciate there can be variations between people. Some make an ethical, religious or philosophical decision to exclude meat from their diets and I take no issue with this. Regardless of whether you choose to eat meat or not, the above eating guidelines will go a long way towards maximising your health potential, increasing your vitality and innate capacity to be healthy.

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Turning our community on to the wonders of chiropractic and providing positive lifestyle choices for our chiropractic family to enhance their health and life.


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