Whole Foods for 2018!
In lieu of it being a new year, and after indulging the entire month of December, I have decided it would be the perfect opportunity to write a naturopathic approach to a whole foods diet.
Try to eat organic whenever it is possible. A comment I often hear from patients is that it can be cost prohibitive to eat an entirely organic diet.
The number one way to mitigate this is to eat with the seasons.
If you are buying an organic pineapple in the middle of January, then you are going to be paying exponentially more money compared to if you are buying the local apples or pears which are in season.
Furthermore, from a Chinese Medicine perspective you should eat warming, nourishing foods in the winter, while in the summer consume cooler foods. An example of this is how soups are best consumed in the winter, while smoothies tend to be more digestible in the summer.
The environmental working group has a thorough layout of which fruits and vegetables have more of a pesticide burden. This is known as ‘the clean fifteen’ and ‘the dirty dozen’.
2. Eat rainbows
By doing this you are going to get a wide range of antioxidants in your diet. 50-60% of your plate should be dedicated to fruits and vegetables!
3. Adequate Protein
The most common cause of fatigue and generalized lethargy I see in practice is that patients are not consuming an adequate amount of protein. The average person requires a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This needs to be increased based on level of physical activity to as high as 1.0-1.6 grams of protein/per kilogram of body weight.
Ideal sources of protein include grass fed organic beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, beans (chickpeas, black beans, navy beans), lentils, wild fish, nuts and seeds.
Of note - cans of beans, chickpeas, brown beans etc., are irritating to the gastrointestinal tract due to the beans containing phytic acid and other indigestible sugars. The can itself is also coated with BPA - a plastic that is an endocrine disrupter. Legumes are best cooked after they have soaked overnight and then rinsed thoroughly until the water runs clear, as this removes the phytic acid and indigestible sugars. You may find by doing this you have less gas and bloating associated with eating beans!
4. Limit Sugar
As a fun experiment - I am going to not eat sugar for the entire month of January, by doing a Whole30. Recent studies are demonstrating that sugar is inflammatory and is a contributing factor in the development of many diseases such as Alzheimer's and heart disease.
It is sneaky - found in everything from bacon to salad dressings and ketchup. Especially since it goes by many different names, this is a link describing all of the alternative names for sugar.
An alternative for recipes that call for sugar are things such as honey or maple syrup, which in addition to containing glucose, also contain essential minerals.
For new recipe ideas, I highly recommend exploring the ‘against all grain’ website, as it has recipes that are a combination of gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free while also limiting sugar.
Share with anyone who could benefit from a
diet reset for the New Year!