After reading about heart disease being a processed foods diet last week, I wanted to expound quite a bit on what exactly it means to eat a "real food" diet. Most people I talk to really struggle with transitioning from the littlest thing like how they take their coffee in the morning to really big gigantic, sometimes financially costly, and time consuming things like switching to all grass-fed beef, batch cooking, or starting an elimination diet. A lot of that struggle has to do with the "what's" and "why's" of eating a real food diet. WHAT can I put in my coffee instead of non-dairy creamer? WHY is grassfed so important? And so on... Today I'm going to shed a little light on "what" eating a real food diet looks like.
Here is what I believe are the Foundations of Nutritional Therapy: properly-prepared, nutrient-dense, whole foods. But what is that? Think of them as the basics, a guideline for the foods to include in your diet, along with the foods you should avoid, to ensure you are giving your body exactly what it needs to achieve optimal health.
Let's start out with the most basic need for every single human being... water. Water is the most important nutrient in the body, responsible for transporting nutrients, regulating body temperature, and flushing toxins, to name a few. Sip good quality filtered water throughout the day and drink only a small amount when eating to ensure you don’t disrupt digestion. If you can, avoid drinking tap water or water that has added fluoride or chlorine. The formula for daily water consumption is as follows:
your body weight (lbs.) / 2 = minimum # of oz. daily
(ex: if you weigh 120lbs. you should be consuming 60oz. of water daily)
Also, avoid drinking out of plastic containers as chemicals from the plastic can get into your water, like BPA's and estrogens. eeek! Glass or stainless steel are ideal. I drink out of a glass Mason jar with a stainless steel straw.
Proteins are the building block of the body, responsible for forming organs, nerves, muscles, and flesh. This is often the most costly transitional food to replace, but great ways to save on buying the best possible, humanely-raised animals and animal products are scouting out your local farmer's market or the Weston A. Price Foundation has links on their website.
- grass-fed beef
- pasture-raised pork
- free-range, organic chicken and eggs
- wild caught fish
- raw whole dairy
Contrary to popular belief, a fairly high percentage of good fats are required for optimal health. Fats are considered the long burning log in a fire, giving long sustainable energy while also allowing the slower absorption of sugars. Always avoid hydrogenated fats, partially-hydrogenated fats, highly processed vegetable oils, and fried foods.
- fish oil
- flax seed oil
- wheat germ
- hemp seeds
- black current seed
- evening primrose
- sunflower oil
- sesame oil
- palm oil
- coconut oil
- animal fats from pastured animals
Ok, I'm breaking this up into two parts so those of you who are currently hyperventilating because you can't wrap your brain around making such drastic changes... I want to be sensitive to you. I say that half jokingly, because the truth is that most people will really have a hard time with this. If that is you, please contact me so I can coach you through it! I would love to set up a plan for you to take baby steps! Because, if it is too stressful and overwhelming, it will be harder to stick to the changes you are trying to make.
For those of you who have already adopted this lifestyle, I'm so proud of you!! You are on your way to reversing years of dysfunction in your body, just by giving your body what it needs. Part two will have information on Carbohydrates, Vitamins, and Minerals, so stay tuned!
In good health,