A Wholistic Health Approach to Your Diet
We are what we eat! The saying should also include “and what we drink too.” It’s a wonder I don’t look like a convenience store burrito with extra cheese, given how many of those late-night snacks I had in my “BJ” (“before Jesus”) days! Thank God He can restore not only souls but bodies as well! Before I came to learn the truth about wellness, my diet was horrible. I was a walking example that just because you are thin doesn’t mean you have a healthy diet or a healthy body. In some ways, I think I am still paying for that unhealthy lifestyle yet today.
As I have talked about in other blogs, I have been on a journey to uncover what the root cause of a high blood platelet count has been. After a variety of specialty tests, and in-depth testing, we have uncovered one of the major (and I say one of, because there could be more) roots, and it is inflammation in the gut. A strong reaction to gluten and wheat have been confirmed, leading to a leaky gut specifically, and inflammation in the gut in general. This has brought me to a place of reminding myself to practice what I preach – that’s how strongly I believe in what I am about to share with you. And what foods to eat are a huge factor. Not just because it’s my digestive health that needs restoring, but because 70% of our immune system is in our gut. If you’ve read my book “Are You Being Deceived About True Wellness” you would know that I feel very strongly that our digestive system is one of the 4 core organs or systems of our body that has a tremendous influence on the level of our overall wholistic health – mental, emotional & physical, and possibly even our spiritual health. All organs and systems of our body work in conjunction with the others. No organ or system of the body works independently apart from all the others, including our digestive system. And the foods we eat, or don’t eat plays a huge part in our wholistic health as well.
A Wholistic Health Paradigm to Our Diet
If you are unhappy with the direction your health, or lack of it, is going, may I suggest that you start by giving thought to making a paradigm shift in how to determine what foods to eat. We are constantly being told what foods to eat and not to eat—especially by our government, as well as television ads, magazine articles, colleagues, friends, family, social media, the latest weight loss fad, and anyone else who thinks they know. To top it off, it seems like this information changes every couple of years “eat this, no don’t eat that”—aaarrgghh! There are so many “diets” and opinions out there our heads can spin like a crazy top. Maddening!
The Old Way to Health
Take a moment and reflect on the current ‘paradigm’ of what you’ve been told healthy eating is and ask yourself, how has that been working for you? I recognize some may say “fine.” And that’s okay—but I’m talking to those of you who are tired of the up and down rollercoaster of dieting, while at the same time continuing to see your health decline. I think this latter group outnumbers those who say their eating is “fine.”
Here is the first key to a new paradigm: it’s not about the calories! I know, I know—that’s what we’ve always been taught. In fact, it shouldn’t even be about how many pounds we’ve lost either. Our eye is almost always on the wrong ball when it comes to what foods to eat. We determine what foods to eat based on how much weight we think we want or should lose. It’s also not about the fat grams, carbohydrates, proteins, or salt, or even portion sizes, or the number of “points.” Don’t get me wrong; these are important and our bodies need all of these in the right form. But these should not be our measuring stick as to the foods we choose to eat. Again, let me ask how has that been working for us? It hasn’t! Just look around you—look at your co-workers, the schools (scary), your church family, your own family, your fellow shoppers—the grocery store, a discount department store (really scary!), the person sitting in the car next to you munching on a processed sandwich they just picked up from the fast food drive-through window that was listed as “low calorie” on the menu board. It’s not working for us. As a society, we are sicker and more overweight than ever before. Okay, okay: I’ll get off my soapbox (for the moment!) and tell you what it is about.
The Better Way Towards Wholistic Health
So what is it about? It’s about the right nutrients. We should not be eating to be full; rather, we should eat to be nourished. As much as we eat, and as overweight as many people are, we are still a very malnourished society. This leads to the chronic degenerative diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, digestive problems, depression, thyroid issues, obesity, auto-immune diseases, and yes, even (and especially) cancer. The list goes on and on.
A better measuring stick to determine which foods to avoid and which to eat is whether those foods are inflammatory or non-inflammatory foods. Inflammation is at the root of all of chronic and degenerative diseases, including obesity. Doesn’t it stand to reason, then, that we should avoid foods that cause inflammation in the body? Here is what I call the “short list” of inflammatory foods (also known as “acidic pH” foods) and the short list of non-inflammatory foods (also known as “alkalizing pH” foods):
- Fast Food
- Fried Foods
- PACKAGED and PROCESSED foods
- Animal Products
These last 2 are real foods, and can be eaten, but I will explain in a minute the safe way to eat these foods. The first 4 however, aren’t even real foods; they are “food-like substances.” These foods have NO nutritional value to them, and in fact, they are literally killing us. They are what is known as “dead foods” – there is no life in them. The enzymes in the foods, that our bodies need, are rendered useless once they have been processed and manufactured. That is the real reason we should avoid these foods, not because they put weight on us, or keep us from losing weight. But because these food-like substances are adding no value to our bodies, and worse, they are killing us!
These inflammatory foods also have a tremendous adverse effect on our mental/emotional health as well. Lack of energy certainly effects our motivation to fulfill our purpose, our mental clarity at work, even our mood and feelings of self-worth. They also adversely affect brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, that regulate our mood, that can influence anxiety and depression levels, our sleep cycle, our appetite regulators – and these are just the tip of the iceberg. There is also what is now known as the “gut/brain connection.” If there is inflammation in the gut, there is inflammation in the brain. Poor diet, and poor health affect all areas of our wholistic health.
In regards to the last 2 inflammatory foods: If you are going to consume animal products and/or grains, then it is imperative to your health that as much as reasonably possible, make sure they are organic, grass-fed, free range, non-GMO, free of growth hormones etc. Unfortunately, it’s when we consume these foods in their modified, conventional state that causes health problems – like gluten and wheat sensitivities, hormone imbalances etc. But the main reason these are listed as “Inflammatory Foods” is because of simple science – in general, they have a acidic pH. And acidic = inflammatory.
- Nuts & Seeds
- Good Fats (e.g., avocados, flax seed, olive oil, coconut oil – LOVE my coconut oil!)
These foods are healthy and healing to the body. You can have 4,000 calories of vegetables if you want, and you will not get fat. And truthfully, the same goes for the good fats—well okay, maybe not 4,000 calories of coconut oil, but these good fats will not “make you fat!” They give us energy, and in truth, give us our health and our life back.
If you want to start reversing the decline in your health, and the symptoms that go along with it, I suggest that you use this list as your new filter when trying to determine if a food is healing or killing you. There are many wonderful recipes out there using the short list of non-inflammatory foods. Look up “raw food” recipes or “alkalizing foods” or even non-inflammatory foods and recipes. You will be amazed at what you can do with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and the good fats. And they truly are delicious! And before you say “this takes too much time” or “I can’t afford to eat real food,” and I say “you can’t afford not to.” I encourage you, to reprioritize your time and/or your budget. It literally can mean life or death to you. For now, I am just asking you to trust me and give this new paradigm a try.
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