Thursday, April 5, 2012

7 Steps to Healing with Food



70% of health problems can be cleared up with nutrition and lifestyle choices.  When the body is properly supported, the vitality can once again regulate the self healing ability of the body and the body will return to a state of health on its own.  You are what you eat and do.  Plain and simple.  


So these steps will give you enough of an idea of how to evolve to a state of wellness by changing the way you eat.  No supplements needed, just a good old dose of common sense:  If you don't know what it is, don't eat it.  


Step 1: Eat Real Food (Local, Seasonal and Organic)
Eat real food in its unprocessed state.  Real food is meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, butter and non processed dairy, ocean fish, nuts and seeds and some whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat, teff, brown rice, wild rice, spelt, rye and steel cut oats.  Our bodies are not designed to eat 'gogurts', canola oil, margarine, Bear Paws, gold fish crackers, Baby Mum Mums or textured vegetable protein.  If it didn't walk on land, swim in the ocean, grow in the ground or on a tree, or fly in the air it isn't food.  If you live in Huron-Perth County you are in luck!  We are blessed with a plethora of local resources for real food.  For an extensive list and shopping guide look under the Real Food Resources tab. 


Step 2:  Reduce Glycemic Index
The increased incidence of heart disease, diabetes and obesity is connected to our intake of processed vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates.  Refine carbohydrates have a high glycemic index.  The glycemic index of a food refers to the rate at which a food turns to sugar when it is eaten.  Refining and processing a food gives it a higher glycemic index.  
These foods are high glycemic index:  Corn, wheat/flour, whole grain processed foods (bread, granola bars), refined grain products like ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, sugar of all kinds even natural sweetners like honey and maple syrup, fruit and fruit juices.  A note on fruit:  most fruit have a high/moderately high glycemic index, so don't overdo it on fruit, vegetables are most important. Blueberries and other berries have the lowest glycemic index.


Low glycemic foods:  all vegetables except potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, beets, legumes, grains in their whole kernel state, the best being quinoa, oat groats, buckwheat, steel cut oats and pot barley.


To keep your blood sugar stable be sure to include the following in each meal:  High water content vegetables (greens, cucumber, celery, cabbage etc), healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, butter, nuts and seeds and avocado and healthy protein like eggs, fish, meat or legumes.


Step 3:  Prepare the Feast
Make food preparation a priority.  I would consider it one of the most important tasks in your household.  Yes it takes time.  A lot of time actually.  If health is a priority for you and your family, someone in the household will have to take the time to prepare wholesome real food.  To be healthy, we cannot rely on ready-to-eat food.  We must prepare food for ourselves and our families.


Step 4:  Drink Pure Water
The only beverage we need is water.  For variety include herbal tea, green tea, or a twist with lemon or lime.  Avoid juice.  Consider the Santevia system, or a reverse osmosis unit to filter your water.  See related articles: Why you should worry about your drinking water


Step 5:  Include raw foods in your diet
There are nutrients and enzymes in raw foods essential for good health.  Cooking destroys these nutrients or makes less absorbed by the body.  If you cannot tolerate raw vegetables lightly steaming them if also an option.  Grains and legumes should not be eaten raw.  


Step 6:  Soak grains before use
This could be a post all on its own, and I will be doing that eventually.  The short answer is that grains contain phytic acids.  Phytic acid blocks proper digestion of grain and inhibits absorption of minerals.  Soaking the grains in water for a few hours before cooking breaks down phytic acid.  Sprouting grains and traditional sourdough also breaks down phytic acids.  Don't worry if this confuses you - I will be posting more on this topic.  


Step 7:  Avoid Processed Foods, Vegetable Oils, GMOs 
Any food that has been altered from its original state or had chemicals added to it is a processed food.  Regardless of label claims, processed foods are not healthy.  Avoid ready to eat and pre packaged foods, foods with additives and preservatives, food colouring, aspartame and nutrasweet.  A good rule of thumb:  If you read a label and don't know what an ingredient is, you should not be eating it.  
Vegetable oils include canola oil, margarine, soybean and shortening.  These oils are heat damaged and too high in omega 6 fats.  Use extra virgin olive oil, organic butter, and extra virgin coconut oil.  
Genetically modified foods (GMOs) have been allowed into our food system without passing safety studies.  Research does show negative effects of GM foods on human health.  This is another topic all on its own but for more information check out: www.responsibletechnology.org and download the lecture "Don't Put That in Your Mouth".  The most common GM foods are corn, soy, canola and cottonseed.


Start slowly choosing one thing to focus on and make it a new habit.  Then move on to the next.  Soon these steps will become a way of life.  


Dr. Kate





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