Take a new, refreshing look at your diet for a healthy and happy life
As someone said, “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live”. What better way could be there be to start the new year by taking charge of your own health. Nutrition is the first and most important key to health, basically you are what you eat. About 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates regarded food as a primary form of medicine; his famous dictum was “Let your food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food”. Diet has also been an integral element of Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine since their inception thousands of years ago.
Unfortunately today, the importance of diet and overall nutrition is often overlooked by conventional medicine. Further, very few physicians receive any education about nutrition during their medical training. Dr Carolyn Dean, a nutritional medicine doctor from the United States says that “doctors generally do not learn about nutrition or nutrient supplementation in medical school because they are studying the disease, not wellness”. To make things worse, pharmaceutical companies are only interested in patentable drugs and not natural therapies that provide little profit.
Thus sadly, the average doctor today, despite having taken the Hippocratic oath, still rejects the Hippocrates dictum. Mainstream medicine’s common advice to us is often that nutrients have no inherent power to treat or prevent disease, and that we don’t need to make a special effort to obtain these substances for our bodies. minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Would it not be but natural that these elements could heal the body as well? Complementary or nutritional medicine takes this point precisely into consideration.
The focus in nutritional medicine is always on eating whole, unprocessed food (nothing that comes out of a packet), while avoiding grains and sugars. This approach pretty much keeps many chronic degenerative diseases at bay. Let us now take a look at how a healthy food pyramid should look like. Consumption of a diet primarily high in healthy fats like coconuts, avocados, olive oil, ghee and raw nuts like almonds (ideally between 50-75% percent in your diet) and raw, organic vegetables is advised. This followed by consumption of good proteins such as grass-fed, organic meats and organic pastured eggs. The current recommendation is one gram of protein for every kilogram of lean body mass, increasing it by 25% if you are pregnant or training for athletic events.
This translates out to about 49- 70 grams of protein a day for most people. Eating plenty of non starchy vegetables and consuming fruit in moderation because they contain fructose (sugar), which should be kept below 25 grams a day, including 15 grams from whole fruit. Finally, reduce or eliminate grains from your diet to help lower your insulin and for you to better achieve optimal health and well being.
In a nutshell, here are eight points to remember
- Eliminate all sugars including fruit juices, high fructose corn syrup and honey.
- Introduce healthy fats such as butter, ghee, coconut fat.
- Eliminate gluten. This includes breads, sooji, cereal and pasta. Wheat roti can be replaced with coconut flour, almond meal or with millets such as bajra, jowar.
- Eliminate any food additives such as colourings, preservatives, flavourings.
- Eliminate legumes such as peanut, beans and lentils. If you must have lentils, soak, sprout (or ferment) and then cook them.
- Eliminate ingestion of pesticides, switch to organic fruits and vegetables.
- Remove all processed homogenized pasteurised dairy. High fat items can be pasteurized, but they should be grass-fed. Full fat, raw, whole dairy from grass-fed cows is okay for most people.
- Switch to grass fed meat and wild caught seafood.