Learning about nutrition is such a massive undertaking; as is the case with anything having to do with the human body. It’s a delicate subject because it ties directly into people’s every day lives in so many way. Our culture, upbringing, personal preferences, social lives and traditions all influence what we eat. The field of nutrition is humongous, yet has many fine details that must be taken into consideration. With such complexities, how is one to ever weed through all the information out there and apply it to everyday life?
Some people like the motivation and “push” of doing a drastic life overhaul. Embarking on a mission to get healthy once and for all makes them feel like they can conquer the world. While this method of change can work, I think that most people do better if they focus on one or two baby steps at a time.
If you’re thinking of changing your diet or embarking on a health goal here are my top three baby steps (in order) for you to implement!
1. Eat real, whole foods. Eat things that come out of the ground or from the earth- not from a factory or a box or can. Don’t be fooled by “motified food-like products” that claim to be healthy. I don’t care how much cholesterol that box of Cheerios claims to not have- Cheerios are NOT healthy.
Please notice that this first step does not wed you to one diet. I’m not asking you to cut things out here, but telling you what to eat. No need to go paleo or vegan here- whole grains* and meat are still whole foods and are healthier than anything you could get out of a box or can.
*By “whole grains” I mean the actual grains- NOT a processed food that is labeled “whole grain”. Whole grain bread and whole wheat pasta does not fit into this category. Rice or oats, however, would.
2. Consider cutting out potential gut irritants and allergenic foods, especially if you have any chronic health problems. This is highly individual, but here are a few examples. Remember, with food sensitivities I think it’s best to do appropriate testing rather than rely solely on symptoms.
Neurological problems? Consider cutting out gluten, aspartame and MSG.
Gut problems? Consider gluten, dairy, legumes, grains and possibly FODMAPS.
Autoimmune disease? Consider cutting out gluten, soy, corn and possibly dairy.
Diabetes? Cut out all sources of sugar (even if they are low glycemic) and grains.
3. Next, choose organic and locally grown produce whenever you are able. Start with the “dirty dozen” and go from there. If you choose to eat meat or animal products consider finding a farm in your area that sells grass-fed meats and pastured eggs. If you are local to Tempe, AZ I highly recommend the Meat Shop in Phoenix.
If you or somebody you know is interested in working with a functional medicine doctor please call my office at (919) 238-4094 and see if we are the right fit for you. Infinity Holistic Healthcare is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, part of the Raleigh-Durham “triangle” area.