Healthy Living
Diet | Exercise | Resources


Diet

Here are general guidelines for a healthy, tasty and conscious approach to eating, focusing on natural foods. If this is a new way of eating for you, you are in for a treat. Healthy eating is delicious eating! Bon appetite!

Remember, nutritional needs will vary according to one's age, sex and level of physical activity AND specific food choices will be more or less beneficial according to one's constitution, sensitivities, and current health condition. In your acupuncture sessions I will make more specific suggestions designed for your unique situation.


The Basics:
  • Eat regularly.
  • Eat whole foods (all natural, minimally processed) with lots of variety.
  • Make fruits and vegetables at least 50 % of your diet.
  • Choose whole grains and minimally processed natural sweeteners (eg. raw honey, agave).
  • Choose local, organic or pesticide-free fruits, vegetable, grains when possible.
  • Choose local, free-range or pasture-raised meat and dairy, and wild fish when possible.
  • Minimize consumption of processed foods, refined flours, and sugar.
  • Avoid completely chemical preservatives, artificial sweeteners and trans-fats.
  • Create peaceful mealtimes, chew your food well and enjoy every bite.

Fruits and Vegetables -

Consume a colorful array of fruits and veggies, try to eat 1 serving per day from each group: dark leafy greens, yellow or orange fruits and vegetables, red fruit and vegetables, legumes (beans), citrus fruit. (Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, Walter Willett, New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001)

In addition to their vibrant looks and delicious taste, fruits and veggies:
-Protect against cancer, heart attack and stroke; can help lower blood pressure; and keep your eyes and intestines healthy.

Explore your local farmers market or CSA to experience the unbeatable flavor of fresh fruits and vegetables and support local farmers.


Grains -

Choose whole grains, like oats, brown rice, barley, rye and whole wheat. Millet, quinoa and amaranth are especially desirable as they create an alkaline (rather than acid) digestive environment. Always select whole grain cereals, breads and pasta. Avoid refined flours.

-Whole grains protect against diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and improve G.I. health.

Most Americans eat enough grains, but not enough whole grains, FDA recommends that at least half of the grains we eat be whole grains. More than half is better!


Meat, dairy, beans and other proteins -

Protein is essential. Proteins are made of amino acids that our bodies break down and then reconfigure to build skin, hair, muscles, oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in the blood, protective enzymes and antioxidants. Eat adequate amounts of protein throughout the day to stabilize blood sugar.

Lean cuts of meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, soy, legumes (dry beans), nuts, and grains (especially amaranth and quinoa) are all good sources of protein.

How much meat?

Modern livestock production takes a heavy toll on the environment and is responsible for 18 % of the world's total greenhouse gases. Choose to reduce meat consumption to 3 oz per day (a deck of cards size is 4oz) or go meat-free to make your contribution to protecting the planet against climate change. Choose free-range or preferably pasture-raised meat to support the ethical treatment of animals.

What about dairy?

Dairy is difficult for some people to tolerate. Up to 80 % of African Americans, 80 to 100 % of American Indians, and 90 to 100 % of Asian Americans are lactose intolerant. The condition is least common among people of northern European descent where dairy has been part of the ancestral diet.

If you choose to eat dairy, yoghurt, hard cheeses, cheeses made from raw milk, goat and sheep milk products are easier to digest.


Fats 

Fats are not all bad. Fats form cell membranes, help absorb vitamins A, E, D, K, and beta-carotene, and help slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream. The right fats can actually improve the cholesterol profile. Essential fatty acids in particular boost the immune system and ward of disease. Most Americans are deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids.

Fats may be: saturated (meat, dairy, coconut and palm oil), monounsaturated (olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and nuts), polyunsaturated (corn, soybean oil, whole grains, seeds, salmon and tuna) or trans (margarine, vegetable shortening, processed snack foods).

-Consume saturated fats sparingly.

-Vegetable and plant oils may be eaten liberally if they are unrefined, organic, and preferably sold in opaque containers.

-Omega-3s are polyunsaturated oils that are essential but often lacking in the American diet. They are found in flax and pumpkin seeds, walnuts and walnut oil, salmon, canola and soy bean oil. Omega-3s are an important component of cell membranes, especially in the eye, brain, sperm cells. They are raw material for some hormones, help regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of arterial walls and inflammation. They have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of heart disease, stroke and may help autoimmune problems like lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis. Carlson and Nordic Naturals are good brands if you wish to supplement fish oil.

-Avoid trans fats (aka hydrogenated oils) altogether.


Water 

Drink 6 - 8, 8 oz glasses per day.

Filtered water tastes better. The most economical choice is to invest in a filter system for your home.


*** IMPORTANT note:
These are general recommendations only and are not a substitute for dietary strategies that have been ordered by your doctor.


References

Cornell University. "Lactose Intolerance Linked To Ancestral Environment." ScienceDaily 2 June 2005. 28 April 2009 .

Crayhon, Robert. Nutrition Made Simple. New York: M. Evans and Co., 1994

Tribe, Dhyana. The 80/20 Alkaline-Acid Food Theory for Healthy Living. Auckland: Heal Thyself Charts.

Willett, Walter. Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001.

http://mypyramid.gov/index.html