Want to eat healthy but just don’t know what to do? There is great evidence that going Paleo may be your solution! But, wait! There is also great evidence that going Vegan may be for you. No? If that’s not it, just go gluten-free that might work too…
As a Clinical Nutritionist, Acupuncture Physician and national lecturer on Functional Medicine, I can tell you—as I tell the medical doctors, nutritionists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors, veterinarians, dentists, nurses and other health practitioners that attend my seminars– that I have personally done it ALL.
Vegan, Paleo, Vegetarian, Low-Carb, No-Carb, and everything in-between. I don’t believe in asking my patients to do something that I haven’t tried myself. And, having my own unique combination of genetics and health issues to contend with since childhood, I’ve had to search and learn just like everyone else.
After two decades of research, hundreds of patients and my own personal dietary trials, I can say with confidence that the above diet plans and food choices are just as true as they are false.
The issue is that we’ve been asking the wrong question all along. It’s not, “What food is healthy?” If you set a candy bar and a banana in front of most people and ask this question, they know (and you do too!) the answer. If you have digestive complaints, fatigue, body pain, auto-immune disease or just want to feel vital again, the real question needs to be, “What food is healthy for ME?”
You are unique. Your individual biochemistry—how your cells, organs, tissues and glands function—differs, in varying degrees, from your friend, your spouse and even your family members.
Ever wonder why a friend takes a supplement that they say solved their health issue, but when you take that same supplement or nutrient it doesn’t work? Or, does someone you know swear their vegan or Paleo diet is the best thing since ‘gluten-free sliced bread’, but when you try the same diet you either don’t get the same results or, in fact, feel worse?
This is due to your individual biochemistry. Multiple factors impact how your body functions. And, therefore, will dictate what nutrients you need and what types of food your body can digest and absorb.
One consideration is how you were brought up eating in childhood (yes, your past diets can come back to haunt you). Other factors include types of toxins you have been exposed to throughout your lifetime, the number of courses of antibiotics you’ve taken since birth, medications or supplements you take, bacteria, yeast and other infections, food allergies or sensitivities, how well you methylate (or detoxify), and the health of the microbes in your gut, which is perhaps the most influential of all.
These factors interplay with your personal genetics to create a health picture that is uniquely YOU. And, for most people struggling with a symptom or health problem, the one-size-fits-all approach no longer works.
Of course, there are some foundational principles that ALL people need to do to be healthy. Here are my top 5—if you are not already doing these, this is where to start:
1. Avoid Chemicals, Food Colorings, And Preservatives 2. Eat Vegetables 3. Watch Your Sugar Intake And Avoid ALL Sugar Substitutes 4. Eliminate Hydrogenated And Rancid Oils (Canola, Soy, Corn, Safflower Oils, Sunflower Oils) 5. Eat Healthy Fats (Such As Olive Oil, Avocado, Coconut Oil, Eggs, Grass-Fed Meats)
Other than this, the types of healthy fats, proteins, vegetables, other carbohydrates, and how much of each will vary from person to person.
So, how do you know what is right for you?
If you are struggling with a symptom or health issue, it may be time to seek an expert who can identify your personal bio-individual nutritional needs.
For my patients who deal with chronic symptoms, running specialized lab testing and nutritional analysis is crucial to getting to the bottom of things. Like anything, the types of testing needed is different for each person. Some types of testing may include food allergy/sensitivity panels, tests that look at cellular or organ function, panels that evaluate the health of your gut or overgrowth of pathogens such as yeast and bacteria, and genetic tests that check for faulty detoxification, among others.
The concept that, “One person’s food is another’s poison,” is centuries old but is tried and true. What works for some may not work for you. This goes well beyond your blood type and deeper than a well-balanced plate. If you have symptoms or are struggling with a health issue, you owe it to yourself to understand not only how your body functions but what it needs to function best.
And, I’m happy to help you enjoy breakfast again!