No one needs three coffees a day; no one needs a muffin: they’re just sugar and artificial ways of lifting our energy, which our body could be doing for itself, helping itself out in the process. If you’ve just finished our Digestive Strength Training challenge, you’re already aware that yourbody responds to new food almost immediately, so you can actually effect improvements in health within 2-3days of changing your diet
But what’s next and how to keep going, albeit a little less stringently? Here are five steps to transitioning to real food:
- Removing the stressors and strengthening the defenses. When you do, you’ll find the things you wanted to gorge on no longer grab you.
- Reseeding after intervening our sugar – sugar is our bad bug feeder and we’ve probably killed off a lot, so helping out the good bugs in there can help secure the battle for balance.
- Continuing attention to food selection – your macronutrient balance, variety, your water choice and removing
- Continuing attention to food preparation – raw, culturing, preparing and avoiding
- Transitioning steps – bad, good, better, best decisions
1. Removing the stressors and strengthening the defenses
It would seem we really do know what to eat; our problem is rather we’ve forgotten how. We rush to eat, eat on the run and stress our way through our day to get more food in and hope blissful sleep with energize us to do it all again the next day. But digestion turns off in all these occasions; so taking time is your number one transitioning goal. It needn’t be meditation before each mouthful, or copious amounts of hours cooking and preparing and serving up a ten-course degustation; the time you take is for you and that’s whatever you can.
- Removing the stressors – after we prioritize everything we need first and foremost on our plate, full of vegetables, good fats and high quality proteins at each meal, there’s little left for the go tos we used to fill up on. When did being full start constituting a healthy meal by the way?!
- Strengthening the defenses – this is the next or at the same time, step. It starts with digestive strengthening. A lot of us share similar symptoms like rushing to eat and low stomach acid or poor fat digestion function from a low fat diet. But each of us is as different on the inside as out. There are going to be foods you reintroduce you can tolerate, some you can’t and others you can eat but maybe shouldn’t or should limit. It’s about listening to your body, which is always talking (as symptoms); we’ve just got to learn to listen.
- There’s no one size fits all ‘healthy’ diet and if you find someone saying they ‘know’ what specific diet is best, they’re either misguided, selling something, or likely both.
o There are short-term fixes like ACV for digestion of protein or a healthy fats dessert to aid hypoglycemia early morning waking. But you should now personalize your nutritional needs and learn to become your own best health coach.
o The pulse and bowel transit time tests can continue your digestion optimization, which is something you always work on, not just seasonally
Sugar, and its processed cousins, are our bad bug feeders. If you’ve just come off our Digestive Strength Training Challenge, you’ve probably killed off a lot. So transitioning should also be about helping out the good bugs in your gut to help secure the battle for balance. Also, if the majority of your foods are cooked, which especially happens in winter, include a lacto-fermented (enzyme-enhanced) or cultured/pickled side dish to help aid digestion.
- Re-inoculating with good bugs needs to be as diligent: as you weed you need to seed. The type of probiotic, whether it is a food source or a strong culture in powder or capsule form, will depend on severity of gut microbial over growth.
- Maintain healthy gut bugs by making whey (from raw milk) and then lacto-fermenting vegetables (like sauerkraut). Alternatively you can buy them, but they’re incredibly inexpensive to make, and expensive to buy!
3. Food selection:
- Incorporate a proper balance of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in your diet.
o 40% Carbohydrates – The majority of the carbohydrates should be low glycemic vegetables that are raw or lightly cooked. Limit fresh, whole fruits (not juice) to one a day. Occasionally, include starchy carbs but try to keep the calorie intake below 15%, especially if weight is an issue. Select organic, local and seasonal products whenever possible.
o 30% Fats – Good fat sources include: raw, soaked nuts and seeds, raw, cold-pressed oils from nuts and seeds (flax, sesame, etc…), cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil, saturated fats from healthy animals and coconut oil. Avoid hydrogenated fats, partially hydrogenated fats, highly processed vegetable oils and fried foods
o 30% Proteins – Good protein sources include: grass-fed beef, wild meats, organic, free-range poultry, whole, raw, or cultured dairy products, organic lamb, organic, free-range eggs, and low-toxicity seafood. Avoid soy, pasteurized, homogenized milk and farmed seafood
o Guidelines & Bio individuality – keep in mind that these are broad guidelines. Based on the bio individuality of each person adjustments may need to be made. Some people require less carbohydrate and more fat or protein in their diet.
- Think variety. Think locally. Think seasonally.
- Research your water supply and select a good source and/or filtering system.
- Avoid refined and denatured foods.
- Plan meals so that 30 – 50% of the foods are raw – dairy, such as raw milk, cheese, or yogurt, meats, such as sushi, steak tartare, carpaccio, or marinated fish, raw fruits and vegetables (salads), eggs from free-range, organic poultry, raw honey and fish eggs.
- If the majority of your foods are cooked, include a lacto-fermented (enzyme-enhanced) or cultured/pickled side dish to help aid digestion.
- Soak, sprout, ferment, or naturally leaven all seeds, nuts, and grains (if tolerated).
- Avoid the microwave – it alters the elemental food substances, causing digestive disorders and the chemical alterations to the food cause lymphatic malfunctions. And the microwave significantly reduces the nutritional value of food. Also avoid Teflon and aluminum cookware.
5. Transitioning steps: bad, good, better, best
While it’s so encouraging to see people consciously making better food choices, meal planning, grocery shopping, or even perusing your local farmer’s markets to know which foods are the “best” options is pretty daunting.
o Start by making family favorites in a healthy manner.
o Increase good fats by adding them to foods (such as butter on vegetables). And focus on their digestion through the inclusion of things like beets at each meal.
o Add more variety after you get used to healthier food ingredients.
o Increase the ratio of raw foods in your diet.
o Change gradually.
Here are some baby step options to make that transition smooth and easy. If you are starting at the beginning, just throwing out the bad, and moving to “good” is a huge step! Once you have been at “good” for a while, you can move to “better,” and then to “best” of course.
The Bad: Margarine
Good: Organic Butter
Better: Grass-fed Butter (like Kerrygold brand), watch for added salt as it’s another layer of processing. Add your own
Best: Homemade Butter, made from raw cream from grass-fed cows, which you can buy from farmers’ markets
The Bad: Pasteurized Skim Milk
Good: Organic Whole Milk
Better: Pasteurized, Non-Homogenized Whole Milk
Best: Raw Milk from grass-fed cows (legal in some states, sold as ‘bath’ or ‘jersey’ milk in Sydney)
The Bad: Commercial Ground Beef
Good: No Hormones or Antibiotics Added Beef
Better: Organic Beef
Best: Beef from Grass-fed and finished Cows
The Bad: Commercial Chickens
Good: No Hormones or Antibiotics Added chicken
Better: Organic, Free-Range, No Antibiotics or Hormones Added
Best: Pastured Chickens (preferably from farmers you know and trust!)
The Bad: Velveeta (USA) or Coon (AUS) (or any other processed cheese)
Good: Natural Cheese with no added ingredients
Better: Organic Cheese
Best: Raw Cheese made from Grass-fed and finished Cows
The Bad: Store-bought Eggs
Good: Cage-Free, No Antibiotics or Hormones Added
Better: Organic, Free-Range Eggs
Best: Eggs from Pastured Chickens
The Bad: White Sugar
Good: Organic Raw Sugar
Better: Coconut Sugar
Best: Raw Honey, Grade B Maple Syrup – both used sparingly!
For more information, look out for eBook Eating well on the Run. Coming soon.