This Matters More Than You Think...

May 23, 2020

This Matters More Than You Think...

Hi there!

When asked, most people think they eat a "pretty clean diet", but what does that mean? Due to many factors beyond our awareness, I think that we've lost track of what constitutes a clean diet in America. You may be surprised to learn that much of the “normal” food options available today do not remotely resemble the food your grandparents grew up eating.

Roughly 70 plus years ago, there were no fast food restaurants, plastic bags or processed foods. In the 1950s, people still sat at the dinner table as a family and TV dinners were just being introduced as a novelty. Fast forward to 2020 and we find every food under the sun available either frozen, in a package, or ready to eat out of a box.

The impact of our convenient, ready-to-eat diet can be seen in our society in the form of obesity, chronic illness, and auto-immune conditions. And still Americans think their diet is "pretty good". My question is: “As compared to what?” As compared to your grandparents' diet when they were growing up or as compared to your work colleague who needs to lose 100 lbs?

Somewhere along the line we've lost perspective and forgotten what real foods look and taste like. We have forgotten that we were made to eat real food and not manufactured food. We forgotten that “food-like substances” like fast foods and added flavoring are not found in nature, but instead are manufactured in a facility by human hands.

Today, I'd like to share with you 14 tips on how to get back to eating a diet rich in whole foods, which would help you discover how to calm inflammation and decrease your risk of chronic illness.

  1. Eat a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables. Aim for choosing plant foods at each meal, with 2/3 to ¾ of your plate coming from plant sources.
  2. Choose organic produce. Go to  www.ewg.org  to download their “Dirty Dozen and Clean 15” handout which specifies the best foods to buy organically grown.
  3. Avoid processed foods. Processed foods come in a package with a list of ingredients. If you must choose a package, be sure you avoid refined carbs, oils and sugar / sweeteners. Being able to recognize the ingredients in a label and being able to trace them to a natural source is a good start.
  4. Avoid processed fats / oils. Canola, corn, soybean, safflower, and sunflower oils are chemically processed oils. These are sometimes also chemically altered and harmful to the body. Instead, choose oils that are pressed, such as olive or avocado oils.
  5. Avoid sugar and its derivatives. Sugar is inflammatory to the cells and it has been linked to chronic conditions, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity, and more. Sugar is found under many names on a label: High fructose corn syrup, rice syrup, pure cane sugar, agave syrup, etc.
  6. Stop eating refined carbohydrates. Refined carbs behave like sugar in your bloodstream and can contribute to inflammation and blood sugar swings. Choose complex carbs instead: gluten-free oats, brown rice, quinoa, legumes, and starchy vegetables.
  7. Limit alcohol intake. The latest studies show that there is no benefit to drinking alcohol. Alcohol has been linked to cancer, inflammation, and chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  8. Increase the number of vegetables in your diet. How many vegetables per day do you currently eat? The benefit of eating vegetables on a daily basis is greater than anything else you do to change your eating habits. Vegetables are full of phytochemicals and nutrients that change your gut bacteria and make you less susceptible to chronic illness.
  9. Avoid gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, oats, and rye. Some people avoid gluten because they have celiac disease and others avoid it because they're sensitive to it. Studies have shown that all of us have a gluten sensitivity. It affects our gut lining and puts us at risk for “leaky gut” or “intestinal permeability”. This in turn, puts us at risk for autoimmunity. If you're struggling with food sensitivities, joint pain, abdominal issues, brain fog, or autoimmunity, this is a good place to start your diet overhaul. It will change your life.
  10. Avoid dairy. Dairy products are inflammatory to some people. If you feel bloated or get diarrhea or constipation from dairy products, try removing them from your diet for a week or two. You will quickly see how these products affect your health if you are indeed intolerant to them.
  11. Eat nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are naturally high in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. They're a great option for a healthy between-meals snack and they provide satiety, the feeling of satisfaction and fullness. Soaking nuts and seeds is recommended to decrease their amount of phytic acid, which may interfere with nutrient absorption. Additionally, soaking nuts improves their nutritional value.
  12. Eat protein from sustainable sources. If you choose to eat animal protein, eat grass-fed beef, pastured organically-fed poultry, and wild-caught fish. If you choose to eat tofu or miso, find an organic non-gmo source. Soak all legumes and drain the water.
  13. Stay hydrated. Drinking water helps the body process and excrete toxins. Our bodies are 70% water, therefore when you stay hydrated you are improving every chemical process in your body. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water or herbal tea each day.
  14. Focus on foods that come from nature, not a factory. This is the single best way to avoid illness and promote great health.

Know someone who could benefit from this information?  Use the Social links below to share with friends and family. To receive my blog posts and immediate FREE access to my downloadable resources collection packed with wellness and nutrition insights, subscribe to my newsletter "The Nourished News" by clicking the button below.  

Yours in wellness,

- Monica

Monica Paz, MS, CN, FNLP




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