The moment you ring the New Year, you are bombarded with diets promising you miracle result, in records time.
Unfortunately, most of those diets aren’t even healthy but the contradicting recommendations can leave you very confused and overwhelmed.
At the Nutritional Healing Center of Ann Arbor, we believe that health starts with food. And since our practice is based on individualized care, your nutritional needs are unique to you. In fact, there are many easy ways to improve your diet.
So, what works for your neighbor, colleague or that health blogger, isn’t necessarily going to work for you. Even what worked for you in the past, might not work for you right now, because your health might have changed since then.
Does eating a healthy diet sound even more confusing now?
Don’t worry, I will keep it short, simple and even easy to remember:
Just cut C.R.A.P out of your everyday diet:
Conventional Food: High in herbicides and pesticide residues, cancer-causing, and hormone-disrupting chemicals. Your best bet is Organic and Non-GMO, if you can’t afford it fresh, make your way to the frozen aisle: organic frozen is better than fresh conventional produce.
Refined Carbohydrate: Also known as simple carbs, it includes sugar and any grains that have been altered from its original form in nature: pasta, flour, white rice, cereals, etc. They are stripped of all of the nutrients, these empty foods cause inflammation and rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. (1)
Vegetables, low glycemic fruits, and occasionally sprouted grains are well-tolerated carbohydrates by most people.
Artificial Additives: MSG (Monosodium glutamate), artificial sweeteners, artificial colorings, sodium nitrite, high fructose corn syrup, these are the most toxic and most common food additives. They have been linked to allergy reactions, inflammation inside the cell but also neurological behaviors; it may promote hyperactivity in children. (2)
Processed food: high in additives and preservatives, it’s any type of food that, has been through a series of alternations and turned into a packaged product.
Read the labels, make sure the ingredients are actual food you would recognize in nature, none of them belong to the list above.
The fewer ingredients, the better.
Stick to whole foods, that either comes from the soil or that has a mother.
Make sure every meal is filled with animal protein and healthy fat.
Buy from your local farmers, many companies like Aldi, Imperfect Foods, Brandless and Thrive Market are making organic and healthy options more accessible and affordable.
Dr. Taggy Bensaid, ND
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Most Americans are dehydrated and don’t know it. In fact, in America, water is the number one nutritional deficiency. The body’s joints, discs, organs, muscles, and skin all rely on water to make them work properly. If you feel the “thirst” sensation, it means you’re already dehydrated.
Dehydration may be the cause of high blood pressure, and blood clots are often the result of thicker blood due to dehydration. Athletes are especially at a higher risk for dehydration and it will impair their ability to perform at peak levels, especially when exercising in a hot, humid environment. Learn how to stay hydrated all day below.
Salt is an important component of proper hydration.
Salt drives water into the cells (think, osmosis) instead of allowing the water to pool outside the cell walls producing swollen ankles and painful joints. Salt is a natural histamine, and pinches of salt followed by small drinks of water will stop excessive histamine production.
The salt used to help with hydration should contain 60-70 trace minerals (e.g. Celtic Sea Salt, Real Salt, or Himalayan Rock Salt) and should be taken in addition to the salt used in cooking and eating food. The salt may be added to the water directly or taken by mouth alone and followed by a small amount of water…just enough to get it down. This is one reason why you might drink salt water.
Here are a few pointers regarding proper hydration:
For every 50 pounds of body weight, drink one quart of water.
For each quart of water consumed, ingest ¼ teaspoon of sea salt.
Stop drinking liquids ½ hour before consuming a meal and startup hydrating again 3 hours after the meal. Your food will digest better because your stomach acid won’t be diluted and neutralized!
For every cup of a caffeinated drink consumed, the body loses two to three cups of water. For every cup of an alcoholic beverage consumed, the body loses three cups of water. Adjust your water/salt intake accordingly.
One of the easiest cures for a hangover: proper hydration!
If you have watched any of Dr. Schmidt’s YouTube videos or been in the office lately you have heard us talking about therapeutic diets such as ketosis, fasting, and intermittent fasting, and carnivore diet. These types of diets can help in many situations. But, as an individual, you may wonder where to start. Here are some ideas to make a healthy transition for you and your family. Learn how to start a diet plan below.
Eat For Nutritive Value
Photo by Margo Brodowicz on Unsplash
Dieting 101 begins with eating the foods that will fuel your body, not break it down. Sugar and carbs over what you can burn break the body down and can cause damage. An initial diet plan for most people involves just making better choices. I used to love “Choose Your Own Adventure” books as a kid. Getting from point A to B for you is a matter of your own choice. Your diet can be your adventure. You can go fast (cutting out all sugar and grains) or slow (reducing the quantity of sugar and grains you eat). You could try a ketogenic diet or just lower carbs below 72 grams per day. You can start with a cleanse/elimination-style diet (Paleo or Whole 30 Auto Immune) or slow and steady (take our obvious problems first and snowball improvements from there). You just need to start!
Focus on protein and good fats and eat some vegetables if you want. Limit grains and sugar.
Photo by Alex Munsell on Unsplash
Which means eat protein: beef, chicken, fish and seafood, turkey, lamb, eggs, pork, venison. The best quality you can get. Eat good fats: butter or ghee, avocado and avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, coconut milk. And, if you need some variety, throw a vegetable in the mix: salads, asparagus, zucchini, brussels sprouts, celery, carrots. Whatever you like and is in season. Now, START! Enjoy your diet adventures and we look forward to helping you any way we can with your nutrition needs.
No matter what your current diet consists of there is usually room for improvement.
I am still working to improve my diet. At the very beginning of my nutrition program, I became more aware of what I was eating. I had young kids. I would eat things off their plates without even really being aware that I was doing it. I’d finish their cheez-its and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I wasn’t even hungry. And, some of the foods I ate I didn’t even like. Bad habits were uncovered by simply food logging and paying attention.
A good way to improve your diet is step by step. An excellent first step is food journaling (especially in an app or computer-based program like Cronometer. Once you know your macronutrient intake (carbohydrates, protein, fat) averages you can start targeting better choices and numbers to help you achieve your goals and learn how to become fat adapted.
Step two: As you make better choices (usually more protein, adequate healthy fat, lower carbohydrate) you eat less often. Less snacking lets your body burn fat and not sugar/carbohydrates as fuel. This step can take some time as your body adapts to this change. An individual can’t go from a standard American diet high in carbohydrates to being fat-adapted overnight. Sometimes during this phase, you may need to increase your protein and fat to help you feel more full and allow you to decrease carbohydrates.
Being fat adapted means that when your body needs energy it can go into a fat-burning state to function. As you get more fat-adapted you can adjust your protein and fat intake to meet your needs. If you are trying to build muscle or are very active you may need to increase protein and fat. If you are trying to lose weight you may need to decrease fat to allow your body to burn your fat as fuel.
Intermittent fasting is longer periods without food. Increasing the amount of time you go without food encourages cells to renew and repair. This can help with weight loss, inflammation, and healing.
My most current diet experiment was with carnivore eating.
The carnivore diet is eating just animal meat for all your nutritional needs. There are no fruits or vegetables or any processed carbohydrate foods.
My husband and I did this starting in May. I did this elimination type diet so I could see what foods were not good for my body. I did it very strictly for three weeks and then started experimenting with what I could add in and still feel well. Within five days I was shocked by how good I felt and was in deep nutritional ketosis. While eating an all-meat diet I lost approximately 8 pounds (my husband has lost 28 pounds). I noticed that my muscles were stronger and more defined without even adding exercise. We are still eating primarily (85%) carnivore in our house and my husband is having excellent results during marathon training compared to previous years.
My opinion: being fat-adapted and cycling in and out of ketosis periodically is the ideal state of health and healing. Ask your Practitioner if you need help with your diet. We look forward to helping you on your health path.
Yours in health, Kerry Cradit, B.S. Nutrition and Food Science
Using these 5 simple, healthy weight loss tips I’ve lost 75 pounds and am having no problem keeping it off.
I feel great! I never go hungry and I feel very satisfied with the foods I eat. And it’s not a diet but a new way of eating based on some very simple truths about food and nutrition.
Secret #1: Change your eating habits gradually.
When I looked at what I ate and all the changes that needed to be made, I felt overwhelmed and hopeless.I’d start making drastic changes that I couldn’t maintain and I’d hit the brick wall & quit faster than I’d started.
Finally, I decided to change only one thing about my diet each week. The first thing I cut out was drinking pop and sugary beverages – I lost 13 pounds in one week!
I was shocked and thought, “Ok, that worked, what can I change next?” Each week I found a new thing to change and kept up the things I tried that gave me results. The results could be: more energy, feeling better, slimmer fitting clothes, more lost pounds, etc. This was hugely successful and wasn’t overwhelming. It was like a game and each week I got to experience a new victory.
Secret #2: Get sugar out of your diet!
I used to think sugar was ok as long as it was raw and organic and I kept my calories low. But it wasn’t until I started getting rid of added sugar all together that the weight started to really come off. Sugar is the first thing you should start removing from your diet. Being raw and organic doesn’t make it not sugar. Check labels! Sugar is hiding in many unsuspecting places such as spices, bread, and sauces. Check labels for the words: sugar, dextrose, sucrose, maltodextrin, evaporated cane juice and high fructose corn syrup.
Secret #3: Eat protein for breakfast.
It has been my experience that most people eat little to no protein in the morning. I used to either skip breakfast altogether or eat a bagel with low-fat cream cheese. Eating a high carbohydrate breakfast, like a bagel or cereal, sets you up for cravings throughout the rest of the day. Eating protein (like eggs) and good fats (like butter) helps you to stay full, keeps your blood sugar level and wards off pre-lunchtime cravings. Good proteins and fats are especially important at breakfast but should be present in all your meals. Good proteins include meats and fish, nuts and seeds, as well as eggs. Good fats include nut oils, extra virgin olive oil, butter, coconut oil, flax oil, plus many others. Canola oil and margarine should be avoided.
Secret #4: Eat low carb.
Carbohydrates ultimately break down into sugar in the body. A diet high in carbohydrates causes a vicious cycle of cravings for bad foods. Refined carbohydrates (like white bread) should be eliminated completely. Gradually reducing the total amount of carbohydrates in your diet helps you maintain steady weight loss.
A good way to start is to get a count of exactly how many carbohydrates you consume in a day then calculate your weekly average. It may be high and that’s ok. You should start by reducing your intake slightly each week (by about 25 grams). Although everyone’s body is different, most people will start losing weight once their carbohydrates drop below 100 grams a day.
Secret #5: Get rid of the processed foods in your diet.
Foods that are highly processed are high in sodium along with countless other chemicals. These substances can cause you to retain fluid and actually hold on to fat! Eliminate processed foods from your diet as much as possible. When you shop in the grocery store, you should shop primarily in the outer aisles of the store (the produce section and meat section). We also do lectures on what foods to buy, how to decipher food labels and even grocery store tours, so keep an eye out for future dates.
These are the 5 key secrets to how I lost 75 pounds. Making these simple changes could help you reach your weight loss goals or even simply have more energy and fewer health issues. Come see me if you need additional help with weight loss.
As a practitioner, this is what I hear from the people I help who are trying to get into ketosis:
“I need help to calculate my macros for ketosis.” “I just don’t know if I am doing it right.” “I don’t know what is wrong, but I can’t quite get it right!”
If you need help changing your diet, calculating your macros, and/or identifying what you need to do for success, follow the three steps below and you will be heading in the right direction.
But first, you need to know what makes up your food! Does your food contain carbs? Protein? Fat? and how much of each. This is learning your macronutrients (macros). Second, you need to make changes to your diet based on the information you learn. It’s not always lower carb, you may find you need to increase your fat, or decrease your protein. You might even find you need a higher carb count. Third, you need to measure how your body responds to your diet. Learn how to calculate macros below.
Here are the 3 steps explained in detail:
#1: Learn your macronutrients. In order to learn, or decode your foods, you can use an app on your phone or computer, or buy a macronutrient book. I personally use Cronometer , it’s an app on my phone and it goes with me everywhere which helps my success of using it. It’s what I encourage my patients to use. I’ve had patients who use My Fitness Pal or other apps and websites that count macronutrients also. Regardless of which app or book you use, the goal is this: at the end of every day, you want to write down a total of net carbohydrates eaten, protein, and fat. I record these in grams, not in percentages. Percentages aren’t as helpful in most cases for making adjustments to your daily diet. Be sure if you use an app other than Cronometer, that it counts carbs as “net carbs.” Cronometer counts net carbs. This is important because net carbs are the number of carbs minus the grams of fiber. This is important. It allows you to have quite a bit of vegetable and still maintain low carb status. Step one isn’t about understanding your macros or making changes, it’s about learning what you eat on a regular basis so you can identify what to change after you’ve identified patterns.
#2: Alter the quantities of foods you eat: After a few weeks of recording the macronutrients (macros), now you begin to make sense of it all! Examine if you go too low on fat, making you feel overly hungry, or if you go too high on protein, making you gain weight or feel bloated. In step 2, you write out all of your totals for each day in a grid pattern. I’ve attached an example of mine. My sample is not a sample you should try to reproduce. It’s just a sample from my real daily food log. I can tell you some days were optimal, and others weren’t. You can examine your own macros and pick out the obvious areas to change. If you’re having trouble, you can get help from your practitioner too. My most successful patients bring a grid with their macros to every visit. Your grid might look something like this:
Once you start looking at a graph like this, you can see the days where you had more carbs, more protein, and days when you had more fat. This helps you to make adjustments. Maybe on day 4 when you ate 120 carbs, you also felt bloated and sluggish the next day. But you thought you did well because you attended a health fair and ate the “Paleo Pumpkin Spice” cookies, muffins & bread. Although food can have good quality (non-GMO, organic, local) it does not mean those same foods have the quantity (# of protein/net carbs/fat) that you’re looking to eat. Counting macros isn’t about never making a mistake again with your diet, it’s about learning and being in control of how to make more days optimal and get control after you have a day that is non-optimal. It’s about knowing exactly what foods are made of and what works best for you! Don’t forget about incorporating the Good Fat Bars into your diet. They are a great alternative for people on the go or for a quick snack.
#3: Measure your body’s response! Now you’ve got control with your macros. But, you don’t know how your body is responding to these macros! Yes, you might say, my headaches are less, and my bowels are better and other symptoms of dysfunction may be improving…but I don’t feel like I’m getting ALL of the “benefits of keto” that people talk about! Now it’s time for step 3, time to purchase a ketone & glucose meter. I use the Keto Mojo and for your ease, we sell them here at the NHCAA! Every night, I wait two hours after my last meal (this includes drinking water and taking supplements too)! Then I poke my finger and measure my blood ketones & my blood glucose. I record it next to my macronutrients. Now, in order to understand what the blood glucose & blood ketones mean, you’ll learn how to calculate Glucose Ketone Index (GKI). To do this, you will use Glucose divided by 18.016 divided by Ketones = GKI.
SO, for a blood glucose of 72, a blood ketone of 1.0 it would be as follows: 72/18.016/1.0= 3.99 GKI.
Your initial GKI goal is anywhere between 0.7-8.0. 0.7-1.0 is true ketosis.
A range from 1.0-8.0 is where many patients get good results with their health. You may need to stay in a true ketosis range of 0.7-1.0 if you are working on a health concern like seizures. 1.0-8.0 may help if you’re working on mood stability, hormones, or skin issues. Above 8.0, you’re simply out of ketosis. You either need fewer carbs or protein, or more fat, or a combination of all 3. Sleep, hormones, and other health issues can also keep your body from reaching a state of ketosis as well. If you’re having trouble reaching a GKI of 0.7-1.0, bring the above data for a full month and ask your practitioner for help. Adding intermittent fasting, high carb days, the 5-day fasting mimicking diet, carnivore diet, or other nutritional supplements, lifestyle factors, or diet variations may be needed for your success. These first 3 things help to determine which of these you need next!
Make the best of your health program and do these 3 things consistently. Bring your data from these measuring tools to your visit to show your practitioner so that he or she can help guide you! When you put forth the necessary effort to learn, gather the information you need, and make the change, you will create consistently sustainable, and most importantly, repeatable results!
Yours in health and longevity, Kristen Clore, OTR, Holistic OT, Nutrition Expert & Certified Wellness Coach