The number one thing that you can do to affect your health is to seek a whole foods diet. I advise all of my clients to omit processed foods from their diet, even if they are organic, natural, dairy-free, gluten-free, or in any other way advertised, processed and convenient. The foods that give us the greatest benefit, health-wise, are not necessarily convenient.
Sometimes people feel better without gluten, or dairy in their diet. Often, they quickly replace all of their favorite foods with dairy-free and gluten-free alternatives (which are prevalent now in grocery stores). The problem I see is that these alternatives are composed of nutrient-void starches, gums, thickeners, stabilizers and additives that make the fake thing taste more like the real thing. Many of these are not good for our digestive systems and certainly not a reliable source of nutrition.
The better course, I suggest, is to seek out a new way to eat. Instead of mourning what you can no longer tolerate, focus on foods that are tasty and satisfying to you body on all levels. This is not a diet or a cleanse. It is a lifestyle that that focuses on food in its most natural state as much as possible. The result is improved health, one meal at a time.
Here are some guidelines:
- Focus on real, nutrient-dense food
- Avoid refined sugars and flours, of all kinds
- Avoid hydrogenated fats
- Stay away from “diet” foods, like artificial sweeteners and low fat options
- Include high quality protein at every meal, such as legumes, fish, poultry, and pastured eggs
- Eat complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits
- Consume healthy fats such as wild fish, avocado, raw nuts and seeds, olive oil and pasture-raised meats
- Cut back on alcohol
- Drink water, sparkling water and unsweetened tea
- Stay hydrated; drink half of your body weight in ounces every day