When planning a nutrition program, it is best to start at the beginner level since there are basic requirements that will take time and patience to integrate into your daily life. If there is family involved, it may take longer since you will have to accept that everyone has their own ideas about what constitutes good nutrition.*
One of the first requirements is to allow your body to adjust to lower insulin levels, and you must also learn to listen to your body. if a food or supplement makes you sick in any way, you should stop it immediately.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES USEFUL FOR EVERYONE
STEP 1: Eliminate all gluten and highly allergenic foods from your diet. Gluten is not a problem for most people, but this primary protein is found in wheat, and there is an epidemic of hidden intolerance to wheat products with no obvious symptoms.
Rice, corn, buckwheat and millet have glutens, but the glutens in these foods do not contain the gluten molecule that can provoke an inflammatory reaction. Good news they are usually safe. Other safe grains include quinoa and amaranth.
Reading labels can be very misleading; don't trust them. Some companies list their products as gluten free without understanding the scientific basis of the problem with gluten. Unfortunately, most people don't feel better immediately after eliminating gluten from their diets as it may take 30-60 days for the inflammation to subside, and up to 9-12 months for the lining of your small intestine to heal.
Usually, when you remove allergenic foods, such as gluten, from your diet, your cravings for sweets will diminish, your mood will improve, your weight will drop, and your overall health will soar. Therefore, your first step is to avoid the following foods because they are highly allergenic and will frequently keep your immune system in overdrive by continually triggering the inflammatory response: Wheat, White flour (baked goods, cookies, pastries), Barley, Rye, Kamut, Teff, Spelt, Couscous, Soy, Pasteurized cow's milk products.
Manufacturers often deceive the shopper by claiming there is whole wheat in the package, and that may be true, but all too often there is also enriched wheat or flour. The key word is "enriched". Once the wheat or any grain is enriched, it is no longer whole and, nutritionally, becomes problematic. fh
STEP 2: At least one third of your food should be uncooked. Valuable and sensitive micro-nutrients are damaged when you heat foods. Cooking and processing food can destroy these micro-nutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition. In fact, malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies are the result of a highly processed diet and is one reason why many people cannot lose weight; highly processed food cause people to overeat.
If you are consistently feeling hungry, you are likely not getting sufficient amounts of the nutrients your body needs to thrive. You also need the live "sun energy" available only in raw, uncooked foods for optimal health. One of our ultimate biological nutrients is sunlight. You can absorb sunlight not only through your skin but also through your food where it is stored in the form of "biophotons". Biophotons have the power to order, regulate and elevate your physical body to a high order. This is manifested as a feeling of vibrant vitality and well-being. So, reach for the sun!
The more light energy a food is able to store, such as organically-grown fresh vegetables, the more nutritious it is. Juicing fresh vegetables will help make it easier for you to reach the goal of 1/3 raw food in your diet. Another way to eat your green vegetables is to blanch them until they are bright green and remove from the heat because they are ready to eat - and haven't lost all their nutrients. fh
STEP 3: Eat more vegetables. Nearly everyone would benefit from eating as many vegetables as possible. You are unique; your body knows what is best for you and will tell you what is right for your optimal type. So, the type and amount of vegetables should be based on your individual biochemistry. Once you are eating the right amounts of vegetables and other foods, your body and mind will respond favorably, and many common health issures will begin to be resolved.
You don't like vegetables? Really??? Find a raw vegetable you can like: carrots, celery, or lettuce, spinach in a salad. Find a vegetable that you can eat steamed like broccoli, green beans, kale or bake sweet potatoes. Don't make up your mind about vegetables until you try them; grow up and live healthy; stick to your childhood attitudes and you'll lose the joy of good health in your old age.
STEP 4: Keep your vegetables fresh. If you are unable to obtain organic vegetables, you can rinse non-organic vegetables in a sink full of water with 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar for 30 minutes. When storing fresh produce, be sure and squeeze as much air as you can out of the bag that holds the vegetables before sealing it. The bag should look like it is vacuum-packed.
STEP 5: Limiting sugar is critical. Eating refined sugar weakens your immune system and promotes yeast overgrowth, both of which are contributing factors to the number one killer, cancer. High sugar consumption can lead to adrenal exhaustion, common symptoms of which include feeling mentally and emotionally stressed, sugar and salt cravings, moodiness and feeling weak and lethargic.
The adrenal glands are a major part of your stress defense team; its job is trying to maintain a perfect balance for optimal health. Your adrenals have to perform an emergency procedure EVERY TIME you eat a lot of sugar which places enormous stress on your entire body. All non-diet sodas have 8 teaspoons in each can. Most packaged cereals have sugar as their major ingredient. Avoid most natural sweeteners including corn syrup, HFCS, fructose, honey, sucrose, maltodextrin, destrose, molasses, rick milk, almond milk, white grape juice, fruit juice sweetened, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, date sugar, cane sugar, corn sugar, beet sugar, succanal and lactose.
STEP 6: Avoid artificial sweeteners. While all sugars are best avoided, NONE of them are as bad or toxic as artificial sweeteners. If you must have a soda, regular is superior to diet. Artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, Equal or Nutrasweet (aspartame), need to be eliminated. There are more adverse reactions to Nutrasweet reported to the FDA than all other foods and additives combined. You should also avoid artificial chemicals like MSG.
If you are healthy, you can use a few teaspoons of succanat intermittently. Natural Stevia is also a safe, natural alternative. It is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and has virtually no calories. You should keep in mind, that a very small amount of stevia is more than enough to sweeten most drinks. It may be a "learned" taste, but other than that, it is nearly the ideal sweetener.
STEP 7: Avoid hypoglycemia. Most of us eat far too many grains and sugars which cause us to have large amounts of insulin circulating in our blood. When you stop eating grains, your body will take several days to lower your insulin levels. In the meantime, the high insulin levels will cause you to experience many symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, headaches and generally feeling miserable. If you eat every two hours for the first few days of your transition you will be able to avoid the temporary side effect. You will need to eat some protein such as an egg, piece of chicken, turkey, fish or some seeds along with a vegetable such as a piece of celery, cucumber or red pepper. This will help to prevent hypoglycemia and stabilize your blood sugar.
STEP 8: Learn to distinguish physical food cravings from emotional food cravings.
Many people don't understand that emotional well-being is essential to their physical health. In fact, in terms of dieting for weight loss, not addressing emotional issues whether small or serious traumas from the past, is the primary reason that most people who lose weight often fail to keep the weight off.
If you maintain negative thoughts and feelings about yourself while trying to take physical steps to improve your body, you will not succeed. it will be like repeatedly washing your car in an effort to keep it clean during a dust storm. Fine-tuning your brain to "positive" mode is absolutely imperative to achieving optimal physical health.
Many people shun this notion, not because it doesn't make sense because it does, but because the medical establishment has conned them into believing that it means they will be shelling out many thousands of dollars over the coming months or years to traditional psychological care. Well, some of the traditional psychological approaches may work, but there are better solutions: acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage therapy, quality nutritional supplementation or even hypnotism if you are receptive to that particular modality. fh
* If someone is unwilling to change their eating habits, proceed without them the best you can. They will either be forced to join the rest of the group or suffer the consequences they are sure to experience down the road. Either way, you cannot force anyone who is not willing to change.
adapted from Dr. Mercola, www.mercola.com, 26 June 2012