This may be one of the most complex areas to understand, and we are gaining new knowledge all the time. For far too long we have remained focused on certain food triggers rather than the source and the reasoning behind our reaction. Food selection is very important. The larger, and often overlooked, picture would be the lack of pH balance to each meal, general unhealthy food choices for far too long, high-heat cooking methods, and an overabundance of processed and now genetically modified selections in the typical diet.
Questions to consider:
- Is red meat the enemy OR is it the grain fed caged source vs. grass fed and free to roam source?
- Is the inflammatory inducing acid of the protein the problem OR are we not providing enough alkaline food sources in the same meal to buffer the acids and still benefit from the good it has to offer?
- What is the true source behind the body’s inflammatory reaction?
You will continue to find conflicting information on what is considered to be a ‘healthy diet,’ rendering you helpless in making concrete decisions on your approach for change.
Here is what we do know:
• Eat to live, don’t live to eat. This is one rule we truly do not follow as typically we include food as the staple of just about every celebration, and usually not the best of selections.
• Don’t fear the fats! Since the 1970s we have been told to consume a low-fat and rather high carb diet for our ‘health’. However, our obesity and diabetes rates have been soaring ever since. Logic would define fat consumption as rather fulfilling, hence requiring less to feel satisfied. On the contrary, while carbs may provide fewer calories, we continue to consume them at a much higher level to gain the feeling of being ‘full’. This is a double-edged sword for a diabetic who would then in turn require more insulin resulting in even more fat storage. What we have come to believe is the right way to eat, turns out to be all wrong. Our soaring disease rates and prescription drug use is living proof.. Saturated fats and fatty acids contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Include low mercury fish selections (about 7-10oz/week) and/or raw nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, ground flaxseed, grapeseed and pumpkin and sesame seeds. Include healthy saturated fats from real butter (made from raw grass fed organic milk), organic pastured eggs, coconuts and coconut oil, tropical palm oil, olive oil (not cooked), unheated organic nut oils, ghee, avocados, and grass fed meats in moderation. Avoid processed fats/trans-fats and hydrogenated/vegetable oils.
• Not all carbs are created equally. Complex and fiber rich is the way to go. Fresh vegetables (mostly) and fruit (non GMO & preferably organic) should remain the largest part of your daily diet. To avoid blood sugar surges, simply stick to complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index such as apples, asparagus, beans, broccoli, blackberries, blueberries, cabbage, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, green beans, leafy greens, pears, raspberries, spinach and strawberries.
• Trying to avoid high temperature cooking methods as much as possible (microwave, grilling, broiling, frying-anything cooked in oil) and choosing more slow indirect heat (crock pot, rotisserie, steaming, low heat baking and roasting, simmering) can make a difference in the acidity level of your food. High direct heat chemically alters the food, makes it more acidic, and can strip away most of the nutrients.
• Limit or eliminate sugar, sugar substitutes, white flour, synthetic oils, refined carbs and grains, caffeine, non-perishable, genetically modified, and processed foods in general. Fresh is always best.
• Limit or eliminate alcohol, smoking, recreational and prescription drugs.
• Whenever possible, choose non-gmo, organic, and organically grown foods.
• The ph balance of your meals and in your body speaks volumes about your health. An overly acidic diet, or even excessively alkaline diet, equally raise many concerns. When the body is too acidic, it has to work overtime to expel the residue or to have to store it and use vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium as a buffer to lower the body acidity. This is extremely stressful on the organs and depletes essential nutrients in the body. When the body is immoderately alkaline, it has to deal with low electrolytes, which can weaken the nerves and muscles also affecting the body’s functions. Generally, we deal with overly acidic diets and, in turn, with very imbalanced pH levels. The body is relentlessly working overtime to achieve balance, as this balance is essential to all bodily functions and cell health. One should strive for an eating balance of at least 70/30 ratio of alkaline (think fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices) to acidic (think grass fed meat sources) food intake, per meal. Our typical diet is exactly the opposite, and often times even worse than that. Fortunately, pH can be tested. Healthy functioning range is around 6.5 in the AM, and 7.5 by evening. How you heat the food and what you eat together in a meal can make all the difference, and very important one at that.