When it comes to general nutritional guidelines there are thousands of different books on the subject. A few that I highly recommend are: Big Book of Health and Fitness, by Dr. Phil Maffetone, Body Restoration by Dr. Michael Lebowitz, The Whole 30: It Starts with Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, Your Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser.
I highly recommend one of the previous books for patients to gain a better understanding on why they should eat well and how they can determine healthy food from unhealthy food. However, I feel most nutritional recommendations can be summed up by the following:
- Large consumption of fruits and vegetables. Ideally 10 servings per day. If you have blood sugar issues fruit consumption may need to be limited.
- Drink plenty of water each day. How much is plenty, a good rule of thumb should be that your urination so be fairly clear. Plain water should be your primary source of fluids, not coffee, not gatorade, not soda, or any other liquid.
- Eat whole foods. Meaning eat foods that do not require ingredient labels or eat foods that consist of ingredients that you can pronounce easily and the ingredient list is short
- Try to include fat and protein at every meal. This will cause you to be fuller and prevent crashes in blood sugar. Begin with changing your breakfast to include fat and protein.
- A Diet full of healthy fats. Most people lack adequate intake of healthy fats. I considered olive oil, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, grass-fed lard, and red palm oil to be healthy fats.
- Reduction of vegetable oil intake. Many people consume an exorbitant amount of vegetable oil. These oils are highly refined and promote inflammation in the body. Common sources of vegetable oil are salad dressings, eating out, fried foods, and potato chips.
- Consume as little as possible of refined carbohydrates.
- Consume nuts and seeds as snacks as opposed to sugar and salty packaged treats
- Strict avoidance of Trans fats or any hydrogenated oil
- Be aware of possible food sensitivities. If you have any autoimmune condition or chronic inflammatory condition you may have a food sensitivity. The common allergens are gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, nightshades, coffee/chocolate. This does not mean that everybody must completely avoid these foods but if you suffer from any chronic condition a food sensitivity is something that you should investigate further.
By following the above guidelines you will promote an anti-inflammatory biochemistry and significantly improve your overall health. I have no desire to be the food police. I want my patients to enjoy their meals, food should be celebrated not feared. Patients just need to begin celebrating the right foods in their diet, most people will be amazed at how quickly tastes and cravings can change. The biggest impact on our diet would be to focus on consuming whole foods and not packaged goods. Basically, limit shopping from the center aisles at the grocery store. If you can accomplish that task you are well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.