You eat everyday, but are you making food choices to sustain or improve your health? If you struggle with weight, digestive problems, chronic health issues, or fatigue you may be wondering what you can do to get or keep yourself healthy.
Hypocrites taught that in order to prevent and treat disease, one should start by eating a nutrient dense diet. Everything you eat and drink influences your body, which is why healthy food choices are a cornerstone of optimal health. Food is medicine. Most everyone knows the potential dangers of processed foods, and a diet based on whole foods is best. But many still have no idea there are “healthy” foods that are not that good for us and can cause high levels of inflammation within the body.
Humans are the only species to continue drinking milk after weaning. And the milk we are drinking today is not the milk our grandparents drank. Non-organic milk today is full of reproductive hormones, growth factors, and antibiotics – all known to cause high levels of inflammation in the body. Yet we’ve grown up with the belief that milk is healthy and full of calcium. While that is partially true – milk is full of calcium – unfortunately, as humans, we can hardly absorb it.
For us to absorb calcium we need calcium:magnesium at a ratio of 2:1. But cow’s milk is 10:1. That kind of ratio may actually encourage calcium to leach from our bones. There are many other food sources that have higher and more absorbable levels of calcium than milk including broccoli, kale, arugula, tahini, and a single tablespoon of blackstrap molasses will give you more available calcium than any cup of cow’s milk.
Studies show higher dairy intake increases risk for prostate and ovarian cancer, acne, obesity, and it can increase LDL levels. Even more shocking, recent studies have found certain countries (Asia and Africa) have the lowest rates of dairy consumption and the lowest levels of osteoporosis. Dairy is the most common self-reported food allergen in the world so my recommendation would be to limit your intake of dairy to 0-2 (organic) servings a day.
Unfortunately, the wheat we are eating today is a totally different wheat from that of our ancestors. Today’s wheat has been cross-bred and genetically modified countless times to make it hardier, sweeter, and to improve crop yield and volume output. However, this has dramatically changed the levels of gluten, a protein found in wheat. The wheat that our grandparents ate came from wheat that grew to 3 or 4 feet high (with a smaller wheat bud), and had very low levels of gluten. This new hybrid “high yield dwarf wheat” (fatter wheat bud but stockier height in order to not break) is a dramatically genetic-modified version that has an extremely high gluten content compared to the wheat of the past. Throughout history grains were also soaked, sprouted or fermented before consumption, even something as simple as that change has had a major negative impact on our health. Eating today’s hybrid version of wheat is raising our blood sugar levels, increasing gut inflammation, and inhibiting absorption of important vitamins and minerals from our food. Research shows eating a slice of whole grain bread spikes blood sugar just as much, if not more, than a can of soda. And for children, it’s dire, they not only get the elevated sugar levels, bloating, etc., but boys get swollen pectorals, known as man boobs). My strong recommendation is to omit wheat whenever you can and whatever you do eat, try to find organically grown and sprouted versions.
Lastly, we have refined sugar, this is sugar that has been stripped of all nutritional value. And eating something as nutritionally dead as refined sugar will initiate a search within your body to find the nutrients it has lost. When we eat refined sugar, it depletes vitamins and minerals from our body in its attempt to become whole again. Some things you already may have heard, but are important to reiterate about refined sugar, it feeds cancer, has the same impact on the liver as alcohol, impacts our cortisol levels and causes body-wide inflammation. My recommendation is to avoid refined sugar completely.
Along with eating a healthy, whole food diet, there are some simple diet changes you can make today to reach optimal health. Instead of cow’s milk, try nut milk or coconut milk. Instead of wheat flour, try different flours like coconut, buckwheat, oat, almond, tapioca, cassava or rice. Instead of refined sugar, try maple syrup, raw honey, coconut sugar.
Eating food in as close to its natural state as possible helps ensure maximum exposure to all the critical minerals and nutrients your body desperately needs to thrive. I do not believe that any one diet fits all people and no one food is friend or foe to everyone. But ask yourself, do I feel more or less vibrant after drinking milk, eating wheat and sugar? Do I have digestive distress after eating? Mood, inflammation, energy levels, and specific lab markers can all serve as clues that something you’re eating is causing inflammation.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need support getting to the root cause of your symptoms.
Additional Reading Resources:
Dr. Mark Hyman
The countries that consume the most dairy have the highest rates of osteoporosis:
Feskanich D, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Am J Public Health. 1997 Jun;87(6):992-7.
Lanou AJ, Berkow SE, Barnard ND. Calcium, dairy products, and bone health in children and young adults: a reevaluation of the evidence. Pediatrics. 2005;115:736-743.
Book: Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis
The original study showing that the GI of white bread was 69, while the GI of whole grain bread was 72 and Shredded Wheat cereal was 67, while that of sucrose (table sugar) was 59. The GI of a Snickers bar is 41—far better than whole grain bread.
Jenkins DJH, Wolever TM, Taylor RH, et al. Glycemic index of foods: a physiological basis for carbohydrate exchange. Am J Clin Nutr. 1981 Mar;34(3):362–6.
Chris Kresser – https://chriskresser.com/heres-the-research-on-sugar-and-health/
NYT – Is Sugar Toxic? https://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?sq=is%20sugar%20toxic&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=print
The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.
By Lynn Wood, Founder & Owner of VitaLynn, a Family Nurse Practitioner, focused on holistic healthcare and wellness programs. Lynn Wood’s can be contacted at www.vitalynn.com