Did you know 68% of Americans are either classified as obese or overweight?
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Success at following a low carbohydrates life style comes most readily with a few cautionary suggestions.
Foods to Enjoy
Your choice of foods is always the first place to start. Which low carb foods do you most prefer - eggs, meat, cheese, shellfish? You can eat them to your heart's delight. Even if it means spending a little more money (the money you are saving by avoiding processed foods, fast food, snacks, and ultimately higher medical bills), buy a higher quality than you ate before.
Reach for the tastiest organic cheeses, seek out the pasture-raised chicken, beef, and lamb, and look for the organic, hormone-free pork. Pay an extra dollar or two for eggs from free-range chicken. Buy the larger avocados and the tastier olives. Buy a large bag of organic nuts and make them into Crispy Nuts. These foods are all more tasty, higher health quality, and easier on the planet.
Drink plenty of water or tea and add salt to your food to taste.
Interest in the Mediterranean Diet began with the attention of Ancel Keys in the 1950's when he learned of the historically low incidence of heart disease in Italy. Keys described the diet and then made an error of scientific judgment. He assumed the post-war, low-cholesterol, low-fat diet he saw was the cause for the low rate of heart disease. Keys pursued his hypothesis with further population studies, and his theory that dietary fat causes heart disease has been accepted as fact by most conventional medical writers for decades.
The recent work of Gary Taubes, "Good Calories Bad Calories" and "Why We Get Fat", has focused attention on the flaws in Keys' work. Taubes and others have re-examined the original data, and pose an opposite theory that dietary carbohydrates, and particularly processed and refined grain carbohydrates, are the foods that cause heart disease.
Despite disagreement about the specifics, interest in the Mediterranean Diet persists. Both in current observational studies and historical surveys, there is reason to consider that the food choices in the Mediterranean region could contribute to good health. Particular attention has been paid to the diet on the island of Crete. Unlike Naples or Athens, dietary patterns on Crete have not been modernized, and only Crete continues as a modern “cold spot” for heart disease.
Lucky parents have the opportunity to prepare themselves for a pregnancy, selecting the ideal time for the pregnancy and optimizing their health before conception. It is impossible to start too soon. Although the sperm and egg cells are only in production for a few months, the longer the body producing those cells has enjoyed living in a healthy manner, the healthier the baby will be. If pregnancy is conceivably (!) in your future, consider implementing some of these dietary and supplement recommendations, for a healthier body before pregnancy.
What Is Known about Eating for a Healthy Pregnancy
Maternal physiology is significantly taxed by the process of pregnancy, birth, lactation, and recovery. Many traditional cultures preferred and managed a three-year space between children. Although modern science helps us better understand the dynamics of maternal recovery, there is still no significant evidence to justify shortening that three-year recovery period when you have the choice.
An excellent resource on nutritional matters related to pregnancy (before, during and after) as well as nutrition for babies (when formula is needed) and young children, can be found through the Weston A. Price Foundation. They have active local chapters across the nation (and the world!) as well as a valuable website and journal.
Fad diets come and go, but in my practice, I follow the science more carefully than I follow the fads. In doing so, I have been tremendously impressed with the work of Gary Taubes, who has meticulously detailed the science behind the low-carbohydrate diet trends. He is not alone. Other writers, scientists, and physicians have been validating the health hazards associated with excess carbohydrates - where our dietary consumption has increased over the last fifty years in direct parallel with the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and malnutrition. Scientific trials have confirmed benefits from restricting the carbohydrates: weight loss as well as reduced diabetes and heart disease markers. Although there are some individuals who will do as well or better with a low-fat diet, more people will lose weight on a low-carb diet. This is not, therefore, the only way to lose weight, I have just found it to be the most widely successful plan.
For almost everyone, a low-carbohydrate diet is more satiating, sustainable, and complex in its nutrient density. Nothing foils a good diet plan like a healthy physiology looking for nutrients it can't find. (January 2017 note: see my new article, Low Carb: Making It Real for some additional tips on making your low carb journey a successful one.)
While Candida albicans—a type of yeast species—is normally found in our digestive tract and on our skin, it can easily grow out of control when fueled by a combination of dietary and lifestyle factors. Millions of people suffer from the effects of Candida overgrowth that result in or complicate a wide range of conditions and symptoms. Some of the most common include yeast infections (thrush), vaginitis, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, weight gain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and depression.
Since the symptoms of Candida overgrowth, also known as Candidiasis, mimic many other diseases and conditions, it can be tough to tell for sure if this one-celled fungus is the culprit. But if you have one or more of these symptoms, and they haven't responded to other treatment, Candida may well be responsible. The good news is that by addressing your dietary and lifestyle choices, you can restore and maintain a healthy balance in your gut that will have a profound effect on your wellbeing.
Not surprisingly, gluten comes from the Latin word for glue. Wonderful qualities of elasticity and buoyancy derive from gluten's self-adherent stickiness.
Gluten has attracted modern attention because of adverse reactions to gluten in foods. While few people (perhaps 1% in the US) have true celiac disease - an auto-immune reaction to the gliadin component of glutenous foods - some degree of non-specific gluten sensitivity might affect somewhere between 5 and 10% of Americans. The incidence of gluten sensitivity has risen in the last 50 years, coinciding with an agricultural preference for higher gluten content in flour, and thus better baking performance. Because eating more of a food doesn't necessarily cause adverse reactions, some people theorize that gluten is a little bit hard on everyone's gut. If you have a chronic health problem, and you suspect gluten even though a blood test may not show celiac disease, it is worth the effort to go gluten free for 3 to 6 months to see if there is a difference in how you feel.
Avoid gluten-containing grains and flours. Grains may be prepared directly, ground into flours, or malted for beer making. Avoid all preparations of these grains, and avoid them as ingredients in other foods.
I'll start right off with admitting that it's a little naive to imagine that there is a single "Ideal Diet" that works for everyone. From decades of clinical practice, individual variability is the principle of reality that is most often confirmed in my clinical experience. So I encourage you to consider this diet as a set of guidelines, and perform gentle personal exploration to determine which form of the eating plan works best for you.
When answering the modern question, “What should I eat?” the right answers consider both the immediate and long term effects on both you and your world. Healthy choices should be healthful for everyone concerned, and sustainable.
Choosing to eat food grown nearby and prepared at home is challenging for people working full-time, but big changes can start with small steps. If you don't have local access to recommended fish or protein, visit the websites of US Wellness or Vital Choice Seafood and try some wild Alaskan salmon or, economically, some salmon roe, where just a few a day can be healthful.
Ideal Diet Summary
One of the fastest growing nutritional organizations and websites is the Weston Price Foundation, named for Dr. Weston A. Price, a Cleveland dentist who traveled the world in the 1920s, looking for the healthiest people on earth. What does modern nutritional science have to learn from a world traveler of a previous century?
Price began his journey with the question: “Why are our children’s teeth so distorted, crooked and full of cavities? How did people in the past survive without dentists?” Dr. Price found 14 different cultures around the world where people had beautiful teeth. He wanted to know how and why these people developed such good teeth. Western medicine is built on the study of disease, rather than health, but Price had a different approach in mind. The road less traveled guided him to discoveries that reached far beyond his initial quest for answers pertaining to dentistry, and he became known as the Charles Darwin of nutrition.