Greetings! This blog concerns the “Pillars of Health”, the solid foundation upon which we can build healthy lives in the toxic 21st century. The seven pillars that I find most relevant are:
Diet & Nutrient Status; Exercise; Sleep, Rest & Recovery; Stress Reduction; Toxin Avoidance & Detoxification; Eliminating Sources of Chronic Inflammation; Relationships & Community.
This blog will focus on issues around diet, nutrition and supplements (which also encompasses avoiding some sources of chronic inflammation).
Diet & Nutrient Status – This first pillar of health is vast and relates to both the types and qualities of foods as well as each individual’s unique hormonal and biochemical responses to foods and approach to eating. These responses determine the appropriate macro-nutrient (carbohydrate, protein and fat) composition that is optimal for that person. Some handle proteins better than others; some do well with complex carbohydrates from whole, organic foods; still others do well eating a diet replete with high quality fats. As we will see in a future blog concerning aging gracefully, it is imperative for all to get their own unique daily essential amino acid requirement met, without over eating protein.
An individual’s diet should consist of the cleanest, highest quality foods available and be tailored to that individual’s unique biochemistry, lifestyle and budget. A typical meal should consist of lots of organic vegetables with appropriate amounts of organic complex carbohydrates, free range, grass fed, or wild caught proteins and high quality fats. Use organic, local, non-GMO and in-season vegetables and grains where possible. The Environmental Working Groups dirty dozen and clean 15 provides a resource regarding what must be organic and what can be safely purchased conventionally grown (https://blog.givingassistant.org/dirty-dozen-clean-15-list/).
Pro-inflammatory foods that are highly processed and laced with sugar and trans-fats must be eliminated in favor of whole, natural, organic foods. Please refer to this link from Harvard Women’s Health Watch for foods that promote and those that fight inflammation https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation. At FW&A we offer a food sensitivity panel called the FIT test from KBMO Diagnostics which measures delayed food sensitivities for 132 foods (https://kbmodiagnostics.com/fit-test/). This allows the patient to learn which foods are pro-inflammatory for them. Unlike other IgG food sensitivity tests, the FIT test looks for immune complexes and complement fixation; this clearly identifies foods causing inflammation in the body. Another option is to begin a food rotation diet to identify foods causing delayed sensitivity problems (http://www.food-allergy.org/rotation.html ).
Common foods that are healthy for some and pro-inflammatory for others include gluten, dairy, soy, corn, shellfish, nuts, legumes, grains, citrus fruits and egg. Delayed food sensitivities differ from true allergies to foods, where the reaction is immediate (hives; tearing, red and itchy eyes; swelling of the lips and tongue; and anaphylaxis).
If a patient is found to have many delayed food sensitivities, it may be that they have leaky gut or intestinal hyper-permeability. The next step would be to do a functional GI test; and follow an appropriate 5R (remove, replace, re-inoculate, repair, re-balance) gut program tailored to the patient, their symptoms and test results.
Given modern farming practices, food is not as nutritionally replete as it once was. In order to insure optimal nutrient status, dietary supplements may be necessary. Amy Myers, MD, who is a functional medicine doctor and educator, recommends that everyone take:
· A high quality Multi-Vitamin/Mineral
· An Omega 3 Supplement – fish oil, krill oil, omega 3 from algae, flax seed oil or chia seeds
· A Probiotic with 30 billion units
· Vitamin D3 w/ vitamin K2 (and Vitamin A)
Please refer to https://www.amymyersmd.com/2018/09/4-essential-supplements/. These supplements should be high quality; you get what you pay for. Supplements are available from FW&A at a 15% patient discount (https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/jmccarthy1573650772).
To get the most out of food it should be eaten mindfully and socially and chewed well without the distractions of electronics or television.
Yours in health,
No comments made in this blog should be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice. It is for informational and educational purposes only. This blog is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Please discuss and gain approval from your doctor for any changes to your healthcare regimen, medications, or treatment protocol.