If we consider the numerous eating plans available to choose from and the conflicting dietary advice portrayed in the media then it's easy to understand how healthy eating has become so confusing. Heck it's getting confusing for me too but my nutritional mantra always comes to mind.
Always look at what's going on in the body as the starting point when considering any diet for health and well being.
So what does this mean in real terms? We will need to consider the health of the digestive, detoxification and elimination organs in particular as they play a crucial role in processing the food we eat, making the nutrients available and eliminating what's not required.
If particular organs are already struggling with congestion and a high toxic load then making them process even more from certain dietary changes may tip these organs over and have a knock on negative effect on heath.
Key Organs To Consider
The liver is the first organ to focus on when making dietary changes. It plays a crucial role in detoxification and many other key functions like breaking down fats, blood sugar balance, hormonal balance, vitamin D synthesis, bile production and so on.
As most of us live in very toxic environments, the liver already has a lot to deal with. So for example, if you start making it process more dietary fat or even fructose (fruit sugar) than it can cope with then liver functioning becomes compromised. I thought about this whilst looking at raw food diets, which include lots of fruit and fat in the form of nuts, seeds, avocado and dehydrated raw foods like raw seed crackers. Some individuals have developed poor energy and hormonal health issues with this style of eating and it did make me connect that the liver had become overburdened with processing lots of dietary fat and fructose.
If liver becomes compromised in this way then other liver functions like hormonal balance may also become affected to the extent that the liver is unable to switch off certain hormones like oestrogen or testosterone when they are no longer required. In my opinion liver health is always a factor to consider when looking at imbalances like oestrogen or testosterone dominance in the body.
The colon eliminates undigested food, reabsorbs water/minerals, acts as a water reservoir for higher priority areas of the body and should have a balanced flora. If this organ is weak, congested, dehydrated, inflamed and your diet gives the colon more than it can process then toxicity from food is going to stagnate and permeate into the blood stream and affect other areas like the skin, kidneys and liver.
The kidneys filter the blood and maintain water and mineral balance. They deal with protein by converting urea (a by-product from protein breakdown) to urine. Again if kidneys are congested or weak and you give them more protein-rich foods to process from the diet then they can become further weakened, which may lay the seeds for imbalances like inflammation, kidney stones etc.
Support Your Key Organs
Help these key organs by avoiding problematic foods and drinks.
- Avoid refined sugars/salt, chemical additives like sweeteners
- Avoid processed foods, highly refined/damaged fats and oils
- Avoid gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye, barley
- Avoid dairy products
- Avoid caffeine
Include foods which will be easier for the body to digest, process and eliminate and match water intake with your body's needs. Choose simple foods like homemade soups made from fresh, seasonal vegetables with a little protein and gluten-free whole grain like short-grain brown rice.
Start with an initial meal ratio of:
- 50% vegetables (always include raw leafy green vegetables but some vegetables may be cooked),
- 25% meat/fish/eggs/pulses/nuts combination
- 25% cooked gluten-free grains like brown rice or grain-free quinoa and buckwheat
The key is to observe how your body feels. If you are eliminating more, feel tired, get constipated, skin rashes/pimple appear or start to get aches and pains then this means your body is processing and eliminating more toxicity.
Drink more water to help your body release. You could even consider some naturopathic cleansing techniques but adjust the meal ratio further. Try increasing the level of cooked gluten free grains a little and lower everything else until you stabilise. The cooked grains have a more neutral pH in the body when compared to vegetables (alkaline) and proteins (acid). These grains when cooked in lots of water help to draw toxicity out from the colon.
Continue adjusting the meal ratio by how you feel. It may be that your body and energy levels feel better with a much lower grain ratio and a higher vegetable/protein and or fat ratio. In this way you will personalise your diet to your body, which is a much better and balanced approach in my opinion.