(Please print out this document and read it offline.)
New! Twelve Steps to Healthy Eating Checklist in Appendix Section!!!
In this chapter I will briefly discuss what is sometimes called a “natural foods diet.” This chapter is not intended as a substitute for nutrition counseling from a Holistic Medicine practitioner. A practitioner such as a very experienced Ayurvedic Medical Doctor or Oriental Medical Doctor would be able to devise a diet that very closely matches your health and nutritional needs. I will simply attempt to provide general guidelines that can help you get started. I will also include a list of books and other resources that can provide more detailed information.
A growing number of people are benefiting from a natural foods diet. These people along with countless scientists and nutritionists and Holistic Medicine practitioners know that a natural foods diet is a very important part of holistic healing. Such a nutrition plan can help cure acute and chronic illnesses and play an enormous part in preventing future illnesses. I encourage you to become part of the countless millions of others who are gradually incorporating holistic healing fundamentals into their lifestyle to reap immediate and future health benefits.
In order to prevent or heal health problems and build a foundation for the development of vibrant health, you should consider incorporating some of the ideas in this article. The goal is not to develop a strict or “perfect” diet, but to develop a relaxed and varied, yet healthy diet. It is very important that you not take the holistic healing information on this page any other pages as a way to feel guilty about your past decisions or what you cannot do at the current time. Just make gradual changes as you are ready, relax, and accept whatever you can do at the moment. Stress reduction techniques and Inner Healing Techniques such as meditation can help you make changes more easily.
Some people are under the impression that healing from a serious illness or even preventing future illness possibilities simply involves switching from a Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) to a “natural foods diet.” While, it is true that a change to such a diet can be very beneficial, it is often a mistake to get too caught up in nutritional changes (or taking supplements or herbs). Some of the other techniques discussed in the Fundamental of Holistic Healing section are as beneficial as dietetic adjustments and, in some cases, more beneficial.
The Ideal Natural Foods Diet
The Ideal Natural Foods Diet is one where you (the reader) uses your own knowledge and intuition to decide what your body needs. I sincerely hope that you do not use the ideas below as rigid rules, but instead, use them as suggested guidelines as you develop your own personal inner feeling as to what food your body needs.
As your nutrition plan gradually improves, please practice deciding for yourself what food your body needs rather than relying on what I say or what a well-known author says. So, have fun and don”t get too rigid using someone”s dietary rules. In the long run, this usually provides the best nutrition for your body. Any regular practice that helps you get in touch with your own inner feelings and process can help develop the ability to know what foods your body needs. Practices such as meditation, yoga, tai chi/ qigong, etc. are practices that can be helpful in this regard and may someday be something you would like to experiment with by taking a class.
Regular, Gradual Improvement without Obsessing
It is much easier for most people to change their diet over time at a comfortable pace. It is also important to not obsess constantly about improving your diet and to not beat yourself up if you don”t have a “perfect” diet. Making dietetic changes too quickly may make you uptight and cause you to feel deprived. On the other hand, making no dietetic changes from a S.A.D. over time can slow you healing progress.
The following is a list of some of the problems that could occur if a person is too restrictive with their diet:
o Causes feelings of deprivation and emotional stress which can actually make some health problems worse.
o Tends to take focus away from other activities that can be extremely important in the complete healing process such as enjoyment and nurturing activities, fun, stress relief, and inner healing & transformation techniques.
o Makes it easier to fall into the trap that a temporary reduction of symptoms through a restrictive diet is the equivalent to being on the road to complete healing.
o May set you up for midnight binges and overeating.
There are cases where a very strict diet may be indicated. But this is usually where severe reactions cannot be eliminated any other way. Otherwise, please remember that these are lifestyle changes are best done gradually.
I like to eat a relatively healthy, natural foods diet, but I have fun with it by not being too restrictive. Please do not use any of the ideas below to make yourself feel guilty. The goal should be gradual progress not perfection.
How to Move to a Natural Foods Diet
There is an enormous amount of useful information in this article. But please do not be intimidated into thinking that everything has to be changed at once.
An excellent way to start the process is the perform the following steps:
1. Locate Natural Foods / Health Foods stores in your area. 2. Purchase Natural Foods cookbooks and begin experimenting. 3. Purchase other books on Natural Foods Diet and Chinese/Ayurvedic Nutrition. 4. Ask at local Natural Foods stores about cooking classes. 5. If you have difficulty making changes over time, don”t worry about it. Try commiting experimenting with one of the Inner Healing & Transformation techniques discussed on this web page. These techniques (especially the body-oriented and inner peace-oriented techniques) can be enormously helpful in reducing cravings and/or addressing eating disorders over time.
Techniques & Resources
Natural Foods Diet
What follows is a description of a natural foods diet that you can make progress towards. Please go at your own pace.
o Vegetables (Cooked and Salads) o Whole grains o Fish, Fowl, and other meat o Legumes (beans) o Sea Vegetables o Fruits o Nuts o Seeds o Dairy & Eggs (Small amounts or none) o Herbal teas and coffee substitutes o Juices o Herbs, spices, sea salt, tamari, unrefined seasame oil/sesame oil (excellent source for essential fatty acids), virgin olive oil, natural sweeteners (maple syrup, rice syrup, barley malt, stevia, etc.) o Spring water for cooking and drinking
The bulk of the diet consists of a wide variety of foods within the follow main categories:
o vegetables o whole grains o fish, fowl, or other meat o legumes o sea vegetables o freshly made juices, herbal teas, and coffee substitutes
While it can be counterproductive to create “dietary rules,” here are some general tips that many people have found helpful.
Shopping For Foods
If possible, do most of your food shopping at a natural foods store. In some cities, there are large natural food grocery stores that are not unlike modern supermarkets in that they have an enormous selection of products. There are smaller health food stores that can also provide many of the food products needed for a healthier diet. There are some health food stores that sell little more than food supplements and may not be useful for you in putting together a healthy diet.
In order to find a natural foods grocery store:
+ Look in the phone book under “Health Food Stores.”
+ Company resources for Healthy Foods & Organic Foods web page is a good place to look for links to health food stores, co-ops, and other resources.
+ Ask local holistic health care practitioners (e.g., acupuncturists, chiropractors, herbalists).
+ Ask friends who eat a healthy diet.
+ Contact people in nearby cities where there might be a natural foods grocery store that you could visit on occasion to stock up.
+ Contact a major health food store chain for information on stores in your area.
If you cannot find any natural food stores in your area, there are a number of other options:
+ Shop at a large local supermarket. Many supermarkets have a small “natural foods” section. In addition, one can purchase whole grains, meats, vegetables, fruits, legumes, etc. Just try to avoid most of the highly processed foods that often make up the bulk of what is sold at some supermarkets.
+ Get fresh vegetables, fruits, and whatever else is possible at local farmers” markets or farm stands. It may take some effort to locate these places, but it can be worth it. Try to get certified organic produce where possible (Buying organic is especially important for soy products, corn, and potatoes).
+ Many staple foods can be ordered through the mail. See the Resources section at the end of this article for mailorder sources of natural foods.
I do want to stress, however, that just because you shop at a natural food store does not mean that everything there is healthy. Some health food stores sell some products that can actually be quite detrimental to your health (e.g., aspartame (NutraSweet), neotame, acesulfame-k (Sweet-n-Safe, Sunette), sucralose (Splenda) and other toxic artificial sweeteners, MSG, etc.). Reading labels is a good habit to have wherever you shop.
Try to eat a variety of foods within each main category listed above, especially vegetables. In addition, try to get a wide variety of cooked green, leafy vegetables such as collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens, etc.
An enormous variety of very tasty meals can be made with a little bit of practice and some good cookbooks.
Balance of Foods
There are many conflicting opinions on what the best balance of foods are for people. Most people now agree that a diet that is balanced for one person may be intolerable for another. Some people have enormous success with a traditional natural foods diet as presented by authors such as Dr. Dean Ornish or Annamarie Colbin, while others have more success with a different way of balancing one”s diet such as that prescribed by Dr. Barry Sears in his book, “Enter The Zone.” (Note: I believe that there is too much artificial, junk food allowed in the Zone Diet and that staying on it for *years* may not be healthy, but the ideas about macronutrient balance may be very helpful to many people.)
What works for you may take a little bit of experimenting. I suggest that you look eat each of the ideas for balancing types of foods and find out what works best for you through experimen- tation. But keep in mind the following two very important points:
1. Whatever balance of foods you choose, you can still have the majority of your diet made up of natural, healthy foods; and
2. Your food needs will likely change over time. For example, for several years you may start out eating a small percentage of whole grains and more meat and fat as described by Barry Sears, but over time as your health improves using nutrition and other possible healing techniques (e.g., Tai Chi, Yoga, Herbalism, Acupuncture, Bioenergetics, Meditation, Qigong, etc.), you may find it more beneficial to move towards a natural foods diet as described by Annamarie Colbin. In addition, as your health improves you may find the ability to eat foods that you could not tolerate years earlier because they caused wild insulin swings or because of allergic and intolerance reactions.
The following examples dietary percentages are meant to give you a general idea of what a balanced diet might look like for one person. These percentages would vary widely depending upon several circumstances.
20-40% whole grains 20-30% vegetables 10-15% legumes 0-10% sea vegetables 5-15% fish or other meat 5-10% fruits (mostly in the warmer months) 10-15% herbal teas, coffee substitutes, freshly-made juices, Spring water, etc. 0-10% Organic dairy, ghee & eggs 5-10% other (spices — ginger, tumeric, etc., seeds, nuts, cooking oils, etc.)
Some people have difficulty digesting whole grains. If that is the case, try using soba (buckwheat) noodles (which can be purchased at a Natural Foods store or Japanese grocery store) to see if that helps. For others, eating too much grain causes them to crave large amounts of carbohydrates. In these cases, increase the use of vegetables and meat with the knowledge that you may find it beneficial to begin adding more whole grains to your diet several months or years later as your health and condition allows.
As an example, many persons with chronic immune system disorders, carbohydrate cravings, excess weight and other conditions feel much better if they start off with a diet that includes fewer carbohydrates and more protein in the form of fish and chicken:
10-20% meat (mostly a variety of fish + a small to moderate amount of “organic” fowl or red meat) 20-40% vegetables (including green, leafy vegetables) 5-15% sea vegetables 10-15% herbal teas, and coffee substitutes, and other healthy beverages (see below) 5-15% grains and/or buckwheat (soba) or udon noodles (chewed very well) 5-10% legumes 0-10% dairy and eggs 5-10% other (e.g., fruit if tolerated — separate from meal)
Forcing large amounts of whole grains in your system if it cannot handle it is not a good idea. Over a long period of time and as the body heals using a healthy diet and other important techniques, it is preferable to gradually add more whole grains into the diet. You will have to find out what your body needs and tolerates with some experimentation.
I suggest reading some of the books listed in the resource section by Annamarie Colbin, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Barry Sears. Please try not to get overly caught up in all of the theories. The important thing is to take the steps necessary to find what works best for you and keep open to future changes as you condition changes.
In colder climates, it is traditional to eat slightly more root vegetables, meat and heavier grains (e.g., buckwheat, barley), and much less fruit. In warmer climates, it is traditional to eat more lighter grains, more green leafy vegetables, more salads, slightly more fruit, and less meat. However, these subtleties take a back seat to eating whatever balance feels most comfortable during your healing process.
This is the most important variation. Please try to avoid obsessing about percentages of food categories. Over time, you can work towards the very approximate percentages that feel right for you.
A holistic health practitioner can give you a diet to suit your needs. In general, start out by gradually moving towards a diet that includes plenty of vegetables, some whole grains, some legumes, some meat, a small, but regular amount of various sea vegetables, regular use of small amounts of natural cooking oils or ground seeds, a limited amount of fruit (although more in the warmer climates is fine), some herb teas or other beverages, and some treats from time to time. Then vary it over time to find out what works best for you.
Some illnesses make it necessary to vary the percentages of food eaten. For example some people cannot easily tolerate whole grains. In this case, it is important to try to incorporate easily digestible grain products such as soba (buckwheat) noodles or even baby food made from whole grain. If it is still not possible, you may want to consider whether you have a gluten intolerance. You may also need to take regular supplementation as discussed later.
Try to do whatever you can to include some food from the main food categories. However, if it is not possible, then don”t worry. As your health improves, you may eventually be able to incorporate easily digestible foods from categories that you may not be able to tolerate at this time.
Try to have your food cooked on a regular stove or in an oven rather than having it “nuked” in a microwave oven. Eat freshly cooked/prepared dishes when possible as there is more energy (chi) in freshly-cooked foods than foods that have been cooked or prepared several days earlier.
It can be very helpful to take cooking classes or to get help from a friend. Ask at your local natural food stores where you can take cooking classes. It may take a while to become adept at using natural, healthy foods. Please be patient with yourself.
While eating home-cooked meals can be helpful, the reality is that many people work 40+ hours per week and are too tired to cook everyday after work. If that is the case, it is important to try and avoid adding enormous stress to your life by forcing yourself to cook when you don”t have the energy to do it regularly. Try to cook the foods you can and use the following techniques as a way to reduce the effort spent cooking meals:
+ Share cooking/cleaning up tasks with other members of the household either regularly or whenever you can (e.g., once per week).
+ Find restaurants that serve relatively healthy meals without too much junk and eat at those restaurants. (If you have to eat at restaurants often because of no time/energy to cook foods, just try to find healthy food and be happy with that — don”t beat yourself up about it.) “Ethnic” restaurants with food from India, Thiland, Korea, Japan, Africa, etc. often have healthy options (without MSG).
+ Make quick-cooking meals on occasion. Many dishes such as soda noodles, steamed vegetables, salads, fish, etc. do not take too long to cook. Sometimes, I will add natural, pre-made sauces or salad dressings from my local Natural Foods store if I do not have the time or energy or ability to make them myself.
Another very important point related to cooking is that it can be extremely healing to eat hot meals the majority of the time (except in the heat of the Summer months). Overdoing cold foods can damage one”s digestive strength and overall health. Try to warm up your body with hot meals and hot drinks, especially in the cold Winter months.
Probiotics refer to friendly bacteria which contribute to the health of the intestinal tract. There are a number of traditional foods that promote the health of beneficial bacteria. If possible, a variety of these foods should be ingested on a regular basis. Some of these include:
+ Miso + Pickles + Sauerkraut + Kimchee + Yogurt + Kefir + Beer/Wine
Many people find that having Miso soup several times per week helps strengthen their health over time. Instructions on how to purchase and cook miso soup (without destroying the beneficial bacterial). Sauerkraut and other traditionally fermented products can be helpful as well when they are eaten ocassionally. Some people are sensitive to some of these fermented products (although miso is usually tolerated well), so please start with small amounts to see if you have sensitivities.
More detailed information about Probiotics, especially probiotic supplements, can be found in Appendix A below. For many people it is preferable to get their probiotics from the food sources listed above.
Essential Fatty Acids
While avoiding a high saturated fat diet can be beneficial, there are some essential fats that are extremely important for healing and maintaining good health. There are two Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linoleic acid (LNA). The body takes these EFAs and makes other useful substances from them. Some foods contain derivatives of these EFAs and other fatty acids that can also be beneficial.
Some signs of linoleic acid (LA) deficiency include:
+ eczema + loss of hair + behavioral problems + susceptibility to infections + failure of wound healing + arthritic conditions + heart and circulatory problem + growth retardation
Some signs of alpha-linoleic acid (LNA) deficiency include:
+ weakness + motor incoordination + tingling in the extremities + behavioral changes + growth retardation + vision impairment + behavioral changes
I strongly encourage regular ingestion of small amounts of foods that contain these EFAs and their derivaties. You do not have to eat large amounts of these foods, simply include them as a regular part of your cooking and food plan.
Good sources of linoleic acid (LA) include:
+ Sesame seed oil + Safflower seed oil + Sunflower seed oil + Hemp seed oil
Good sources of alpha-linoleic acid (LNA) include:
+ Flax seed oil and ground flax seeds + Hemp seed oil + Soybean oil (organic) (small amounts of LNA)
Some fish such as salmon, mackerel herring, ect. contain LNA derivaties, EPA & DHA, which have numerous positive health benefits. Farmed fish (sometimes found in Natural Food stores) have less EPA & DHA than fresh, wild fish but the wild fish may have more pollutants. Some people find it beneficial to ingest small amounts of these fish on a regular basis.
Seed oils should be purchased from a Natural Foods store and should be “unrefined” and preferably pressed at low temperatures. (Read the label.) Opaque (non-transparent) bottles are preferable because heat and light can begin to slowly destroy the EFAs. I try to stay away from canola oil unless because it is usually genetically-engineered and treated with chemicals (even when found in health food stores). Soybean oil has only small amounts of LNA, but can be healthy as long as the organic varieties are used (since the non-organic varieties are often genetically-engineered). Seed oils with large amounts of LNAs (e.g., Flax, Hemp) can go bad very quickly, so these can often be found in the refrigerated section of Natural Food stores in opaque bottles. Look for ones that have been pressed recently.
Because it can be difficult to get essential fatty acids (EFAs) from modern diets (even natural foods diets in some cases), an EFA supplement may be helpful. “Udo”s Choice Perfected Oil Blend” is one excellent EFA supplement. Unlike some supplements and oils available in health food stores, care is taken to process the oil with low heat and care is taken to balance the proportion of LNA, LA and other key nutrients for the most beneficial effect. It can be ordered from Flora Health on the U.S. or Canadian web site. Do not supplement with flax seed oil by itself for more than six months because its extremely high LNA content could contribute to an LA fatty acid deficiency.
In summary, here are some general guidelines to consider:
+ Regular use of moderate amounts of sesame oil in cooking and safflower oil in occasional use for salad dressings, sauces, etc. + Regular intake of small amounts of cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring (3-4 times/week). + Semi-regular use of flax seed oil/ground flax seeds or hemp seed oil (if you can find it). Freshly ground flax seeds or hemp seeds can be put onto cooked cereals and other dishes. Some Natural Food stores and cooking supply stores carry inexpensive grinders for seeds. + Moderate use of extra virgin olive oil. + Possible use of EFA supplements.
Please see “Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill” by Udo Erasmus for more detailed information about Essential Fatty Acids.
Avoid foods that you are allergic to or have a food intolerance for. If you are allergic to certain healthy foods, you may be able to incorporate them into your diet at a later time when your health improves using holistic healing techniques (e.g., nutrition, yoga/meditation, tai chi, etc.). But for now, it is important to either 1) make the food more digestible to avoid reactions or, 2) if that doesn”t work, avoid the food completely.
A enormous number of people have reported that some symptoms disappeared when they, for an extended period of time, avoided foods that caused problems. Food allergies and intolerances and many times more common than the “medical establishment” likes to admit. Many times, eating foods that cause problems leads very gradually to adverse symptoms, poor health, or simply a run-down feeling. Below are some ideas for identifying and eliminating allergy and intolerance problems.
+ NAET Treatment Some people report significant improvement when diagnosed and treated by a Nambudripad-trained (NAET) healthcare practitioner.
To find out more about this innovative treatment that helps many people, please see the recent article published in Issue 6 of “Alternative Medicine Digest.” You can read the article online at:
or order it by contacting:
Alternative Medicine Digest Future Medicine Publishing 1640 Tiburon Blvd Suite 2 Tiburon, CA 94920 800-333-4325
A presentation by Dr. Devi Nambudripad (NAET developer) to the ADD-Holistic group can be found at http://www.holisticmed.com/add/nambudripad.html.
Even more useful is the book (“Winning the War Against Asthma & Allergies”) and the list of NAET practitioners at the following web site:
Book: http://www.allergy2000.com/ Practitioners (partial list): http://www.allergy2000.com/members/practitioners.html
The official NAET page is now online and can be found at: http://www.naet.com/. and the official NAET list of practitioners can be found at: http://www.naet.com/directory.asp.
+ Low-Dose Immunotherapy The innovative techniques developed by Dr. Doris J. Rapp for diagnosing and treating health problems caused by hidden allergic or intolerance reactions may prove helpful to many people. Information about her books and her treatment techniques can be found in the speeches she gave before the Allergy and Environmental Health Association of Canada on May 31, 1996 reprinted in the proceedings on the following web page:
The second speech given by Dr. Doris J. Rapp (“Practical Ways to Resolve Environmental and Allergy Problems Caused by Housing, School Environment and Diet” presents some excellent advice on simple, preliminary steps that can be taken to find hidden allergies or intolerances.
A presentation by Dr. Doris Rapp to the ADD-Holistic group can be found at http://www.holisticmed.com/add/rapp.html.
In addition, Dr. Rapp has written a new book with extensive resources for identifying and dealing with allergic, intolerance and toxicity reactions in children. But much of the information in the book applies to adults as well. Please see the Holistic Healing Web Page/Amazon.Com bookstore for Dr. Rapp”s book, “Is This Your Child”s World.”
+ Yoga Some people find that by moving gradually towards a natural foods diet (including significantly cutting down on or cutting out dairy foods), and practicing yoga regularly for six months or more that their allergies naturally become much less severe and nonexistent in some cases. The benefits of regular yoga practice and a natural foods diet go far beyond simply a reduction of allergy symptoms.
+ Rotation Diet Switch to a Rotation Diet until your body is able to tolerate a larger variety of foods. In order to continue to eat a healthy varied diet, it is extremely helpful for some people to “rotate” the foods they eat so that the immune system does not react to those foods continuously. This technique, the Rotation Diet, has been enormously helpful for many people with extreme food allergies.
A rotation diet is a natural foods diet with the added technique of rotating each food that you eat so that you only eat it every 4 to 7 days. You will have to keep a food diary and/or keep track of your planned foods on 3×5 cards so that you do not repeat the same food. If you eat brown rice on Monday, simply put the “brown rice” 3×5 card in the next week”s selection of possible food options and remove it from this week”s.
Even if you do not think you have food allergies, I highly recommend printing out and reading the article on the Nambudripad treatment and the speeches by Dr. Rapp referenced on web pages above. In this way, you may be able to help many others in the future.
Finally, if you are able to find and eliminate an allergy, that is wonderful, but I would still strongly suggest experimenting with other holistic healing techniques (e.g., yoga, inner healing & transformation, etc.).
It is very helpful to avoid drinking chlorinated water on a regular basis. It can be difficult to build a healthy environment of beneficial bacteria in the colon while drinking chlorinated water. In addition, by drinking chlorinated water it is very likely that one is also ingesting significant levels of Trihalomethanes (TCMs), chemical compounds that are suspected of increasing cancer rates and may adversely effect other bodily systems.
It is also very helpful to avoid drinking water medicated with fluoride compounds. Water with fluoride compounds added often has a much higher lead content. In addtion, the fluoride builds up in the tissues, organs, and bones, causes slow damage to the bones, inhibits key enzymes, contributes to arthritic-like symptoms, has recently been shown to be neurotoxic (and lower children”s IQ), and possibly increases one”s chances of getting cancer. In 1997, EPA scientists and risk assessment specialists voted unanimously to oppose mandatory fluoridation in California because of the major health risks. Recent research proves that fluoride in drinking water, cooking water, and premade beverages does not prevent tooth decay (only topical applications of fluoride does this to a extremely small extent). Like other slow poisons (e.g., aspartame, neotame), fluoride is avoided by people who are serious about healing or preventing illness. (Note: There are other sources for high levels of fluoride. Junk foods and infant foods with deboned chicken and non-organic fruit juices such as grape juice can contain dangerously high levels of fluoride and should be avoided.) Please see the following web page for information and links to independent and authoritative information on the subject:
Here is a list of suggested water sources in order of my preference.
1. “Spring Water” from glass bottles. As long as the water bottle says, “Spring Water,” it must, by U.S. law, come from a real spring and cannot be filtered tap water. Water should be regularly tested by the bottler. Call the bottler for more information. This is ideal because you avoid the toxic substances (chlorine, fluoride compounds, THM”s, etc.) and get the natural minerals in the water.
2. Same as “1” above, but water is stored in heavy 5-gallon jugs.
3. Water filtered with a combination carbon filter/reverse osmosis filter. See Debra Lynn Dadd books for a list of vendors that sell quality water filters. Remember to change carbon filters as instructed by vendor.
4. Spring water stored in 1-gallon jugs. Try to avoid the flimsy jugs as the plastic can leech into the water.
5. Water filtered with a solid carbon filter. (If water supply is *not* artificially fluoridated, this option should come before “4” above.)
A carbon block or granulated water filter will not remove fluoride compounds from the water no matter what the manufacturer literature might say.
6. Boiled tap water.
Check the labels of the products you purchase at the natural foods store. Many vendors now use filtered water when making their product. Buying food and liquids from vendors who filter their water will help you avoid chlorine compounds. However, there may be fluoride compounds in the water if the manufacturer did not use a reverse osmosis filter.
It is impossible to avoid chlorinated and fluoridated water completely if you enjoy going out to restaurants ocassionally or going over to friend”s houses, so I suggest just doing the best you can. Preferably that means using spring water as the bulk of your cooking and drinking water.
It is important to get plenty of fluids. The amount will vary from person to person, but most people should get at least 6 cups of beverage per day. You can have quite a bit of variety in this category, including:
o Herbal Teas Unless you are taking a specific herbal tea for medicinal reasons, you can experiment quite a bit with different herbal teas. Try to avoid regular drinking tea that contains herbs with significant amounts of caffeine (e.g., guarana, kola, nut, black tea). You can get a variety of herbal tea beverages at a natural foods grocery store or from mailorder sources. (See Resources section below).
If you want to learn to make your own herbal teas, please a good book on making herbal teas. (See Holistic Healing Web Page/Amazon.Com bookstore for a listing.)
I like to drink dandelion root tea with a little bit of licorice root. Some people like to drink bancha twig tea after meals.
o Coffee Substitutes There are quite a few coffee substitutes that you can buy from your local natural foods store. I prefer Inca (Distributed by Adamba Imports Int”l, Brooklyn, NY 11237) which contains Roasted Barley, Rye, Chicory, and Beet Roots, but there are a number of other good brands.
o Spring Water Plain spring water is an excellant, healthy beverage. See discussion above regarding water.
o Milk Substitutes Soy milk and rice milk are sold in natural foods stores and are excellant milk substitutes. Soy milk can be particularly difficulty to digest for some people, so rice milk may prove a better substitute.
o Juices If you can make your own fresh juices, that will be much better than store-bought juices.
+ Purchasing a juicer: If you are looking for a juicer, consider purchasing a Champion brand juicer. Even though they are more expensive than some heavily advertised cheaper models, they are very easy to use, do a wonderful job making the juice, and they are very easy to clean. Vitamix also makes an excellent juicer, but some people dislike the juice consistency that is produced, so taste-test juice before purchasing if possible.
+ Try to avoid mixing vegetables and fruits in the same juice on a regular basis. Many people feel better over the long-term when eat fruits separately from meals and other food groups.
+ Try to focus mostly on vegetable juice mixtures and to go easy on the fruit juice ingestion.
+ Develop a habit from the beginning of diluting all juices with 50% juice and 50% spring water. It will be difficult to get used to it at first, but after a while undiluted juice will seem much too strong.
+ If you buy juice from a grocery store, look for juice that is:
# juice and nothing but juice # unfiltered # organic # uses filtered water
I like to drink apple cider from time to time. Look for apple cider without and sweateners or preservatives.
o Amasake Amasake is a beverage make from rice, sweet rice, koji or other starter, and sometimes other flavorings such as almonds. The starter breaks down the polysaccharides (complex sugars) in the rice into disaccharides (two linked simple sugar molecules). This makes amasake much sweeter than rice, but not extremely sweet like sugared beverages.
In the far east, amasake drinks are sometimes sold as hot drinks in the Winter. In the U.S., they are sold as cold beverages (but can be heated) in natural food stores.
I sometimes make my own amasake, but sometimes purchase it from the natural food store (although it is much more expensive this way). The amasake at natural food stores with almonds, pecans, etc. can be difficult on the digestive system, so it is better to purchase primarily the plain variety.
o Vegetable Broths Vegetable broths are an excellant way to get extra vitamins and minerals in a balanced, easily assimilable form. They are also can help warm and heal the digestive system. I often drink a cup of hot vegetable broth before lunch.
It is better to make your own vegetable broth. But you can purchase it at a natural food store. Be very careful when purchasing vegetable broths, however, as many of them contain significant amounts of *hidden* MSG in the form of “hydrolyzed vegetable proteins” (HVP) or “autolyzed yeast.”
One store-bought broth that I like is:
All Natural Vegetable Broth Gayelord Hauser Products P.O. Box 09398 Milwaukee, WI 53209
o Alcoholic Beverages If you decide to drink alcoholic beverages, please do so in small to moderate amounts.
Since beer and wine ingredients do not have to be labelled, manufacturers dump in a variety of unhealthy chemicals as preservatives, flavor enhancers, etc.. Natural food stores often sell alcoholic beverages without lots of chemicals. Certain American beers like Coors and Anchor Steam have no additives. Many German and Austrian beers are also toxin-free. Try to find wine at natural food stores that do not have additives and are grown with organic grapes (since grapes are sprayed so heavily when they are not organic). Stores like Whole Foods Market usually carry natural beers and wines. In addition, the Organic Traveler”s Guide to the Wine Country may prove useful for finding organic wines from California.
Foods to Phase Out or Cut Back
Below are some tips on what foods often need to be reduced or, in some cases, eliminated completely from the diet. Please focus primarily on the positive aspects, i.e., the other sections of this article which discusses the healthier foods options. Using those areas plus some of the nutrition and cookbook information in the Holistic Healing Web Page/Amazon.Com bookstore will give you most of the information you need. This section is included as a reference in case you need information on foods to cut back.
Before we get to the list, I would like to point out that it is important not to restrict yourself too severely. If you do, it might slow your healing progress considerably. If you have been eating these foods for some time, it is fine in most cases to eat some of them a little while longer while you search for suitable, healthy replacements. In addition, it it very important not to worry about eating unhealthy foods on occasion as the worrying is not doing you any good. Simply be gentle with yourself and try to make gradual progress towards a healthier food plan.
o Dangerous and Unhealthy Sweeteners The following sweetener should be eliminated immediately from the diet as it does considerable, albeit gradual, damage to the body:
+ aspartame / neotame (NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful)
Check the labels very carefully for the word “aspartame” or “neotame” as it is often difficult to see in the ingredients list. Aspartame may also be found in over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and supplements. Unless you are looking for serious health problems down the line, I cannot to strongly suggest avoiding it. Please see the Aspartame Toxicity Information Center:
The following sweetener should be eliminated as soon as possible as they are dangerous for your health and will definately not promote a healthy body:
+ acesulfame-k (Sunette, Sweet One, Sweet-n-Safe) + sucralose (Splenda)
The following sweetener should be eliminated fairly soon after beginning a move towards a natural foods diet and finding suitable sweetener replacements (see below):
+ saccharine + cyclamates + refined white sugar + fructose sweeteners (refined) + corn syrup + dextrose + raw sugar (often just white sugar with coloring) + brown sugar (usually just white sugar mixed with molasses or sprayed with coloring) + sugar alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, etc.)
All of these sweeteners are not good for your health, can prevent or delay healing from a chronic disease when used regularly, and may cause serious health problems years after use begins. Despite what you may have read in books or heard concentrated fructose sweeteners have been shown to cause more health problems from long-term use than refined sugar.
There are still a large number of much healthier sweeteners that can be used by the general population and some of them can be used safely by diabetics. Some of these sweeteners include:
+ Evaporated cane juice (Sucanat, Florida Crystals) + Stevia leaf, powder, and extract + Barley Malt + Rice Syrup + Yinnie Syrup + Amasake + Honey + Fruit Juice + Fructooligosaccharides
For an extensive list of resources for these sweeteners, please contact Mark Gold (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the heathier sweetener web page at:
o Dairy In almost all cases, dairy foods were traditionally eaten in small amounts. Often, when they were eaten, it was in the form of traditionally fermented foods such as yogurt or kefir. Many people have an unidentified intolerance or allergy to dairy products. In the long run, it can be very helpful for most people to cut dairy foods way back or cut them completely out of the diet. Some people find that they can do this quickly without any major cravings. Others find that gradually replacing dairy foods with other healthy aspects of a natural foods diet is the best way to go.
Here are a few facts about dairy foods:
+ Galactose in dairy products may contribute to ovarian cancer as the cancer rates parallel worldwide dairy- eating patterns.
+ Pesticides and antibiotic residues are frequently found in dairy products despite government efforts to screen the dairy. Some antibiotics are tested for, but most are not.
+ Dairy proteins contribute to allergies, asthma, and sinus problems.
+ Antigens in dairy may also contribute to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
+ Other conditions that can be contributed to by dairy include: Acne, Atherosclerosis, Bellyaches, Bloated Abdomen, Bronchitis, Chest Infections, Cramps, Diarrhea, Eczema, Gas, Gastrointestinal Disturbance, Hay Fever, Hemorrhage, High Blood Pressure, Hives, Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Nasal Congestion, Kidney disease, Pyoderma, Skin rash, and Sneezing.
+ Elderly people in some developing countries show low osteoporosis rates despite a much lower intake of calcium than developed countries such as the U.S.
+ Countries that DO NOT use dairy often have a lower osteoporosis rate than the U.S.
+ Scientific studies have show that high animal protein diets (dairy, meat) decrease calcium absorbtion.
+ Caffeine decreases calcium absorbtion.
+ Weight-bearing exercises increase bone density significantly and decrease osteoporosis.
+ Good sources of calcium include (but are not limited to) Turnip greens, Watercress, Collard greens, Kale, Broccoli, Soy Products, Sesame seeds. In some cases, a calcium/ magnesium supplement can be taken to increase calcium intake.
A few tips on selecting a small amount of dairy products: + Choose plain yogurt or kefir where possible. Or use small amount of ghee in cooking.
+ Avoid homogenized dairy products where possible. Homogenization significantly reduces the size of the dairy fat molecules making absorption of the fat and other undesirable elements much greater.
+ Choose whole dairy foods. If the dairy is homogenized, however, then choose skim or 1% fat dairy foods.
+ Avoid dairy foods where rBGH was injected into the cow. rBGH injections have been proven recently to cause chemical changes in milk that may significant increase human cancer growth rates. Please see the following web page for more information and resources:
+ Choose “organic” dairy where possible. Organic dairy means that the cows were not fed chemical diets and large amounts of antibiotics. Such a diet causes antibiotics to end up in the milk (often making it past inspection stations).
+ Milk proteins such as casein (caseinate) and whey are often found in non-dairy products, especially creamy soy products. Many people benefit by avoiding these ingredients to a large extent.
Most natural food stores can provide detailed information on the source of the dairy foods that they sell. See the Holistic Healing Web Page/Amazon.Com bookstore for independent information about dairy products.
Suggested substitutes: Rice milk, soy milk, soy products (without casein), amasake.
o Food Additives and Preservatives The cumlative effects of all of the additives and preservatives that are eaten in the S.A.D. diet are very bad for the body. I strongly suggest that you consider phasing out most of the non-traditionally used additives and preservatives. The easiest way to do this is to do most, if not all, of your shopping at a natural foods store.
There are many different additives and preservatives. Anything with a chemical-like name is most likely something to be avoided. Some common examples are:
+ Monosodium Glutimate (MSG) + artificial colors + artificial flavors + food dyes + Nitrates + sodium sulfite + potassium bisulfite
Be careful, because some additives and preservatives are not listed on the labels. For example, according to FDA “regulations,” MSG does not have to be listed if it is part of a food that is listed on the ingredients label. Also, MSG is often hidden under a variety of names on a label such as:
+ Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein + Hydrolyzed Protein + Hydrolyzed Plant Protein + Plant Protein Extract + Sodium Caseinate + Calcium Caseinate + Yeast Extract + Textured Protein + Autolyzed Yeast + Hydrolyzed Oat Flour + Flavoring + Natural Flavoring + Natural Beef or Chiken Flavoring
MSG, in the form of “hydrolyzed proteins” are often found in soups at health food stores under the guise of natural MSG. MSG can cause brain cell death from long-term use and these so-called “natural MSGs” are exactly the same as MSG (despite public relations claims to the contrary). See http://www.holisticmed.com/msg/ for more scientific and general information about MSG.
Alcohol (beer, wine) often contains all sorts of dangerous additives and does not list these on the label. There are several brands of “natural” beer and wine if you drink these substances.
Suggested substitutes: A tiny amount of umeboshi paste or sea salt for use as a preservative.
o Heavily Refined Foods Heavily refined foods and meals should be avoided. Examples include:
+ Frozen pizzas + Pot pies (e.g., Chicken Pot Pie) + Prepared meals from grocery stores (e.g., Lean Cuisine, Hungry Man) + Filtered fruit juices + White Bread + Etc.
Eighty percent (80%) of most items sold in a typical grocery store would probably fit into this category.
Suggested substitutes: Ethnic restaurants often have healthy food that will save cooking (e.g., Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnemese). Be sure to insist upon getting food without MSG. Also, many natural food stores have healthier prepackaged foods that can be made quickly.
o Foods Without Toxic Chemicals Certified organically grown foods are preferable. The cumulative exposure to toxic pesticide residues that one can get from regularly eating heavily sprayed crops found in some grocery stores is quite high and may have a significant impact on your health over time. In addition, some research points to the fact that organically grown foods may have higher average levels of nutrients in some. Even though organic foods are slightly more expensive, they are well worth the cost in the long run.
It is nearly impossible in this society to completely avoid non-organic foods. We just have to be satisfied with what we can do now and keep our eyes open for future sources that become available (or do some footwork to find those sources). Please keep the following points in mind when considering toxic chemical-free foods:
+ Foreign Produce
Produce grown in some “third-world” countries averages a _much_ higher level of pesticide residues. In addition, pesticides that are banned the U.S. are often sold by chemical companies in “third-world” countries and used on produce that may reach your dinner plate. Please take time to investigate the source of your produce. Here is an excerpt from Debra Lynn Dadd”s book, “Non-toxic and Natural”:
Also, another category of chemicals is introduced for “cosmetic purposes,” to make our produce more attractive to the eye. Some oranges are dyed orange with the coal-tar dye Red No. 32, known to cause cancer in laboratory animals. And, before green oranges are dye to look ripe, they are “degreened” with ethylene gas to remove the chlorophyll from the rind. The colorless oranges are then tinted by passing through a vat of hot dye. Almost all Florida citrus that reaches the marketplace before January 1 has been treated. Other produce that may be dyed are some “new” potatoes (regular potatoes dyed red) and some red yams (actually dyed sweet potatoes).
Concerns about packaging materials are by no means limited to processed foods. Citrus fruits are generally wrapped in papers treated with a potent fungicide.
+ Citrus Fruit
Citrus fruit is often grown with very toxic pesticides that can build up in the body and contribute to immune system problems. In addition, non-organic citrus fruit is often “treated” with chemicals.
+ Waxed Produce
Most people think of only apples as being waxed with an unhealthy petrochemical product. Debra Lynn Dadd lists the following produce as sometimes being waxed so that it looks shinier:
carrots, organes, lemons, limes, apples, pears, plums, peaches, melons, parsnips, tomatoes, green peppers, rutabagas, turnips, cucumbers, grapefruits, and tangerines.
Sometimes pumpkins, squash, and eggplant are waxed.
I suggest avoiding waxed produce where possible or at least peeling the produce. If a fumigant was applied to the produce, such as ortho-phenylphenol, and the wax was then applied, the fumigant cannot be washed off.
Potatoes and onions may be treated with the dangerous chemical, maleic hydrazide to inhibit sprouting. Mushrooms may be fumigated with formaldehyde.
Produce is sometimes distributed in trucks that have been hosed out with dangerous chemicals or uncleaned trucks that have been distributing dangerous chemicals.
If you buy this produce from your local natural foods store, you may want to have the store manager check to see if any post-treatment of produce (both organic and non-organic) is occurring. It is a good idea to know the sources of your food and how it is treated. Suggested substitutes: Certified organic produce, Transitional produce (organic for less than 3 years), Locally-grown produce.
o Very Cold Foods Very cold foods can temporarily paralyze the digestive process and weaken the stomach. Regular intake of cold foods can contribute to digestive system problems and a variety of other health problems. I strongly suggest that you limit the very cold foods to a minimum eaten separately from meals. When or if you eat or drink very cold foods, warm each bite up in the mouth before swallowing.
If you are used to eating cold foods such as ice cream, don”t make yourself suffer by cutting it all out at once. Try gradually finding healthier replacements that satisfy your needs.
Suggested substitutes: Rice Dream (on occasion, warmed in mouth), cooled Amasake, cooled herb teas, cooled juices.
o Coffee/Caffeine It can be very helpful to gradually eliminated caffeinated beverages from one”s diet including coffee, caffeinated soda, black tea, kola nut, and guarana herb. Caffeine is far too stimulating, causes restless sleeping, irritates the stomach, and it is hard on the adrenals. Weakening the adrenals by drinking caffeinated beverages regularly can contribute to the development of significant health problems over the years.
Some people replace caffeinated beverages with natural coffee substitutes, fresh vegetable juices, or herbal teas They are all excellant replacements. On the other hand, I strongly suggest that you do not replace coffee with decaffeinated coffee. Decaffeinated coffee is an imbalanced, unhealthy beverage processed with synthetic chemicals. If you are currently drinking decaffeinated coffee, I strongly suggest that you gradually phase it out.
Please remember that cutting caffeine out of the diet too quickly can cause severe reactions. A gradual reduction and elimination of caffeine is the best way to go.
Suggested substitutes: Coffee substitutes, roasted dandelion root tea, fresh juices, herbal teas with a small amount of licorice root.
o Fruit and Fruit Juices There is nothing inherantly “bad” about eating fruit. It is a good idea, however, to reduce fruit intake to no more than once per day as separately eaten snacks. In the colder months, fruit is best consumed on an occasional basis only. Eat fruit often is cleansing, but also cooling and weakening to the digestion system. So, for a cleansing regimen (a special holistic healing process) some fruit and fruit juice is more appropriate, but during the bulk of the healing process when you are trying to warm and strengthen your digestive system, it is a good idea to cut back.
Citrus fruit was sometimes eaten with a small piece of the citrus peel to counteract its cooling affect on the digestive system. This is a very bad idea if you are not eating organically grown fruit. Otherwise, if you eat a citrus fruit on occasion, try a bit of the peel (if the fruit is organically grown).
I eat very small amounts of fruit a few times per week in the warmer months and much less in the colder months.
o Carbonated Beverages If you drink alot of carbonated beverages, it is a very good idea to gradually reduce these beverages, even if it is just carbonated water. On occasion, it okay to enjoy a carbonated beverage such as Poland Spring or carbonated fruit juice beverage, but it can slow healing considerably to drink such beverages constantly. This is especially the case if you have digestive weakness or asthma.
o Flour Products Try to make progress towards eating the majority of your grain products in the form of whole grains or noodles (e.g., soba, udon noodles) as opposed to flour products. Eating alot of flour products can lead to mucus buildup throughout the body, especially when accompanied by a weak digestion or a large fruit intake.
Suggested substitutes: Whole grains, soba and udon noodles, whole grain “baby” food or cereals.
o Refined Grains Refined grains such as white rice and white flour have most of the vitamins and minerals removed. Sometimes vitamins and minerals are then added back in and the product is called “enriched.” As a general rule, I would phase out these products whether they are “enriched” or not. It is much better to eat whole grains.
On occasion, I still eat refined grains. If I go to a restaurant, my dish may include white rice. If I make seitan (wheat meat), I may use some white flour. The majority of grains products eaten should be unrefined.
Suggested substitutes: Whole grains in easily digestible form or gluten-free grain products if necessary.
o Meat Most people who eat a Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) are better off cutting out most, if not all red meat. Also, most fowl and shellfish should be cut out as well. It is better for most people to eat fish and some fowl anywhere from a couple times per week to once per day (depending upon what feels best for you) If you are allergic to fish, it is okay to use a small, regular amount of chicken or turkey.
Excess meat ingestion, especially red meat, can cause numerous problems in the GI Tract and the liver which can lead to health problems throughout the body. On the other hand, regularly eating a small amount of meat can be very helpful for some people. As mentioned previously, everyone has to find their own balance as to how much of each major food group works best for them at a particular time.
I eat deep water ocean fish (e.g., salmon, mackarel) three to four times per week in the colder months and slightly less in the warmer months. On rare ocassion, I eat a little bit of chicken or turkey. If you eat meat, here are a few tips that may help:
+ Try to purchase it at a natural foods store and make sure that the animal was not fed a chemical diet and treated abusively.
+ Cook the meat thoroughly so that all of the bacteria is killed.
+ Traditional societies added various spices to meat to make it more digestable and less toxic to the gastro intestinal tract. Some of the cookbooks below include recipes along these lines. I like to eat a little bit of raw, grated ginger root along with a meat dish. I often cook fish with parsley and add lemon juice afterwards to make it healthier.
+ Eat a cooked leafy, green vegetable at the same meal as meat is eaten.
Suggested substitutes: A variety of legumes (e.g., mung beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, etc., tempeh, seitan)
o Table Salt It is important to use only a moderate amount of salt and usually only during the cooking process. Everyone has to find out what their salt needs are. However, most people should not overdue the use of salt. That does not mean that one needs to avoid salt completely (unless ordered to do so by your healthcare practitioner).
Cooking legumes takes the most salt as it makes them more digestible when added 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time. You only need a tiny pinch when cooking grains. Limit the amount of salt used to a moderate amount when cooking vegetables.
It is much better to avoid common table salt and use the following in small quanities:
+ Sea salt (preferably without trace minerals removed) + Tamari + Umeboshi Plum (or paste) + Miso + Other fermented foods (pickles, sauerkraut)
o Cooking Oil Gradually eliminate cooking oil bought at normal grocery stores and use small to moderate amounts (1-2 Tablespoons per day) of “unrefined” sesame oil or virgin olive oil bought in natural food stores. Unrefined sesame & olive oils are an excellent source of some types of essential fatty acdes and generally should not be eliminated. Cold-pressed oils (e.g., sesame) go rancid faster than unrefined oils, but are okay to use if nothing else is available. Try to find oils that have been kept in non-transparent containers as the light can gradually destroy the essential fatty acids. I tend to avoid non-organic canola oil because it is often genetically-engineered and grown with very toxic herbicides. Refrigerate opened bottles of cooking oil. Throw out old bottles in case they have begun to become rancid.
Suggested substitutes: Unrefined oils from natural food stores.
o Nightshade Foods As a general rule, it is a good idea not too overdo eating foods in the Nightshade family, including tomatos, potatoes, eggplant, and all peppers except for black and white pepper. This does not mean that you have to totally avoid these foods, but it means to make other vegetables the bulk of your vegetable intake.
If you have arthritis, it can be very helpful to avoid the Nightshade family completely as these foods can cause a worsening of symtoms. Check the labels carefully, as some prepared foods contain tomatoes, peppers, or potato flour. Suggested substitutes: A wide variety of other vegetables including green leafy vegetables.
o Foods that cause allergic or intolerance-type reactions It is important to avoid foods that cause moderate or large negative reactions. As your health improves over time, you will be able to very gradually re-introduce healthy foods that used to cause negative reactions. Some common foods that can cause problems for some people include:
+ Dairy (including ingredients: caseine and whey) + Wheat + Corn + Gluten-Containing foods (often need to be reduced or eliminated until the digestive system is healed and strengthened). Gluten-containing foods include wheat, barley, oats, and rye. + Fermented Foods (Pickles, beer, wine, etc.) + Yeast-Containing Foods + Citrus Fruits + Apples + Strawberries + Meat (especially red meat) + Fatty foods (e.g., red meat, avacados, dairy) + Nightshades (tomato, eggplant, potato, green pepper) + Sugar, additives, preservatives, food coloring, etc. + Caffeine-containing foods
In order to determine what foods you are allergic to, see an Environmental Medicine Doctor or an Allergist (not a General Practitioner). You Holistic Health practitioner may be able to arrange the tests. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine can help you find an Environmental Medicine Doctor in your area.
o Gum Please be aware that persons who have more than a few silver amalgam (mercury) fillings and who chew gum are exposing themselves to a significant amount of mercury. The World Health Organization report on inorganic mercury states that the average person gets five times more mercury from fillings than from fish (in the form or elemental mercury, methyl mercury and inorganic mercury). Chewing gum regularly increases that mercury burden tremendously. Chronic, long-term exposure to mercury has been link to neurological disorders, psychological disorders, gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer”s disease and a number of other health problems.
If you have very few or no silver amalgam (mercury) fillings, and would like to chew gum regularly, try to find gum at a natural food store without dangerous sweeteners.
Below are listed many ideas to help deal with and heal digestive difficulties. Please do not try everything listed at once. It is best to simply pick one or two ideas to use at a time.
To promote better digestion at a meal:
o Chew very well. This is very important if your digestion is weak.
o Limit very cold foods especially during meals. Hot, cooked meals are usually easier to digest and will help build a stronger digestion over time. It is very important, especially during the colder months, to eat warming meals.
o Eat meal in a calm, unhurried manner. However, that doesn”t mean you can”t talk and tell jokes during the meal.
o It”s okay to drink some liquids during the meal, but try to get plenty of liquids between meals so that there is less of a desire to drink too much and cause indigestion.
o Bland or undercooked foods can make digestion more difficult.
o Eat fruit and fruit juices separately from other foods (as snacks or separate meals).
In difficult cases of poor digestion at meals:
o Over a period of time, see if you can notice a food item, a type of food (e.g., fatty foods), or a combination of foods that are giving you trouble (e.g., fruits and grains, meat and legumes). Make changes to eliminate food or combination that gives you trouble.
o Fifteen minutes before meal take a small amount of “stomach bitters” herbs in a little bit of water to promote HCl production. You can purchase stomach bitters from a natural foods store or by mail.
o Test to see if digestive enzymes help your digestion. You can get enzymes from a natural foods store or by mailorder. Enteric-coated capsules are better if you can find them. If they don”t help you significanly, do not use them.
o In severe cases of poor digestion there may be insuffient stomach acids being produced (i.e., HCL). In this case, you may need short term use of betine hydrochloride and/or pepsin until the condition improves. You can get such products from your local Naturopath or call Standard Process Labs (SPL) (800) 848-5061 to locate the nearest practitioner who can prescribe SPL”s “natural” supplements that contain betine hydrochoride. As you use the long-term digestion strengthening techniques below, you will want to taper off the use of this useful short-term technique.
o Food and Cooking
Some people have difficulty digesting whole grains. Here are some ideas that may help.
# Udon and soda noodles tend to be much easier to digest than whole grains.
# Some natural food stores sell partially processed brown/white rice which is easier to digest than brown rice.
# Some people purchase natural “baby food” at natural food store in the case of very poor digestion. Also, cereals like Rice ”n Shine are easily digested.
# Barley should be soaked overnight. All grains should be cooked thoroughly. Please see cookbooks in Resource section for more information.
# If you still cannot tolerate any of the above-mentioned ideas for easily-digestible grains, it is okay to eat white rice. Over time, please try to mix in a small, but increasing percentage of whole grains.