Guidelines for Healthy Eating, a Grocery Store Tidbit, & Should You Really be Taking that Vitamin D Supplement?
by Dr. Stephen Gangemi
An expert panel declared last month that obesity is the “single greatest threat to public health in this century”. Two-thirds of adults and one-third of all kids are overweight or obese. They advise more exercise, cutting sugar, and following a more nutrient-rich, plant-based diet. Some of their advice is good, some not. Their emphasis to eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and beans is advice to follow, but adding more whole grains, seafood, and fat-free/low-fat dairy is not.
Actually, most people, with the exception of athletes and certain individuals who need extra calories throughout the day, need very few if any grains in their diet – whether they are “whole grain” or not. Carbohydrates should come primarily from vegetables and fruit, (a couple servings a day), and to a lesser degree rice (preferably brown), and potatoes (preferably sweet potatoes or yams). Most individuals perform significantly better both physically and mentally when they avoid glutinous grains – wheat, rye, barley, and to some degree oats (which often contains gluten due to cross-contamination), as well as corn.
Seafood should be limited to once per month and should consist of wild caught fish such as salmon. Stay away from the large fish that contain high amounts of mercury – tuna, grouper, swordfish (never eat swordfish! - it's loaded with toxic mercury). Farm raised fish typically contains high amounts of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and yes, even mercury, from all the coal plants throughout the country. Although some corporations such as Whole Foods say they don’t buy from such farms, their fish still live in environments completely different from how they would live in nature – this is why they feed the salmon a dye to turn them pink.
Those who know my views on health and especially those who have seen significant benefits by increasing dairy fats know that eating a low or no fat dairy diet is not a good idea. The problem with a product, such as skim milk, is that the fat is removed so there is more of a carbohydrate (lactose – milk sugar) percentage in the food. Yes, the grams of sugar are the same but it now comprises a higher amount of the total. This raises the glycemic index of the food and that means your body will make more insulin to process it. So it comes down to a higher sugar food that is now being eaten and that will make the consumer fatter. Additionally, dairy fats for most people, especially kids, should comprise 10%, if not more, of their total diet. These fats are needed to build a healthy nervous system and for hormones to function properly. Of course, all dairy consumed should be organic. So dump some butter on your vegetables. I always pour heavy cream (also known as whipping cream) in my smoothie and I’m a big fan of the high fat, sugar-free yogurts out there.
The experts say we need more mercury-contaminant fish, low-fat hormone-laden dairy, and glutinous grains, but to limit the eggs, lean meats, and poultry. I’m not sure where they come up with that. Free-range/hormone & antibiotic-free eggs many would agree is the perfect protein nutrient-rich food. Eggs are loaded with nutrients, good fats, and complete protein. Eating eggs every day can produce remarkable health benefits. Poultry is okay to eat as long as it is also free range or antibiotic/hormone-free. If it is not, then you should stay away from it 100% unless it is your only choice. Chickens coming from conventional chicken farms are loaded with diseases and drugs. Lean beef is just fine to eat, particularly if it is grass fed. More and more farmers are realizing the benefits of grass fed beef and it is becoming readily available. Grass fed cows are not only much healthier, but their fatty acid content of beneficial fats such as omega 3s, (most commonly found in fish), is often higher than those found in the fish. Cook your grass fed beef medium rare at most, or you’ll destroy the beneficial fats. So get your omega 3 fats from eggs and grass fed beef, not fish.
So there you have it. I wasn’t on the expert panel but I’m going to assume the experts on that special panel probably aren’t within a desirable weight, probably don’t eat from their own organic garden, and probably don’t live in a sustainable farming community with a hen house literally in their front yard. I am, and I do, so I’ll consider myself an expert in my own mind.
Hey – did you know an easy way to tell if a fruit or vege is organic or not at the grocery store is to look at that sticker? If it is 4 digits and starts with the number 4 it is conventional and if it is 5 digits and starts with the number 9 it is organic. So an apple with number 96573 is organic; one that reads 4325 is conventional (that means it was sprayed with pesticides most likely, or at least is not certified organic).
Speaking of vitamin D – maybe it is not a good idea to be taking your vitamin D supplement based off your recent blood test. The vitamin D fad of “everyone is deficient and everyone needs to take vitamin D” is not that simple. What most don’t know is that the 25OH vitamin D is converted to a high amount of 1,25OH vitamin D when there is an infection, such as those bacterial in nature as well as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. So if you’re taking vitamin D because your doctor told you to based off your 25OH D blood results, you should be aware that your body perhaps wants that 25OH low because if it increases then you will provoke the infection/illness – and that’s a really bad idea. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to fight with most doctors to get them to check your 1,25D level to make sure it is not too high if you also have a low 25D.
About the Author
Dr. Gangemi is the ATH Editor of the Chiropractic/Applied kinesiology section and has advanced training in applied kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, functional neurology, acupressure and meridian therapies, and other holistic body therapies, constantly staying up-to-date with the current health research and information. His practice focuses on merging functional neurology and nutritional biochemistry into mainstream natural health care.