One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to eat clean and healthy is revealed!
What does “eating healthy” or “eating clean” mean to you? I recently had a conversation with a new patient that indicated she ate “healthy”. I asked her, “What does that mean to you?” Her response was, I don’t eat fast food, or processed frozen dinners, and I eat a lot of fresh produce. At first look, this seemed good to me, but then I asked how often she ate “out”. She told me daily, but she orders salads, and grilled chicken. I then asked about fast food, she said “sometimes, but I always get a salad.”
When I was first in practice, and someone told me they “ate healthy”, I assumed they knew what that meant. However, over the course of the past decade, healthy eating has become quite confusing. In the past, that meant - Low fat, calorie counting, portion control, whole grains, and following the “food pyramid.” Here’s the thing, in our “modern food world” none of those things make a difference in your health if you are consuming food grown and processed in the USA. The reason is simple - our food supply is inundated with genetically modified organisms (GMO), pesticides (some produce items have as many as 67 per serving), cloned meats, and animal products that have been produced using animals that have been raised by industrialized farms and given antibiotics and hormones as part of their daily menu.
You can get more information about this issue from the Environmental Working Group - an organization that tests the top 50 produce items annually, and puts out a list that has them numbered from the most pesticides to the least. These have come to be known as the “dirty dozen” and the “clean fifteen” list. They go on to say that if you just switch the dirty dozen items to organic, you can eliminate about 80% of the pesticides you are consuming. But, be aware, there is no way to know if something is GMO, unless it’s organic. If it’s labeled organic, it is not GMO - that’s the only way to know.
So, let’s go back to what I consider “eating healthy and clean” actually means.
When we start looking deeper at our foods, there are chemicals everywhere!
From the pesticides, to the antibiotics and hormones used in commercial meat farming, to added preservatives and flavors, it is extremely difficult to get away from some form of chemical in our modern American food supply.
Clean eating isn’t simply removing the processed food from your diet - it also requires looking much deeper. Now, some may say, why is it important? I eat the way my grandparents ate they lived a long and healthy life. We live in a very different world with modern technology infiltrating every aspect of our lives. Our food is very different than it was even a short 50 years ago.
Considering all the current issues, it’s important to get back to basics. If we look at basic anatomy and physiology - every day your body uses the food you eat to rebuild and repair the body’s various organs and systems. (I wish my car did this, but alas, it does not.) So, consider your food as a fuel source. Your body uses the food as fuel and the building materials to repair your body. Any type of natural medicine, like Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Chiropractic, Naturopathy all depend upon your willingness to change behavior to get the most optimal result possible. In other words, what you eat will determine how well or not, you will do with your treatment plan. The doctor can stimulate your body’s ability to heal, mend and repair, but if you don’t give your body the high quality food it needs to accomplish the rebuild and repair, you won’t get as good of a result.
I have many patients that do not follow my food recommendations and still get a result, but they will hit a ceiling eventually, simply because they are not using the best building materials available. I like to use the example of remodeling a kitchen or bathroom. You can hire the best skilled contractor to build you that new kitchen, but when you shop for the materials, if you get the cheapest particle board cabinets available, and the cheapest faucet, and the cheapest appliances, that new kitchen will only last a few years.
I had this happen to me one time when I remodeled an office. We ran out of funds before we were finished and I had to purchase the lower priced faucet for the break room sink. It looked great and worked fine when the job was completed, but within 2 years - that faucet was falling apart. AHH! I had just spent thousands on this remodel and the faucet needed replacing - way too soon! This is what happens when you only look at price. What’s the old saying “penny wise and dollar foolish”? Now, I had to replace the faucet, and will spend MORE because now I still need to purchase a faucet, and I need to hire someone for the installation.
The materials for the rebuild make all the difference. Both will look great at first, but with time, the cheaper will degrade faster and you are back to spending to fix the cheaper item that didn’t last.
So now the question becomes; “What are the building materials you are using for your body’s rebuild and repair?” Remember, your body was designed to rebuild and repair on a daily basis - what we do to enhance that process is the difference between feeling great, or just “fine”.
What are you doing to help your body rebuild and repair? If you are using natural medicine to help your health - eating cleaner, meaning organic and home-made - will help that process and you will get the best results possible from your natural healthcare program.
That’s all the time we have for today; I’m Dr. Mary Riggin, encouraging you to help your body heal, mend and repair every day.