Eat for your body’s design is a continuation of Health Made Simple, described in a previous blog. Below is a quick review before discussing how to properly fuel your body.
Is a health goal like eating better or cleaning up your diet on your radar this year? It can be a confusing and complicated journey with new and conflicting advice coming from everywhere you turn.
First, Let’s think about your health in simple terms and ask, “What does the body need to be health?“
- Movement: The body requires much more and different types of movement than the current “normal” for the average person.
- Fuel: Provide the building blocks for life. You are what you eat and drink
- Recharge: Focused time and energy put toward regenerating and restoring the mind an body.
- Brain/Body Connection: The 3 categories above are typically what people think about when improving their health. The things above happen effectively through an optimally functioning nervous system, free from obstruction. (psst…We can help with this!)
Our bodies can tolerate great inadequacies but cannot survive without these four things. We also can’t be healthy and perform at our best if there are inefficiencies.
You are NOT invincible if you are able to fulfill these requirements perfectly (which is unrealistic for anyone), but striving to improve in these areas increases your odds to tackle anything you want – whether that is sitting through the day pain free, hiking up a mountain on your next vacation, or getting the dream job you want.
If you want more from your body, get back to basics and keep it simple. It may also help to think about improving your health as a journey, not a destination. This will be something you can continue to tweak throughout your LIFE (not just the next 30 days).
What to eat and what to avoid can change daily depending on what you read or even what goals you’re working toward.
We want to answer, “what food works in harmony with our body’s genetic make-up and design?”
The protocol shared below is a guideline of how to eat to create health, as opposed to the culturally accepted norm of nutrition for disease treatment and prevention. It is an approach to fulfill the nutritional requirements of the body for optimal function.
Eat Real Food First
Establish food quality as the most important criteria as you eat for your body’s design. If it comes in a package and has a bar code, it’s not very likely to be real food. Start by putting more high quality, real food into the body and address food quantity later, if necessary. If you simply begin to understand what real food is and start eating it, your health and life will transform dramatically
Eat Protein with Every Meal
Low protein diets have become a staple recommendation by healthcare and sickcare providers over the past 50 years. We have been told protein strains the kidneys, weakens bones, is unhealthy, and even makes us fat.
Amidst all the perceived controversy, hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific articles show there is no controversy in terms of the safety of protein consumption. In fact, the opposite is true. The danger of under-eating protein is clear.
Consider the average diet that contains minimal protein and is high in processed carbohydrates. This diet has produced a population where seven of ten North Americans are overweight, if not obese, and one in four have metabolic syndrome.
It is unquestionable that protein is a requirement for life. It is needed for growth and development of bones, muscles, nerves, the brain, skin, hair, nails, tendons and ligaments.
Based on animal protein research, protein metabolism, archeological data, and logic, we feel it is impossible to fulfill all the requirements for 100% health without eating animal proteins.
This does not mean you could not function well without animal proteins, as there are ways to get adequate protein into the body. It is to say, you could never be optimal without them, as animal proteins best fulfill the protein requirement for the human body.
- Eat a protein source (beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, wild game, eggs, or wild fish) at every feeding
- Liquid sources of protein (shakes, smoothies, etc.) shout NOT be your first choice. they can be a substitute occasionally and are a better choice than a toxic alternative, but they are not REAL FOOD.
- Pre-cook your protein. Make it easy by having some protein ready in a glass container in the fridge or with you at work.
Vegetables are always a good choice as you eat for your body’s design. Vegetables are the edible portion of a plant not including the fruits, grains, or nuts. They are highly dense in vitamins and micronutrients, and seem to be the one food everyone can agree on as a vital component of our diet. The best method of preparation is to cook them, as plants often have developed anti-predatory mechanisms that be harmful and affect the digestive process in humans.
Increase Quality Fat Intake
This includes fat from healthy animal sources, pastured butter, ghee, coconut oil, avocado, minimal nuts, seeds and olive oil. Avoid highly processed seed and grain oils.
The type of fat that should be completely avoided is anything that is man-made – not because it is man-made, but because at the present time there is no man-made fat source that enables us to function closer to our genetic potential. Man-made sources of fat are seed oils (sunflower, safflower, linseed), vegetable oils, canola oil, and most trans-fats.
Remove Highly Processed Grains. Limit Unprocessed Grains & Legumes
The majority of nutrients we find in grains & legumes can be obtained from other sources of food. Both grains and legumes can be irritating to the gut and result in inflammation and distress.
Although there have been some minor adaptations among some cultures to grains and legumes, it ultimately is a question of what is optimal vs. what can be tolerated. Some of these substances are much more damaging, such as wheat, and some less so, such as white rice. The negative effects in some instances can be mitigated by soaking, fermenting and cooking, but in the end it will always be a short cut in order to get the most from the least with minimal damage.
Unless you are choosing a vegetarian lifestyle in which some fermented beans and legumes can help increase protein content or the endurance athlete who incorporates the occasional dose of white rice, the best and optimal choice is simply to limit grain and legumes.
It is a toxic substance and should be avoided or consumed in very small quantities. This includes high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, pop and packaged foods. Fruit is still a sugar and should be consumed based on your goals.
Fat loss? Very minimal amounts. Healthy body composition? In moderation.
The issue isn’t that the body is unable to adapt to sugar consumption – especially when it comes from real food sources like sweet potatoes, squash or pumpkin. The issue is that you don’t eat for your body’s design, and ingest an abundance of sugar that is not from real food.
Look for Real Food Sugars
The main source of sugar in real food is glucose and the main source in fake food is fructose. This is a very simplified view, but to understand the general principle, it works. Our friends at the Whole30 have called these foods Frankenfoods – highly processed and loaded with fructose because it is cheap and easy to produce but it is also a total anti-nutrient and a complete disaster for the human body, especially when consumed in vast quantities.
Due to the other chemicals and additives found in these Frankenfoods, even our brain chemistry has started to change. Our perception of what is sweet is altered and down-regulated as an adaptation. And the result is we crave more!
This cycle continues on and on; we crave more sweet foods, fill that need, and in the process negatively affect liver function and initiate metabolic syndrome. And so the downward spiral to terrible health ensues.
Earn Your Carbs
Earning your carbs means being active — training, exercising and moving enough to require an increase in carbohydrate consumption. An inactive person will have less requirement for carbohydrate and, as such, any unutilized sources will be converted to triglycerides and stored as fat.
If you are training regularly, a great time to consume your carbohydrate source is following your intense training session. Although there is no need to become overly focused on when to consume them – just make sure you are active enough to require adding more into your diet. Depending on your training goals and body type, increased carbohydrate intake may be of benefit. They are best consumed in the post-training window and from non-gut irritating sources like sweet potatoes, yams and squashes.
Supplement to Fill the Gaps
Eating real food should be the primary approach to fulfilling your nutritional requirements; the Essentials simply fill in the gaps. The Essentials include: Omega 3 saturation (EPA/DHA), vitamin D3 optimization, and probiotic use for gut health. If you want to learn more about why we recommend these supplements, click here.
Dairy is a Gray Area
Dairy is a great source of fat, protein, and micronutrients, which means it fulfills some of the vital nutritional requirements of the body. Some cultures have even shown a genetic adaptation to dairy in the form of lactase persistence over a relatively short time.
The problem is that not all dairy is equal. The pasteurization process damages the natural state of dairy and turns it into a processed food as opposed to raw dairy which is a whole food. Interestingly, many people who cannot tolerate pasteurized dairy due to the milk sugar lactose have no issues with raw dairy as this whole food actually has lactase in it naturally to break down lactose. This is yet another example of how real food differs significantly from processed food.
For the most part stick to butter and cream avoiding the dairy proteins in milk products which may be allergenic & inflammatory to many and have other known issues.
Stop Counting Calories
Eat real food when you’re hungry. Unfortunately, if you’ve been doing all the wrong things for a really long time, your internal feedback systems will be distorted, so it will take some time of following the correct principles to reset the system, but it will happen.
The long story made short is GET STARTED! Any of the steps listed above that you choose to implement will move you to eat for your body’s design. The steps are based on correct principles meaning they all work. The more steps you add, with consistency and time, the better able your body is able to work towards its full genetic potential.
What do I Eat?
- Meat, fish, fowl, seafood, eggs, animal fats, and oils
- Cooked plants and vegetables
- Roots, tubers, peeled potatoes
- Limited nuts and seeds
- Limited fruit (non dried and no sugar added)
- Full fat dairy if tolerated – preferably raw
- Limited unprocessed or low-processed grains (rice, quinoa, sprouted bread) and legumes
What do I Avoid?
- Sweeteners & sugars
- Highly processed grains (cereals, flours)
- Seed oils, vegetable oils and nut oils
Abide by the 80/20 Rule
Focus on following the 10 steps 80% of the time and allow yourself some leeway the other 20% of the time. A way to help you do this is the Heck Yes or No Principle. If you’re looking to indulge in something that makes you say, “Yeah, I REALLY want that because I’ve been looking forward to enjoying it” – then it’s a YES! Anything less than that is a NO. If you were to give it a rating from 1-10, anything lower than a 9 or 10 is a NO.
While the above protocol is not prescriptive, we do acknowledge there are some states within the body that can come to exist through previous lifestyle choices and the damage they can create. Autoimmunity is one of those states that require a slight alteration in some of the recommended sources of food.
Please note that the requirements of the body do not change, but how those requirements are fulfilled may need to be altered while you eat for your body’s design.
If your body is in a chronic state of autoimmunity remove these sources of food:
- Nightshade Vegetables
- Fodmaps (fructose, sucrose, polyols)
Everything at the Same Times
Therefore, in order to be living an extraordinary life, we need to be doing everything, at the same time, for a period of time, preferably a lifetime. Certainly, the above protocol will improve your life, but will not make it optimal.
Health Made Simple is an integrative approach to achieving success built on the simple principle that having strategies to fulfill the most fundamental requirements for optimal life and health expression will lead to the best version of ourselves.
Having a clear Brain-Body Connection allows full integration of all the requirements. Each is dependent on neurological function, and inherent in each requirement is the need for synergistic activity. In order for the body to work together, a proper nerve supply is paramount.
Insert Chiropractic here.
We realize the above is very information dense. There are volumes and volumes of research dedicated to all the steps and principles covered to eat for you body’s design. Most people already know what to eat; they just don’t know why they need to eat it. It is the same for each of the Health Made Simple components and the true power of Health Made Simple as a life-care model.