Nutrients in foods help your body to fight and prevent diseases and ailments such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, and obesity.
Eating the right kinds of foods not only helps to improve your health, but prevents you from becoming dependent on various prescription drugs and OTC drugs.
Meal planning may sound boring, but, it's critical to eating healthy on a consistent basis.
Meals should contain a balance of "healthy" carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and liquids in order to provide the necessary nutrients to be healthy.
Healthy Carbohydrates include many bright, colorful and green, leafy vegetables, some dark, colorful fruits, beans, and some specific organic whole grains (but, not wheat bread!).
Healthy Proteins include cold-water fish, nuts/seeds, legumes, fermented soy, organic dairy, lean animal meats (i.e. chicken, turkey, organic beef), wild animal meat (i.e. bison, ostrich, deer).
Note: If you are concerned about the mercury in fish, eat smaller fish or take an Omega-3 supplement.
Healthy Fats include plant oils, and the oil in nuts/seeds and cold-water fish. But avoid clear vegetable oils and canola oil!
Healthy Liquids include filtered water, raw vegetable juices; some raw fruit juices; specific teas; green smoothies and, some of the organic bottled juices.
Trying to eat healthy every day can be challenging for several reasons:
-- Time: We believe that we don't have the time to shop for healthy foods.
-- Convenience: It's so much easier to just stop by KFC or McDonald's on the way home from work.
-- Cost: On the surface it appears that eating healthy is expensive. Also, it appears that fast foods and processed packaged foods are less expensive. But, nothing could be further from the truth.
-- Food Selection: Sometimes we don't know what are the healthy foods that we should be buying.
-- Calorie-Counting: Counting calories is frustrating and doesn't really work in the long run.
Greg's Healthy Meal Plate
However, here is a meal plate design that will make it easy for you to plan and design healthy meals, without having to worry about counting calories.
As you can see from the diagram, your Meal Plate should be dominated by green and bright-colored vegetables. Specifically, the food should be distributed on your plate as follows:
Additional attributes of the Healthy Meal Plate include:
Here are some superior foods that help to fight or prevent various diseases and ailments:
Here are some of the many benefits from eating healthy foods:
Note: For more information about healthy foods, refer to the Healthy Foods web page.
Try to reduce or avoid the following foods to help improve your overall health.
Fast foods and Gas station food. are processed foods that contain refined flour and give you high doses of sugar but lack critical nutrients. You'll often experience a feeling of well-being from the sugar when levels are high, but when it's low you experience a letdown or fatigue. Refined sugars include white sugar, white flour, HFCS.
Fried foods. Fat is a very important part of a cell's membranes. But trans fats and saturated fats make the membranes rigid and clog the arteries, leading to heart disease and high blood pressure.
Gluten. in foods such as bread can cause harm to your gastrointestinal system.
Refined flour, sugary foods and cereals, especially in the morning, cause your blood sugar to spike dramatically. Instead of a carb-rich breakfast of cereal, fruit and toast, opt for a protein-rich breakfast, with eggs, spinach, and wild salmon. This type of breakfast helps prevent food cravings later on in the day
Note: If necessary, eat delicious sweet strawberries, blueberries, or sliced oranges as part of a snack or for dessert (with some walnuts). These fruits can ease your sweet tooth and help keep you on track.
Note: Hormone therapy and oral contraceptives can interfere with the absorption of B vitamins. Women that take an estrogen supplement may want to add a B supplement to their diet in order to combat this interference.
Note: Food allergies can also cause a host of problems, including fatigue and weakness. Sometimes, these allergies are mild, and simply cause stomach upset, diarrhea or headaches. Common food allergies include chocolate, wheat, dairy, and soy.
Alcohol and caffeine. Though alcohol is a stimulant in low doses, it also depletes the brain's mood elevator, serotonin. Caffeine blocks the soothing effects of the brain's "feel-good" messenger called GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) that can calm mood and the digestive tract. Refined foods and caffeine tend to raise the blood glucose.
Drugs -- such as antibiotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, pain killers, ulcer drugs, anticonvulsants, beta-blockers, anti-Parkinson's drugs, birth control pills, high blood pressure drugs, heart medications and psychotropic drugs -- contribute to poor health. If you are taking any of these, don't quit them without talking to your doctor; but be aware that they may be contributing to your condition by depleting your body of disease-fighting vitamins and minerals.
For General Health:
Cod liver oil and cold-water fish contain Vitamin D, which is essential for improving your health.
Omega-3 EFAs from wild salmon and sardines provide EPA and DHA fat. EPA fat has been shown to improve your cardiovascular health.
Probiotics from beneficial germs (like acidophilus) can help your digestive tract.
Selenium-rich foods include seafood, poultry, mushrooms, sea vegetables can help to banish bad moods. People who don't eat enough selenium-rich foods tend to be grumpier than people with a high dietary intake, according to recent research.
Vitamin B-Complex is found in foods such as a sweet potato or a spinach salad might help improve your health. Both are rich in folate and Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine.
You can find folate in most fruits and vegetables, especially spinach, asparagus, and avocados.
Eat chicken, liver, and other meats to feed your brain Vitamin B6. Plant sources of the vitamin include navy beans, sweet potatoes, spinach, and bananas.
For Vitamin B1, eat sprouted grain breads, lean organic meats, black beans, and watermelon to increase your thiamin levels. These foods might help you feel more clearheaded and energetic.
Chamomile is an herb rich in magnesium and chamomile tea can be effective as a bedtime relaxant. Note: Celestial Seasonings “Sleepytime” herbal tea is a caffeine-free natural blend of Chamomile, spearmint, West Indian lemongrass, tilia flowers, blackberry leaves, orange blossoms, hawthorn and rosebuds. This tea also promotes a good night’s sleep.
Kava is a caffeine-free medicinal and beverage plant, whose primary benefit is alleviating anxiety. It has been used and cultivated for its ability to calm the body and mind, and encourage a good night’s sleep.
Magnesium supplements can be helpful but be aware that most drugs, soda, and processed foods will reduce how much magnesium is absorbed. Note: Ionic Fizz Magnesium (Calcium Plus) is a fizz drink powder that provides ionic magnesium and calcium in the ratio that is best for relaxation and healthy bones.
Melatonin supports the body’s natural sleep rhythm by helping it to relax and prepare for sleep, which is often difficult when dieting and exercising. It also helps you feel more alert and rested after a night’s sleep. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, located in the center of the brain. It is a hormone that plays a vital role in aging, energy and sleep.
Natural Calm Plus Calcium is a powder drink that provides magnesium, which is a mineral needed to help our muscles relax and help us sleep.
Tulsi Tea is a certified organic blend of Tulsi tea, black tea, and Chai spices but it does contain caffeine. Tulsi tea is recognized as one of India’s most sacred herbs because of its health benefits and healing properties, and is also abundant in antioxidants. It relieves stress and energizes you.
Valerian Root, Passionflower, Chamomile, Hops help you wind down to experience a good night’s sleep by decreasing sleep latency (the length of time it takes to get to sleep) and the number of nighttime awakenings; and, without interfering with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Also, these botanical extracts improve well being by decreasing nervousness and anxiety; and, do not cause side effects that are common with sedative drugs, including addiction and morning “hangovers”.
Note: For more information about supplements, refer to the Supplements web page.
Cleanse & Detox
Cleansing and detoxifying your body on a periodic basis should always be part of a sound nutritional wellness program.
Cleansing/detoxification is a set of normal biochemical processes performed by the body to prevent and fight disease on a continual basis and to keep the body as healthy as possible. This cleansing/detoxification is optimized when we eat healthy foods the majority of the time.
However, in our fast-paced world it can be difficult to find the time to prepare healthy meals, especially, given the easy availability and accessibility of convenience and fast foods. Unfortunately, our bodies pay a heavy toll for eating unhealthy convenience foods, fast foods, and processed foods.
To compound the problem, our bodies are also bombarded with chemicals and pollutants on a daily basis from the air, water and environment. Under this heavy barrage of toxins, the cells become sick and the human body eventually reaches a point where it is no longer capable of flushing toxins and acid waste on its own. As the toxins and acid waste accumulate in the cells, blood, tissues, and organs, they trigger an increase in inflammation, the formation of pathogenic bacteria, fungus and mold, and lead to a state of poisoning commonly referred to as toxicity.
Common symptoms of toxicity include headaches, fatigue, increased allergy symptoms, overall aches and pains (particularly joint pain), and digestive discomfort. These symptoms occur when the body has become so clogged with toxins that it can no longer perform necessary functions effectively.
Toxins are generally acquired in one of three ways: through things we ingest (such as foods, drinks, drugs, etc.); through external sources (such as the air we breath, radiation, environmental chemicals, etc.); and, internally by the body’s own metabolic processes.
Over the past decade, extensive research has found that if the body’s detoxification system is sluggish, toxins will accumulate, slowing down cellular energy production, increasing the number of tissue-damaging free radicals, and putting a strain on our gastrointestinal system, including the pancreas (which provides digestive enzymes to break down the food).
In addition, pathogenic bacteria continue to multiply faster than the immune system can kill them and remove their debris, creating an overloading and clogging of the lymphatic system and various organs.
This can eventually lead to various systemic diseases/ailments such as chronic fatigue, weight gain, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, and Alzheimer’s. In the meantime, the body’s detoxification and excretory organs (e.g. colon, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, lymphatic system) struggle to effectively remove the toxins, excess glucose, and acid waste.
The liver is the primary organ that performs the detoxification. The liver accomplishes this by using specific enzymes to transform the toxins into intermediate chemicals; and, other enzymes to transform the intermediate chemicals into harmless water-soluble substances that are then excreted in the bile or urine. But, if the liver becomes sluggish, clogged, or impaired, these toxins can begin to accumulate in the body’s tissues and blood.
Consequently, it is very important that the liver is kept as healthy as possible. Ironically, when we don’t feel well, we take an over-the-counter or prescription drug, which is toxic and only puts more stress on an already deteriorating liver and suppresses the symptoms, making us think we’re okay.
The colon (or large intestine) is important to cleansing and detoxification because it removes the unwanted fecal waste and other toxins. Discomfort in the colon usually manifests itself as something such as diarrhea or constipation.
Unfortunately, our response to this is usually a drug, such as a laxative, to “force” the elimination of the fecal waste. But many of the other toxins are left behind and reabsorbed into the bloodstream attacking the tissues and organs, and producing their own pathogenic bacteria that attack the body’s weakest points. These attacks manifest themselves in the form of aches and pain in the back, joints, stomach, and head, and, then onto the other tissues and organs. This leads to more discomfort and more drugs, followed by more diseases, stronger drugs, hospital visits, and eventually death – unless the toxins are removed.
The kidneys are important to cleansing and detoxification because they filter the blood (210 quarts a day) by eliminating toxins and waste materials from the blood, and for maintaining the electrolyte balance by selectively eliminating some electrolytes while retaining others, according to the body’s needs.
Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and chloride. These electrolytes are important because they are used by the cells to maintain voltages across the cell membranes and carry electrical impulses (e.g. nerve impulses, muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. The kidneys also help regulate other bodily functions by secreting the hormones renin, erythropoietin, and prostaglandin. Renin helps control blood pressure, erythropoietin stimulates the body to produce more red blood cells, and prostaglandin helps control blood pressure, muscle contractions, and inflammation.
The high levels of glucose in the blood and the accumulation of acids in the kidneys cause the formation of kidney stones and ultimately cause kidney cells to die. Because kidney cells cannot be regenerated or repaired, the remaining cells have to work that much harder to filter substances from the blood. To help with the filtering process, the heart increases the flow of blood plasma to the kidneys, which in turn elevates blood pressure. As the kidney cells continue to die, the risk of kidney failure increases dramatically.
The lymphatic system is also important to cleansing and detoxification. As the blood circulates, providing nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body, the lymphatic system accumulates dead bacteria and toxins that need to be removed. Lymphatic vessels are situated intricately alongside blood vessels, relying upon body movement to move the lymph fluid around to collect and drain away toxins and dead bacteria through the lymph nodes and skin (pores).
If the colon, liver, kidneys, lymphatic system, and other body systems are working properly, the body will cleanse and detoxify itself to get rid of the toxins.
And, as long as the body is provided with the proper nutrients, the body will continue to cleanse and detoxify itself.
However, if you have a systemic degenerative disease/ailment such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, indigestion, or constipation, then, your body and its cells are sick and full of toxins, and are unable to cleanse and detoxify properly.
Consequently, you will need to help your body perform the cleansing and detoxification.
There are several ways to help your body with cleansing and detoxification:
Eating “live” super foods is one of the best ways to help your body with the cleansing and detoxification until your body is healthy enough to perform the cleansing and detoxification on its own.
If you want to further accelerate the detoxification process, add raw juicing to your nutritional program.
You should drink at least 2-3 cups of raw vegetable juices (with 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed or wheat grass powder), followed by 2 cups of filtered water at least 2 times each day. Drink the juices at least 30-40 minutes before meals for the best results. Within a few days you should notice an increase in your regularity (bowel movements) and a better texture of your fecal waste.
Then, depending on your health state, within two to three weeks you should notice an increase in your energy level and a reduction in your cravings for the “dead” processed foods. These are indicators that your body is cleansing and detoxifying itself and initiating the healing process.
To further accelerate this healing, and depending on the severity of your health state, it may be necessary to use wholefood supplements to help nourish the colon, liver, gall bladder, lymph nodes, and kidneys.
It may be also be necessary to use organic herbal products to nourish the colon, liver, gall bladder, lymph nodes, and kidneys while protecting them from oxidative damage during the cleansing/detoxification process.
Exercising on a consistent basis is another way to help accelerate the cleansing/detox process.
Why is cleansing/detoxification necessary? Let’s take a car that has not had an oil change or engine tune-up and has been running on cheap fuel for several years. If you switch from the cheap fuel to a higher-octane “super” fuel, the car may run a little better, but it will still run sluggish. Once you change the oil and air filters and tune up the engine, the car will run even better. The same principle applies to the human body – if you clean the filters (the kidneys and liver), then, this will help them to remove the buildup of toxins and waste and kill the pathogenic bacteria and parasites so that the body will run better.
If you are overweight by more than 20 pounds, more than likely, you are carrying as much as ten pounds of fecal matter packed in your colon.
If you are also struggling with high cholesterol or high blood pressure, then, your body is carrying extra fluid/waste in your cells and tissues.
Consequently, cleansing the liver and kidneys, your body’s primary filters, will help the body to better release this extra fluid/waste.
This will thin out the blood, hydrate cells, break down fats, absorb protein, convert glycogen to glucose, turn on the body’s natural healing mechanisms, and, in most cases, lower blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol, glucose levels, and body weight.