As a naturopathic doctor, diet is a central part of my treatment plans for patients. With over 150 hours of nutrition training, NDs are health leaders when it comes to understanding diet and its impact on our health. But these days, patients are flooded with nutritional tips, info, research and news on the latest diet claiming to solve all health problems, promote weight loss, prevent disease etc. How do we then design a diet that works for our patients? Here are some of the principles of diet design I use:
The most important principle is to know yourself, what you like, what you crave and why. Your social and ethnic background will influence your food choices, as will your personal history with food. And that is all okay! The more you honour your intuition and tune into signals from your body, the better your diet will work for you.
In almost all cases, you could stand to eat more veggies. Raw works for some, but not everyone, especially those with compromised digestive systems. Aim to eat 3 platefuls, or 6 cups of veggies a day. Try to make them colorful cups, eating from a range of red, green, yellow, blue and purple choices.
In almost all cases, you should cut out highly processed food. For a sensible, layperson approach to whole food eating, check out Lisa Leake’s site www.100daysofrealfood.com
In almost all cases, you should not eat food that causes you digestive distress. Humans are unique individuals, whose digestive capacities change throughout their lives. If most foods are causing you problems, or if you feel sick after eating but have no idea why, see your local naturopathic doc to help you identify and eliminate food triggers or allergens. We are the “digestion doctors” for a reason!
In many cases, you should drink more water. If your urine is colored more than a light yellow, you are not getting enough water, and should increase your intake, up to a max of 3-4 Litres a day. If your urine is clear, you are drinking enough.
There are compelling reasons to eat organic, humanely-raised foods that do not cause species extinction (like tuna, for example). However, everyone has different access to these foods, so do your best without making yourself crazy.