By Claire Bacon, ACN, CNC
Fueling your body… what does that mean to you? What kind of thought process do you put in to preparing your grocery list, or deciding where to go out to eat? Maybe too often – and especially through the holidays – we might make choices based on “flavors and feelings”. What I mean is, sometimes we may want more comfort from our food, or desire a certain atmosphere: something new, something fun, or spicy. And that may take away from a focus on “where can I get a healthy meal?” or “should I stay home and cook what I really need?” So, as we look forward to a new year, it’s time to refocus our diets on the right fuel for optimal health.
Eating the Right Fuel for Your Needs
There is a concept called “bioindividuality”, which means that an individual’s nutrition, physical activity and general health needs vary based on many factors, including things like their genetics, lifestyle, and even the part of the world in which they live. The so-called “healthy” foods that one person eats might not be right for someone else, based on their prior exposures, activity level, and current state of health.
This is why there’s so much confusion about different diets to follow out there. Millions of people have discovered the power of food to improve their health. Even though there are loads of studies supporting various dietary tweaks for different conditions, it can be hard to understand, “well how does this apply to me?” Our aim is to help clear any confusion over what types of fuel might be best for your individual needs.
What Diet is Best for Me?
We have a multitude of dietary guidelines available to us, all supported by published literature (except for the most popular Standard American Diet). How shall we choose the best for our needs? Here we have a sampling of popular diet trends:
- Standard American Diet – heavy on the convenience and affordability, with loads of quick and easy calories, but not much worthwhile nutrition. Reliance on fast food and processed food gives us too much sodium, sugar, and preservatives, and too little Omega 3 fatty acids. However, it’s the dominant diet in this country.
- Paleo/Whole 30 Diet – a.k.a. “caveman” diet, as it suggests foods consumed prior to the agricultural revolution. No grains, legumes, dairy, sugar or flour. But everything from the produce section is allowed, plus meat, fish, potatoes, nuts, and seeds, for a fantastic variety.
- Keto Diet – This one takes carbohydrate restriction to the extreme. High protein, high fat, and low- or no-starch greens and vegetables are encouraged. A lot of people lose weight following Keto; however, you must have a strong digestive system to feel good with these hard-to-digest foods.
- Vegan Diet and the similar Plant-Based Diet – The diet excludes anything sourced from animals. This is controversial, as there are many pros and cons. The right way to go plant-based is to always eat a variety of brightly colored vegetables. The wrong way is to choose all beige foods – imagine quinoa, macaroni, bread and potatoes.
- Weston A. Price traditional diet – This is our favorite diet for pregnant ladies, as it is very high in wholesome animal fats (for brain health) and fermented foods (for a strong microbiome). Think of this as the straight-from-the-farm diet, with an emphasis on natural foods our great-grandparents would have grown.
- GAPS Diet – this is a specific diet for healing the gut lining and the blood-brain barrier. For those with neurological conditions or seizures, this diet with lots of bone broth and fermented foods is the best first step towards healing internal inflammation.
Eating Clean-Burning Fuel (That Won’t Cause Problems)
We want to make sure that within your overall diet strategy, you’re consuming the types of foods that work well for your activity level and lifestyle. At the same time, it’s good to know which foods might be the underlying source of your problems.
Specific Needs for Nutrition
- Do you deal with heartburn or gallbladder issues? Need to avoid pork, bacon, eggs, onions, and tomato sauce.
- Have you been diagnosed with autoimmune disease? Need to avoid gluten, dairy, seeds and nightshades, and consume more healing foods.
- Is your thyroid function below par? Need to avoid gluten and dairy, and get more iodine and selenium from seaweed and Brazil nuts.
- Are you an athlete, pushing your body to the max? You’ll need a higher percentage of carbohydrates, and also more amino acids for muscle breakdown and repair.
- Are you pregnant? You’ll need more nutrition now than at any other point in your life. Building a small human takes a lot of resources, and the body is so innately intelligent, it will steal from your tissues to provide what the baby needs. You’ll need to cover all your bases through pregnancy, in order to stay strong and healthy post-partum.
Healing Foods for Your Fuel
With any digestive or health issue, you’ll want to include more foods that HEAL. These are our top picks:
- Juicing fresh vegetables and adding ginger to lower inflammation
- Making homemade bone broth for soups or to drink in a mug
- Aloe vera juice – to soothe an irritated gut lining and promote elimination
- Fresh red beets – to promote liver/gallbladder function and provide methyl donors for detoxification
- Fermented foods like coconut kefir, Kombucha, or raw sauerkraut – to promote the immune system, digestion and detoxification.
- Roasted garlic – has antimicrobial actions and anti-inflammatory effects for the cardiovascular system.
Digesting Your Fuel Fully
We know we need to eat well, but what if our digestive system is not up to par? What if the healthy foods we love start causing us problems? There are a lot of reasons why our digestion might be lacking… #1 could be stress, but could also be due to years of poor choices, or simply because of age.
Key Digestive Functions
Most issues with the digestive system can be resolved with promoting a few key functions. Here are the basics we need for good digestion:
- Hydrochloric acid to sanitize our food and break down proteins
- Enzymes to break down plant fiber and cellulose
- Bile from the liver and gallbladder to break down fats.
- Variety of probiotic bacteria to enhance absorption and motility in the gut.
What You Need to Feel Better
Depending on what types of symptoms you’re feeling, with some insight you should be able to determine what your body needs to function better!
- A lack of hydrochloric acid can cause reflux, stomachaches, and/or microbial overgrowth in the gut.
- Insufficient enzymes can cause stomachaches, bloating, gas, undigested food in your stool, and/or constipation/loose stools.
- Lack of bile can cause burping, bloating, gas, constipation and/or loose stools.
- Not enough probiotic bacteria can lead to a leaky gut lining, food sensitivities, acne, immune issues, and/or constipation/loose stools.
Not to mention, eating too much of the same food all the time can lead to a sensitivity. Remember, you want a VARIETY of healthy foods to rotate through your diet!
We know it’s important to eat the right foods, but it’s just as important to fully digest the foods you eat! Consider one of these products to best suit your needs!
- Diaplex is our #1 best-selling all-in-one digestive supplement. Diaplex can help you deal with the impacts of the carbs and sugar so prevalent in our society. If you feel symptoms of hypoglycemia, like getting weak/dizzy without a snack every two hours, Diaplex will be a lifesaver for you!
- Zypan is a little more targeted for the meat-eater. It contains Hydrochloric acid mixed with pancreatic enzymes, and is excellent for breaking down proteins. Essential if you’re going out and know you’ll have a large portion of meat!
- Enzycore is geared more for our vegetarian and plant-based friends. It contains a wide variety of enzymes to break down plant cellulose, along with protease to break down proteins, too. It also contains some l-glutamine to help maintain integrity of the stomach lining.
- SP Detox Balance is such a great time-saver for the busy person who tends to skip breakfast or lunch because you just don’t have time. We include this product in our Cleanse program because it’s a great meal replacement with a lot of amino acids, and also has a lot of fiber to keep you full.
Final Thoughts on Fuel
We hope this information empowers you to choose the fuel that’s right for you, and make sure you’re digesting it well.
It’s the first pillar of Livin’ the Dream!