Choosing the right diet6th August 2018
Written by Naturopath Rachel Weaver. To make an appointment call 02 9380 7863.
It’s little wonder that people are confused as to what to eat! Between Paleo, FODMAPs, gluten free, dairy free, low salicylate/glutamate/amine, low or specific carbohyrdate, GAPs, keto, raw food, autoimmune (AIP), body ecology, Weston A. Price……the list goes on.
So how do you choose what’s right for you?
You are an individual. What is right for you is not going to be right for everyone. Your age, stage of development (ie growth), activity levels, previous health history, medication, stress levels, environmental pollutant exposure and genetic pre-disposition are just some of the things that set you apart from everyone else!
The first thing is to establish an understanding as to whether you have symptoms that are aggravated by the food (or some of the food) you eat. And if so – write them down. It’s not always easy to join the dots between eating something and say, the onset of a tummy ache or bloating, or a skin breakout as sometimes there can be a bit of a delayed reaction. So a food diary, to track what goes in (plus what comes out!) and how you feel really is the gold standard for identifying intolerances.
Perhaps you have been diagnosed with a particular health condition and have heard that a certain dietary approach is appropriate course of treatment or perhaps you have concerns around weight loss, blood sugar, energy, inflammation or skin conditions. It’s important that you remember that you are an individual and should be treated as such.
Individuals dealing with digestive disorders or suffering from sometimes inexplicable symptoms often require modifications to their diet to avoid the foods that trigger the adverse symptoms. Such elimination diets can help to rest the digestive tract and provide a opportunity to heal the digestive tract. It is important to note that I do not recommend an elimination diet forever. Often these diets are incredibly restrictive and sometimes, increase sensitivity.
The goal is to be able to tolerate most foods, in moderate amounts, most of the time. That is, reintroduce the foods that have been eliminated so you can enjoy your daily life.
In general, my nutrition guidelines for healthy eating follow key basic principles:
- no processed foods, artificial additives, colorings or preservatives
- plenty of filtered or mineral water
- herbal tea is essential.
- minimal refined flour
- minimal / no added sugar
- organic seasonal produce – as much as possible (avoid the dirty dozen)
- healthy fats
- clean lean protein
- fermented foods
Whilst not a complete list of the diets, here is a summary of two therapeutic diets.
The root cause of all autoimmune diseases is the same: our immune system, which is supposed to protect us from invading microorganisms, turns against us and attacks our proteins, cells, and tissues instead.
AIP reduces inflammation, focus on gut health, strict elimination of food groups. It places greater emphasis on the most nutrient-dense foods in our food supply. It includes organ meat, seafood, and vegetables
AIP eliminates foods allowed on the typical Paleo diet that have compounds that may stimulate the immune system or harm the gut environment, for example nightshades (eg tomatoes and peppers), eggs, nuts, seeds, and alcohol.
Stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols.
These are specific sugars found in food, such as fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols. These food molecules (mostly sugars) are short-chained carbohydrates but because they’re not completely absorbed by the human body, they’re easily fermented by gut bacteria and can cause significant gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, gas and discomfort.
The rough concept is to focus on keeping fibres and starches easy to break down and be absorbed into the body as this reduces bacterial overgrowth and fermentation and therefore reduces (i) immune provocation (ii) inflammation at the lining of the GI tract and (iii) subsequent malabsorption.
Once again, the caveat for any dietary intervention or modification is to seek guidance from a qualified healthcare practitioner who understands food, dietary modifications, gut health, the gut microbiome (more on that later) and elimination protocols to help determine what is best for you.
Of course you can always book an appointment to see me to help you on your journey to thrive.
This is for information purposes and it not intended to be used as medical advice.