Decision Time – Which Diet is Right for You?

With any luck at all you have been following my articles on diet choices. You learned about the standard American Diet (appropriately called the SAD diet), Paleo, Keto, Mediterranean, vegetarian/vegan, and carnivore.  If you missed any, you will can find them by clicking on the names above.

You have learned that all the options have potential drawbacks for some people. What are they?

First your genes are factoring in, sometimes significantly, because your genes define how well your body handles metabolism. Everyone will have some genetic variations that might cause things to go a bit awry.  Since I am a part of “everyone”, that means this applies to me as well.  And I do indeed have some troublesome variations. However, most people haven’t had their genetics tested for health implications and don’t have a clue.

Secondly, plant foods which have bountiful nutrition also have toxic chemical protective mechanisms to discourage animals (like us) and other living beings (like insects) from eating them. Those chemicals can cause digestive issues for those who eat the plant or fruit from the plant. Note the operative word here is can.

Click here to reach about how important digestion is. It will help you to understand the consequences of continuously ignoring symptoms. If you need more information, take a look at this website post of Dr. Amy Myers, renowned expert on autoimmune diseases, https://www.amymyersmd.com/2017/06/the-problem-with-grains-and-legumes/.

Whether a person reacts negatively to those toxins depends on how often and how much toxin your body is getting and, again, your genetics. Here is my example.

I have a gene variation which reduces my body’s ability to eliminate toxins in my body. This is only me, not necessarily you.  And this would be any toxins including those in the air, water, makeup, household cleaners, pesticides and herbicides, mold as well as food. I do my best to minimize toxins anywhere I can which also includes an emphasis on organic produce. I say “minimize” because avoiding all chemicals in today’s world is impossible.

So, anyway, there are pros and cons to any plant food. And most of us have a body capable of eliminating the toxins unless we overload the amount. Consider the farmer who has significant ongoing exposure to chemical pesticides applied to his crops.

Consider that one person I know who exclusively eats peanut butter. Consider peanut allergy. Consider bee venom for some people. Consider my friend who gets knots in her knuckles whenever she eats tomatoes.  Read more about her dilemma with tomatoes here.

All that brings us to negatives of the SAD diet which typically contains about 60% commercially processed and refined foods, primarily starchy foods like grain (as in flour), legumes, potatoes, etc. That is on average, by the way, so there are some people eating percentages way above 60%. This way of eating has three marks against it.

The processing of the formerly whole food eliminates most of the nutrients originally available in the food. The volume of toxins in the diet (both in the food itself and the chemicals added in processing) as a result are much higher and a significant source of chronic inflammation. Chronic means all the time.

The predominant ingredients in commercially processed foods are grain based starches, dairy, sugar, and commercial grain oils including canola, soy, corn, etc. And the amount of sugar hiding out in the starch is extraordinary. Many a “diet” to lose weight has been torpedoed by hidden sugar. The labels are very misleading, leading you to just look at “sugar” grams when, in fact, all those “carbohydrates” are sugar.

Broken down parts of grain (like wheat, soy, corn) and beans have names you wouldn’t recognize and are included on the ingredient lists of almost everything. Just recently I talked to the mother of a local woman who bought an application for her phone so she could identify the gluten in anything she bought.  Turns out the containers don’t say gluten is in there but it definitely is. The restaurant won’t usually tell you that there is gluten in soups, French fry coatings, and sauces. There isn’t much she can buy in a store or a restaurant and ingest safely. Grain is essentially in everything in some form or another.

The one diet that isn’t susceptible to plant food toxins is the carnivore diet (think about it) because it contains no plant food. Any reactions to the carnivore diet will usually be histamine related.

Histamine is a product released by the body in response to an allergic reaction. Histamines are found in varying levels in all living tissue (including your own) and it has purpose. But if there is too much being released like with peanut or bee venom allergy, it turns ugly. And perhaps you have heard of red meat (and pork) allergies developed from the Lone Star tick. What makes people sick is the histamine overload.

One of the most interesting thing about meat (and actually everything) is that as food ages, bacteria develop. The bacteria release histamines. For most people, the body handles the bacteria unless there is an overload. What is an overload? You may be able to eat leftovers in your frig for two weeks; your neighbor might become ill when something is one day old.  The bacterial growth is attached to the age of food. Your bacterial tolerance is uniquely yours.

Bottom line, the right diet for you won’t have a “name” as much as it will not include any foods that create symptoms. Symptoms are a wide spectrum and usually non specific. Acid reflux, stomach ache, IBS, diarrhea, headaches Including migraine, aches, gas and bloating, joint pain, swelling, brain fog, weight gain, the list goes on.

You MIGHT have an issue with aged meat. You MIGHT have an issue with the toxins in nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes. But what you most assuredly will have an issue with is commercially processed and refined food at the store, especially if they are present to any significant degree in your diet.

So if you have “symptoms” the simple first step is to eliminate commercial processed food and oil for two weeks to a month. Why? Because the odds are that your problem lies in those foods. And the chances that you will feel at least a partial resolution in that time period are good.

According to Dr. Myers, the next thing to eliminate would be dairy, the second most likely “suspect.” Be alert when you get symptoms. What did I eat or what have I eaten a lot of lately? And maybe what did I eat yesterday because symptoms are sometimes delayed.

If you need help, consider books and website by Dr. Amy Myers, Dr. Tom O’Bryan, Dr. William Davis, and  for particularly complex issues, Elaine Gottschall.

Let’s not forget the point of this wander through diet wonderland. The right diet for you won’t have a “name” as much as it will not include any foods that create symptoms.

Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Pat is a resident of Montgomery County, AR, president of Ouachita Village, Inc. board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry); chairman of the Tasty Acre project; and member of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/patsmithbooks.  Her website is http://allaboutthefood.org/

 

Vegan or Vegetarian? Or Maybe Carnivore?

We are on a quest to review the major diet “types” talked about in the nutrition world today. Pushing past Paleo, Keto, and the Mediterranean diet we arrive here: what about vegan, vegetarian, or carnivore.

One of the things that the Paleo, Keto, and even the Mediterranean diet have in common is the presence of meat protein. Sometimes lots of meat protein, sometimes less but still there. Now for something different.

A vegetarian is meat free but generally comes in variations on a theme. One variation allows meat by-products like eggs and/or dairy. Another variation allows fish. Then there are folks who operate in the “most of the time” variation. “I don’t eat meat except on very special occasions; otherwise I eat vegetables and an occasional egg.”

Unfortunately they often consider commercially processed foods and seed oils perfectly ok because they aren’t “meat”.

The interesting thing about vegetarianism is that people seem to pick this diet for reasons not associated with nutritional value. Maybe because they feel sorry for the animals (I don’t want to eat anything with a face), don’t like the taste of meat, or believe that the natural resources required to grow animal meat is environmentally wasteful. In my experience most vegetarians just eat what they eat and don’t feel driven to convert the masses.

When you shift from vegetarian to vegan, however, it can to be a extreme shift. Honey isn’t allowed because it is manufactured by bees. Sometimes animal skins are nixed. Sometimes animals are considered sacred and killing them is cruel.

So vegans only eat plant food and even then many consider animal based fertilizers like manure or blood meal unacceptable. See what I mean about extreme? These are people with a passion who sometimes ARE driven to convert the masses.

This really isn’t the most extreme, however. Raw vegan is the full extreme with emphasis on maintaining the highest nutrient levels in the plants. Cooking reduces and often destroys the enzymes required to digest food.

Food can only be considered raw if the natural enzymes remain intact. So “cooked” food must be below 115 degrees internal temperature. That can usually only be accomplished by using a dehydrator. The time required to dehydrate can be very long.

Let me share with you my one week personal experience in a raw vegan institute. The kitchen had only dehydrators, busy all of the time. The day we ate grapefruit for breakfast was the highlight of my week. Some people will do anything in the interest of research.  I was not sold but I assure you there were others there who were “all in.”

There are drawbacks to eliminating meat products from the diet.

Vitamin B12 is an essential dietary element that is absent in a vegan diet. Also missing are two essential omega 3 fatty acids commonly found in wild caught fatty seafood and pasture raised animals. Further vitamin A can be a problem. Vitamin A is presents and immediately bio available in meat. Beta carotene in plants can be converted to vitamin A by the body unless your genes cause a problem.  That would be me.

That all means that, at least for a vegan, supplements will be required to make up for deficiencies. Actually the required amount of B12 and omega 3 is relatively small so a vegetarian who incorporates some eggs, dairy such as cheese, and occasional fish in the diet can be fine.

A carnivore diet, on the other hand, is just meat and meat products. Most of the people I have kept up with on a carnivore diet were first on a low carb/higher fat version of Keto. Eventually they found themselves still troubled symptomatically with vegetables in their diet. So they went straight carnivore and their problems went away.

Would you be surprised to know that, for some people, there can also be side effects to a carnivore diet. More about that in my next article.

The bad news in any diet is the presence of commercially processed foods and seed oils. This is not a problem for raw vegans or carnivores. But as I said above, it can be a common problem for vegetarians. My book shares the example of one “vegetarian” I observed in a buffet eating food that was full of sugar and fried in bad oil. Rest assured, however, there was no meat.

As I said in an earlier article, some 50 million or so Americans have one or more autoimmune disease. While environmental toxins and genes can be a factor, the most common issue is digestive problems with some plant food(s) for that one person. That means that some people can do just fine with a vegetarian or even vegan (with supplements) diet and others will not. I know of real people who fall into both categories.

What’s important for everyone is making dietary choices that are right for them. In my next article I will try to help you make the right decision for YOU.

Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Pat is a resident of Montgomery County, AR, president of Ouachita Village, Inc. board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry); chairman of the Tasty Acre project; and member of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/patsmithbooks.  Her website is http://allaboutthefood.org/

Is The Mediterranean Diet Right for You?

It’s enough to drive you crazy. One diet after another and you are supposed to “pick one.” I didn’t realize how confusing that might be for the average person. Well, here is the good news. They really aren’t all that different.

The Mediterranean diet has much in common with Paleo and Keto.  All three diets veto commercially processed food including anything made from refined flour. All three disallow refined commercial oils such as soybean, corn, and canola. And all three prohibit sugar sweetened beverages and added sugar.

But the differences, however minimal, are very important. Potatoes, grain (whole, not refined), and legumes are allowed and actually encouraged in the Mediterranean diet. There is bountiful nutrition in those three foods. However, all three contain the most calories and carbohydrates of any other vegetable and demand the most insulin.

So if your interest is in losing weight, the more of these three you include in your meals, the less likely you are to lose weight.

Beyond the carbohydrate content, there are also toxins in the three that plants have developed to protect themselves. In potatoes that would be solanine which is found in all “nightshade” vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers.

The number of people who react to solanine appears to be small but it is still real. Read a bit more about Amelia in my post from late last year, Tomatoes are Healthy – Usually.

The more common toxins are lectins (most often gluten) found in grain and legumes (beans). An individual with autoimmune disease(s) and digestive issues is likely to encounter trouble with grains (particularly) and legumes. So if this is you, these foods are not for you.

The AARDA (American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association) reports that 50 million Americans have at least one autoimmune disease and all have a need to manage their diet. That is unfortunate. What I am seeing right now is that grain and dairy are the top two foods creating autoimmune response.

Read more about autoimmune disease in this post, Autoimmune – What is It?

I hope you will make your dietary decisions based on your goal.

If you are interested in ridding yourself of a significant amount of body fat, and perhaps have a tendency to overeat, then the simple Keto diet is the most likely to carry you to your goal. The eating structure minimizes the insulin requirement, positioning you to accomplish steady weight loss.

If you have any autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and general ongoing symptoms, either Keto or Paleo can do it for you. Paleo is best if you have problems with dairy.

If you are diabetic or diabetes runs in your family, the potatoes, grain, and legumes in the Mediterranean diet may not be to your advantage. They certainly aren’t for me.

If you goal is simply a nutritious, whole foods diet then the Mediterranean diet fills the bill. Exercising moderation with potatoes, grains, and legumes, you could comfortably eat a Mediterranean diet for the rest of your life.

Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Pat is a resident of Montgomery County, AR, president of Ouachita Village, Inc. board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry); chairman of the Tasty Acre project; and member of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/patsmithbooks.  Her website is http://allaboutthefood.org/

 

Is the Keto Diet Right for You?

The Atkins diet introduced back in the 80’s by Robert Atkins was the first ketogenic eating plan intended as a weight loss diet. It was (and is) essentially a meat and fat diet broken ever so slightly by a few green leafy carbohydrate vegetables. It pretty much guaranteed weight loss and the absence of hunger.

Atkins ideas were before their time and he was heavily criticized. In recent years, however, much of the value in his diet premise has become quite mainstream. It was the absence of hunger that made it initially successful. However, it was boring and frequently abandoned once the desired weight was achieved – the problem with most weight loss diets.

Here is how Atkins worked. You cut your carbohydrate levels to almost nothing. Then when you lost most of the weight you wanted, you started adding back more carbs until weight loss stopped and then you were supposed to stop and eat that forever. This is where the trouble usually started. We Americans tend to revert back to the SAD diet.

The word “Keto” comes from the liver process that converts body fat into “ketone bodies.” The ketones are then used by the body for energy in lieu of the carbohydrate sugar that isn’t allowed.  When fasting (as in while sleeping or other long periods of not eating) body fat is converted to ketones for energy.  A steady maintenance of low carbohydrate over longer periods of time allows a person to achieve an ongoing production of ketones and weight loss.

Carbs and fat are the two primary energy sources for the body and they have to be balanced. The lower the carbs in the diet, the higher the fat in the diet and vice versa. The calories from fat are supposed to be adjusted downward (lower) as the carbs are allowed to go higher. What frequently happened with Atkins diet folks is they added carbohydrates back into their diet but didn’t change the higher fat consumption.  Oops!

The pattern of percentages allocated to carbs, protein, and fat is referred to by Keto geeks as macros.

From the voice of experience I suggest that counting macros is every bit as hard as counting calories. And in fact you really can’t calculate your macros without first determining how many calories you should be eating. Lots of counting going on.

An intense Ketogenic diet frequently has body composition and health treatment applications beyond any issues of weight loss. At its most intense, the diet usually includes a very small number of vegetable carbohydrates, like maybe 20-30 carbs per day, and LOTS of fat. There will be no fruit, no potatoes, no grains (processed or otherwise.), no beans.

At the grand level, the differences between Paleo and Keto are minor and those differences tend to be “intent” oriented. Paleo intends to prescribe what you can eat based solely on what the paleolithic folks ate. Keto prescribes what you can eat based on the amount of insulin the diet requires for energy digestion and storage.

The minimization of insulin creates the opportunity for body fat to burn and ketones to be created.  Paleo also minimizes insulin but usually doesn’t talk about it. If you need to understand this insulin thing better, read an earlier blog of mine,  The Human Body Design is Magical – Plan B, providing a pretty simple explanation.

Thus Paleo does not do cheese but does allow fruit. Keto is fine for cheese but would really restrict fruit. Otherwise both limit and allow the same foods, just for different reasons. For example, both instruct avoiding commercial grain oils and focusing on olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil.

It is important to remember that an intense ketogenic diet can be very nutrient deficient due to the very low levels of vegetables. Managing those deficiencies needs to be met with supplements. The trick is knowing which supplements. For this reason, an intense ketogenic diet is rarely required; the best idea is eating a lot of non-starchy vegetables and eliminating processed foods which contribute minimal nutrition and require a lot of insulin.

In its simplest form most people can have great Keto success without worrying about macros, calories, fat or nutrient deficiency. I have had conversations with eight people in the last week that simply eliminated sugar and processed food and starches including pasta, bread, all things sweet, minimizing starchy foods like potatoes and rice and eating lots of vegetables.  They report that the weight just seems to melt away with essentially no effort.

A friend just said yesterday that he had figured out that the pasta he had formerly eaten as a base for a shrimp stir-fry was just filler. The part that tastes fabulous is the stir-fry.

Pasta, rice, and potatoes have essentially no flavor of their own. Cauliflower can become faux mashed potatoes or rice. Zucchini can become “zoodles” for faux noodles and meatballs or sauce. A tad of creativity can work a miracle. In other words, use whole food vegetables in your diet instead of processed foods. It is within those vegetables that nutrient density resides.

Several things happen with this simple Keto change. The weight starts to come off in a reasonable, paced way. The goal is not quick loss; the goal is losing slowly but surely. Symptoms (aches, bloating, joint pain, etc.) start to disappear. Energy is restored.

Diet change will be easier if you can recruit somebody else to join in the effort. Between the two of you a lot of good recipes can be created and enjoyed. Everyone else will be pretty convinced that life cannot go on without chips, pasta, and French fries.

When your body reaches the right body fat threshold for YOU, you simply stop losing weight. Your body is really pretty smart. You don’t have to think about it. You don’t adjust your diet. Just continue eating a healthy, nutritious diet for the rest of your life.

Interestingly, the top two foods likely to cause autoimmune reactions are grains and dairy. Grain is the biggie. Paleo precludes both of those; Keto precludes only grain. So depending on your personal food reactions, either might be protective. Read more about autoimmune disease here.

The foods included in a simple Keto diet are nutrient dense and minimize hunger. One could comfortably eat a simple Keto diet for the rest of their life.

My next post in this diet round up will be the Mediterranean diet.

Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Pat is a resident of Montgomery County, AR, president of Ouachita Village, Inc. board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry); chairman of the Tasty Acre project; and member of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/patsmithbooks.  Her website is http://allaboutthefood.org/

Is the Paleo Diet for You?

The Paleo diet created by Loren Cordain is designed on the premise that we should only be eating foods that our Paleolithic ancestors could hunt and gather from nature. It isn’t entirely clear that we humans really know what the cavemen ate; after all we weren’t there at the time. But there is general and reasonable consensus that they ate animal meat and plants they could find in the area where they lived.

There has been much hybridization and genetic modification in animals and plants over recent years. It is unlikely we could actually match the diet of the cavemen. For example, the fruit we eat today did not exist in its current form 10,000 years ago. Modifications have made the fruit much sweeter (and much more attractive) than nature apparently intended.

In its strictest form, the Paleo diet includes meat/fish/eggs, non-starchy vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats like avocado, olive, and coconut. Most fruit has minimal fat but note that these fats are extracted from fruit.

Absent in this strict version are dairy, all grain, legumes (beans) and commercial oils made from grain (such as corn, canola, soybean, etc). Our Paleolithic forbearers didn’t have cows to milk, cookbooks to read, someone to somehow extract/process grain into oil. They got all the fat they needed in the meat. Also excluded are all processed foods, sugar, and artificial sweeteners.

The foods excluded in a strict Paleo diet tend to be those that many folks have difficulty digesting and cause autoimmune or allergic reactions.  In the typical autoimmune “elimination” diet, these are definitely the foods on the first elimination list.You can read about autoimmunity on my website, www.allaboutthefood.org.

The Paleo diet can be and frequently is modified although Loren Cordain will not approve. For example, if dairy is not a digestive issue for you, then some will add in dairy. Legumes contain anti-nutrients that impact digestion and reduce the availability of minerals. However, there are ways to prepare beans to minimize those issues. My book has a chapter, “What the Heck is Phytic Acid”, that describes the way to prepare legumes.

A good case can be made for a Paleo diet, particularly if you have digestive issues or autoimmune disease(s). Absent are the high carbohydrate (and by extension, calorie) processed foods that generate hunger and are a primary cause of overeating.

While information you read on the Paleo diet doesn’t mention “ketones,” the mark of a Ketogenic diet, the elimination of processed foods is absolutely going to result in the burning of body fat. That “burning” creates the ketones you will read about in the discussion of a Ketogenic diet.

Following the Paleo diet with reasonable care eliminates a need to count calories. Foods can be made to look and taste good. Whole foods included are nutrient dense. Paleo is touted as a healthy diet but it will inevitably be a weight loss diet if you are carrying extra weight. Weight can be be lost and kept off because adherence to the diet is easy. One can comfortably eat a Paleo diet long term.

Next week we will examine the Keto diet.

Stop the assault on your body

In a recent post, Every Bite You Eat Is Either Fighting Disease or Feeding It, I said that “hundred or so years ago most of the chronic diseases so common today were rare or had never been heard of. There is a message here. These days we are feeding disease”

Read here an earlier post describing three real people with autoimmune diseases who reversed their conditions with dietary changes. These are people who stopped feeding their disease.

Those folks and the rest of us are all different. Our genetics are not all the same. How our bodies react to certain foods or chemicals is not the same.  You cannot presume that because John can’t eat grain, dairy, or oranges doesn’t mean that you can’t. Nor does it necessarily mean you can.  So anyone (including the government) that suggests there is a perfect diet for everyone is, frankly, smoking something.

What matters is whether certain foods make you sick. Your challenge is determine what diet is right for YOU. So let me help you figure that out.

Start here. A chronic disease is a condition that persists ongoing. Anything that can’t be “cured” with a medication is chronic. Cured means it goes away and doesn’t come back. A “treatment” points at symptoms but doesn’t cure a condition.

Chronic diseases come with degrees of severity and consequences.

The worst will be those most affecting the brain, worsening at varying speeds, and ultimately robbing you of your very self.  Examples are MS, ALS, Parkinson’s, a variety of dementia including the scariest, Alzheimer’s. There are no truly effective treatments or cures for these.  And the chances of a cure discovery don’t seem to be good.  Pfizer Drug recently halted research on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Next would be autoimmune diseases.

The job of the immune system is to recognize and eliminate stuff that is harmful to you. Under persistent circumstances (like the immune trigger happens a lot) the immune system can get confused and attacks some protein in your body (like maybe your knees), misreading your knees as something pathogenic and needing elimination. You can treat these by medically turning down the immune system (which actually creates a whole new set of problems) but there are no medications that will cure them.

Then there are conditions like cardiovascular disease and heart failure, diabetes, obesity, etc. You can treat these with medication but there are no medications that will cure them.

Then there are the sometimes uncomfortable symptomatic reactions that are clues that something may be leading to the conditions above.  These would be stuff like weight gain, stomach ache, acid reflux, bloating, pain, constipation, rashes, headaches, mental confusion, anxiety, high blood sugar, etc. etc. In many if not most cases, persistent uncomfortable symptomatic reactions will eventually become debilitating.

I spend my time researching the prevalence, causes, and fixes of chronic diseases. And here is what I know.

Everything I listed above is the result of an assault on the body. That assault could be chemicals arriving in the environment (air, water, anything around you that isn’t you). But the biggest and most common assault has to do with the food you put in your mouth. The effect of the assault can be made worse by your genetic makeup but, in most cases, eliminating the assault makes genetics less important.

Maybe you have been convinced that you will always be sick when you are old. And indeed your chances are greater because you have a lifetime of continuous assault that your body hasn’t been able to overcome. Today is the day to stop the assault.

You can accomplish that by paying really close attention to symptoms. For clarity, if you can say you feel good and are able to attack each day with gusto, you have no symptoms. On the other hand, if there are days when this is not true, then you do have symptoms attached to something.

Don’t be tempted first to take up the perfect diet you just read or heard about. Paleo, keto, LCHF (low carb/high fat), Mediterranean, South Beach, Weight Watchers, vegetarian, vegan, some supplemental drink, carnivorous (all meat), there are so many. First you must ask yourself some questions.

Can I easily connect my symptoms to something I ate or did? Like “every time I eat xxx I get heartburn.”  “Anytime I do xxx I don’t sleep well and I get a headache.” “Every trip to my mother-in-law‘s makes me sick.”  You may be surprised how good your instincts are when you don’t ignore them.

When I don’t eat/do/expose myself to that “something” do my symptoms go away? Is my diet dependent on commercially processed and fast food? These are the foods that are calorie dense (lots of them), chemically dense (in the processing and ingredients), and nutritionally empty (the nutrients so important to your body are largely missing.)

I spent some time with a friend yesterday who was deathly ill for months. Persistently she figured out the causes which were sugar, gluten, and acid foods. She sticks religiously to her diet which unavoidably includes no commercially processed food; she feels and looks wonderful.

You too can eliminate those symptoms by simple avoiding that “something.” Stocking up on Nexium, Ambien, and Tylenol is not the right answer. In other words, your symptoms are giving you clues about how to make your diet and lifestyle appropriate for YOU. It may take some work on your part but it is certainly doable.

The more “symptoms” you have, the more they will interfere with your life and the greater the chances that you health will escalate to the more chronic and debilitating conditions common with age. Today would be a good day to stop the assault.

 Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Pat is a resident of Montgomery County, AR, president of Ouachita Village, Inc. board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry); chairman of the Tasty Acre project; and member of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Her website is http://allaboutthefood.org/

 

So – What about Inflammation

Inflammation is a hot health topic but I often wonder if folks understand what that means to them personally. Really important for those with diabetes, heart and various autoimmune diseases. These are people with extreme inflammation. From a dietary perspective, grain and legumes (beans) are particular contributors. Here is why.

Continue reading

Probiotics? What the heck!

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I see tons of advertising on TV and Facebook for probiotics. Just recently I read an excellent post from Silver Sneakers on Facebook, The Best Foods for a Healthy Gut Unfortunately the reader needs to know just a bit more than the article provides.

The question is – why and when are probiotics necessary and what is the best way to take them? Continue reading