Deborah JOYa's Top 11 Healing Foods
Heal Yourself with the Food you Eat! The things you put in your body become part of you.
Do you want to be Healthy and Alive inside? Eat Healthy and Alive foods!
Perhaps most important, I believe the mind is more powerful than all of these, and dis-ease is often created by an unhealthy reaction to life stress, which could even be worrying about healthy habits. I am not saying I always follow these recommendations, but I believe it is good to incorporate them as much as possible without worry.
The taste buds are one tiny part of your body, do you want to sacrifice your whole body for them? The good news is they are easy to retrain - just a few months of eating something and you may like it, and no longer like what you stopped eating!
I experienced a health crisis in 2003 that made me realize I could do nothing else without my health, and since then it has been one of my passions to research healthy habits. Here I am sharing some of the things I have researched and incorporated into my diet. This is a very brief summary - please forgive anything missing that you believe should be included. I have included links in the text to sources I have found useful, so check them out! Everything I am including has made a difference for me, however, everyone is different and I recommend consulting holistic medical practitioners, books, and websites that relate symptoms to recommendations. In particular, many people have food allergies and/or sensitivities, for which tests are available (most MDs only deal with allergies, sensitivity tests are available through naturopaths and online).
These are not listed in any particular order, except that I'll start with 3 methodologies that all recognize the differences between people and between life stages. We all know someone who has a totally different response to certain foods than ourselves, and we often notice changes as we go through life.
Please note that I am not an extremist, and you may see me not always following these top eleven. I believe that STRESS is even worse than eating bad, and stressing about eating healthy isn't worth it. So I don't worry if I occasionally falter - although I must say I feel much better when I don't! Some of these are herbs and food supplements - considered food because they are made from whole foods unlike many vitamins and supplements available. I also take wholefood vitamins and other supplements not mentioned. It was tough picking eleven (I just could not settle with 10!)
1. AYURVEDA: The science of wellbeing practiced in in India for centuries is still keeping people healthy today. It is a system of recommendations for food, herbs, exercise, and lifestyle that is specific to your body and mind right now. We go through different phases in life and Ayurveda gives recommendations based on imbalances that currently exist. Many tests are available that can help you to determine your type, or dosha, although visiting a practitioner is the most accurate. If you have difficulty going to an herbalist or taking pills, Zrii is a healthy and tasty drink that uses the science of Ayurveda. It includes turmeric (see below) as well as Amalaki, a superfruit high in antioxidants from India. I have had great success shifting out of certain imbalances by following Ayurvedic practices and drinking Zrii.
2. CHINESE MEDICINE: Similar to Ayurveda, this is a complex system of herbs, food, and healing modalities such as accupuncture. People 's differences are described in terms of the elements and meridians in the body. The treatments, herbs, and recommendations are based on your body's current condition. I have had great resuls with herbal formulas designed specifially fr me by my accupuncturist/herbalist.
3. METABOLIC / NUTRITIONAL TYPING: There are several modern typing methods which focus on food rather than entire lifestule. They typically differentiate people into protein vs. veggie or carb vs. mixed types. based on your eating habits and body traits. It can vary in your life and is not so generalized as the blood type diets. I believe the most recognized is William Wolcott's Metabolic Typing. Mercola.com is a great website for heallth research, and Dr. Mercola has his version which he calls Nutritional Typing. I am classified as a protein type - I need protein in order to have lasting energy and simple carbs make me lethargic. This is one of the first modications I made in my diet, and it helped me break the caffeine/sugar habit, which is one of the best things I ever did for my health. Beyond that, I prefer to follow t my own research about particular foods as well as the Ayurvedic and Chinese recommendation, since they are more holistic.
4. LOTS OF VEGETABLES: Vegetables contain many of the nutrients we need and the enzymes to digest them. Variety is important - there is healing in all of the colors and tastes. Remember you can retrain your taste buds! It took me years to finally eat some of the dark greens, but I am now! Volumes are available about all of the amazing nutrients in vegetables that make our bodies do what they are supposed to do to stay healthy. Remember everyone's body is different, and some bodies do better with raw vs cooked, or with more or less vegetables. Ayurveda and Chinese medicine as well as modern research shows that each body type and condition has different needs. A 100% raw diet has been shown to be very powerful in healing crises (effective for cancer and diabetes among other things, but there are some people whose bodies cannot tolerate it.
5. EAT HEALTHY GRAINS, LIMIT BASIC CARBS & SUGARS: Wheat, white rice, and sugar give a quick energy boost, but the long term effect is lethargy and weight gain since our bodies do not process them well. Many people have sensitivities to wheat and gluten that show up in different ways (not as severe as an allergic reaction but affects wellbeing). I have allot more energy and feel better when I avoid wheat. Artificial sweeteners have been associated with memory and health issues, and are difficult for the body to process. Fructose poses the higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and is found not just in corn syrup but also in table sugar. However the corn syrup is more dangerous because it is processed by the body even faster in this form, and has been found to increase weight gain and therefore health risks. Replace sugars with natural sweeteners like Yucan syrup and Stevia, and replace wheat and rice with brown rice, quinoa, millet, barley, hemp, and other grains that are more digestible and contain more protein and the essential amino acids (especially important for vegetarians or pseudo-vegetarians). Quinoa is my favorite grain - it cooks faster than rice, is very light, and takes on the flavor of your seasoning (use extra - it absorbs it). Ayurveda teaches that eating bitter foods will reduce sweet cravings, and this has worked well for me.
6. LIMIT DAIRY: Dairy is not designed for adult consumption and is very hard to digest. We are the only species who consume it as adults. This includes whey protein! It has been demonstrated to be at the root of many physical issues, including constipation, gas, and asthma. Many advocate raw milk (particularly goat's milk), which is easier to digest and contains Collostrum, the nutrient in mother's milk that enhances the immune system. I take Collostrum in supplement form because my body does not tolerate dairy. I sometimes satisfy my cheese cravings with goat cheeses and moderate amounts of white cheeses like mozarella that are easier to digest.
7. EAT ORGANIC: Today's agricultural companies add many toxins to the food so that it can be mass-produced at low cost. The regulation is very poor in this country since the USDA and FDA are populated with people from these companies. Genetically modified foods are not even labelled, but I recently found a site that gives a way to determine if produce is GMO. Our livers are overwhelmed by having to remove these toxins from our bodies, making them function poorly so that our food is not processed well. If you think organic food is expensive, remind yourself that poison is cheap at first, but in the long run is very expensive to your health. Look for deals - local farmer's markets are an excellent source. Even better - plant your own - I finally did and I am so glad (it was allot less work than I thought).
8. CHIA SEEDS: Yes, like the chia pet! I believe it is the best source of Omega fatty acids which are so good for your brain, heart, and entire body. It has a soft shell which soaks soft in just 15 minutes, compared to the hard and actually toxic shell of the flax seed. It does not require any processing (which can include toxins) like flax, fish oil, krill oil, or algae It does not have river and sea chemicals or heavy metals, farming additives, or oxidation such as in fish and fish oils - it is a hardy plant which is loaded with antioxidants. Of course it is best to buy organic, and the dark chia has more antioxidants as well as quercetin (good for allergies). I have found chia to be a good appetite suppresant, digestive aid, and mood-lifter. I take 1-2 tablespoons per day in my smoothie, oatmeal, cereal, and sometimes other meals.
9. TURMERIC: This amazing herb has been found to prevent and stop cancer, and is a powerful anti-inflamatory and iron chelator, among other things. Since inflammation (stress) is what causes premature aging and disease, this is what our bodies need! You can buy it at your local herb shop (better quality), online, and as a spice in the grocery store (unknown processing - choose organic!). Recent research shows it is much more effective when added to boiling water and cooked or eaten with egg and oil. It has a strong flavor, but tastes good when combined with other spices. For example, combining with Cumin makes curry, and I even combine it with Cardamom and Ginger in my oatmeal.I take 1-2 teaspoons per day.
10. GREEN FOODS/PHYTONUTRIENTS: Keeping your colon clean is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Getting rid of the waste makes the whole body work better and feel better! Prevent intestinal disorders and cancer, stop the gas and bloating, and lose some excess weight! I highly recommend you start with very small doses - some of us have an extreme reaction at first, but the body gets used to it. This includes eating raw dark green vegetables, but it is also recommended to take a supplement with greens from the sea like Spirulina (Blue-green algae) and Chlorella. You can hide the taste in a smoothie with apples, berries, and celery, or find a good tasting one. I like the one from Integrated Therapeutics because it doesn't have herbs - since every body is different and there is not one herbal mixture right for everyone.
11. FERMENTED FOODS / PROBIOTICS: Having the proper gut bacteria is crucial for good health, and has found to help all sorts of physical and emotonal issues. Taking supplements can be good, but there is nothing like whole foods. Kombucha tea is easy to get and easy to make. Kefir and Yogurt are not quite as simple but can be made either from milk or from milk alternatives (i've used almond milk). My latest favorite is fermented vegetables like sauerkraut. They are quickly diced in a food processor then mixed with a starter kit powder, and allowed to sit for several days. A tablespoon a day works wonders. Dr. Mercola has an excellent article here.
What about sweets?
My current favorite is dark sour cherries. I buy them frozen and eat them like they're ice cream. They can also be dried and mixed in with granola for a tasty treat. They are high in antioxidants and low in sugar. I also like coconut, which is low glycemic - I look for coconut products with no added sugar.