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Food 101

May 19, 2020 , In: Health Tips , With: No Comments
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Ready for a quick boost in your health? 

Start with whole foods

In my practice, both locally and when I’m doing phone appointments with people, I emphasize food as one of the best ways to heal. Both what you eat and what you DON’T eat are two of the greatest factors to improving the quality of your health. Food can very easily be used to cleanse the liver, build your gut flora, ease inflammation and an over-active immune system, heal the skin, and relieve head tension when done thoughtfully and with care. 

What I’d like to remind you of this week (because I know that you’ve heard this at least a thousand and three times), is going back to basics. I was actually going to write about gallbladder health this week, but I was so inspired by the ‘Rich Roll’ podcast with Dr. Gemma Newman, that I was listening to during my workout, that I felt compelled to share this more basic information with you, instead. 

In my practice, both locally and when I’m doing phone appointments with people, I emphasize food as one of the best ways to heal. Both what you eat and what you DON’T eat are two of the greatest factors to improving the quality of your health. Food can very easily be used to cleanse the liver, build your gut flora, ease inflammation and an over-active immune system, heal the skin, and relieve head tension when done thoughtfully and with care. 

What I’d like to remind you of this week (because I know that you’ve heard this at least a thousand and three times), is going back to basics. I was actually going to write about gallbladder health this week, but I was so inspired by the ‘Rich Roll’ podcast with Dr. Gemma Newman, that I was listening to during my workout, that I felt compelled to share this more basic information with you, instead. 

When I talk about ‘whole foods’, I’m not talking about the market with the kombucha and raw kimchi. I’m talking about whole foods that can be purchased anywhere in the world, without a specialty store nearby. Don’t get me wrong….when I see a Wholefoods, I feel that I’ve reached the Holy Land and everything is right in the world.

But here, I’m checking in with you to see how much FRESH fruits and veggies you’re eating everyday? The research says that only about 8% of the population is eating 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. How are you doing on this?

Here in North America and the northern hemisphere, it’s summer. This is THE best time to start adding in more fresh fruits and veggies to your diet. Have a farmer’s market nearby? Make some time to head over there and see what’s local and seasonal. Eating this way helps support local farmers, the food is usually organic (you need to ask each, individual farmer about his or her farming practices), and it’s probably been picked within the 12 hours of you getting your hands on it, so it’s still full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and water content.

In my practice, I really encourage my patients to start adding in more fresh fruits and veggies to their daily eating regimen. Myself included, I can guarantee that almost none of us are getting enough live enzymes from fresh food. If you haven’t noticed, I’m using the word ‘fresh’ over and over again, and that’s because canned, cooked, frozen food doesn’t have the same nutritional content as fresh food. The longer something is away from it’s mother (the plant), boxed up, sitting in freight trucks, handled, sitting in a market bin, processed and changed, the less of those good healing properties stay in the food.

I’m currently working with one of my patients with some health challenges, and we’re working with diet, only.

There are 2 reasons for this:

1. So much of what we eat is making us sick.

2. A large majority of people aren’t eating the right foods to give the body the opportunity to heal itself.

If you’d like some more inspiration, I have a few books to recommend. Aside from the podcast I mentioned above, I love to read and find inspiration about foods. I’m also finding more and more inspiration in the world of nature and the idea that the plant world is here to support our health and well-being. I’m re-starting the study of the medicinal nature of plants, herbs, spices, and flowers and I’m overwhelmed by how beautiful nature is and how we are all so really inter-connected.

Did you know that potatoes have the spiritual essence of bringing a sense of grounding, along with bringing the sense of family together? I read this in the Medical Medium Series, Life Changing Foods.  I love this because potatoes are always given a bad rap for their high sugar content and for being part of the night shade family, known for their inflammatory properties. I’ve always, personally, loved potatoes, especially when I’ve had a long day of teaching. When I read that about potatoes, it made total sense to me. This book is filled with amazing properties of foods, both nutritional and spiritual. On  a side note, potatoes, at least in the US, are highly, highly sprayed with pesticides. If you eat potatoes, this is one of the veggies you want to strive hard to make sure you get organic….and you probably want to stick with the potatoes that have color to them for more nutritional content. 

Another book I love and have used for over 20 years (and I’m glad it’s FINALLY available for the general public!) is The Ancient Art of Self-Healing by Yogi Bhajan. This book is so packed full of recipes (sometimes seemingly crazy ones!) for anything you can think of….from chronic nose-picking to regulating women’s menstrual cycles. 

And, gosh, there’s so so much I want to share with you….I could write 108 pages on food and its’ impact on our health, but, it’s summer, and I would rather make this post easily digestible (excuse the pun) so that you can get outside and enjoy this beautiful world we have for us…..and then go get your fruits and veggies so that you can go get creative in the kitchen. 

Just 2 tiny little things that I want to share because I’ve realized that many people think that eating more veggies, means eating salads all day long….and, yes, you can definitely do that, but there’s also a huge world of creative and delicious ways to get your veggies in. Two books that I’m totally in love with right now are: Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week (no, I’m not sneaking my vegan agenda in here….you can keep your meat and fish but add some more veggies in here with this book). The other one is Oh She Glows! by Angel Liddon. I’ve been following her blog for years, and now she has this really beautiful, easy-to-follow cook book.

My Challenge to you:

Honestly, how much fresh food are you eating everyday? 
  • Take out a piece of paper, or, if you really must, you can use your phone, to log 3 days of your food intake
  • After you’ve logged what you’re eating, put a star next to all of the fresh food items that you’ve imbibed
  • You will want to make sure you’re counting 5-8 per day (and, no, cornchips don’t count  and 1 piece of lettuce on your burger is only like a 1/4 of a serving)
If you’re not counting 5-8 servings per day, find meals where you can add more.
  • Can you use cucumber slices instead of chips with your burger?
  • Can you choose a side salad instead of fries?
  • What about a green smoothie instead of a coffee during that mid-afternoon slump?
  • With your pasta at night, what about sauteing some summer squash and carrots to include with the red sauce?
I guarantee that you’ll feel good about what you’re eating, and just by default, you’ll find that you’ll probably feel better just by process of elimination. If you’re choosing salad over fries or chips, you’re also not getting all of the fried foods, which can contribute to pain and inflammation.

I’m excited for you!!

Enjoy your summer, and I hope you enjoy adding some of those abundant summer greens into your lifestyle…..one that becomes a habit for you

Sending love and hugs from beautiful Northern New Mexico,  
Dr. Arjan

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