Hippocrates is known to have said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” but many doctors’ knowledge of food is basic at best. Most feel more comfortable discussing drugs and pills than gluten and your gut. But many patients – including my own – are starting to realize the importance of food in both causing and relieving many of their ailments.
Food As Medicine
I generally recommend eating a whole food, anti-inflammatory diet. The Paleo diet has become a popular version of this eating strategy, but you don’t have to adopt a strict, restrictive diet to see the benefits. Follow the general guidelines – consume far fewer grains, little or no dairy, use wild coldwater fish (salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna) as your main protein source, and up your fiber intake – to boost your metabolism and experience noticeably higher energy levels.
As in all healthy diets, “empty calories” like refined sugar, flour, and processed foods should be limited.
Eating in harmony with our genetic programming – the way our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate – typically involves eliminating gluten and may include removing other foods that are known to cause sensitivities like corn, dairy, and soy. A Functional Medicine practitioner can check for hidden food allergies like these with IgG testing.
The Art of Self-Care
Integrating mindful eating habits with other elements of self-care is the key to living a truly healthy, vibrant life. Below five healthy lifestyle tips I often share with my patients:
- Making the time for regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. The research is clear: regular physical activity can help reduce your risk of disease, promote weight loss, strengthen your body, improve your mood and mental health, and increase your chances of living longer.
- It is essential to get eight hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep slows your metabolism, causes cravings for sugar and carbs, and leads to overeating.
- Practice deep relaxation daily. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and massage can all help eliminate stress and promote relaxation.
- Eat slowly and mindfully to reduce your consumption of food, increase your enjoyment of meals, and help you make healthy choices about what you are putting in your body.
- Most of us need to learn how to manage our energies and moods without drugs. Sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and adrenaline can all be detrimental to our overall wellbeing.
Other Factors to Consider
Food can have a powerful impact on health, but diet is just one of many factors that can influence overall wellbeing. It is best to work with a Functional Medicine practitioner to address any hidden issues before making any major diet or lifestyle changes (Lyme disease, heavy metal poisoning, and adrenal fatigue can often go undetected for prolonged periods, leading to serious chronic conditions if left untreated).
Contact our office to schedule a consultation so we can begin to explore your unique biological wisdom together.