A few years ago I attended an Anti-aging conference in Las Vegas, one of the speakers grabbed my attention as she addressed the role that nutrition plays in aging and the development of chronic disease. Tasneem Bhatia is an integrative Medical Practitioner who has put together a book called ‘What Doctors Eat’. In this book she gets health experts from many fields to share with us their tips for health, their secrets for longevity and their diverse ways of reducing stress. What was overwhelmingly positive for me was that all the advice reinforced simple whole food, Mediterranean style eating. The focus was on organic where possible, clean simple eating, no packages, no processed foods, predominantly green leafy vegetarian style diet, meat reduced to once a week, fish 2-3 times per week and of course a rainbow of fresh fruit and vegetables. Reducing stress, exercise, yoga, meditation, tai chi, deep breathing were all strongly advocated from all different medical fields.
Dr Woodson C Merrel (assistant clinical professor of medicine at Columbia university, Chairman of the department of integrative medicine and executive director of the Continuum Centre for Health and Healing at Beth Israel medical centre, New York) suggested that a person’s good health comes down to 6 things: “Eating properly, exercising, sleeping and resting. Keeping a lid on stress, staying connected, and avoiding toxins in the environment” someone asked him which of those 6 was the most important one? He replied – “the one you’re not doing!” I also loved what he said about packaging…. “the only acceptable packaging on foods is the rind or peel on fruits and vegetables”
As a nutritionist – it is exciting for me to see many doctors who are promoting the enormous long-term benefits of eating a clean whole food diet!
The most common question I get when I am out and about and people realise what I do for a living is: “I don’t understand why I can’t shift the excess weight I’ve gained over the last few years, because I EAT REALLY WELL”
Eating REALLY well – can mean many things to many people, so before I go any further I ask them to document their diet for a week!
One of two things happens then:
Either they never ask me that same question again and the subject of weight, health and food becomes taboo OR they start documenting and things start happening! Documenting your diet is one of the most powerful tools to begin your journey in mindful eating – it’s also one of the most confronting and therefore can be really difficult to do.
Recently however I had a client who did document EVERYTHING she was eating and surprisingly she was in fact eating REALLY well –but very little of it! In fact, once I analysed her diet it was apparent that she was in fact eating HALF the amount of kilojoules that she should be eating for her body type and exercise level. To her absolute delight we added tons of super healthy whole foods to her diet, doubling the volume of food she was eating – and she suddenly started losing weight without any hunger!
We are all unique and the way in which our body responds to an eating pattern is very individual, the key is to find what works for you, and more importantly working it into your lifestyle so that is is sustainable for the long term.
Task for the week: If you are ready to start documenting what you eat and taking charge of your eating – book in to see one of our nutritionists or naturopaths now! Get your food diary sent out to you today.
- Bhatia T,2013, What Doctors Eat, Rodale, USA.