Word on Wellness—The Healthy Food Conundrum
By Cindy Savage
At Glen Eden, many of us have enrolled in the Healthy World Vitality Coaching Plan.
Working together, we’re taking this opportunity to learn the secrets to long-lasting, vibrant health, and to make them part of our lives. None of us want to be a victim of chronic conditions that drain our energy or sentence us to a lifetime of pills, procedures, and early death. This plan hails out of Sedona, AZ and Loma Linda, CA and is affiliated with Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, the heads of neurology at Loma Linda University Hospital and authors of The Alzheimer’s Solution books. A large focus of the program is maintaining and enhancing cognitive health.
Why This Plan?
Clear and compelling scientific research shows that 80% or more of chronic diseases are preventable, and where they already exist, symptoms can be reduced or eliminated through specific lifestyle changes. Remarkably, the body begins to heal from these diseases within days of making those changes. But lifestyle change is where we often get stuck. This 10-week plan provides the information about why specific changes are important and how to successfully make these changes. It also creates a support network to help sustain the changes. We’ve already seen some amazing changes in the participants from sustained weight loss to getting off of pharmaceuticals to clearing brain fog.
The acronym NEURO keeps ups on track as we make SMART goals in the following areas—Nutrition, Exercise, Unwind, Restorative Sleep and Optimize. Vital people are capable and energetic. They eat well, exercise consistently, know how to manage stress and unwind, value a good night’s sleep, and regularly stimulate their brains with new information. In general, they love life, no matter what their age.
The first part of this plan involves Nutrition. The foods we choose to eat either damage or protect us. When we talk about “prevention” of disease, it’s a difficult goal to understand. We’ll never really know whether we prevented something entirely until we’re about ready to die and we can look back. We don’t really want to work hard the rest of our lives to “not” get Alzheimer’s or “not” get diabetes or heart disease. How much of life do we waste trying “not” to get something? Instead, eating for wellness is about thriving. It’s a continuous building of vitality with added purpose, great relationships, doing what we love to do, traveling, learning, etc. Food is the foundation. Here’s a summary:
- Make Whole Food Plant-Based the foundation of your diet.
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruits daily to obtain more phytochemicals and antioxidants. Variety is the key. Eat the rainbow, cooked and raw, including sprouts and fermented foods.
- Most protein in our diets should come from legumes and grains.
- Eat whole grains, nuts and seeds for fiber.
- Whole grains are better when intact and have less impact on blood sugar. For example, whole or rolled oats are better than shredded, ground or puffed.
- Fiber is key. 50-80% of carbs in the Blue Zones are from unrefined grains.
- Whole fats are important: Nuts and seeds, avocados, flax, chia and hemp seeds are good sources of whole, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. It’s better to get them from the food rather than as oil.
- Minimize pathogenic compounds—chemicals, pesticides, pollution—by eating organic and avoiding fish, meat and dairy, which are the most concentrated sources of pathogens. Avoid high temperature cooking and maximize protective components: fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and pre/probiotics. Minimize alcohol.
- Meet nutrient needs by supplementing with B12, Vitamin D and Omega 3 from plant-bases sources.
Some people might read this and immediately turn the other way thinking that we’re pushing a vegan diet. Okay, well, we are, but just adding more vegetables to your day can improve a lot of issues. We’re pragmatic, not dictatorial. Each of us is on his/her own path and there’s no judgment. We’re learning and growing together, each with a vision that moves us forward.