At Aiello Family Chiropractic, we are strong believers in the effect our gut health has on our wellbeing. Many patients living with chronic pain or autoimmune conditions can change the course of their lives by changing their diet. Our philosophy does not entail selling nutritional supplements to compensate for a poor diet. Supplements have their place but proper guidance in following an anti-inflammatory diet is the core of our philosophy.
Nutritional Counseling Visit
We offer one-on-one nutritional counseling in the office. During our session, we discuss the goals and changes you would like to make. We then customize a plan that works for those needs and goals. We work with every need from diets for weight loss, general health, autoimmune disorders, and other medical conditions. Below I have outlined our basic philosophy in the office but obviously, some additions are made to fit your needs. We rarely use supplements in this office, and we focus on whole foods to heal the body.
What is a Good Diet?
Diet is commonly referred to as a change one undergoes to lose weight. Most of the diets we hear about Keto Diet, Adkins Diet, Paleo Diet, Zone Diet, South Beach Diet, Vegan Diet, Vegetarian Diet, Weight Watchers Diet, and Mediterranean Diet are usually undertaken as a means to losing weight. 95% of weight-loss diets fail and most of the weight lost will be regained in one to five years. So why bother going on a diet? Did the right diet not get invented yet? I think the answer is to not go on a diet to lose weight. When we change how we eat to lose weight we have the motivation, and we get a reward on the scale during the process. With anything in life, over time motivation decreases. All the above diets are good for what they are – most of them teach you to stop eating junk food and increase healthy foods. They focus on decreasing calories through the limitation of carbohydrates or fats and overall calories. The problem is that you are always depriving yourself of something which is the pitfall. I think we need to look at instead of depriving yourself you need to take the approach of looking at food for what it is. Food is what we consume for sustaining our life – not just calories. What I mean by this is we do not just eat for energy so we can think and work. Food is necessary to constantly repair and detox our bodies, in addition to giving us calories for energy. When we enter a weight loss plan, we focus on ways to suppress hunger while limiting calories. This is why we fail; because we are trying not to be hungry while starving ourselves of calories.
Why do we Choose to Eat Poorly?
We have heard it repeatedly, “eat to live, do not live to eat”. My Chocolate Lab would disagree, but this is an important quote if you think about it. Eating the proper diet that gives you what you need to have a healthy body will change how you feel about food and your relationship with food. When you look at food as a life-giving healing part of your life it no longer is used as an energy reward after a hard emotional day. I know you have read similar quotes before, and it sounds great coming from self-help books or lecturers. In my life, I found that moving away from old dietary habits and eating whole-natural foods changes how you feel about food. Healthy food breaks old high-calorie dependencies. Modern farming practices have changed our foods giving us excessive unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates. Eating a steak today is not the same as when our grandparents ate a steak. Eating bread is not the same wheat our grandparents consumed. Drinking Coca-Cola is not the same as what our parents drank. Conventional (not organic) fruits and vegetables do not have the same vitamin and mineral content as they once did. These modifications are surely for-profit and hopefully unintentionally make us hungrier for more, causing us to overeat. Food flavor enhancers and preservatives have been shown to affect our hunger centers and our mood. Food dyes affect our mood. We are hungry and tired from our foods due to the low-quality we are putting in, not to mention imagine the underlying health issues we do not immediately know about. This is why many people go on one of the above diets and within a week feel much better relating to energy because almost all of them create a reduction in our processed food consumption but not elimination in poor quality foods.
The First Step
This will just be an outline. I will explain all of this in parts. Do not buy any packaged or processed food for daily consumption. Get rid of sugar, dairy, and gluten from your daily diet. Only buy meat in its natural form, fruits, vegetables, dry beans, rice, nuts, and gluten-free grains such as quinoa and gluten-free pasta. Purchase healthy oils for cooking, Extra Virgin Olive oil, Coconut oil, and Avocado oil. Go to the condiment section look for all-natural with no ingredients you do not understand on the label. Notice you are not depriving yourself of carbohydrates, proteins, or fats but just buying healthier products.
The Meat You Buy is Where All the Previous Diets Led You Wrong
The single most important decision for your overall health is to stop eating low-quality meat. Low-quality meat is mass farm-raised with a poor diet of GMO crops with added antibiotics and hormones. This is all mass-produced conventional farm meat including farm-raised fish. In addition to the diet fed to your meat, you also need to consider the life your meal had before you eat it. Land animals such as cows, pigs, and fowl store their fat reserves as saturated fat. Saturated fat has been blamed on high cholesterol and obesity, which may contribute to these conditions for obvious reasons. New research is shedding light on the actual hidden problems with saturated fats. The inflammatory properties these fats have are the key factor relating to many health conditions. Saturated fats mimic inflammatory chemicals in our bloodstream which when prolonged have damaging effects on our bodies. Research is showing the root cause of coronary artery disease may have more to do with inflammation damaging our blood vessels rather than high cholesterol as the root. Research has shown when our bodies are inflamed our insulin binds less efficiently predisposing us to weight gain and Type II Diabetes. When our body is in an inflamed state, we live our lives swollen and more apt to be in pain. In most diets, we are taught to avoid saturated animal fats due to negative impacts on cholesterol and high-calorie content. Opting for low-fat options from white meat such as chicken in combination with carbohydrate restrictions. Research is showing that both are probably wrong. High-protein low-carbohydrate diets fail in the long run because you are only getting energy from saturated fats which decrease insulin efficiency over time creating massive carbohydrate cravings or you are eating low-fat meats which never satiate your hunger. You will in the short run lose weight, but you are only doing it through deprivation. The same goes for calorie counting plans – deprivation must be maintained for success.
This is why many diets fail. We are either consuming too much saturated fat as our sole energy source and completely avoiding carbohydrates or we are avoiding saturated fats and limiting carbohydrates. We need fats and we need carbohydrates, but we need the right ones.
Omega-3 Fats is Where it is At
Omega-3 fats and Omega-6 fats consumed in the proper ratio will give the body sustained energy, building blocks for a healthy body, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Shifting to a diet high in these healthy fats is the key to a healthy diet and sustained weight loss.
We all know it but avoid the fact that fish is good for us. Fish has minimal saturated fat and has high levels of Omega-3 fats making it a high-protein power food. Wild-caught fish is the only meat we can buy at the store which is truly wild. Fish should be the staple of our meat consumption limiting other meat consumption to one to two per week.
Nuts are another Omega powerhouse walnuts at the top of the list. Avocados are also high in healthy fats.
Do not be shy with healthy oils from avocado, olive, or coconut when cooking sauté vegetables, cook your fish in it, add it to vegetables after steaming for extra flavor. I love olive oil on my baked potatoes.
When we eat healthy oils, we feel full longer without feeling overly full. When we eat healthy oils, we are combating the damaging effects of inflammation.
Carbohydrates are not the enemy to maintaining a healthy weight. Processed carbohydrates are the problem. When carbohydrates become refined, they quickly spike blood sugar which results in a rapid drop in blood sugar once your insulin kicks in. When your blood sugar drops you are hungry and respond by overeating to compensate. We need carbohydrates with our meals to help satisfy our short-term energy needs while our body metabolizes healthy fats. When eaten together you will have long-lasting energy that will get you to your next meal without feeling ravaged. Good carbohydrates include beans, rice, gluten-free grains, potatoes, and all fruits.
It is not just a trend anymore. We now know that the genetic modification of our wheat crops has changed the structure of wheat. The chemicals added during crop growth and harvesting are affecting it, and the processes we put wheat through before it hits our store shelves have changed it. What we do know is that wheat is no longer what it used to be. These changes all made by Monsanto and DuPont are all based on higher crop yields and more profit. So, what we do know is consuming these altered foods is creating not allergic reactions to wheat but an autoimmune reaction to the protein gluten in wheat. An autoimmune reaction is when our immune system has been sensitized by another foreign protein into attacking a similar protein found in our cells. In the case of Celiac/Gluten sensitivity, our immune system attacks the lining of the small intestine. When our body is exposed to wheat, our small intestine swells and does not absorb food properly.
A healthy diet requires proper digestion and absorption of food, so we feel good and are not always hungry. When we are in an inflamed state it affects our health as a whole. Specifically relating to diet inflammation leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance causes us to gain weight and feel hungry.
When shopping as stated earlier opt for gluten-free carbohydrates. Beware of products labeled gluten-free because many of them are highly processed and packed with bad carbohydrates. Products like gluten-free pasta usually are ok because they are simple with very few ingredients, but always read the ingredients on the package. If you see ingredients that do not sound like food stay away.
Where is the Beef Raised?
American beef is pumped with hormones and antibiotics to increase the size of our animals and thus profits. We also feed them a diet rich in conventional corn loaded with pesticides. The result is a much lower quality meat with very high levels of saturated fat. Saturated fat is linked to many conditions due to its inflammatory properties. Hormones in our food for obvious reasons should be avoided. Antibiotics in our food have to have a negative effect on the intestinal bacteria that we depend on for the digestion of our food. It is no wonder why the European Union banned the import of our meat in 1996. The only way beef should be consumed is by eating American Grass Fed Association certified beef. These are cows that eat in a pasture free to move about, no hormones or antibiotics in the diet, and all the animals are from the U.S. on family-owned farms. This is obviously more expensive to buy, but as stated earlier we should limit our consumption of all animal proteins high in saturated fat to one to two times per week.
Free-range or Organic Chicken?
Both are better options than conventional feed farm chemical chickens. Free-range chickens have what it says – free-range so they eat whatever they find. They could be in a field sprayed with pesticides eating the grass. If you never had the pleasure of owning chickens, then you do not know that they eat everything including rocks. The better option is organic chickens because they control the diet, and they still allow free-ranging in a limited controlled environment free from chemical spraying. How healthy are chickens to eat? Like all land animals, they have saturated fat stores which should be limited in the diet. The breast of a chicken is extremely low in fat and high in protein. The good side is the protein building blocks, the bad side is they do not give you any energy from healthy fats, so it does not sustain your hunger for calories very long. So just like beef, it is okay to eat, but in limited quantities of animal proteins one to two times per week.
Load Your Body With Antioxidants & Phytochemicals
Part of every healthy lifestyle plan is eating your fruits and vegetables. Many diets will limit these to avoid sugars but, on this plan, you eat whatever you want within reason. I suggest buying as many organics as possible to avoid chemicals used in the farming process and because of increased nutritional value. The importance of antioxidants and phytochemicals cannot be disputed in the prevention of disease. New research is showing that the anti-inflammatory effects are also amazing a topic that has only recently been studied.
With fruits, you want to make sure you are eating the skins. Many of the good chemicals are in the skin because it is what protects the fruit from rotting. The highest antioxidant fruits are berries, cherries, cranberries, pears, figs, red grapes, peaches, mangos, and oranges to name a few popular fruits. All fruit is good, but the ones mentioned above are the most beneficial.
Vegetables are also a must, but greens leafy vegetables have the highest antioxidants and nutritional content. For most if not every dinner you should incorporate greens such spinach, kale, swiss chard, and collard greens. Incorporating broccoli, asparagus, green beans, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower are the other super anti-inflammatory vegetables that need to be in your regular mealtime routine. Again, all vegetables are good, but those mentioned above are the most beneficial. A very important part is properly cooking your vegetables you can use any method of steaming, baking, or stir-frying, but make sure not to overcook. Eating them in limited amounts raw is okay but do not overdo it as raw veggies are hard to digest. You want your vegetables to be crisp not overly cooked. Overcooking robs all the nutrient value from vegetables. I prefer cooking as a stir fry in healthy oils and do not be shy to cover the entire bottom of the pan with oil. I also think adding healthy oils to the top of steamed vegetables after cooking is another great way of getting more flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits of the oils.
Remember what I said earlier, pick organic whenever you can. It tastes better, is fresher, and is more nutrient-dense.
Get Natural Probiotics
Probiotics are bacteria that normally live in our intestines, and they aid us in digesting the food we are not able to digest easily on our own. They are also important for our intestines because when they are thriving, they prevent bad bacteria from growing. Bad bacteria cause us to produce excessive gas and they change the pH of our digestive tract altering how efficiently we break down foods.
Literally, hundreds of pro -and prebiotic supplements are on the market. Each has proprietary blends of different bacteria strains which are supposedly the cure of all gut ailments. While researching the topic I could not help but feel there must be a better way of getting natural bacteria in our gut. Even if these pills truly have live bacteria in them, where did they get them from? I assume they are grown in a lab somewhere which seems wrong to me to grow in my body. I found information about natural probiotics and the high efficiency they have at rebuilding the proper gut environment. We can get everything we need from drinking an ounce of Kefir and eating a tablespoon of raw fermented live culture sauerkraut per day. Kefir is a form of fermented milk either from cows or goats. The amount consumed will not affect your dairy restrictions versus the digestive benefits. The fermented sauerkraut has to say live culture in it, so you know it has active bacteria.
Drink Your Water
Water is important because it is less concentrated than your body fluids, so it cleans your system aiding in your natural toxin elimination. When we add things to water it becomes more concentrated and usually, we make it more concentrated than our body fluids negating the detoxifying property of water. It is okay to add a slice of lemon or cucumber that would not be too much dissolved in the water. As a rule, we need 64 ounces of water per day.
Don’t Forget to Cheat
What would life be like without a cheeseburger and fries? It is a life I do not want to live. Friday night will always be pizza night in my house. Any healthy eating plan must allow for food to be fun so make your weekends your cheat time. I like doing it because I feel the effects poor choices make me feel by Sunday. Sunday night I am usually making my normal healthy meals again because I want real food that makes me feel good.
What to Expect
Once you get past adding more wild-caught seafood and learning about how to prepare healthy carbohydrates in every meal you will find this change to be easy. You will not be hungry or deprived. You will have your cheat days as you should. In about four to six months, you will begin to see changes in your body. You will obviously be less swollen and have lost some body fat at this point. You will feel fewer aches and pains and most chronic orthopedic conditions will feel much better if not fully eliminated. You will notice your skin will even look better. You will notice when mealtimes approach you are not as ravaged. You will find gastrointestinal issues such as heartburn, bloating, and irregular bowel movements will go away. You will see irregularities in your blood work such as high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and elevated liver enzymes return to normal levels. You will see a reduction in your blood pressure.