When determining your menu plan we recommend first to think of “Nourishment”. It’s the nourishment aspect of your meal that contains the vitamins and minerals needed for the thousands of metabolic reactions occurring in the body. But, you also need the “energy” portion of this equation so that your cells have the fuel to drive these metabolic reactions.
Keep in mind; foods do not contain ONLY calcium or ONLY carbohydrate or ONLY protein. Foods are a mixture of a little bit of everything. Yet, individual foods are typically known for the largest percentage of energy or nourishment that it provides. For example, when we say “nuts are a great source of quality fats”, we are communicating that they contain a larger percentage of fat per volume. However, nuts are a good source of protein as well. So, you can use nuts to boost the protein or fat content of your meal.
When choosing what you’ll eat for your bigger meals like breakfast, lunch or dinner, we suggest this standard thought process:
Nourishment: Choose at least 2 fruits and vegetables. This can be a combo of 1 fruit and 1 vegetable or 2 vegetables. You can choose more vegetables for the meal if you like but your biggest meals need to include at least 2 servings from the fruit/vegetable category. Try to mix it up! Don’t eat the same fruits and vegetables all the time.
Protein: you must have protein with every meal. 25-35% of the meal needs to be of a protein source. Protein can come from plant based sources like beans, seeds, nut, sprouts, and quinoa or it can come from animal based sources like fish, eggs, chicken, turkey and possibly small amounts of red meat if OK’d by your nutritionist. If you have a normal serum ferritin and normal serum iron, then 4-6oz of red meat should be OK for you to consume on a weekly basis.
Carbohydrates: this is your main energy source. It’s the primary fuel that your cells prefer. Depending on your activity level and diabetic status, we recommend 40-60%. Carbohydrates come from many food sources but when thinking in terms of a side dish of carbohydrates, we are implying mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, whole grain bread, or couscous. Your fruits and veggies are also a good source of carbohydrates.
Fats: there should always be some source of fat in your meal. Fat contains many nutrients such as A, D, E, and K and is required to absorb certain nutrients like CoQ10. You meal should contain anywhere from 15-25% fat. If your meal contains animal proteins, then there will be some fat consumed from the meat. Other quality sources of fat to consider are raw olive oil (use it to dip your whole grain bread in! Yum!), coconut butter (cook with it, spread on corn on the cob, spread on whole grain bread or crackers), avocados, seeds and nuts.
Finally, when choosing your produce, fats, carbohydrates and proteins to consume, we suggest you take it one step further and make sure it’s “clean”.
When choosing your produce, fats, carbohydrates and proteins to consume, be sure they do not contain any of the following ingredients or packaging procedures. The more you can get back to basic, whole foods, the better off you’ll be. You want to choose “clean” foods. Choose fewer foods from a box or bag. These are what we call “processed foods”. Below, you’ll find a list of ingredients and packaging procedures that help you identify these processed foods.
Artificial Sweeteners: aspartame, saccharin, sucralose. Some vitamin supplements can contain these as well. See our January 2009 newsletter on “Sucralose”.
Processed Meats: “nitrate” or “nitrite” foods: pork products; bologna; wieners; many luncheon meat
MSG (monosodium glutamate): found in many dressings, sauces and Chinese foods.
All Canned Foods and Drinks: the metals from the container can leach into the foods. In addition, those cans that are lined with plastic will leach chemicals from the plastic into the foods. For more information on how plastics can be harmful to your health, see our March 2009 and June 2009 newsletters.
Fried Foods: deep fried, breaded foods. Sauté in a pan is acceptable.
Hydrogenated Fats [a.k.a. Trans Fat]: margarine, many pre-packaged foods and dressings and even vitamin supplements can contain trans fat.
Refined Carbohydrates: processed foods such as white sugar, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, “enriched” foods. If it’s truly whole grain, it doesn’t have to be “enriched”.
Artificial preservatives, additives, sulfites, artificial colors, FD&C colors and dyes. Watch your vitamin supplements!
Commercial Meats: Try to get the cleanest, freshest meat you can find. Look for meat that is labeled with terms such as “No Hormones”, “No Antibiotics” or “Free Range”.
Shellfish and Bottom-dwellers: crab, shrimp, lobster, oyster, catfish, etc. These tend to be higher in toxic elements.
Dairy Products: cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, butter, sour cream, etc. (anything with cow’s milk). This does not include eggs. See our March 2008 and April 2008 newsletters on “Dairy”.
Drinks: Coffee (regular & chemically decaffed), Liquor (distilled), All sodas, Tea (black decaf & black regular). Drink only clean water.
Soy Products: isolated soy protein, texturized vegetable protein, soy supplements, soy protein powder, soy protein bars, tofu, etc. Limited fermented soy products (tempeh and miso) and whole soy beans are acceptable. Don’t make soy your main protein source, limit to 3-4 servings per week.
Chlorine and Fluoride Sources: tap water, heavy chlorine exposure in swimming pools, fluoride toothpaste, fluoride supplements, fluoride mouthwash, etc. Chlorine and fluoride compete with iodine which can lead to thyroid imbalances.
Still think you’re missing something? Then, it’s time to get tested. Even if you ate a perfect diet, USDA data has shown that our food supply is simply not as nutritious as it was 30 years ago. Supplementing your diet can help to correct these short-comings. The only way to know if the supplements you’re taking are working or to know exactly what vitamins/minerals and dosages you need to take is to get tested. Starting with a consultation, we will determine the testing that should be done. Using bloodwork and other diagnostic tools, we do an in-depth analysis of your system. The testing will tell us where the problem areas are occurring or just developing. During your report of findings we will carefully note major and minor conditions that may lead to serious illness. This detailed report will explain your test findings, as well as the nutrient and dietary recommendations based upon your test results.