21 May 2014…Eating for Health

Clearly, the foods that we eat play a big role in how we feel physically and mentally.  With so much advice out there and so many diets, what is one to believe these days?  What is the difference between an alkaline diet, a gluten-free diet, a raw food diet, the paleo diet, the blood type diet, a detox diet, and which one is right for you?  Sorting through all of this information (and sometimes conflicting information) can be quite overwhelming, and finding what is right for you isn’t always easy.  Each person has different needs, and each diet has different benefits.  Be sure to do plenty of research to understand the positive and negative effects of any diet that you’re interested in before you start with one.  Through experimentation, you can also find out what eating style suits you best.

For those who aren’t bound to strict dietary restrictions, a general rule of thumb is to take everything in moderation.  Cutting out foods or being too restrictive with your diet can lead to other problematic behaviour, such as binge eating, and consequently, more weight gain.  Don’t deny yourself foods you love.  Instead, eat well 6 days of the week, and on the 7th day, relax the rules slightly and let yourself have a treat (again, in moderation…not an entire chocolate cake).  A balanced, healthy diet is most important, and if your interest is weight loss, combine that with eating a bit smaller portions and moving/exercising a bit more.  And it is no surprise that the one thing in common with all the diets mentioned above is eating generous portions of fruit and veggies, so be sure to make that a key part of what you eat.

There is no doubt that any of the above mentioned diets, in combination with a good workout regimen, can not only help you lose weight, but also help to decrease your risk of developing chronic diseases in the long term.  There are times when the foods we eat that can also cause physical symptoms, such as headaches or low back pain.  If you are sensitive to certain foods, and you experience physical symptoms as a result, it is wise to make an investigation into your food choices.  A few good places to start:

  • Keep a diary of what you are eating, when you are eating, and the symptoms to identify any possible patterns.
  • Try an elimination diet, where you try to identify the food triggers that may cause the physical reaction.  This is more extreme as is involves drastically simplifying your diet to try reduce or rid yourself of the physical symptoms and then slowly reintroducing certain food groups back into your diet, at which point you watch to see which ones are the likely culprits.
  • Talk to a health expert regarding getting tested for food allergies you may have.  A lab test can help get some definitive answers instead of guessing.

It’s important to evaluate what you eat and how you eat, and note the positive or negative effects it has on your body.  If you have questions, it’s also a good idea to discuss any concerns or ideas that you have with an expert (dietitian, nutritionist, chiropractor, medical doctor, etc.).  If you’ve exhausted all options with your diet and you are still experiencing physical symptoms, such as low back pain, it’s a good idea to explore other possible causes of the physical pains by calling the chiropractors at Chiropractie Noordzee!