Best practice when it comes to eating

I have spent a lot of time talking best practice when it comes to eating.

There have been plenty of heated (though happy) discussions with fellow therapists about “diets” and how to eat. It’s mostly always argued that it’s best to be “general”. And to follow the already widely available food pyramid and healthy eating guidelines offered by the Health Department.

For fear of upsetting the boat, alienating people, creating “food fear” or asking “too much” of clients.  Or of a genuine belief that the healthy eating guidelines are correct (they’re not), the vast majority of nutritionists still offer eating templates that include dairy, grains and starchy carbohydrates in large daily servings.

I don’t agree with this and so I don’t do it.

Instead, please read on for a summary of what White Dog Studio professes to be the best and most wholesome way to eat for good health. There are disclaimers here, as always.  Health isn’t black and white and everyone has different dietary needs and requirements.   So, eating well requires you to be responsible, take time to listen to your body, exert control and intuition and feel your way through a health regime.  That regime should involve the following:

  • Eat plenty of leafy green and brightly coloured vegetables, every day.
  • Choose grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free meats and eat some with most meals, about a palm sized piece of protein will do nicely.
  • Add a thumb-ful of fat and if you like about half a cup of starchy vegetables, such as white or sweet potato.
  • Here and there snack on a piece of fruit or a small handful of nuts and seeds.
  • Enjoy some fermented foods such as sauerkraut.
  • Avoid grains, starchy carbohydrates, dairy (unless fermented and well tolerated), legumes and sugar.

There are some people who can tolerate carbohydrates better than others and can eat more starch. The only way you will know is by cutting processed and carbohydrate based foods out of your diet and eating real, whole foods and nothing else for 30 days and then slowly, one by one, introducing them back in to gauge your reactions (such as gut aches, constipation, headaches, afternoon energy dips, blood sugar crashes, cravings, that feeling of just needing “something” after your dinner etc).

This is not to say you can’t eat these foods ever again – a suggestion is not a gun to your head.

But when you eat well most of the time and bring balance to your blood sugar, hormones and digestive system, you find that the foods you so often crave now are actually not that good when you do come to “treat” yourself.

As you go on, you’ll choose them less and less, your reactions to them will become more averse and you will crave the right foods and be thankful for them.

In a nutshell, I offer you these sentiments because all the good research shows it’s the best way to eat to heal your gut  and avoid or manage autoimmune conditions, depression, anxiety, metabolic syndromes, hormone dysregulation, weight problems and behavioural disorders in children (and adults) such as Autism, Aspergers, ADHD/ADD. And because over the past decade my experience has been the same time and time again, if you heal the gut with the right foods, you heal the body and mind as well.

If at first you feel like this is too hard, make the change gradually.

Aim to eat one whole foods meal once a day for four weeks, then add the second for a month then add the third. The hardest one is breakfast, so I suggest doing that one FIRST!

In the next blog post I will introduce the concept of counting macro nutrients for weight loss and body sculpting, which can be done in two ways.

Firstly, using flexible dieting (which does not fit within the principles of White Dog’s food philosophies but has a place in the fitness industry and maybe your life which is totally fine by us) and secondly, by using a whole foods approach but still counting macros for best results in the gym.

Stay tuned!


Love Your Gut

love your gut

 

As my first blog post for White Dog Studio I figured I should start out with my passion – gut health and gut healing.

The New Year, when loosely based resolutions to lose weight and exercise don’t take long to fly out the window.  We’re going to focus in on the concept of listening to your body and providing it the recipe it needs to best function.  

What if I told you that poor digestion was a barrier to weight loss? Would it be worth it to address your symptoms of poor digestion if you knew one of the many outcomes would be a few pesky kilos gone?

The vast majority of the population suffer with some sort of digestive disturbances.  They range from general reflux and heartburn to flatulence and bloating.  A smaller but still significant percentage experience constipation, diarrhoea, cramping and stomach pains, headaches, nausea, vomiting and feelings of fullness.

Perhaps some of you have attempted to cut out gluten for a couple of weeks, to find the alternatives to your normal fare dry, crumbly, over sugared, gross. Others have put it all in the too hard basket and simply avoid certain social settings where noisy farting is inappropriate. Most often, you tell yourself that it’s just ‘normal’. To be fair, it likely does feel normal as you’ve been feeling bloated after meals for so long now it’s all you know. After all, it takes not being bloated and uncomfortable to know what it feels like to be bloated and uncomfortable.

Here are a few simple suggestions of how to treat your digestive system with the love and kindness it deserves.

Manage your stress

This will always be the most important one.

Stress doesn’t just wreak havoc on your mind; it WILL mess with your digestion! Read all about The Gut/Brain Axis is a hot topic as scientists understand more and more that the mind and body are intricately connected, indeed it is now commonly referred to as “the second brain”. Take the time to work out a plan best suited to you – 15 minutes a day of breathing exercises, moving your body, taking the time to enjoy your favourite past times, counselling, can all help. Only you have the power to decide to deal with stress better.
 

Hydrate

From the moment you get up! Start the day with a large glass of warm water. Should you feel so inspired, squeeze some lemon juice into it or add ½ a tsp of himalayan salt. Read why here.
 

Chew your food

The first step to digestion begins in your mouth with saliva which contains amylase, an enzyme that helps break down starches. Chewing mechanically breaks down your food and also sends a signal to your stomach that food is on its way. 
 

Eat REAL foods

Focus on whole, fresh foods, such as meat, eggs, fats, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Avoid processed foods andfast-foods, which are typically high in refined salt, sugar, and processed oils. Limit grains, sugar and all refined carbohydrates.
 

Eat fermented and cultured foods

Fermented foods are high in “good bacteria” and eating them will help you to regenerate your gut flora naturally. It has been shown that eating cultured food is more successful in repopulating beneficial gut flora than taking store bought probiotics. The greater the variety of fermented and cultured foods you can include in your diet, the better. Try eating sauerkraut,  kefir, coconut yoghurt and kombucha. If you have a severe gut disorder, start slowly. Allow time for your internal environment to change and for your digestive system to become healthier and stronger. White Dog will soon be holding its first Gut Healing Workshop so you can learn how to make these foods yourself!
 

Be good to your liver

Drink lots of water, eat raw beetroot, carrots and leafy greens. Chew bitter greens before eating, such as rocket, which is easily grown in the garden to stimulate digestive juices. Drink dandelion and milk thistle tea. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

I hope that helps you to understand a bit about your gut and the best way to bring some gut healing into your life.

Laura x