As an ND (Naturopathic Doctor), I am often asked, “What should I eat or do, in order to regain my health?” This is, of course, long after the individual has exhausted most other options like diets that didn’t work, supplements that did not deliver as promised, and ineffective or overly toxic allopathic (Western Medicine) approaches. But, why let it get this far in the first place? Health is achieved on a day-to-day basis. “You are what you eat.” Most of us are familiar with this maxim, yet we carelessly choose to disregard it, and blithely proceed on the path to health disasters of our own creation. Years of abuse to the body may result in arthritis, cancer, digestive problems, type II diabetes, candida (yeast) issues, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and osteopenia, to name a few.
There is no magic pill which can reverse any particular disease in a day, week, or even a month! That process takes time and a concerted effort by the affected individual to make some changes (healthy decisions). All health care providers are consultants, and it is YOU who must decide how best to apply their recommendations.
Finding good quality food today has become a challenge. Fast, processed restaurant fare has become a large part of our daily diet. Preparing meals is a lost art to most of thisĵ generation, due to our hectic existence. Microwave and high heat cooking (temperatures over 250◦F and especially deep frying) lead to glycation (changing fats and proteins to toxic sugars), which accelerate the aging process. With no control over how the food is made into meals when we eat out, combined with poor dietary habits, inflammatory changes will occur in our bodies at the cellular level, eventually making us sick. When poor diet is factored in with everyday stressors, adult vices (tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine), poor sleep habits, overstimulation from electronic devices, and prescription drugs with their interactions and mineral depletion, the toxic cycle is assured. When I look into some people’s shopping carts, I want to scream, “STOP! Don’t do this to yourself!” To borrow a phrase from John Milton’s Paradise Lost, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”
Putting diesel fuel into a race car and expecting it to perform well is simply crazy. The body is an amazing creation that can repair and heal itself, given the proper nutrients. I experienced such a transformation after a four-year struggle with myofascial pain (very painful muscle spasms all over). When allopathic medicine failed, I turned to holistic health care and, after 13 months, my body had completely recovered. Many diet and lifestyle changes were required, but I did the work. It has been four years, and I remain pain free!
Naturopaths, unlike Allopaths, address the underlying cause(s) and not the symptoms. We do not give names to these symptom complexes. When these imbalances are corrected, good things happen.
A Word About Vegetables and Fruit (Phytonutrients and Antioxidants) Vital for Cell Repair
Somehow, these items are disappearing from our plates, along with legumes and nuts and their many benefits (amino acids, proteins, and good fats). And let’s not forget about water, which is extremely vital to our health. Many people are often dehydrated and don’t realize it. How much water should we consume? Much controversy exists concerning hydration. Half a person’s body weight in ounces should be the daily target with adjustment for extra amounts on hot days or times of exertion (workouts, etc.).
Keep in mind, it’s never too late to take charge of your health. Read, Eat Yourself Well With The Reverse Food Pyramid, , a program (NOT a diet) about changing your shopping and eating habits, by Drs. Carl Fusco, ND NMD and Diana Pengitore, ND. Individuals using this program, have experienced more energy, better focus, improved sleep, diminished or resolved pain, resolution of gastric and digestive issues, healthier skin, lowered blood pressure and blood sugar values, and an increased capacity for activity.
Many diets have a tendency to fail in reaching their objectives. Some will target elimination of a food group (carbohydrates, fats), while others overemphasize the consumption of another (protein, water, fats). In order for the body to be MOST efficient in repairing itself and functioning at its best, ALL food groups are necessary and required. Once we start eliminating certain foods, supplements become necessary. Often, these are taken inappropriately, or are of such poor quality that they may further deplete what they are intended to replenish. Some supplements are not absorbed properly or interfere with prescription medications, complicating health problems further.
Combined with a healthy diet, exercise is highly recommended. ANYTHING that gets you off the couch and out the door is a great start. Walking is a great way to begin an exercise program. If you are not able to walk without difficulty, but have access to a pool, you may walk in place (with assistance, if necessary) in chest high water to get your pulse elevated. Also, some light weight work (1-2 lbs.) may be helpful. You can increase resistance and activity over time as your endurance gets better. Remember, YOU have a choice. With this, I remain…
Diana Pengitore, ND