Vol. 6, No. 11 | The Top 10 Things I Learned Studying Nutrition
During the middle of the pandemic, with a lot of free time, I decided to become certified as a holistic nutritionist. For a while, I thought about actually practicing nutrition but I’ve since decided that wasn’t the purpose of it. Instead, it’s become another tool in my food arsenal. It’s helped me become more passionate about how food is sourced and made, but I’m still just as passionate about wine, great food, and celebrations.
I’m sharing some of the top things I’ve learned. If something sounds judgy, just remember that I still occasionally think Cheetos and champagne is a good idea, so it’s not my intention. Also remember that I’m not a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV.
Ok, here’s what I’ve got:
Food is medicine. I’ve always known and believed this but didn’t understand to what extent until I started studying. Certain foods trigger chronic health conditions. Eliminating them and adding other foods can reverse just about anything.
Have you seen those memes that say: You have to believe in yourself like Jamaicans believe in tea. That was my mom all day. My mom has worked in healthcare for over 25 years—as a nurse when I was younger and now she owns a health services company. When I was sick, she rarely reached for traditional medicine. Whatever ache I had, there was always some type of tea to cure it. Garlic and fitz weed (culantro, not cilantro) for colds; ginger for stomachaches; and cerasee for just about everything else.
Unfortunately, doctors don’t receive much nutritional training. This continues to shock me and the politics behind it is very sad. I can no longer see doctors that don’t understand the impact of food on the body.
Everyone’s body needs something different for optimal health. We are all biochemically unique. I’ve realized that my body needs a lot of vitamin C daily. You might not need as much. Gluten doesn’t really affect me, but maybe it affects you. Your body will usually guide you to what it doesn’t like when you start to pay attention. Those aches and pains are the key.
We’re not bound by our genetics. Certain illnesses run in families because most families eat the same unhealthy things.
It’s easier to focus on what you should eat instead of what you can’t eat. I try to follow Dr. Greger’s daily dozen. Dr. Greger is a physician, author of How Not to Die, and founder of NutritionFacts.org. When I follow his recommended list of what to eat each day, I don’t even have room for anything else.
Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen - (a) 3 servings of beans, (b) 2 servings of berries, (c) 3 servings of other fruits, (d) 1 serving of cruciferous vegetables, (e) 2 servings of greens, (f) 2 servings of other veggies, (g) 1 serving of flaxseeds, (h) 1 serving of nuts and seeds, (i) 1 serving of herbs and spices, (j) 3 servings of whole grains, (k) 5 servings of beverages (tea, water), and (l) 1 serving of exercise (90 minutes at moderate intensity or 40 minutes of vigorous activity).
The research shows that to have optimal health we need to eat this way 90% of the time. That’s the magic number. Ninety percent of your diet should be fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and you’ll drastically reduce your chances of having any type of chronic disease.
There’s a study on communities where the citizens routinely live past 100 and stay healthy while doing it. It’s called the Blue Zones. What these five communities, spread throughout the world, have in common is that they eat mostly plants, especially beans; eat meat rarely, in small portions of 3 to 4 ounces and high quality; move daily; and drink alcohol moderately and regularly, i.e. 1-2 glasses a day.
I wish there was a study on rastas because they’ve been saying a lot of this stuff forever. People focus on the ganja, but I’m much more fascinated by their ital diet.
I’m at the last stage of my course and I have to do take on three practice counseling clients. I need volunteers! If you’re interested, send me an email.
Hope you’re all well!