Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tip #2: Eat well

All right. I don't know the answer to this one. What is the right diet? What do you have to eat (and not eat) to realize your full potential? I have read some books about this because of my own health issues and interests and I think I can say with confidence that I agree 100% with Michael Pollan's statement: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. OK. That didn't tell you that much (although I highly recommend reading his article). So, I will list here some diets that I feel follow that dictum and definitelively will not be bad for you. I am listing them in order according to how easy they may be to follow.
  1. Dr McDougall's Program: Vegan. No oils (not even olive oil) allowed. Very limited fats. But it is centered on starches like rice, bread and potatoes. And this is a huge plus. In my view, it is very easy to follow. It is the one I follow the most closely to for the rest of my family. I really like that he offers many of his contents for free through a very clear website, so it is inexpensive in terms of the food itself, as well as the materials.
  2. Dr. Fuhrman's Nutritarian Diet Style: Mostly vegan, also no oils, but he does allow for some healthy fats, like nuts and avocados. No salt. He has a lot of information on his website, but most of the recipes and good information are behind a paying wall. I don't have any doubt his program works. I just think it may be a bit difficult, particularly the no salt.
  3. Crazy, Sexy, Diet: This is also a low fat, vegan diet, but it focuses more on the acid/alkaline distinction in foods. I think this diet is perfect for anyone facing a health crisis at the moment. I also highly recommend the author's website, Crazy. Sexy, Life, for daily posts about health, mind and spirit. Kris Carr has been my inspiration in my latest journey. I could not think of a better hero to have.Her book also has many tips that go beyond diet (like meditation, dry-brushing or supplements) so it is a great book to have even if you decide not to follow her diet.
So, what do I eat? My daily goal is to eat as many varied vegetables as possible, making sure some of them are cruciferous vegetables (like kale, broccoli, etc.), mushrooms and tomatoes. I eat limited quantities of grains (because of the sugar connection to cancer) and I do eat fish sometimes (wild salmon or sardines, mostly). I have tried not to eat any sugar since last year. I sweeten my morning smoothies with stevia (more about this in another post) and sometimes I use dates as sugar for desserts (rarely). I also have 70% (or higher) dark chocolate once in a while. I do love nuts and seeds and I make sure everyday I eat two tablespoons of ground flax seeds.

After I read the book The China Study, I basically converted to a vegan diet.That was five years ago, four years after my first cancer diagnosis. I was convinced that I would never get cancer again because of my diet change. Well, I did get cancer again BUT I honestly feel that, because of my diet, I have been able to stay healthy despite the cancer. So, in other words, I don't think that a change in diet can protect you 100% against anything but I do believe, from experience, that, if you eat well, you will feel better and you will be healthier without a doubt (hey, my cholesterol levels are really low! At least something!).

In any case, I highly recommend any of the diets above, or a combination of them.

What do you eat that has helped you feel healthier and happier? I would love to know!