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If it's Not Food, Don't Eat it


I recently had a coaching session with a woman who like many people, was badly in need of some no-nonsense guidelines for an eating-for-health lifestyle.

When Betty first came to me she was taking seven medications, had severe osteoarthritis, could barely walk, was in constant pain and had to catheterize herself daily--among other things. She had heard that making dietary changes could be beneficial to her health, but doubted it could work for her. Betty sought nutrition and health coaching only because she could no longer afford her medications and her friend had insisted.

Although skeptical at first, Betty was surprised and delighted when, in just a few weeks, she was able to go off four of her medications, was virtually pain-free, could walk without using her walker, had lost a few pounds, and was generally beginning to feel much better. In addition, her cholesterol had dropped below what it had been when she was taking cholesterol-lowering medication.

What did Betty do to achieve such dramatic results so quickly?

It may surprise you that she didn't cut or count calories, carbohydrates or fat, take a special pill, or start working out. She simply began to switch from the low-quality, chemical-laden processed food brands she had been eating for years, to higher quality, additive-free natural food brands. She also began to include a couple servings of fresh produce into her diet each day.

How can this be? This is so because the most popular brands of processed, packaged chemical-laden foods (pseudofoods) so widely consumed today, are injurious to the body. Aside from the obvious diet-related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or obesity, few people realize poor nutrition in general, is the primary cause of all chronic dis-ease.

EATING-FOR-HEALTH GUIDELINES

Like Betty, an increasing number of people are becoming aware of this relationship between diet and dis-ease and revamping their diets. Following is a brief overview of five Eating-for-Health Guidelines that can help you stay on, or get back on the road to health:

#1 If it's not food, don't eat it! �and if you do, wait a long time before you do it again so your body can recover.

The very definition of "food" is that it is nourishing to the body. Consequently, anything that is not nourishing to the body (i.e., pseudofoods containing refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, chemical additives, etc.) is not food--don't eat it! And if you do, wait a long time before you do it again so your body can recover.

Implementing Guideline #1

Eliminate all psuedofoods containing harmful ingredients, such as chemical additives, white refined sugar and flour, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, etc.

Eat only additive-free natural food brands, available at all natural food stores and also, increasingly available at regular grocers.

Whenever possible consume organic produce and organic, antibiotic and hormone-free meats, fish, and dairy products; and drink purified, filtered water.

#2 Eliminate or relegate stimulants to rare occasions. �the more distant and rare the better.

Stimulants act like drugs in the body. They send your system soaring out of balance causing a variety of symptoms including fatigue, brain fog, weight gain and more. Stimulants include caffeine, alcohol, refined salt, sugars and other refined carbohydrates (i.e. high fructose corn syrup, white refined flour, etc.), Less stimulants equal more health and energy.

Implementing Guideline #2

Free yourself from stimulants by eliminating them completely until balance is restored (a few weeks to a few months).

Then, relegate stimulants to rare occasions according to your tolerance level. If symptoms return, completely eliminate the offending substance once again.

Switch from health-robbing refined salt to unrefined, mineral-rich sea salt.

Substitute herbal teas or roasted grain beverages for coffee or caffeinated tea.

Replace refined sugars with fruit and low-glycemic natural sweeteners such as stevia or agave.

#3 Eat an abundance of whole, fresh, natural foods �and little to no processed foods.

Most everything that comes in a box, can or package is a processed food (with the exception of some unprocessed brown rice or legumes, for example). Whole, fresh, natural foods (preferably organic) such as produce, meats, fish, poultry, whole grains, legumes and seeds are always your best choice.

Implementing Guideline #3

Equip yourself with kitchen gadgets to make healthy, whole food preparation a breeze, including a salad spinner, vegetable steamer, rice cooker, juicer, food processor, etc.

Always make dishes in bulk and chop extra salad fixin's for quick meals later. Vacuum seal to maximize shelf life and save time and money.

Take advantage of all the "packaged" fresh foods available today such as baby carrots, assorted chopped veggies, freshly cut fruit and pre-washed greens (lettuce, herbs, spinach, etc.).

#4 Account for food allergies and sensitivities �when making wise food choices.

The most common food allergens (i.e. wheat, dairy, soy, corn, etc) can cause a myriad of both acute and chronic conditions, including acid reflux, gas, bloating, constipation, sinusitus, weight gain, depression, arthritis and more. Most people today are sensitive to one or more of these foods --and most don't even know it!

Implementing Guideline #4

Eliminate common food allergens from your diet for 2-3 weeks to identify sensitivities and help clear and strengthen your system.

Then, if your body can tolerate them, rotate common food allergens having them only once every four days to prevent the return of symptoms.

Improve your digestion and get your bowels moving 2-3 times a day.

Cleanse your eliminative tract with a protocol that's appropriate for you, and do regular maintenance cleansing thereafter.

Boost your immune system, reduce stress and exercise regularly.

#5 Account for ailments �when making wise food choices.

There isn't any condition in the body that can't by improved by improving your diet. As you start improving the quality of your diet you'll start feeling better and improving the overall quality of your health. Also, learn which foods exacerbate or help improve any specific conditions in order to expedite the healing process.

Implementing Guideline #5

Follow all five Eating-for-Health Guidelines to allow your body every opportunity to restore and maintain health.

Research recommendations for foods that can help reverse specific conditions, as well as those that may be causing or contributing to your problems.

Cleanse and clear your tissues and organs with a protocol specific to your ailments and to restore health and energy in general.

When applied consistently over time, these five Eating-for-Health Guidelines produce "amazing" results as Betty can attest. It's miraculous what the body can do when fueled properly -- energy is restored, excess weight is shed, body systems are regenerated, disease is reversed, and nagging symptoms disappear.

Where should you begin? Start with the basics--if it's not food, don't eat it!


Kelly Hayford, C.N.C. is the author of If It's Not Food Don't Eat It! � The No-Nonsense Guide to an Eating-for-Health Lifestyle, which was named best health and fitness book of 2005 by the Colorado Independent Publisher's Association. As a former junk food junkie turned nutrition and health coach, she has helped thousands reverse dis-ease, and restore their health, energy and natural weight.

For more information contact: 303-746-8970 or visit -- www.ifitsnotfooddonteatit.com.


Nutrition Information



last update: May 2006



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