• What Is a Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet? | Part 2

    by Dr. Payal Bhandari
    on Nov 11th, 2016

The root cause of many illnesses lies in the way we eat.  A healthy, well-balanced diet is crucial to our overall health and quality of life. A healthy, balanced diet can treat the underlying causes of most illnesses and reduce symptoms significantly.

Last week we discussed all the healthy foods you should eat. This week, we will focus on the foods you should limit from your diet or avoid entirely.

Limit Your Intake of These Foods

Some foods have so many adverse effects that they lose their nutritional value. Try to avoid or drastically limit the following whenever possible:

1. Starchy Vegetables, Genetically-Modified Food (GMO’s), and Chemically-Processed Foods

Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn causes major spikes in blood sugar levels leading to quickly feeling tired and moody. They have lost their nutritional value with extensive hybridization.

Since the mid-80s crops like wheat, corn, and soy are now genetically-modified (GMO). These GMO foods cannot be digested by mammals (i.e., humans, cows, pigs, chickens). They are also  heavily sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. GMO foods heavily sprayed are now found to cause cancer and many other illnesses (i.e., autism, infertility, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, chronic infections).  

GMO foods are now found in most processed and pre-packaged ready-made foods, drinks, condiments, and “natural” supplements and vitamins in the U.S.  

Chemically processed foods are stripped of any nutritional value. They are instead full of artificial substances, such as preservatives, colorants, flavorings, and textures, that are illegal in other parts of the world except in the U.S. They are also full of unhealthy trans fats, MSG (Monosodium glutamate), and high fructose corn syrup that are dangerous for humans in any quantity.

Processed and refined foods include:

2. Fish

Fish and fish oil have been heavily marketed as being rich in omega-3’s. The problem is they are now plagued with tons of toxins and heavy metals since our waterways throughout the world are heavily contaminated. These toxins are concentrated in fish’s liver and poisonous to humans.  

Try to keep fish consumption down to less than twice a week, and a small piece of the overall meal.  

Avoid having fish for dinner since it will immediately harm the liver and immune system.  

3. Poultry, Eggs, Beef, and Dairy

Most animals in the U.S. are now fed food they are not naturally designed to have. For example, in the wild animals like cows, chicken, pigs, lamb, and sheep naturally eat only grass. These animals are now fed grains like corn, wheat, and soy, plus other animal feed. These animals become ill fairly quickly and hence, are fed tons of antibiotics, hormones, steroids, and antidepressants until they are quickly fattened up and killed. These drugs are showing up in the stools and urine of these animals and eventually, passed into the soil, groundwater, and fertilizer used in agriculture.

Extensive research has shown people who consume farm-fed animal products and fish cannot digest these foods and immediately hurt their liver and overall body.

Animals, both farm-fed and free-range, grass-fed worldwide are treated in severely inhumane ways. Extensive research has repeatedly shown the violence these animal and fish endure directly impacts humans and causes them to be ill (i.e., mood swings, depression, anger).

Animal protein (including dairy products and fish) are concentrated in trans-fats and toxins. When consumed by humans, animal proteins can be extremely toxic for the kidneys, liver, and digestive system.

If you must have animal protein, please follow a few general pointers:

4. Caffeine and Alcohol

A small amount of caffeine can boost the immune system. A moderate to large amount of caffeine will decrease blood flow and prevent the absorption of essential nutrients and hurt the healing process.  

Stick to have less than one cup of any of the following before noon: black tea, black coffee, green tea, chai, or dark chocolate.

Avoid sweetened caffeinated items like soda, cola, energy drinks, iced tea, hot chocolate, milk chocolate, tea or coffee with milk, cream, or sugar.

Alcohol is dehydrating. It can be converted to formaldehyde in the liver and be toxic to the immune system. Alcohol should be limited to one drink per day for women, and up to two drinks per day for men. Women should not exceed more than 5 drinks per week. Men should not exceed more than 7 drinks per week.

5. Salt

Too much salt will increase blood pressure, and cause kidney and liver problems. Please restrict salt intake to less than 5 grams per day. Replace salt with a variety of herbs and spices.

6. Sugar and Sugar Substances

Sugar or fructose is extremely harmful to the body in any quantity. Your daily sugar intake should be less than 10 grams per day.

Avoid refined white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharin, Sucralose, and Acesulfame Potassium. Also avoid products containing sugar such as bread, sweet drinks, ready-made food, and dried fruit.

We All Need Help Following a Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet

You will be surprised at how good you will feel if you can cut many unhealthy foods out of your diet. You diet will still be full of variety. You will immediately have more energy while your symptoms decrease and possibly even disappear entirely.

Making dietary changes which stick and become your new habit can be quite difficult. There are many barriers which we do not always know how to overcome. It is easy to grab a quick ready-made meal and eat on the go. The problem is we lose more in the long term that we cannot easily regain back. Healthy habits lead to a happy body, mind, and spirit.

Contact Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. She will guide you through how your symptoms or illness can be directly impacted by your eating habits. A healthy diet for patients is near to Dr. Bhandari’s heart. She loves to help people take back control of their health and well-being through simple tips we can each be empowered by.  

Author Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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