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"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
--Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, June 20, 2011

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Achieving Your Ideal Weight; A Holistic Journey Part 2

In Part 1 I reviewed a few contributing factors to weight gain; stress, unresolved emotions, and hormonal imbalances.  The final three areas I want to touch on are food sensitivities, environmental “obesogens” (endocrine disrupting environmental chemicals), and how to incorporate a whole foods diet as part of your healthy lifestyle.

Many people complain of digestive problems such as bloating, constipation, indigestion, and gas. These symptoms can result from eating foods we are sensitive to. The top three food sensitivities I see are gluten, dairy, and eggs. Food sensitivities are very different than allergies. What you eat on Monday may not cause symptoms until Friday, making it very difficult to determine the cause. Going on a comprehensive elimination diet for 4-6 weeks will identify any hidden food sensitivities. Once the foods have been eliminated 100% for a minimum of 21 days, your inflammation pathways calm down. When you try to reintroduce the food, the reaction is much more pronounced. By going on an elimination diet, many people lose weight, experience a significant increase in energy and mental clarity, as well as finding that most of their physical symptoms have drastically decreased, if not completely resolved. I would say 99% of all people I work with find they can’t add gluten back into their diets. If you just eliminated gluten, you’ve most likely addressed your top food sensitivity. One important point to make is that your only symptom of food sensitivities may be fatigue; it doesn’t always affect the digestive system. 

OBESOGENS are just beginning to be recognized by our medical system.  Scientists are now discovering that obesity has less to do with calories consumed and everything to do with our toxic load. Those that specialize in environmental and integrative medicine have  known about the effects of obesogens for literally decades! This is a perfect example as to how our current medical system is 30-40 years behind research. This information has been well known by practitioners in the field of environmental and integrative medicine for well over 40 years, and it is now being considered "ground breaking" research by our medical system! Obesogens are “endocrine disrupting environmental chemicals”. Another frequently used term to describe these substances is "Xenobiotics". They are present in plastics, non-stick cookware, canned foods, tap water, vinyl products including flooring, air fresheners, and all foods contaminated with pesticides, fertilizers, and fungicides. One of the most prevalent sources of obesogens is HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (HFCS). HCFS is in most premade and processed foods. Corn crops are heavily sprayed with Atrazine, a well know obesogen. If you’re not already reading your food labels, now is the time to start. One of your first steps to wellness could be having a reverse osmosis system installed in your home to provide high quality drinking water. You can then purchase some stainless steel water containers so you can take your water with you wherever you go. Just by taking this one step you’ve eliminated two of the top sources of Obesogens; tap water and plastic water bottles, not to mention reducing your environmental footprint! 

An important part of a whole foods diet is eliminating processed foods, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners. Whole foods means eating foods in their natural state and buying organic whenever you can. Rather than buying canned fruit and vegetables that are processed and tend to be high in sugar and salt, buy fresh or frozen produce. Meats must be free range and preferably organic if you can afford it. A chicken breast should only have chicken breast as the ingredient, not 15 other ingredients. We can only be as healthy as the food we eat. If we are eating a chicken that never left it’s cage, has never been out in the sun, is fed antibiotics to prevent infections from living in unsanitary conditions, and given feed that contains chemicals and hormones to make it grow faster, how healthy is that chicken? What effects will this have on your health? These are not pleasant things to have to think about, but we unfortunately live in an era where we need to be asking these questions. Food can be our medicine or our poison! Make healthy choices and take the time to invest in your health. It will be the best investment you’ve ever made, with guaranteed returns.

"When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use
 When diet is correct, medicine is of no need"
               -Ancient Ayurvedic Proverb

Live Well,