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Posts for category: Weight Loss & Healthy Eating

By Dr. Doug Williams
August 16, 2016
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Eat Right: Time to Make It Work!

We have spent the last month looking at some different eating styles and plans:

  • The Standard American Diet
  • The Mediterranean Diet
  • The New Nordic Diet
  • The Okinawan Diet
  • And just for fun: how a 127-year old French woman ate!

It is fascinating to me that people groups located so far from each other in very different climates and cultures can have basic principles and practices in common among their healthiest members. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising – God made us all and equips our environments, regardless of how different they may seem, to allow us to live well if we choose!

Let’s pull this together in three different ways:

  1. Common Principles To Engage (Eat This)
  2. Common Principles to Avoid (Don’t Eat That)
  3. Unique, sometimes non-dietary recommendations (Think About This)

Eat This!

All of the healthy programs we looked at encouraged consuming the following:

  • Lots of fruits
  • Lots of vegetables
  • Healthy fats (Dr. Mercola has a great article introducing healthy fats)
  • High quality meat products, primarily fish, poultry and eggs
  • *Whole grains, especially rye, barley and oats

*Wheat grain is a whole other health issue that we will address in a later post.

Don’t Eat That!

All of the healthy programs we looked at encouraged limiting or avoiding the following:

  • Dairy
  • Processed foods (another article by Dr. Mercola outlines why this is so important)
  • Sweets (including hidden sugar in sauces, sodas, fruit juice, etc.)
  • Red meat
  • “Bad fats,” like hydrogenated vegetable oils (Crisco, vegetable cooking oils and margarine – these are found in just about every prepackaged foods, like chips, cookies and crackers, frozen pizza etc.)

Think About This!

There were also some things that were either not found across all of the different eating styles and plans, or that were not actually related to the food itself. I still think they deserve consideration:

  • Eating with others as much as possible
  • Slowing down when you eat
  • Exercising (primarily walking places)
  • Limiting your eating at a meal to the point where you feel 80% full
  • Focus on seasonal, regional foods
  • Eat organic when possible
  • Avoid food additives
  • Wild game as a meat source, whenever possible
  • Herbs and spices, instead of salt
  • More “root” vegetables
  • Increasing anti-inflammatory spices and herbs
  • Eat at home more
  • Emphasize low glycemic index foods (lower carbohydrate content)
  • Continue smoking until you are at least 117, eat 2 lbs of chocolate a week and drink port wine daily (all right, in deference to Madam Calment, she did actually quit smoking at 117!)

Make It Work!

We have spent the last month going over what some of the healthiest diets in the world look like. Today, we’ve brought all of it together in one post. Consider doing the following over the next few days:

  1. List all of the problems you are having in your life that you think might be even remotely food related: fatigue, depression, digestive issues, appearance, lethargy, chronic joint pain, fibromyalgia, diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, etc.
  2. Review the Eat This and Don’t Eat That lists above and compare your own diet to it.
  3. Go to the Dr. Mercola links listed above and read the articles (and more, he really is a great resource).
  4. Decide if you want to move in a different direction.
  5. Review the Think About It section listed above and pick two or three things that stand out
  6. Make out some action steps and engage!
  7. Don’t forget to share your thoughts and plans with those closest to you who can really help you on your journey.

I hope you have enjoyed the last month’s blog posts on healthy eating.  I have learned a lot personally in putting together this information and I hope it helps you to reach the healthiest you possible. God created us to be whole – eating right is part of that picture!

To Your Health!

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

By Doug Williams, D.C.
August 02, 2016

The Okinawan Diet

So far, we have been to America and reviewed the Standard American Diet (SAD), Southern France to visit Madam Jeanne Calment and the Mediterranean Diet and Norway to visit some reindeer and check out the New Nordic Diet. The last stop on our world tour is Okinawa, Japan.

Okinawans are another group of people who are known for living a really long time. Okinawa is an island about 400 miles south of mainland Japan and is considered to have a sub-tropical climate.

According to Wikipedia, there are 34 centenarians (people living to 100) per 100,000 people – more than three times the rate of mainland Japan! Is it their music? Maybe their workout program? It is hard to know for sure, but a lot of studies have been done on how they eat.

Okinawa has traditionally been less financially prosperous than mainland Japan. Interestingly enough, as the island has become more prosperous and “mainland” food has made it’s way onto the island, the rates of chronic diseases like heart disease, some cancers and others have increased! A great paper by Craig Wilcox, Ph.D (and others) does a really good job outlining why they think the Okinawan Diet is so healthy, as well as some of its history. It is a little technical, so here is a 30,000 foot view of the Okinawan Diet:

  1. Lots of vegetables
  2. Lots of legumes (mostly soy in origin)
  3. Moderate consumption of fish
  4. Low consumption of meat and meat products
  5. Low consumption of dairy products
  6. Moderate consumption of alcohol
  7. Low calorie intake
  8. Rich in Omega 3 fats
  9. High mono saturated to saturated fat ratio
  10. Emphasis on low GI carbohydrates

Dr. Wilcox goes on to outline how some of the vegetables and fruits consumed in the traditional Okinawan diet have a very high micro-nutrient content, especially their version of the sweet potato. In addition, many of the herbs and spices used have anti-inflammatory effects. Both a high micro-nutrient content and increased anti-inflammatory substances play a major role in combating chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, cancer, etc.

Let’s Make It Work!

In large, the Okinawan Diet is similar to the Mediterranean and New Nordic Diet. All three emphasize lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, low quantity but high quality meat, low amounts of dairy, increased healthy fats and consuming complex (versus simple) carbohydrates.

Three additional points stand out about the Okinawan Diet from the others:

  1. This is the first diet that recommended reducing calorie intake. An article in the Huffington Post described it like this: Eating until you feel about 80% full.
  2. The Okinawan Diet is described as the “Poor Man’s Diet.” I will have more to say about this in a later post, but it is interesting that the more affluent a society becomes, the more their food tends to become processed and less healthy!
  3. The Okinawan Diet is the first time we have seen how certain components of a diet may impact health beyond just fuel, i.e. anti-inflammatory herbs and spices and a high micro-nutrient component.

The Okinawan Diet may appear a little more foreign to our eyes than the Mediterranean and New Nordic Diet, but I think it has a lot of promise. I, for one, am going to look more into it!

Next week, we will review how to integrate all of the information we learned in this last month’s blogs into a usable set of principles to help you live a longer, healthier life!

Until then,
To Your Health!

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

By Doug Williams D.C.
July 26, 2016

The New Nordic Diet

In this week’s blog post, we are going to look at something called the New Nordic Diet. The New Nordic Diet is actually relatively recent (thus the word “new” in the title!). It was developed to incorporate foods found in the Nordic Regions into a healthy eating plan.

Research into this type of eating/diet has shown improvement in:

  • Blood lipid panels (risk of heart disease)
  • Improved insulin sensitivity (risk of diabetes)
  • Blood pressure
  • Weight loss

The easiest way to think of the New Nordic Diet is to take the Mediterranean Diet and move it 1200 miles north! Now, obviously some things are going to be a little different in Norway than Italy.

For instance:

Similarities in the New Nordic Diet and the Mediterranean Diet:

  • Both emphasize plant based foods (fresh fruits and vegetables)
  • Both encourage moderate amounts of fish, eggs
  • Both encourage whole grains
  • Both limit dairy
  • Both incorporate healthy fats
  • Both limit red meat, processed foods and sweets

Differences in the New Nordic Diet and the Mediterranean Diet:

    • The New Nordic uses canola oil, instead of olive oil
    • The New Nordic emphasizes rye, barley and oats for whole grains
    • The New Nordic emphasizes lots of berries
    • The New Nordic focuses on seasonal, regional foods

Let’s Make It Work:

  1. More fruit and vegetables every day (think: berries, cabbages, root vegetables, legumes, potatoes and herbs)
  2. More whole grain, especially oats, rye and barley
  3. More food from the seas and lakes
  4. Higher-quality meat, but less of it
  5. More food from wild landscapes
  6. Organic produce, whenever possible
  7. Avoid food additives
  8. More meals based on seasonal produce
  9. More home-cooked food
  10. Less waste

You can see where I got this list and read more about the New Nordic Diet here. You don’t have to run out and look for a reindeer burger just yet. However, checking into the New Nordic Diet is another healthy-eating alternative that will help to lower inflammation and all of its related diseases and pain that attack our bodies caused by the Standard American Diet. It may also be a little more functional to obtain and maintain for those of us who live north of Interstate 70 in the U.S. than the Mediterranean Diet.

To Your Health,

Dr. Doug Williams
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

By Dr. Doug Williams
July 20, 2016
Tags: nutrition   Healthy Eating  

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is named, well, because it reflects what the people in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea eat!

According to the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes the following:

  • Plant-based foods (fruits and vegetables)
  • Whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Olive oil and canola oil, instead of butter and margarine
  • Herbs and spices instead of salt
  • Eat more fish and poultry, less red meat and “sausage”

Interestingly enough, it isn’t all about what you eat! It may also be about other lifestyle factors – namely, getting a lot of exercise and eating with others.

Some of the benefits associated with this type of eating plan include:

  1. Reduced risk of heart disease
  2. Lower bad cholesterol
  3. Reduced risk of death
  4. Reduced risk of cancer
  5. Reduced risk of Parkinson’s Disease
  6. Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s’s Disease
  7. Possibly a reduced risk of Breast Cancer
  8. Weight Loss
  9. Reverse Diabetes (Type II)

The other thing that is pretty cool about the Mediterranean Diet is that it is fairly easy to follow. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the Mediterranean Diet ranks number 4 out of 38!

Let’s Make It Work!

PLANT BASED FOODS: Start and end your shopping in the produce aisle. Your grocery basket should be at least 2/3 full with fresh (not canned) fruits and vegetables.

WHOLE GRAINS, LEGUMES AND NUTS: Switch your grains to whole grains (bread, pasta, etc). Eat cashews, almonds and walnuts, etc. for snacks. Try natural peanut butter instead of regular peanut butter (less trans fats).

USE OLIVE OIL AND CANOLA OIL, INSTEAD OF BUTTER AND MARGARINE: Quit cooking in vegetable oil and beef fat. Start cooking in olive oil. Recognize that anything with a shelf life (cookies, chips, crackers etc) is full of bad fats! Please understand – not all fat is bad. You need fat, you just don’t need bad fat!

USE SPICES AND HERBS, INSTEAD OF SALT: Who doesn’t know that salt is bad for you? Most of us think of salt in our diet as something we add when we eat, but the reality is that most of the salt we get in our diet is from processed foods. Anything that is canned and has a shelf life is likely to have a lot of salt in it (I am talking to you again, chips, crackers and cookies!). First line of defense is to eat fresh! It may take getting out of your comfort zone, but there are other flavorings besides salt and pepper!

FOCUS YOUR MEATS: More fish and chicken, less red meat and processed meat (sausage, lunch meats, hot dogs, etc).

Honestly, the Mediterranean diet is probably one of the easiest eating plans to follow. It is so popular, you can just type in Mediterranean diet in your web search and you will get more recipes than you know what to do with. They aren’t that hard to follow, even I can follow them! Changing how you eat is always a bit of a chore, but review the health benefits above and get to work – you’ll start seeing yourself healthier and feeling better!

To your health,

Dr. Doug Williams
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

By Dr. Doug Williams
July 12, 2016
Tags: nutrition   diet   food   lifestyle  

The oldest person ever documented was a French woman who was 122 years old when she passed! Her name was Jeanne Calment. She was born in February 1875 and died in August 1997. She remembered the Eiffel Tower being built and she actually met Vincent Van Gogh! Almost as fascinating as how long she lived was her lifestyle:

  • At 85, she took up fencing.
  • She rode her bike until she was 100.
  • She continued to walk until she was 110.
  • She smoked two cigarettes a day until she was 117.
  • She used a lot of olive oil.
  • She drank Port wine.
  • She ate two pounds of chocolate per week.

So, if you are like me, after reading about Jeanne's lifestyle, you probably have several questions:

  1. What was it that made her quit smoking at 117? Did she suddenly decide: "Man, I have to quit these, they will be the death of me someday!"
  2. What am I wasting my time on eating healthy for? Bring on the Italian food, Port wine and chocolate!

To be fair, Jeanne also attributed her longevity to attitude as well:

"If you can't do anything about it, don't worry about it."
- Madam Calment

This, in fact, may have been her most important contribution to longevity, especially in today's society.

On the surface, Jeanne appears to have defied all reason and lived how she wanted, and still made it to 122. But consider the following:

  • She obviously stayed active and "exercise" was a part of her lifestyle.
  • She lived in a time and place where preservatives and additives in food either did not exist, or were not likely present for many, many, many years!
  • She utilized olive oil, which is a healthy fat.
  • She lived her entire life close to the ocean and in a rather temperate climate, meaning her food source likely consisted of seafood, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • The wine she drank has a high content of resveratrol, a strong antioxidant.
  • The chocolate she ate was not likely a Snickers Bar, but dark chocolate, which is also known for it's strong antioxidants and health benefits.
  • And she smoked... I have no idea what to say about that!

And finally, there is her attitude about stress. How do you find fault with that?

There is a lot more you could explore in the French culture, especially regarding how they eat. But I think I will leave it at this. Since Jeanne lived (a very long time) and died in the Mediterranean, we are going to take a closer look at the Mediterranean Diet next week, one of the more common approaches to healthy and tasty eating!

To Your Health,

Dr. Doug Williams
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette. Indiana