Article by: MaryEllen | Thursday, December 26, 2013

By Lisa Best

OK, I admit it. I have one of the most energetic 8 year olds around. I’m not talking about that unfocused, frenetic energy that gets kids in trouble. I’m talking about the exuberant, boundless energy that healthy baby animals have.

I’m talking about the type of energy that makes a star on the basketball court, the baseball field, and the soccer field because he can keep going when his opponents are heaving on the sidelines.

Other parents quip that I must feed my son rocket fuel or he must be related to the Energizer Bunny because he has so much stamina.

But it’s not so much what he does eat, as what he doesn’t. You see my last child was born about the time I made a big career change from running a real estate investment company, to becoming a Certified Clinical Nutritionist. Because of my studies and subsequent dietary adjustments, my littlest one has had an extremely healthy diet from day one.

In fact I cringe now when I think of the foods I allowed my two older college grads to eat. I just didn’t understand back then how damaging fast food and junk food was to a growing body and brain.

Like most everyone else, I was lured by the convenience of not having to cook after a hard day of work, or even by the ease of eating out when rushing between piano lessons and scouts.  Somehow at the time, there didn’t seem to be a downside to consuming inexpensive food I didn’t have to cook.

Now, I make my living helping people transition into healing diets.  And thanks to MaryEllen Tribby’s guidance and her awesome Inbox Empire program, I share natural and easy ways to attack health issues using nutrition in my online magazine Health Tips Weekly.

I’ve come to believe that all illnesses or health issues can be improved and sometimes eliminated completely when the body has the proper building blocks to ensure good health.  Specific therapeutic foods and nutrients can help heal conditions ranging from Autism to weight loss.

There is an old saying that ‘you are what you eat’, which literally is true. The biochemistry of digestion tells us that the body breaks down everything eaten into smaller particles with enzymes and pepsin (stomach acid). It then uses these particles to build our tissues.  But if there’s garbage going in… well, you guessed it.

But there is so much confusing information out there, how do you know what really is good for you? Isn’t it OK to eat a little of everything in moderation? (Not if you have an unrealized inflammatory reaction) What about fried foods or GMO’s (Genetically Modified Foods)?  How can you tell the truly healthy things to eat?

Well, the short answer is that there are 7 billion diets for 7 billion individuals on planet earth. We all have unique genetic predispositions and sensitivities that cause us to respond either well or poorly to specific foods. The trick is taking the time to discover which foods work for you and which foods don’t. A food that is healthy and life giving for me may be inflammatory and toxic for you.

More and more studies show a high correlation between inflammation caused by the foods we eat, and illnesses like cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes and cancer. Reducing inflammatory foods makes sense, and some people see miraculous results after making dietary shifts. Sometimes a small tweak like cutting out trans-fats or adding probiotics can make a huge difference in overall heath.

Positive changes don’t have to be drastic or extreme either.

Most health coaches understand that people are much more likely to stick with dietary changes that are painless. So perhaps a sensible way to inch your way towards optimal health is by taking baby steps. Replace unhealthy eating habits with healthy ones gradually, so no one really notices or feels the pain.

Here are a few positive suggestions you might want to baby step into if you are interested in creating the kind of energy that healthy youngsters have:

Additions:

1.  Add organic, fresh, local fruits and vegetables as often as possible. Work toward having whole, unprocessed foods comprise 60-80% of each meal. Fruits and veggies contain vast amounts of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants the body needs for optimal health.

2.  Add healthy organic fats, including olives, avocados, butter, coconut oil, grass fed beef, purified fish oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds to form healthy cell walls and optimize brain function. No need to fear healthy fats!

3.  Add plenty of filtered or distilled water to hydrate the body and flush out toxins.

4.  Add superfoods or nutrient densed foods like mushrooms, hemp seed, goji berries, raw cocoa, spirulina and green tea to provide a wide variety of nutrients per calorie.

5.  Add fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, kombucha, and kefir water to increase good bacteria in the intestines to build a powerful immune system and to increase “feel good” neurotransmitters like serotonin.

6.  Adjust levels of carbohydrates, fats, and protein to fit your activity level and personal requirements to maintain a healthy weight. These levels may fluctuate daily based on demand.

Subtractions:

1.  Lose or reduce fast foods and processed foods – both are heavily laden with inflammatory additives, pesticides or preservatives and they have extremely low nutrient content per calorie. Try to reduce foods that come in a bag, box or can.

2.  Lose or reduce the sugar – the average American consumes 120 pounds of sugar per year mostly in the form of soft drinks and comfort foods. Sugar consumption greatly increases the risk of obesity and diabetes plus it feeds cancer.

3.  Lose the diet drinks too – studies correlate diet drinks with increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, and certain brain cancers. Diet drinks are not the answer to sugary soda overconsumption.

4.  Lose food/drinks that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – or any of its new names like corn sugar or corn syrup. HFCS consumption is highly correlated with obesity and diabetes and contrary to advertising, is a processed food that is not digested the same as sugar.

5.  Lose the trans-fats – Studies link trans-fats and cardiovascular disease. Many baked goods and fried foods (especially French fries) contain trans-fats or hydrogenated fats that create inflammation in the body.

6.  Lose problem foods for you – the most common allergy foods are wheat, dairy (milk), eggs, soy, peanuts, and citrus foods although any food can cause sensitivities and inflammation.

Sometimes it’s psychologically easier to add healthy foods to an existing diet than to subtract favorites and feel deprived. But most people feel so much better when they dump the foods that are making them sick that they don’t want to continue eating them and feeling crummy anymore.

It’s never too late to improve your food choices, and there really is no such thing as a perfect diet. Any move in a positive direction that reduces inflammation is helpful, and may even be magical.

Especially for growing bodies, a healthy diet can mean the difference between being sickly, and being a superstar. And the best part is, diet is completely under our control. No need to visit a doctor or rely on anyone else to make us healthy. As the wise philosopher Aristotle once said, “Let Food Be Thy Medicine.”

About the Author:

Lisa Best, MBA, Ph.D Holistic Nutrition, is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and CEO at Healing With Nutrition. She’s the creator of Health Tip of the Day smartphone app which provides natural and easy health tips with a holistic flair – (over 300,000 downloads). She also created Health Tips Weekly, a more detailed weekly report on current (hot) health issues. She provides nutritional phone consultations with a special focus in weight loss, diabetes, high blood pressure, IBS, Autism, and cancer diets.

She’s the mother of 3 children: two Duke University grads and an eight year old. She home-schooled all three at various times. Lisa loves the Holistic approach of combining mind, body and spirit. She believes that excellent nutrition is the key to longevity and wellness, and that it’s vital to analyze and adjust your diet when illness strikes.

To find out more, please visit http://www.HealingWithHolisticNutrition.com