I’m always getting questions from people about what they should do to improve their health. Inevitably, I have to tell them that there’s no way I could offer any guidance without sitting down for a comprehensive consultation with them. Without knowing the specific and intimate details of their past health, current health, diet, supplements, diagnosis, and family history, there’s just no way to make personalized recommendations. Because everyone is so different genetically (and carry different gene mutations that dictate what you should eat, which supplements you should take, etc), I can’t in good conscious recommend anything specific for them without meeting for an Initial Consultation. Even general healthy eating strategies like “eat more fruits and vegetables”, believe it or not, are not a good idea for some people! If I were to suggest that to someone with a sulfur or salicylate intolerance, they could very well feel much worse!
However, in my years and training as a nutrition-school educated Health Coach, I do believe there are a few general changes that can help anyone, regardless of genes or environment.
5 tips to help anyone improve their health in 2016:
- Take a digestive enzyme with each meal. Low stomach acid is rampant and causes a person to not get enough of the vitamins and minerals they’re consuming from foods (or even supplements). It can lead to heartburn, infections, low iron, and much more. It will also cause you to not break down food properly and will leave you with gas, bloating, or constipation. A good digestive enzyme will contain: Betaine, lipase, protease and amylase.
- Use a multi-mineral supplement. Did you know that your healthy, disease-fighting genes can’t express themselves if you are mineral deficient? Did you also know that any vitamins you take won’t be able to help you if you’re mineral deficient? Potassium and magnesium deficiencies are very common as well as zinc. I also like lithium orotate mineral supplementation for people who are chronically B vitamin deficient or who have a history of depression, anxiety or mood swings.
- Eat animal fat from healthy sources. No matter your genes, this one is generally “hypoallergenic” (doesn’t interfere with genetic food sensitivities). Cholesterol has gotten a bad rap but it’s actually essential for hormonal health, bone health, mood health, acquiring minerals from our diets, and so much more. Eat ghee, butter, lard, tallow, egg yolks, chicken skin, fish and seafood, cod liver oil or other marine oil, and other animal fats from organic, free-range, pasture-raised, grass-fed, and wild-caught sources. Make sure to take it with your digestive enzyme (above) to absorb it.
- Slow down and chew your food. Most of us have become so distracted by technology and beeps and dings from our cellphones and devices that we forget what it’s like to be still. In fact, many of us feel uncomfortable actually being still without a back-up option for distraction. It feels better to be distracted because we can avoid painful issues. Usually this will manifest as eating very quickly, not chewing food properly, using a phone or TV while eating, being poor listeners and cutting other people off, and cravings for comfort foods like bread and sugar or uppers like caffeine. The mind-body connection cannot be ignored and no matter how much healthy food or supplements you take, you can’t erase painful memories that being distracted causes you to avoid. Confront the issues, and be present in the moment — especially when it comes to your food.
- Identify allergens. Allergens cause hormonal and immune diseases, among other conditions. While gluten-free and Paleo diets are currently very popular, they leave out MAJOR genetic allergens/intolerances that many people deal with. Oxalates, salicylates and phenols, sulfur, and amines are the major sensitivities I see my clients dealing with and the popular of-the-moment diets overlook all of these in favor of basic grain-free or dairy-free eating. Work with me to identify your hidden allergens.
- I know there are only supposed to be five points here, but number 6 needs to be said too — exercise. It’s so basic that no one wants to hear about it. But it’s important. No matter how healthy you’re eating, you can’t replicate what exercise does for your body. It moves the lymph (detox pathways), moves synovial fluid (healthy joints) and spinal fluid (clearer cognition), helps you sleep well, reduces stress and balances hormones.