Many of you are ready to begin making changes to your diet and start eating for optimal health. But… the hardest step is the first one, and you may be asking, “Where do I start? What is the ideal kickstart?” We have a functional medicine doctor to help you! Follow this 10 -Step Guide by Dr. Wahls to start correcting the biochemistry of your cells and get you starting on your journery to heal with food.
Step 1. Go gluten free.
Gluten is the most commonly unrecognized food sensitivity in western society, and is associated with a wide variety of problems, including fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, mental health problems, neurological problems and autoimmune problems. If you have a chronic health problem, try going gluten free for a month to see if it helps. Want some recipe ideas? See hundreds of our gluten-free recipes here!
Step 2. Eat and live organic.
Organic means free of synthetic chemicals – both in your foods and in your home, work, life. Choose organic foods and personal care products to reduce the number of chemical toxins that your liver and kidney have to process each day. To heal the body with food, take thoughtful look at what you eat as well as what you’re using as soaps, lotions and household cleaning products.
Step 3. Eat a plate (or two!) of greens each day.
Leafy greens are high in Vitamins B, A, C and K, which are necessary for a healthy immune system, intestines and brain. The greens can be cooked or raw. Try a salad! Caesar, Cobb or Waldorf… what a great way to heal your body! Need some new salad idea? Here are 8 Unbelievably Satisfying Detox Salads.
Step 4. Eat a plate of sulfur-rich vegetables each day.
Did you know that vegetables rich in sulfur help you more efficiently eliminate toxins in the body? They also help make proteins that support your bones and joints. Sulfur-rich vegetables include cabbages, broccoli, brussel sprouts, onion, shallots, garlic and mushrooms.
Step 5. “Eat a rainbow” each day! (We’re talking about red, yellow, orange and purple!)
Eat deeply colored fruits, berries and vegetables. The colored pigments have antioxidants that help rid the body of harmful free radicals. Remember the brighter the colors the more rich is goodness and a sure way to heal your body with food!
Step 6. Eat grass-fed meat and wild fish.
Animals that consume chemically treated foods store those chemicals in their bodies, and pass them on to us when we eat them. On the other hand, animals that eat a natural, pasture diet will pass those healthy nutrients on to us. Look for grass-fed meat and wild fish, which have a healthier ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats than grain-fed meats or farm-raised fish. To heal the body with food, we must choose the healthiest options.
Step 7. Eat seaweed once a week.
Seaweed contains a rich supply of vitamins and minerals, especially iodine. We unfortunately don’t eat nearly enough seaweed in our western diets! Iodine is important for thyroid and immune function. It also naturally detoxifies the body. (Try some sushi or this easy seaweed salad !)
Step 8. Eat organ meat
Organ meats are highly nutritious and contain high levels of both fat and water-soluble vitamins. Yes that means liver or tongue! But only buy high quality organ meat – preferably grass fed. A plan to heal the body with food should include these nutrients, which are needed for mitochondrial function.
Step 9. Oommm… Meditate.
Meditation is helpful for stress management. Taking a moment to calm the mind allows the brain to signal to the body that it can relax again. This helps reduce chronic stress and inflammation. And just the thought of it sounds soothing to us! Learn more meditation and its benefits here.
Step 10. Exercise.
Movement stimulates nerve growth factor in the brain, which encourages brain cell growth and improved communication between cells. Exercise also helps maintain physical and mental health, strengthening your heart, lungs and muscles. It also helps improve overall mood–naturally!
If the list of 10 steps to heal the body with food seems overwhelming, go slowly. To heal your body naturally, pick a few and work on them when you can. All medical professionals agree that small steps toward health are better than not taking any steps at all.
To learn more about the diet and lifestyle interventions that I use in my clinical practice and research to help people reclaim their energy, banish brain fog, have more joy and reduce their dependence on prescription medications, visit my website, www.terrywahls.com
I also have a new cookbook! It’s called The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life
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