We nutrition nerds have been experiencing some exciting times of late. Awesome books are being released, wellness experts have been touring all over (David Wolfe brought his trademark ‘Best Day Ever!’ enthusiasm to us here in Australia) and one free online event in particular, The Great Health Debate, hosted by Kevin Gianni from Renegade Health, had us glued to our computers for eight days straight. It was more exciting than the week Oprah announced she was coming to Australia. Maybe.
Following five hours listening to David Wolfe get excited about superfoods and eight days of listening to wellness rock stars present their cases in The Great Health Debate, I have absorbed enough controversial nutrition information to cause trouble at many a friends dinner parties. But the main message I have taken away from all of the talks is that there is no ideal diet for everyone. The nature of bio-individuality means each of us is made up so differently and each of our bodies so unique that we simply cannot design a diet that is fit for everyone. There you have it. I feel like this little gem of wisdom could put an end to all the hair pulling and finger pointing among nutrition heavy weights.
This is a summary of the wellness tips I learned from pros, including Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Gabriel Cousens, Jonny Bowden, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Donna Gates, Dr. Robert O. Young, David Wolfe, Daniel Vitalis, Dr. J. E. Williams and Dr. Alan Goldhamer, Mark Sisson, Frederic Patenaude, Will Tuttle and Sally Fallon, Mike Adams, Sean Croxton, Charlotte Gerson, and T. Colin Campbell.
1. Eat lots of plants: All of the experts, whether they are omnivores or vegans, agree that eating a lot of plant foods is crucial to good health. Plants contain an array of enzymes, vitamins and minerals that are just not available in meat.
2. Limit consumption of meat and animal products: Eating meat is a personal choice, but if you do choose to eat meat it should be more of a condiment to a meal rather than the main portion.
3. Avoid processed foods: Everyone was on the same page with this one. Processed and refined foods do not belong in the body.
4. Limit or cut out salt: Some experts say to cut salt out completely, some say to consume good quality salt in moderation and some include it in their diet all the time. I have to say I believe that we get all the sodium our bodies need from our plant foods. There are just too many negative associations tied to salt consumption for my liking.
5. Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners: I think it is a bit extreme to cut out all natural sugars from your diet, as one expert was suggesting, but avoiding white sugar and artificial sweeteners is a smart move.
6. Know where your food is coming from: Eating organic local produce is something all experts recommend. Even the meat-eaters said they wouldn't eat meat from a supermarket or non-organic source. It is important to know exactly where you food comes from and what is in it.
7. Exercise is crucial to wellness: Move your body often. Exercise promotes detoxification, oxygenates your cells and keeps your body alive. If you're not moving, you’re dying.
8. What works for your body now may not work in the future: Our bodies are always changing and evolving. It's important to continue to monitor what is working and what isn't. If something isn't working, listen to your body and be prepared to experiment and make changes.
9. Food isn't everything: Yes, what we eat is crucial to good health. However, we also need to strike a healthy balance in all the other areas of our life. Things like sleep, adequate sunlight, healthy relationships, spirituality, mindfulness and dealing with stress are just as important to our well-being as what is on our plates.
Superfood gems from David Wolfe:
10. Raw chocolate, or cacao to be specific, is the number one antioxidant food on the planet and the number one food for longevity!
11. Something called betulin, from the bark of birch trees, is the number one anti-cancer medicine.
12. Medicinal mushrooms, including reishi, chaga and shiitake contain amazing healing powers.
13. Astragalus is a Chinese herb touted for its longevity benefits.
14. A Chinese herb called Ho Shou Wu makes you feel ecstatic.
15. When you mix coconut butter and honey you can make a great vegetarian mayonnaise.
16. Pure wild spring water is the best water ever.
17. Kumara (sweet potato) is resistant to genetic modification.