Diet and nutrition checklists:
Basic food information for healthy eating
Nutrition, diet, healthy foods and preparation methods. Foods and food products no one should ever eat. The common junk foods and food additives listed in step 1 are likely responsible for over 70% of chronic illness in America during the past few decades.
by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.
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General food intake guidelines
So many Americans have poor diets that consist of synthetic and toxic foods that no one should eat, that I've found it necessary to outline foods to be avoided in a compact form. For individuals with particular food sensitivities or constitutional requirements, the table in step 2 is useful. Foods to be recommended may be circled, and foods to be eliminated may be indicated by crossing them out.
There is no one perfect diet for everyone, which is why diet book writers will be busy until the end of time. Requirements vary depending upon daily energy needs due to occupation, climate, season of year; constitutional differences in ability to digest and metabolize; and individual sensitivities to particular foods. Many diets don't work because they are not individually tailored, and they focus on only one aspect of a person's health: i.e., weight-loss, normalizing blood-sugar, lowering blood pressure, etc. Many diets become exercises in self-imposed torture, based on pseudo-scientific reasoning. Vegetarian, macrobiotic, fruitarian, or high-protein diets can be either beneficial or harmful depending upon circumstances.
The most important rules to follow with foods (herbs and supplements, too) are:
America has more bizarre "health-food" fads and craziness than anywhere else because we have lost touch with our own sensations, having been trained to rely on television commercials, experts, gurus, and consultants to tell us what we should desire. We forget that such external advice is usually designed to maximize profits rather than our own well-being. Most side-effects from inappropriately chosen diets or herbal supplements could be avoided by paying attention to the many warning signals such as discomfort, pain, or indigestion. Common sense begins with SENSATION. If it feels good, without after-effects and without withdrawal symptoms, then do it. If it doesn't feel good, either at the time or later, then don't do it. Why make life more complicated than necessary?
Speaking of complications, below is a list of socially acceptable poisons, ersatz foods, pseudo-foods, and outright toxic substances that are hidden in food to "improve" appearance, mouth-feel, and addictive potential. They are responsible for an incredible amount of unnecessary suffering and disease. Over the years I've witnessed hundreds of clients improve their health significantly, merely by eliminating the items on this list. In many cases, herbal supplements and even potent medication cannot mask the damage inflicted by these invisible chemical terrorists.
No one should eat any of the items in the following list, because they are harmful to most people, to varying degrees. This list is not exhaustive, because the food industry churns out poison faster than these lists can be updated.
Step 1, Eliminate or minimize harmful foods and substances.
Step 2, Reduce harmful or addicting substances.
Eliminating addictive habits is greatly eased by turning the TV off (often the greatest addiction of all). (Would you allow crazed maniacs with uncontrollable addictions into your home when you yourself are trying to go clean? Yet that's what people do when they don't exclude Hollywood from their living rooms.) Also, cravings and addictions often come in pairs (coffee and cigarettes, chili peppers and ice cream, coffee and sugar). One member of the pair usually functions as the "upper" and the other as the "downer". Eliminating both, either gradually or cold turkey, is the way to successfully restore your health with the greatest ease.
Step 3, Eat generally acceptable, high-quality foods.
The following list does not take into account possible intolerances or allergies to certain foods or food groups. (Dairy product and wheat intolerances are the most common; other intolerances include those to corn, eggs, nuts and seeds, citrus fruits.) Categories, subcategories, and entries are roughly ordered according to their "density", the densest and most difficult to digest foods listed first, the "lightest" appearing last.
Step 4, Follow basic rules of food combining.
Eat fruits and simple sugars like honey and maple syrup alone, on an empty stomach. Wait several hours before eating anything else. (Exceptions: Apples, as well as using lime or lemon to season other food.). Fruits are absorbed quickly by the digestive tract, but combining them with other foods causes the sugars they contain to ferment within the digestive tract, promoting unhealthy bacterial flora, yeasts, and parasite growth.
Do not eat starches and meats in the same meal, unless you possess an "iron" stomach. (If you do this, it is best to eat meats first, followed by starches, since this optimizes the pH necessary for each in the stomach and duodenum.) For example, combine rice, beans, and vegetables. Do not combine beef and potatoes or rice.
Eat beans and grains or potatoes in a 1:3 ratio. (Less beans, more grains.) This optimizes the proportions of various amino acids needed to rebuild body proteins, and is a ratio followed throughout the world, especially in cultures with low animal protein intake.
For fartless beans: soak beans overnight in warm water with one tbsp. apple cider vinegar. After 8 hours of soaking, drain off vinegar soak water. Add cold water to about 3x level of beans. Add a few tsp. of thyme. Cook twice as long as standard recommendations; i.e., 2 hrs. for lentils, 8 hrs for garbanzos.
Don't eat within several hours of going to bed. At night the body likes to be empty of food. (Late-night eating is a common cause of TCM pattern of Deficiency of Stomach Yin.)
Step 5, Cooking procedures.
Stainless steel (magnetic-type) and Pyrex cookware are the best. Do not use teflon or aluminum pots and utensils. Aluminum reacts with food, especially acid foods, and elemental aluminum will react with digestive enzymes to deactivate them. Chronic aluminum poisoning is also implicated in Alzheimers disease and other degenerative CNS diseases. Teflon is susceptible to release of fluorinated hydrocarbons, especially if it is overheated or damaged.
Best cooking methods: bake, steam, or simmer. High temperatures damage food; avoid frying, stir-frying, barbecue.
Avoid using microwave ovens; each year new evidence is discovered of some new health hazard related to both the direct radiation exposure from them and the consuming of food cooked in microwaves. The chemical structure of the food is altered much more than in conventional cooking, and microwave heating has been shown to change cis-fatty acids to the toxic trans-fatty acid configuration, like those found in margarine.
Step 6, Use moderate amounts of spices and seasonings.
Try using miso or lemon instead of salt.
Experiment with herbs and spices, initially using small amounts. Even common table spices have mild effects if taken regularly (either beneficial or not, depending upon your constitution and the nature of your health imbalances). Simply pay attention to how each spice tastes and how it makes you feel after you eat it, and you will be able to determine which spices benefit you and which are not appropriate for you.
Common herbs and spices: marjoram, savory, basil, oregano, bay leaf, thyme, sage, parsley, garlic, onion, fresh ginger, dry ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, caraway, fennel, aniseed, dill, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, asafetida, cayenne, chili peppers, black pepper, vanilla. Essential oil extracts: orange, lemon, bitter almond, citronella, vanilla.
Use Stevia rebaudiana as an herbal sweetening agent if sugar intake must be limited for health reasons. Experiment with small amounts to determine sweetening level desired.
Step 7, Learn to recognize your individual sensitivities to foods.
Pay attention to which foods make you feel good overall, which don't. In case of suspected food sensitivities you may need an evaluation by a health care professional.