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Fuel your life, Eat Well, Nourish Often, a look at diet with Dr. Derek DC.

Written by Dr. Derek Larsen DC

July 21, 2021

Hello family and friends! This week I have been thinking a lot about the things I’ve been eating and how they affect me. From Bratwursts made of spring black bear meat, to cake from a friend’s birthday party, everything I eat affects how I feel. In turn, the food affects how I perform at work and play. Today I am going to dive into a few of the things I do regarding my diet to keep my body healthy. 

Full disclosure

I love food.  My love of food has driven my love of cooking to help satisfy the love I have for food and flavor. In my family and friend groups, I have never been known as one to sacrifice flavor for health. As I grow a bit older and a bit more health-conscious I realize that my life choices now will affect how I will experience my life in the future. I decided that it may be better to skip a doughnut, or 6, (my previous go-to number for Krispy Kremes was ½ dozen) with the reward of a better functioning body and mind. I used to think that healthy food meant that I would have to suffer through salads, bland chicken and forget about dessert. Now I argue that healthy food can and should be delicious. just take a look at the picture below, Venison and wild mushroom curry with asparagus, doesn’t that sound healthy and delicious?

What diet should I try?

This is a common question, Before I recommend any diet to a practice member I decided I would try the diet. My two favorite diets thus far are the Whole 30 Diet by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, and The Plant Paradox diet, by Dr. Gundry MD. Currently, my diet consists of a modified version of the plant paradox diet. I have seen great success with it. I feel healthy, I have a clearer mind, I never feel bloated or heavy, and I have lost weight. I say that I am doing a modified version of the diet because I do cheat, I don’t have a scheduled cheat day but sometimes the opportunity for a slice of homemade pie comes along and I simply can’t resist at least trying it. Usually, I try a bite of something and decide that it’s not worth how I will feel after I indulge. Sometimes however I am the first person asking for seconds. Both the aforementioned diets are strict when compared to the Standard American Diet (SAD) but the reward is far greater than what seems to be sacrificed at the beginning of these diets. What I recommend is that individuals do a little personal research behind these diets because they are tough to follow. A truly successful diet will turn into a lifestyle, not just a fad. 

A little change goes a long way

As you start on a new lifestyle concerning your food I think the biggest thing you can do is become aware of what you’re eating. Read the labels on everything you consume, You will be surprised at the amount of sugar and highly inflammatory ingredients that are added to nearly everything we buy. As you begin reading labels of the things you eat you will notice that there are many ingredients in the product that you cannot even pronounce. I encourage you to read labels to start understanding what you’re putting into your body. As you become more aware of what you’re eating it will be easier to avoid things you shouldn’t eat and grab things your body wants

Listen to your body

One of the best pieces of advice I have gotten when it comes to diet is to listen to the body. So that is what I do. I started on the plant paradox diet and followed it strictly for a few months. This diet cuts out nearly all foods that commonly cause diet-related health issues. After removing all the foods I wasn’t sure about, I let my body come into a better-balanced state. Then I started experimenting with foods that I had cut out to see if they would affect me. I would eat a little bit of something that I’d missed then, over the next 24 hours or so I pay attention to how my body reacts. I ask myself;  Do I feel more tired than I have, how does my stomach feel, how are my muscles working, How do I feel in general? If I don’t feel a change I put that food on a mental list of foods that don’t affect me personally, If I feel a change I categorize it with other foods that do affect me. I am not perfect in this process, just improving as much as I can. 

Sugar 

We’re all likely eating too much and we already know that so I’m not going to lecture on this topic. Moderation is key, today we have more access to sugar now than we have at any other point in this world’s history so be wary.  

Fat 

Fat got a bad wrap. I am here to tell you that not all fat is bad, we need fat. Many structures within the body are made of fat and we need to eat fat to build those structures. And guess what, Fat doesn’t make you fat. There are, however, both good fats and bad fats. The Trick with fats is that you have to get your ratios right. Having an ideal ratio of Omega 3 fats to Omega 6 fats is the key. In the United States, we have a diet that is rich in omega 6 fats and low in omega 3 fats. By incorporating more omega 3 fats into the diet you can change your ratio. This is important because eating fat (always in moderation) can make you happier. Omega 3 fatty acids are utilized in the serotonin pathway which is the brain chemical pathway that allows you to experience contentment. So by increasing omega-three fatty acids, you are providing the body with what it needs to be more content. 

Moderation in all things

Lastly, it is important to practice moderation, I can’t resist trying something new especially when it comes to homemade desserts. If I go to a friend’s house or a potluck and someone brings their great grandma’s super chocolate chunk cookies you can bet your last dollar that I am going to try at least once. But this isn’t something I am doing every day. Deserts are a treat that our bodies are designed to crave because of the amount of energy available in sugar. In today’s world, we have constant access to that sugar and it becomes unhealthy in excess. So do your body a favor and practice moderation in all things.

How is diet related to chiropractic?

Chiropractic works with the body to restore health. When I adjust a practice member, put simply, I am helping restore communication with the brain and the body so that the body can heal itself. By facilitating improved communication of the nervous system we see great results with all kinds of ailments. By improving diet, an individual gives his or her body the building blocks it needs to heal, without those building blocks the chiropractic adjustment will be in vain. I typically have a few conversations with practice members about diet for this reason. Juneau Alaska chiropractors, and medical doctors, face known common nutritional deficiencies in many patients such as vitamin D deficiency simply because of the special location we call home. By helping individuals get the nutrition they need we often see greater improvement with care because the body has the supplies it needs to heal itself.

When you sit down to dinner tonight look at your food, Do you know where it came from? Do you know what it is made of? Do you know what your food’s food was and how it will affect you? Ponder those questions, then over the next 24 hours after the meal pay attention to how you feel. Your body will tell you what it wants and doesn’t want, it is highly intelligent, just listen.  Eating healthy is hard now, Eating poor is hard later, choose your hard.

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If you liked this post, share it with your friends! It will really help my practice grow. -Dr. Derek