If you or your family is experiencing health challenges, or just not feeling as energetic as you think you could, modifying your dietary choices can often help. In today’s busy and stressful world, it’s easy to slip into a diet of quick, processed foods high in sugar and carbs. Many people find that a dietary change helps improve long-standing medical issues.
Medical Issues That May Be Helped By A Diet Change
- GERD (Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease)
- migraine or other headaches
- digestive issues (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation)
- muscle or joint aches
Many more could be listed, but these are some of the most common. In some cases, the change in eating provides important nutrients that may be missing, or removes unhealthy foods such as too much sugar. There are studies that suggest that up to 80% of people may have an undiagnosed food allergy, so it makes sense that a change of diet can help. If you’re in Hong Kong and would like to get allergy testing, call us at (+852) 2523 8044 for an appointment.
Dietary Choices Which May Help
Today, I’m going to briefly summarize 6 dietary choices that have lead to health improvement for some people. Everyone has individual characteristics, so what works for one may not work for others, but here are some ideas to consider and discuss with your doctor.
You’ll see that there is some overlap between some of these dietary choices.
- Clean Eating
- Raw Diet
- Organic Diet
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet
The concept behind clean eating is to avoid processed foods. You create your meals from real food, and avoid additives, preservatives, canned and packaged food. Junk food is definitely out, but even items like pasta, because they are packaged, are avoided. Instead, meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts are purchased unadulterated and prepared “from scratch”. When you hear of people avoiding the middle aisles of the grocery store, they are generally pursuing clean eating.
Paleo, or “eating like a caveman”, is very similar to clean eating. Paleo is more restrictive in that legumes and dairy wouldn’t be consumed, even if they were unprocessed. Sugars, grains, starches, and alcohol are also avoided.
In a raw diet, as you might expect, we not only consume unprocessed foods, but they are eaten raw. The bulk of the diet is usually vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts. However, some people consume seafood (think sushi). Food is considered raw when it is prepared without heating it above 116-118 degrees F. Cooking at higher temperatures destroys the enzymes in raw food, which are considered good for digestion and health by many people.
Many people who choose one of the above diets (Clean, Paleo, Raw) choose to combine it with an organic diet. Eating organic means that the fruits, vegetables, and meats you consume are certified organic. They’re not exposed to (most) pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics and chemicals that are typically used in modern food production. This avoids having these substances absorbed into the body from food. Eating organic can be expensive but is a good strategy for better health if you can afford it.
Those who choose to eat gluten-free are avoiding wheat, rye, and barley as an ingredient in the foods they choose. They do this because those foods contain gluten, which is a protein which causes gut and inflammatory issues in some people. Many common foods that you wouldn’t expect contain gluten, including many sauces and condiments. Learning to eat gluten-free means reading food labels carefully and looking for ingredients such as “modified food starch”.
In an anti-inflammatory diet, foods which are known to cause inflammation are avoided, and other foods known to relieve it are added. This type of diet can be very helpful to someone with an inflammatory condition such as arthritis.
In my Hong Kong integrative medical practice, we counsel on nutrition for specific medical issues. We can help you make dietary choices that will improve your health without leaving you feeling deprived. Call (+852) 2523 8044 today to make your appointment.