There is no such thing as a perfect diet. At least not any more. Even if we ate 100% organic, we all end up with nutritional deficiencies. Different factors such as stress, environmental causes and problems with digestion and absorption all affect our nutritional status.
I recommend an individualized approach when it comes to making suggestions for someone’s diet. I believe that we’re all unique and the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work and will never work. For instance, for people with thyroid problems, I recommend staying away from soy products and goitrogens which can be found in raw cruciferous vegetables (lightly steamed is okay). For Asians and African-Americans, I recommend staying away from milk and dairy products. For people with arthritis, I may recommend that they stay away from the nightshades (potatoes, pepper, tomatoes, eggplants). For people with autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, I recommend a gluten-free diet.
In general though, a plant-based diet has been shown to decrease the incidence of chronic degenerative diseases. For people taking hormones, a “cave-man” or a paleolithic diet consisting of vegetable, fruits, nuts/seeds, and meat (free-range/grass-fed) works better. Limit the grains as much as possible.
For vegetarians/vegans, it’s important not to substitute meat with low quality carbs such as bread and pasta. Eat more vegetable and fruits and take something like blue green algae for a non-meat source of vitamin B12.
I also suggest eating produce that’s in season and that’s grown locally. It will help reduce our carbon-footprint.
As far as eating raw versus cooked is concerned, I suggest keeping with the seasons as in Chinese medicine. In the winter months, it’s important to have some warm foods. In the summer months, it’s okay to have raw foods.
Regarding supplement intake, once again, supplements are just that, a supplement to our diet. Our diet is as important as our supplements. At this point in time, we can not rely on our diet alone for over-all health and this is because of farming practices and the process of refining foods. Therefore, it’s now necessary to take nutritional supplements. But you have to take the right ones, however.
I prefer whole-food based supplements and if one has to take synthetic supplements, just stay on it for a limited period. Isolate something from nature and it behaves like a drug (better to take vitamin C complex than ascorbic acid or mixed tocopherols than alpha-tocopheryl).
The nutraceutical industry is not regulated and as such, there are a lot of ineffective supplements according to a study conducted by the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association. I would suggest working with a nutritionally-minded doctor/health practitioner if someone has to start taking supplements.
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