Living Healthy in 2017 and Beyond
Healthy Food + Life
By Jon Lewis
A new year awaits: a clean slate of 365 days and the perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf and start eating toward a healthier, fitter and happier way of life.
An admirable goal, and one that frequently tops the list of New Year’s resolutions, but it can be a challenging one too. Luckily, some nutritionists and health care professionals in the North State are happy to share some of the keys to success.
Trudi Pratt, a nutrition-based chiropractor with a Redding practice, says she sees a lot of patients in January who are suffering from the extra sugar that was sprinkled throughout their holiday celebrations.
“It’s the number one thing and it happens in January: They’ve had too many sweets and they feel terrible,” says Pratt, who sympathizes with their plight. “Sugar is so addictive but they’re beat up by it.”
Instead of reaching for a cookie or other sugary treat, she has her patients enjoy a fruit-based dessert like a compote. “Just have a bunch in your refrigerator – berries, bananas, apples. It is still sugar, but it is the beginning of the weaning process,” she says.
It’s not an overnight process, she says. “The blood wants the sugar. It demands it. It really is going to take the whole month to wean off.” When a person can go from breakfast to dinner without resorting to a fruit fix, “maybe they can handle a little (sugar) for dessert, like a bit of dark chocolate.
“Once we get them down to a scoop of fruit they’re feeling better and by February they’re off and by March they’re feeling great and by April they’re off to a great year. To get them on a health kick, we have to get them to acknowledge they’re addicted to sugar and we help them get off it.”
For Steve Davis, a Palo Cedro-based chiropractor and naturopath, any health-improvement plan will benefit from a holistic approach that looks at air, food, water and lifestyle. Essentially, he says, “there are six things you can do in a day; how are you doing in each of these things?”
Are we controlling the levels of stress, the harbinger of a host of illnesses and maladies? Breathing good, clean air? Staying hydrated? Exercising? (Davis calls exercise the body’s “wash and rinse cycle.”) Getting seven to eight hours of good sleep?
When it comes to diet, Davis says the answer is hard to find on bookshelves. Biochemically, we’re all the same, but we each have genetic nuances that set us apart. Complicating the matter are the hormonal disrupters (from pesticides, pollution, additives, etc.) that can damage the body’s autoimmune system and limit the ability to absorb some essential B vitamins.
Davis’ advice? “It’s relatively simple. Jesus was organic. Moses was organic. It has been the mainstay of humanity and then we began to mess with it in the ’50s … put on an organic hat and develop an alkaline lifestyle.”
Michelle Cave, a certified nutrition consultant and educator, says incorporating raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into a daily salad is a great way to create that alkaline environment while adding green leafy vegetables to the diet.
To bolster the body’s defense during the cold and flu season, Cave suggests eating the white pith inside the skin of any citrus. The bioflavonoids are powerful antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and help the body absorb Vitamin C. The seeds, although bitter, serve as natural antibiotics that help fight infection.
Do you enjoy smoothies? Cave says adding a piece of ginger or ground cinnamon will help increase circulation, warm the body and aid digestion. Skip the ice during the winter months so the body doesn’t cool down so quickly from the inside out.
Cave recently opened Red Bicycle Catering in downtown Redding and is offering nutrition-based cooking classes, healthy organic dinners on a to-go basis and business lunch catering.
As a certified nutritional consultant for the past 12 years, Kara Krueger has been encouraging healthy eating habits for years. She has been working at Orchard Nutrition for the past four years and was happy to share some suggestions for making 2017 a nutritionally sound year.
Be conscious of what you eat, she says, and steer clear of highly processed food whenever possible. Excessive sugar and carbohydrates may lead to diabetes, weight gain and hormonal imbalances. Instead, eat more fruit and dark, leafy-green vegetables; if those are locally grown and certified organic, so much the better.
Krueger encourages a daily supplement regimen that includes Omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics and a multivitamin. Hydration also is important, especially in the winter. She says it’s easy to forget to drink water when it’s cold outside and people rarely feel hot or dehydrated.
Exercise can be a part of the daily routine as well, “even if it’s just a 15-minute walk. Whatever it is, you have to keep the body moving,” Krueger says. And finally: “Look for reasons to be grateful every day. Believe for peace and believe for kindness. When I have that attitude, I feel better.”