:dropcap_open:A:dropcap_close:t the time I am writing this article, it’s early in the morning, and millions of Americans are driving up to fast food restaurants for breakfast. The choices are typically eggs on a muffin, or eggs with meat on a muffin, or just a muffin and, of course, a cup of coffee. Millions more are at home eating cold cereal with milk or soymilk. Some are eating hot cereal, such as oatmeal, while others are having eggs with toast. Some are just eating toast, a roll, or a bagel with butter, cream cheese or some similar spread.
Breakfast for Americans is pretty much the same everyday, with minimal variation: eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, and wheat flour that is shaped into different “food figurines,” such as bread, muffins, bagels, croissants, and cereal. Most of us settle in to a couple of food choices and eat the same breakfast every week for most of our lives.
The point is that variety does not exist for most Americans; they are happy with the same breakfast meal everyday, and very few are hunting for a magical recipe book that will change their lives.
For lunch, as with breakfast, most people eat the same foods over and over again. Sandwiches, pizza, and burgers are the most common choices, which means that the majority of people eat bread, cheese, and meat for lunch. Virtually no variation and, again, very few individuals are hunting for recipe books for lunch.
Dinner meals are also rather consistent. We eat meat, fish, and chicken for protein; some may eat vegetables or a salad. Many add rice or bread. It is also common to eat a meal made from flour, i.e, pasta with bread. Some merely eat meat and bread or pasta. When people go out, many order the same foods they make at home.
I regularly eat at a local restaurant and, as it turns out, I also eat foods similar to those I eat at home. The difference for me is that I have my proteins grilled, while many of the folks sitting around me are choosing deep-fried versions of chicken and fish, as well as deep fried onion rings and French fries.
As briefly illustrated above, for the most part, the average individual’s eating habits are not complicated at all, and this holds true for me as well. We, basically, eat the same stuff over and over again…and most of us seem reasonably content with this behavior.
Regarding our meal choices, there is no good evidence that we benefit by replacing meat, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, fruits, and vegetables with soy, grains, flour products, modern dairy products, refined sugar foods, and salty packaged foods. Whenever we eat these replacement foods, we are robbing ourselves of the nutrients found in the foods that man flourished on for thousands of years. (See Cordain, et al. for details.1 You can go to www.thepaleodiet.com and download a PDF of their excellent article.)
The suggestion that we should avoid and greatly reduce our consumption of soy, grains, flour products, modern dairy products, refined sugar foods, and salty packaged foods often brings up odd feelings of separation for many people. Some doctors and soon-to-be doctors become confused about what they are to eat if non-food foods are dropped from their diets. The answer is: fruits, vegetables, nuts, and omega-3 meat, fish, chicken, and eggs; and make sure to spice meals with ginger, turmeric, and the wide variety of spices used in traditional Italian, Greek, Spanish, Indian, and Asian meals. Beverages should include water, green tea, red wine, and stout beer. Oils that can be added to meals and used for cooking include extra virgin olive oil, virgin or unrefined coconut oil, butter, and ghee. To me, this is a very simple dietary approach to take; however, for many, it leads to unnecessary stress and confusion.
When faced with the need to drop wheat flour products that have been shaped into different “food figurines,” many seem not sure what to do. On numerous occasions I am asked for recipes and cookbooks to help tackle the “confusing” subject of how to make meals with meat, fish, chicken and vegetables. My general suggestion is to prepare protein and vegetable meals as they have always been prepared; just have more vegetables to make up for bread, pasta, and rice/grains…pretty easy to do.
If you need cooking assistance, I would suggest heading off to Barnes & Noble and spending some time looking through the Italian, Greek, Spanish, Indian, and Asian recipe books. Make those meals that do not contain bread, flour products, soy, and sugar. You will discover that numerous delicious meal options are available. Several additional books offer excellent meal options including The Paleodiet,2 Nourishing Traditions,3 and a new no-grain cook book, The Big Book of Low-Carb.4
Part 2 in this series will discuss diet for various diseases, and Part 3 will focus on supplements. I suggest using these articles as patient education tools in your practice.
Dr. Seaman is the Clinical Chiropractic Consultant for Anabolic Laboratories, one of the first supplement manufacturers to service the chiropractic profession. He is on the postgraduate faculties of several chiropractic colleges, providing nutrition seminars that focus on the needs of the chiropractic patient. He is also a faculty member at Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida, where he teaches nutrition and subluxation theories. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].
1. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr 2005; 81(2):341-54
2. Cordain L. The Paleodiet. New York: John Wiley & Sons; 2002
3. Fallon S. Nourishing Traditions. 2001. www.newtrendspublishing.com.
4. Broihier K, Mayone K. The Big Book of Low-Carb. San Francisco: Chronicle Books; 2005