It's a great time of year to "develop a better relationship with Food". To seek fresh, local and sustainable foods such as produce and meats at the farmers markets, your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm or local natural foods store. If you have not made the change to local or regional foods, make a goal to shop at one of these venues in the next 7 days and change your life forever. You will feel better, have more energy and start to create the foundation to vital health.
On June 9 to June 12, over 300 Integrative Health Practitioners - from all over the US and various areas of the Globe, gathered at the Food as Medicine conference offered by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine and The University of Minnesota. For 4 days we discussed the latest evidence based science, research and practice from dirt to disease and how one literally affects the other! Healthy farm practiced, successful community Wellness Programs, prevention and treatment of chronic health conditions in the US and children's' health were the focus. We learned cooking methods and were fed awesome foods!
Health starts with healthy soil...period. In looking at macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein and fat) consumption studies, one from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition Feb. 2009, showed that participants who consumed a paleolithic diet comprising of lean meats, fruits and veggies and nuts; and excluded nonpaleolithic type foods such as cereal grains, dairy or legumes for 10 days - showed clear results. In all these measured variables - all participants had identical directional responses when they switched to paleolitchic diet that is consistently significant to improved status of circulatory, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and physiology. Translated further, healthy body composition and weight, healthy cardiovascular systems and glucose and insulin levels. Better prevention of disease associated with any of these factors.
A study published in the Journal of Food Chemistry Jan. 2003 looked at total phenolics (plant molescules w/ antioxidant activities) & ascorbic acid levels of several foods grown in conventional , organic and sustainable agriculture practices There was statistically higher levels of total phenolics consistently found in organic and sustainably grown foods as compared to those produced by conventional agricultural methods - in all samples.
We discussed the evidence shown that in the past 50 - 60 years that the US dietary changes have changed with intensified agriculture (chemicals, pharmaceuticals, etc) , cooking, and food processing. This has led to the more consumption of diets increased in glycemic load, decreased in Omega 3 Fatty Acid composition , loss of micronutrient density, shifts in acid-base balance to chronic acid load, an inverted sodium-potassium ratio, a dramatic drop in fiber content, and an increase in toxin exposures of our food. The article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005, 81 (2) "Origins and Evolution of the Western Diet; Health Implications for the 21st Century" is one great example which shows the many causes in the American diet that can create poor health.
This is just a small sampling of what we learned and how we discussed how we will continue to create a healthier culture here in the US. For more on Food as Medicine - see future blogs.