Over the past decade, I have experimented with dozens of diets and lifestyles. With all the noise revolving around diet and nutrition, it is no wonder people become frustrated and confused when it comes to deciding how to eat healthfully. With good health being my lifelong quest, I have sifted and sorted through fads and crazes to arrive at my own conclusions about the best ways to eat for strength, beauty, leanness and health.
In this post—the first in my special series on nutrition—I will sum up much of what I have learned about what you can do to improve your health with three key actions that make up what I call “the DES method”—Detox, Experiment and Supplement. The first step is to cut out toxic foods, especially bad grains, oils and sugars. Second, since you are unique and your needs differ from others, you can experiment to find a regimen that works best for you. Third, find the right supplements to complement your healthy meals and bring your health to the next level.
1: Detox: eliminate junk
The first step towards cutting the junk out of your diet is to know which of the “foods” out there are the most damaging and pervasive on the market. In my view, the three worst culprits are unwholesome grains, unhealthy oils and aggressive sugars.
2: Experiment: identify your personal health needs
After experimenting with a wide range of diets—including vegetarianism, veganism, paleo, low-calorie, fasting, low-carb, keto, juicing, etc.—I discovered the most satisfying way to eat for myself. While I am able to thrive on plenty of animal fats, including lots of grass fed, organic cow dairy, for instance, someone else who is lactose intolerant may need to consider alternatives. By exploring various dietary styles, you will be able to find a strategy that works for you. One size does not fit all when it comes to food tolerances.
If you are trying to discover what may be an obstacle to the progress of your health, start eliminating one food at a time from your diet to determine which one is the culprit. As you are experimenting with different foods, you will find it helpful to keep a journal and document how you feel after meals and after you systematically add or eliminate foods from your diet.
After using a daily journal, I discovered which foods have improved my health and well-being. These foods include organic, naturally raised meats, dairy and eggs, safe starches such as potatoes, plantains and white rice, ample fruits and vegetables, wholesome fats, nuts and seeds and mineral rich, antimicrobial sugars, such blackstrap molasses and honey.
3. Supplement: give your meals a boost
Many people lack full nourishment in their day because they miss meals or eat ones that are incomplete. A lack of key nutrients can lead to health problems. When meals are inadequate or scarce, supplementation can help fill in the gaps. For example, an iron deficiency that leads to anemia may benefit from Perfect Desiccated Liver.
My Top 10 Supplements For a Healthy Mind and Body:
1. Vitamin C (in the form of Kakadu plum powder). This is a non-synthetic, ascorbic-acid free vitamin C that is bioavailable and easy on the stomach. Vitamin C is water soluble so the body cannot produce it. Therefore it is important to take vitamin C daily for healthy gums and teeth, bones, skin and immunity.
2. Rosita cod liver oil, Ratfish oil and Dropi cod liver oils contain naturally occurring vitamins A and D as well as health-promoting omega 3's and fatty acids. Cod liver is also anti inflammatory. Vitamin D is critical for hormone balance, mood, bone development and health. I take cod liver a few times a week, more on busier or cloudier days. Cod liver oil is absorbed best with a high vitamin butter oil or emu oil.
3. On days I don't take cod liver oil, I take D3 drops , especially in the winter months or on cloudy days. What I love about Perfect D3 Drops is that it includes only cholecalciferol, the purest, most absorbable and effective form of Vitamin D3, made from New Zealand sheep's wool. Many vitamin D3 on the market are made with synthetic vitamin D, this is why this is the only D3 I carry on shop.
4. K2 (in the form of MK-4 from Emu Oil) is the highest source of food grade vitamin K2. The K2 in emu oil is essential for bone health, joint health, heart health and arteries. A critical nutrient in the proper development of a fetus. Emu oil is a natural painkiller and has tremendous anti inflammatory properties. I take 1-2 teaspoons daily.
5. Organic sulfur crystals are great for pain relief, hair growth, skin health and cellular vitality. Our soils don't contain the same amount of sulfur they once did so we're not getting enough of this vital mineral in foods. I take 2 teaspoons, daily.
6. Grass-fed collagen powder is excellent for healthy joints, skin and hair. Can help with leaky gut and provides a healthy does of protein. I take 1 scoop in my morning coffee, daily.
7. Desiccated grass-fed cow liver or Smidge Freeze Dried Liver for vitamin A, protein, iron and minerals. It is difficult to find true vitamin A in foods because most people do not eat nose-to-tail. I take 4 capsules daily, especially post workout. I bring liver with me on vacations where sun exposure is high to balance the vitamin D from the sun. (vitamin A balances vitamin D).
8. Another one of those minerals that's hard to find in foods alone: magnesium. Magnesium actually helps to activate over 300 enzymes, the catalyst for every function in the body. We have 3 fantastic brands: Smidge Morning Magnesium, Smidge Evening Magnesium and Perfect Magnesium Citrate. I take Morning Magnesium when I wake up and Evening Magnesium before bed. To switch things up, I'll take Perfect Magnesium Citrate on the days I don't take Smidge.
9. Ancestral grass-fed beef organs or Perfect multi organs. This is nature's multivitamin. This one's for energy, strength and overall well being. Organs are superfoods that can enhance your mood, increase muscle mass, balance hormones, stave off imbalances and much more. Ditch your drug store gummy candy and opt for this all-natural solution.
10. Dr. Cowan's Vegetable Garden powders. I do my best eat plenty of vegetables every day but I fall short almost every time. That's why these powders are super convenient: just 1 teaspoon equals a full serving of up to 6 different vegetables that I normally don't eat regularly. I notice the difference in digestion and in overall well being. I take this one with me when I'm traveling. It is meant to be sprinkled on foods such as salads, soups, sauces, yogurt, etc. or you can do what I sometimes do at the end of the day, add a teaspoon in a shot glass of water and just shoot it back to cover my antioxidant bases. If you take this with water be sure to take it with a fat for absorption.
11. Zinc. This one is hard to find in food grade form. OysterZinc is made with JUST oyster meat. Nothing else. Zinc is essential for maintaining healthy skin, a healthy immune system, wound healing, brain health and more. I take zinc a few times a week, extra during onset of a cold.
Sometimes a smart supplement can be the missing link to a person’s journey towards better health.
As you explore a healthier way of eating, try implementing the DES method:
- Lots of products on the market, in grocery stores and in restaurants, contain unhealthy cereal grains, vegetable oils and refined sugar. Cutting these ingredients from your diet is the first step towards optimizing your health.
- Everyone is unique, so finding what works best for you is your own prerogative. Documenting how you feel after introducing and eliminating different foods can help you find the right path.
- Complementing a healthy diet with food grade supplements can help boost your immune and digestive system, improve your sleep and energy, regulate your hormones, enhance your ability to gain and maintain muscle and keep you naturally trim.
While taking these three steps into consideration, remember to enjoy your food, appreciate your meals and be considerate when preparing dishes for yourself and your loved ones.
Certified Renaissance Exercise Instructor and Consultant
With more than 10 years of experience as an exercise instructor and consultant, I am continuously searching for ways to optimize health and fitness.