Nutrition plays a vital role in the development of healthy foundation to good health . Without it other therapies effectiveness can be limited . A the clinic we adopt an integrative approach to nutrition .
Integrative Dietary Approaches
There is much debate and controversy over which diet is the best approach to health and wellness. Having traveled the globe and developing my understanding of diet, I have come to the conclusion that an Integrative intuitive diet is the best approach for general health and strengthening of our species. I believe in order to strengthen our species, humans where meant to eat according to our instinct, but also to challenge our systems in order to allow genetic evolution. By eating a variety of food, we challenge out immune systems and our genetic expression and therefore our potential. With today’s multicultural living we are very gifted to have tastes and foods from all over the world. Not only does this expose us to a wide variety of foods but it broadens our awareness and potential enjoyment of food. Many diets come and go, but it is our instinct from a gut level that determines what is good for us.
Much confusion has been created by the many different dietary approaches, and heavy clever marketing of commercial foods does not help the cause. Plain and simple, in order to become and stay healthy we must listen to our bodies, as it tells us what it needs. Often I see the disparity between what we are told by clever marketing is good for us, and by what our body actually tells us it needs. It is very much a case of the mind overriding the human instinct by making us believe what is good for us based on information through science and marketing, against what actually is.
One diet that has received a lot of exposure and attention is the “Eat Right for Your Type” diet by Dr Peter J. D’Adamo. This ABO diet is based on eating according to one’s blood type. When I stumbled across this diet years ago, I was quite intrigued, as no other diet has attempted to address our individuality based on a genetically determined parameter, our blood type. I have discovered that diet provides a very good foundation from which to start. Recently however, another diet has emerged which addresses people further from a genetic standpoint, the “genotype” diet, also by Dr Peter J. D’Adamo. The diagram below shows how one may approach a patient in an integrated manner.
An Integrative healthcare practitioner may consider some of the following factors in order to provide an individual eating plan for a patient.
When determining which dietary approach is best for the individual, it is best to start with looking at the reasons the patient needs to change their diet. Is it due to a health complaint, weight loss issues or just general wellbeing? By answering this question, a practitioner can then get very specific to the patient’s needs and desired health outcome.
Once this has been established, the next step is to ask the patient to keep a food diary. This will enable to the practitioner to understand what foods could be hindering their health, and also establish the types of nutrients being ingested.
If nutritional deficiencies are suspected, it is important to run some tests to identify them more accurately. I utilize the following vitamin, mineral and amino acid tests for comprehensive assessment.
**It is important to note however, that circulating nutritional levels change daily and that it is important to assess these tests for deficiencies holistically. From my experience, one test may show one level and another may show something completely different. The reason for this is that the tests work differently, and are assessing nutritional levels from different levels. It is best to check the consistencies by running multiple tests, more than once, if there are any discrepancies. For this reason, in my clinic, I do not go off one test only to assess deficiencies.
Once an accurate nutritional profile has been made, it is important to start building information about the person’s individuality, based on their constitution, genetic background and blood type.
When people are generally unwell, I recommend the blood type approach as a starting point. The Blood Type Diet employs foods suited to the individual that help minimize stress on the body, assisting the body to detoxify on an individual basis. More importantly it helps people tune into their bodies to make better food choices. By using the information received from integrative pathology on nutrient deficiencies, and the person’s health concerns, the next step is to tailor it to the individual. At this point, it is very important to discuss with the patient aspects of their individual health, to ensure they understand why certain foods need to be omitted or included.
In the clinic we often start with a blood type diet list as our base and then modify it according to what we want to achieve, whether it is weight loss, more energy or management of diabetes. We explain to the patient how blood type eating can be of benefit and then provide lists to the patient outlining which foods contain certain nutrients that were found to be low. The patient is then instructed to include foods with these nutrients that correspond to their blood type.
Should a person have an illness, the foods that have a therapeutic affect should be emphasized. For example, in the case of a person is a blood type A and has cardiovascular disease, a very important food to include on a daily basis is garlic. Specific recipes and dosages required for therapeutic action should be discussed.
In the case of food sensitivities causing ill health, I find most people respond to a slightly modified blood type diet approach. To understand the individual’s sensitivities, the patient must be screened or an elimination diet performed. The following tests may be of use:
To gain understanding of potential sensitivities through diet, a blood type elimination diet can be used. This approach requires the patient to eat according to their blood type for one month, then after one month the re-introduction (one by one), of foods that are not recommended for their type may help isolate potential food reactions. The above testing is recommended for those who are not prepared to do the self-analysis. These foods should then be minimized accordingly. Once overall health has been improved the person can usually return to the blood type diet for maintenance.
It is very important to discuss seasonal aspects and properties of food, especially if the person is presenting at the cross over point from season to season. Often people have not changed their habits based on the changing environment and become ill as a result. For example in summer and we tend to eat more cooling foods such as salads and fruits, however, when the temperature changes our body temperature changes, and the food temperature also needs to change. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, issues of damp and cold can create illness within the body as a result.
Due to the western diet, stress, over exercise and illness, patients will also often exhibit higher blood acid levels. The problems often associated with metabolic acidosis are linked to poor nutrition, as high acidity causes leaching of various minerals from inside of the cell (these include zinc, magnesium and potassium). High acidity is often seen under the microscope whilst doing live blood analysis. Should this be a concern, the PH of the diet also needs to be assessed. A simple way of buffering the blood ph is to include alkalized foods or drinks in the diet. Please note that foods need to be selected according to blood type, disease state, nutritional deficiencies and seasonal availability for optimum results. The following is a full list of foods, corresponding to their acid alkaline values.
ACID-FORMING and ALKALINE-FORMING FOODS
It must be noted that because a food is acid it is no indication that it REMAINS acid in the body. It can turn alkaline. Honey and raw sugars produce alkaline ash, but because of a high concentrate of sugar become acid-formers. Those fruits marked with an * should not be eaten with other foods. They are acid externally but alkaline internally.