How to keep what you’re eating and doing, from killing you.
The Takeaway: This diet and lifestyle plan fosters heart, vascular as well as GI health. It is also anti-inflammatory which for many can reduce aches and pains significantly. It also helps control blood sugars become more even which is crucial in preventing obesity, metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) and managing diabetes, brain, and nerve health.
What I give you here today is simple, daily plan of healthy meals and snacks, activity, and sleep habits which are easy to modify and add variety to on a regular basis. You DON’T need another Diet Book, Facebook Group, App, or paid membership diet plan. You should however have baseline lab tests (within 6 months) and obtain your physician’s (MD or DO) help with genetic, GI, allergy, and other personal health issues. ~~~ Let’s start with the AM.
Forget the news, phone, and TV for at least the first 30 minutes. Rest quiet or better yet meditating with a coffee or tea can be a healthy wake-up start to your day.
It is particularly important to consume some healthy protein within one hour of arising. The reason for this is that it helps stimulate metabolism, energy, and mental alertness. It also helps us burn fuel more efficiently. One option is a protein shake, using a dairy-free protein powder (pea) with almond or soy milk (organic unsweetened vanilla is my favorite) or other plant-based milk free of sugar and added oils or fats. Some other breakfast options are unsweetened granola, whole grain cereals, non-instant oatmeal with one of the milks listed above, with some added nuts, slice of whole grain bread, waffle etc. Just be sure to keep total carbohydrate consumption between 15 and 20g maximum per meal or per serving as you will all day. The only exception to additional carbs should be if you have exercised or will be exercising or working heavily within the hour, another great reason to be much more active! Around three hours later, have a snack again, not exceeding the same 15-20g of carbs. This could include one small or half apple or banana, seven to ten almonds, cashews, walnuts other nuts, et cetera. Packaged protein or nut bars can be fine if the carb content is low.
Lunch should universally be some form of salad or veggie sandwich rollup. You should mix this up regularly with your favorite greens. My favorites are baby spinach or mixed greens. Add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil (important for brain and nerve health) unsweetened simple vinegar like apple cider or rice (which helps weight control), plus a few added almonds, cashews, or walnuts.
About three hours later, have an additional snack, just like your mid- morning.
When dinnertime comes, this is the time to emphasize non-starchy vegetables. Some of the best are cooked spinach, broiled or sautéed asparagus, cabbage, beets, squashes, yams, and sweet potatoes, and so on. Do another salad or roll-up if you like too! Keep heavy starches, such as rice, corn, carrots, and white potatoes limited to fist size servings at the most. Adding a high-quality source of protein at dinner can help energy, weight control and satiety. Our favorites by far are Tofu which is available in many consistencies and textures. Additional sources of protein include broccoli, red, white, or black beans, chickpeas, etc. made in a soup, or served as a side. Many vegetable combinations have far more protein than most of us realize. Be careful of meat alternates touted as healthy as many are expensive plus loaded with oils and some very unhealthy additives. If you like, a day or two/week you can try fresh fish like salmon which is rich in essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA.
About three hours after dinner, have another snack. This time, try a few whole grain crackers with some almond or cashew butter. Experiment with (or better yet make) low carbohydrate snacks like cookies—always shooting for the 15-20g max/meal or serving just be careful not to eat the entire batch which is easy to do! Another really good choice to satisfy your evening cravings is a small square of unsweetened dark chocolate which is low carb and healthy!
So, what's NOT here?
Well, there is no dairy, cheese, or yogurt. There are no daily animal products. There are no processed snack foods, soda, or fried chips. There are no dairy ice creams or pies for dessert. There are no fruit juices, soda, candy, or other sweets. No routine consumption of animal products. The evidence is overwhelming-the closer we get to vegan, the better our health and longevity with far fewer medications.
Be careful not to overdo coffee and tea, for most two each per day is optimum. Eliminate or limit alcohol consumption to occasional low sugar wine or beer, and very rarely stronger alcohol. Remember, there is no “safe” amount of alcohol. Alcohol is also a major cause of cancers, though you would never know it from the advertising. ~~~
Do you see where we are going here? The fact of the matter is the above list of foods to avoid is responsible for more ill health and disease than any other single factor in the modern developed world. ~~~
The key is beginning and staying with the program. Don’t worry about the occasional get-away weekend, or party. Discipline yourself not to go berserk. Be especially careful during holiday periods. Unless you have heart failure or are on fluid restrictions for medical reasons, consume half your body weight in ounces of filtered water, during any 24-hr. period. Now this recommendation assumes you are eating normally and gaining added electrolytes like salt, potassium, and magnesium from your healthy diet. Fluid overload without proper nutrition is dangerous! Avoid soft plastic bottles and sweeten your water with a slice of lemon, orange, lime, or another favorite fruit. Avoid diet beverages or sweeteners except for small amounts of pure stevia powder. ~~~
The Upside Once you make this diet and lifestyle shift, you will realize how simple, easy, and inexpensive this approach to eating and daily living can be.
In addition to moving about frequently and exercise most days of the week going longer stretches (12-16+ hours) without eating or what is known as intermittent fasting can be extremely helpful with boosting metabolism (fat and calorie burning), mental clarity and energy and insulin resistance. These are other major influencers of health and longevity. *Always fast with your physician’s knowledge and supervision, especially if you are diabetic or on ANY prescription medications. Well thought out dietary supplements can add health and energy benefits as well. Many use our base (Metabolic Support Formula ™) as well as other personalized programs (Metabolic Dose Packs ™). These can also have tremendous benefits on your wellbeing, anxiety, moods sleep and pain control.
Be sure to knock off all screen time at least 1 hour (2-3 is better) before bed. Please consider light reading and/or simple meditation or plain quit time. Poor sleep will affect your immunity, stress hormones, lifespan, blood pressure, brain health and so many other health issues we discuss at length in different articles. Eating healthy, staying as active as possible and supplements like our magnesium glycinate/malate (NEVER used in kidney disease without physician supervision) are natural steep aids.
Finally, ASK questions! Learn more from our YouTube® videos, office visits, Telehealth with us and your Reception Room™ members areas. Remember, we are here to help. All you need to do is ASK us for help. Just open a Chat anytime on this site which automatically sends our team a TEXT and email!!!
Yours in health, John P. Hayes Jr, MS, DC, MD
Patti L Hayes ~~~
About Dr. Hayes: John has been a student of health and nutrition since his teenage years, in a large part from his parents and families influence as a child and teen. John received his MS In Human Nutrition in addition to his Medical and Chiropractic training and fully understands and teaches the integration of all these components as the real keys to health, happiness, and longevity.