Eat This, Not That (The Basics)

Hello everyone,

Happy 2014! I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while, it’s our version of Eat this, Not that food swaps. The popular book was written by a CEO and geared towards weight loss. As doctors we’ve chosen to focus on cleaner, less toxic and overall healthier eating.

These are the changes we’ve implemented in our own lives over time. So, if you want to start eating cleaner (maybe as a New Year’s resolution), then use this as a guide and implement the changes as you can.

1. First up, butter:

                       Eat This                                                                  Not That

Grass-Fed ButterUnhealthy butter

Yes, it is ok to eat butter (as long as it is grass fed and in moderation), in fact it is much better than margarine. Grass-fed butter is superior to regular butter and margarine because of its CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) content. It is a very powerful fatty acid. As little as 0.5% CLA in your diet could reduce tumors by 50% in certain cancers (1). A brand that we like and recommend is Kerrygold, which can be reasonably priced and found at your local supermarket.

*Note: if you have a dairy allergy you should look into substituting butter with ghee, a superior source of fatty acids including CLA that is also dairy free.

2. Breads

                 Eat This                                                                                        Not That

Unhealthy bread

Udis' gluten free bread

I want to preface this by explaining why removing all grains from your diet should be the ultimate goal. We have been told that whole grains are good for you (which is true when compared to refined grains) but overall, grains are highly inflammatory to our bodies. Grains have 3 components that hinder our health. 1. Phtyic Acid- it inhibits the bodies absorption of minerals. 2. Lectins- they are absorbed in the digestive tract and may promote inflammation. 3. Gluten- a highly pro-inflammatory protein found in grains, that is known to cause symptoms including abdominal discomfort, gas, bloating, cramping, migraines and more.

All of that being said, I understand that if you are new to healthy eating, making all these changes at once can be very difficult. Also, if you have other dietary restrictions (food allergies, for example) then it may be frustrating to have to remove so many food groups at once. So, if at the moment you don’t believe grains are causing you any symptoms, then I would say start with changing your grains to Gluten Free.

This is much easier than most people think because almost everything you already eat has a gluten free version (which sometimes tastes better than the original). If you find something you don’t like, try a different brand or try to make it at home. For most baked goods (bread, bagels, pizza crusts, tortillas), I recommend Udis’s brand. They do a very good job of making their products taste like the original versions. For pasta, I suggest Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta. These are just my personal preferences based on trial and error over time.

3. Cheese

                         Eat This                                                               Not That

Grass-Fed Cheese

Non grass fed cheese

Again, if you are going to eat dairy, grass-fed is the way to go. Not only does grass-fed cheese have higher levels of CLA, but it also has a lower omega 6 to omega 3 ratio, which is close to ideal. This basically means that grain-fed cows have more inflammation in their own bodies, which then makes the dairy they produce more inflammatory to those who consume it.

Also, whenever possible choose white cheeses because they avoid using additives to color the cheese. A couple brands we like are Kerrygold and Organic Valley, which can usually be found at your local grocery store.

4. Meats/Seafood

                          Eat This                                                                    Not That

Thousand hills grass fed beef

Inorganic Meat

When shopping you want to stick to fish and poultry for the most part and keep the red meat to a minimum. As a rule of thumb, remember this order of priority : fish, turkey, chicken, beef, pork. Here is some important information to look for when buying your seafood and meats.

Seafood- You want to look for “wild caught” instead of “farm raised.”  This basically means that the farm raised fish are kept in commercial tanks, which means there is more stress, disease and toxins leading to the use of antibiotics and chemicals. The wild fish are allowed to live in their stress free, natural environment and eat their normal diet, meaning more fatty acids and less toxins for the consumer.

Poultry- You want to look for 100% USDA Organic, Hormone Free, Antibiotic Free and Cage Free. A good brand that can be found at the grocery store is Just Bare (they even allow you to track which farm the chicken came from by entering a code on their website).

Red Meat- When buying red meat look for USDA Organic, Grass-Fed, Hormone and Antibiotic Free. Yes, Grass-Fed again. Grass fed beef has a superior quantity and potency of CLA, it is higher in good fats and lower in bad fats, and has 400% more Vitamin A and E (2).  A few recommended brands include Thousand Hills, Laura’s Lean Beef and Applegate Organic and Natural Meat.

5. Produce

                             Eat This                                                                      Not That

Unhealthy produce

Farm being sprayed with Pesticide

Farm Fresh Produce

I know, I know so many people harp the importance of organic produce and you’ve probably heard it all, so I’ll keep it short. Organic produce is allowed to thrive without the chemical burden of pesticides.   Building healthy soil by feeding it organic matter instead of ammonia and synthetic fertilizers has proven to increase nutrients (vitamins and minerals) in produce (3). Organic is the only way to ensure non GMO (genetically modified organisms have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants, usually to help it withstand all the pesticides). Who wants to eat that? Not to mention organic tastes better! Don’t believe me, eat organic produce for about a month and go back to the other stuff, your body and taste buds will notice a difference. For organic produce we love Door to Door Organics and Irv and Shelley’s Fresh Picks -grocery services that deliver right to your home! I understand organic produce can be pricey, so at least switch out the foods that absorb the most pesticides and don’t have an outer peel to protect it (unless of course you eat the peel). Here’s a list to help you prioritize when buying organic produce.

* Look out for an upcoming post with deals to get 10$ off your first order with Door to Door Organics and Irv and Shelleys Fresh Picks!

I know that was a lot of information and it can all be overwhelming. Just try to implement a few changes at a time, and don’t pressure yourself to do it all at once. It can also get to be a bit pricey, so find out the cost difference between your usual grocery trip compared to your new and improved grocery trip. Now, sit down and work with your weekly budget and see where you can make up for the cost difference. It’s an investment in you and your family’s health. As always feel free to post any comments or questions or email me.

Dr. Neha Shah
Chiropractic Physician | Webster Technique Certified
White Oak Family Wellness
P: 630-442-0057  E:
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About whiteoakwell

White Oak Family Wellness is a whole health clinic located in St. Charles, IL. Services include chiropractic, acupuncture and nutrition. Additionally, each doctor has specialized training in different fields: Dr. Neha Shah specializes in pediatric care, maternal and prenatal wellness and neurodevelopmental disorders of children. Dr. Phillip Gamble specializes in rehab, corrective exercises as well as golf fitness.
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2 Responses to Eat This, Not That (The Basics)

  1. Pingback: Drink This, Not That (the basics) | White Oak Family Wellness

  2. Pingback: 10 Common habits that cause back pain, Part 3: Poor Nutrition | White Oak Family Wellness

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