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I like to promote good nutrition in the office. Many times getting the proper nutrition is what makes someone get better quickly or prolongs their condition, either through supplementation or changing things around in their diet. So patients ask me “What do you eat?” Well, my diet isn’t perfect, but I strive to make good choices when I buy food. So to give you an idea what it’s like, I’ll take you on a tour of the supermarket. Grab a cart and let’s go!

First we’ll start by picking up our protein sources. Now, avoid the person on our right giving out free samples of sausage with the hope that we’ll buy some. Sausage is high in fat, sodium and nitrates. These are no good, so let’s go pick up some fish. Go get some salmon, tilapia and tuna. Not only is fish a good source of protein but we’ll get our omega-3 fatty acids from them. (Let’s just assume that money is not an issue and we are buying everything at full price).

Next let’s get some skinless, boneless chicken breast. Eight pieces should do. Organic or not? I’ll talk about that in a minute.

Pick up some nuts. Almonds, walnuts or macadamia are good choices. You will get protein from them and they also have a better ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Other nuts are not as good for you.

Next, let’s go to the diary section. Avoid the person on your left with cheese and cracker samples. The crackers are simple carbohydrates which will elevate insulin levels and the cheese will elevate your cholesterol levels and prolong inflammation in your body. Dairy! Pick up some yogurt. No, not the supreme double caramel chocolate with fruit on the bottom. Pick up the plain, organic yogurt with nothing in it.

On to the fruit and vegetable section. You need something to put in the yogurt right? Let’s get some fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. These are anti-oxidants and have an anti-inflammatory effects as well as anti-ulcer and anti-histaminic effect. They also stabilize the membranes of blood vessels. Don’t forget apples, red grapes and watermelon. These are all great, apples and grapes can be carried along with you to eat throughout the day or snack on. Now we need to get some vegetables so we can steam and eat them with our fish or make a salad. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and peas (in the pod) are also great anti-oxidants, have a low glycemic index, and are good sources of fiber. Broccoli has vitamin C and D in it. I also recommend some Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and celery. Romaine lettuce is filled with vitamins and nutrients that are not found in iceberg lettuce. Therefore it’s a good source of fiber and vitamins. Tomatoes have lycopene which has been associated with good prostate health.

Alright, let’s get some complex carbohydrates! I prefer to get foods with low glycemic indexes. The glycemic index is affiliated with insulin production and blood sugar levels. Low glycemic foods tend to be better for you because there is no spike in blood sugar levels. Let’s pick up some yams and white potatoes. Yes, white potatoes have a lower glycemic index then other complex carbs. Make sure that you eat white potatoes with meat. The acidic nature of the meat will be buffered when you ingest the more “basic” potato and also lower the glycemic number when eaten together. Brown rice is much better than white rice because the brown protective seed coating is where the nutrients come from. Think of white rice as the iceberg lettuce of complex carbs.

Before we leave this area make sure to get some eggs. Whole eggs are nutritious. The egg protein is some of the best and is necessary for cell rebuilding. Don’t worry about the cholesterol. There is a difference between good and bad cholesterol. French fries are a source of bad cholesterol because of the oil that is used. The cholesterol from the eggs is natural. Besides, all of the fresh fruits and vegetables that you are getting have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Atherosclerosis caused by cholesterol has been associated with inflammation in the blood vessels.

O.K., now we can have a little fun. Let’s go to the alcohol section. Put down that 30 pack of Schlitz!! Instead get the dark stout beer. Dark beer has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body as well. Inflammation has been associated with many diseases including diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer, osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. Pick up a couple of bottles of red wine for the same reason I just mentioned. A glass of wine at dinner is good for you. Almost done!

Go to the candy section. Put some Twix, peanut butter cups and M & M’s in the cart… if you want diabetes, weight gain and a weakened immune system. The only candy you should be eating is dark chocolate. Be careful, some candies say dark chocolate on the label because they put very little of it in the recipe but most of it is milk chocolate. You have to buy dark chocolate that is 70% cocoa or more. It should be stated on the front or the fine print on the back of the wrapper. Dark chocolate is not as sweet as milk chocolate and has a bitter-like taste to it.

Let’s pick up some of those smaller items that we need. Oatmeal-get the slow cooking kind, it’s a better source of fiber. Get olive oil to cook with, it’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Green tea, not the stuff in the bottles. Get the tea bags and you can add lemon for taste as needed. Stevia- it’s an herbal sugar substitute. You can use it to put on your oatmeal in the morning or the green tea. Should you buy organic or not? Well if you eat fruity pebbles with chocolate milk, doughnuts and a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, eating natural, good food that is not organic is still a lot better then that junk. If you are eating the things I just mentioned and you want to be even healthier, buy organic.

So here’s what a day might look like: breakfast- 4 whole eggs, scrambled, ½ cup of oatmeal with cinnamon or Stevia mixed in, fresh fruit and green tea. Lunch- grilled chicken breast, baked potato, mixed vegetables. Dinner- fish, brown rice and mixed vegetables with a glass of wine. Snack throughout the day on almonds, grapes and dark chocolate.