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I recently read an interesting news-worthy article regarding eating and the optimum type of diet we should consider for a long, healthy life.
First of all…what does it mean to “eat clean”….well, I can certainly give you my take.
For many, eating clean is a catch phrase implying the intention of an individual to follow a specific dietary regimen or dietary philosophy.
To others, eating clean simply implies trying to eat a better quality diet with less emphasis upon sugar, refined carbohydrates, fast foods, junk foods, fried food, meat and frozen or canned foods. This may also extend to eating foods that are “clean”, meaning the foods are free from drugs, additives, genetically modified products, preservatives and organically raised.
The term, “eating clean” also has been applied to various types or styles of eating that are generally considered to be beneficial or “cleaner” to the standard diet typically consumed by most North Americans.
The gluten-free diet, plant-based vegan diet and the alkaline diet are just some of the many examples I could possible cite.
Unless you have an enzymic deficiency which does not allow you digest wheat/grain glaidin, you won’t have to worry about consuming grains or gluten. If you have a delayed allergic response to certain grains, you may also want to consider less-allergenic alternatives. Gluten enteropathy leading to “leaky gut syndrome” is quite rare and usually diagnosed earlier in life when the symptoms develop. If you are experiencing health issues later in life that have been attributed to gluten or the consumption of grains…be careful to label yourself as having gluten intolerance. You probably do not.
There is no scientific/published evidence that the removal of gluten from the human diet has any health-potentiating affects whatsoever. In contrast, the consumption of whole grains has been shown to reduce the incidence of chronic disease and improve glycemic control. Of course, I am referring to whole and unprocessed grains in this case.
Plant-based diets can be an excellent way to clean-up your diet, but they can also be rather restrictive as well. Simply eating plants and eliminating animal products from your diet will not necessarily guarantee a superior degree of health. In order to this effectively, you must be very vigilant regarding the nutrients you are eating and pay very close attention to the foods you combine and eat. Although the consumption of excessive amount of animal protein has been associated with an increased risk of chronic disease, the types of animal protein are vital in assessing this risk. For example, eating cold eater fish, organic free range eggs, chicken and meat which are devoid of antibiotics, hormones and large amounts of saturated fat is associated with improved health outcomes. The total elimination of animal products from the diet has not been previously shown to improve the health of anyone!
The alkaline diet, which is essentially a type of plant-based diet composed of foods that have an alkaline PH is postulated to improve health outcomes. The theory indicates that most of us consume foods that are acidic in nature and this changes the PH of the blood (to more acidic) in such a manner as to create with it a whole host of health problems. Hence, “eating clean” in this case would imply eating foods high in alkaline PH and eliminating foods higher in the acidic PH range.
Although this process does eliminate a great deal of “junk” from the diet, there has never been any proof that this process does anything except encourage the consumption of more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The PH of the blood is very tightly controlled at 7.4 (slightly alkaline) and never allowed to change that much, especially by the diet. Bodily fluids are not influenced by the diet to the extent that would cause illness. There is absolutely no proof that this has ever been shown. Although proponents also call this type of diet a cleanse or detoxification-type diet, the only advantage with it is on gut health if anything provided certain other foods are incorporated.
Eating clean simply implies “cleaning-up your own diet” by adding healthier alternatives like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, healthy fats, fish, organic poultry, eggs, meat and certain diary products like yogurt. The elimination of trans fat, junk foods, sugar and fast foods are also a good place to start your journey of clean eating.
People need a balanced approach to their diet, it has to be varied and include a multitude of fresh foods throughout the spectrum preferably cooked at home.
What can you do to clean-up your diet?
Dr. Kevin J. McLaughlin
The Vitality Project