There’s hundreds of diets in this world. You don’t believe that? Have a look at Wikipedia list of diet. “Not all diets are considered healthy. Some people follow unhealthy diets through habit, rather than through a conscious choice to eat unhealthily” – good point Wikipedia! Some diets are obviously unhealthy, and you don’t need to be a doctor to know that: “junk food diet” or “Western diet”, aren’t the best choices in therms of eating habits.
Being on a diet become very popular and in some environments is trendy, which I believe is not the best idea. Nevertheless , not everyone needs to be on a certain diet and not everyone wants to be on a diet (I was that person), and no one should feel bad because of that. No one should feel bad because people around him are on some kind of diet, and he is not. Changing of eating habits should be a concious decision, backed up with knowledge drawn from various sources. If you start being on a certain diet just because everyone else are, you might not only harm your body but also your mind. But as I said, not everyone want to restrict themselves to certain eating rules, and that’s fine. No one wants to be restricted and feel forced to anything. Including me.
But if you’d like to try to make a small changes to your eating habits and see if they’ll make you feel better, I have 10 eating habits for you. If you have digestive problems like bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, or you constantly tired, you have cravings, you joints are stiff and painful, take a look at this list. Even if you implement one habit, it might help you a lot. You don’t need to reorganize your whole world, try to adapt one small habit you think would help you the most. Some of them might seem to be more complicated at the beginning, but I can assure you that you’ll quite easily get used to them. Especially if you start feeling better. But don’t force yourself, remember it needs to be your concious decision. Make your research, read some more informations, listen to other people who’s also implement these habits in their lives. An try yourself.
The lack of scientific evidence is not proof that something is not happening, and the other way – if there is a scientific evidence that something works, it doesn’t mean that it will work for everybody.
10 eating habits to improve your health
(even if you don’t want to be on any diet)
1. Drink apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is produced by fermenting apples, its main active substance is acetic acid, but also lactic acid, citric acid, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and bacteria friendly to our digestive system. Good quality apple cider vinegar is cloudy (unfiltered), unpasteurized and has a dark orange colour (sediment at the bottom of the bottle it’s called “the mother”).
Vinegar has a long history of use as a disinfectant and natural food preservative. According to a study conducted at the University of North Carolina, School of Medicine, Department of Hospital Epidemiology in the US, vinegar has a strong antimicrobial effect and can kill certain strains of bacteria.
The best health benefits of apple cider vinegar have been found in patients with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood glucose levels, both due to insulin resistance and the inability to produce insulin. However, elevated blood sugar levels can also be a problem for people who do not have diabetes … high blood sugar is believed to be the main cause of ageing of the body and the cause of various chronic diseases. Therefore, it is extremely important to maintain the proper level of sugar in blood. In particular, it improves insulin sensitivity during a meal with a high carbohydrate content of 19-34%, and thus significantly lowers blood glucose and insulin levels, as well as lowers blood sugar by 34% after consuming 50 g of white bread. In addition, taking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at bedtime may reduce your fasting blood sugar by 4%. As a consequence, it is beneficial for blood sugar levels, it does not spike after meals and build up in the form of adipose tissue. If you are currently taking medications to lower blood sugar levels, consult your doctor before introducing apple cider vinegar to your diet.
Drinking apple cider vinegar helps with digestion as it produces more gastric juices, but if you start to experience diarrhoea, reduce your dose or stop drinking it for a few days.
Typical doses are 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) to 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) per day. Always drink diluted vinegar (maximum 2 tablespoons for about 200 ml of water). Have a drink before meals (especially high-protein) or twice a day (e.g. morning and evening). If you’ve never tried drinking apple cider vinegar start with 1 teaspoon, and see how you feel. Slowly increase the amount of vinegar up to 2 tablespoons. You’ll see significant difference if you tend to feel heavy after meals, especially if you eat a lot of meat, and your stomach is not producing enough stomach acid. Which leads me to the second one.
2. Don’t drink while you eat
There’s many theories about you should drink while eating a meal or not. What I’ve noticed from my own experience, that drinking a glass of tea, juice, coffee or large amounts of water during my meal or just after, makes me feel heavy, bloated and uncomfortable. So if you drink a lot (also fizzy drinks) with a meal and it makes you feel worse, you have abdominal pain and bloating, try not to drink anything while you eat and just after. Although if you feel like you need to drink something, have a couple sips of water. Always observe your body and decide, if it’s a habit or your body really needs water.
3. Say no to highly processed food
Humans has been processing food for centuries: cutting, cooking, baking, drying, chopping. Food processing that we can carry out at home are natural processes. E.g. pickling, pasteurization, drying, salting, smoking etc.
Highly processed food is one that we are not able to “produce” at home, special conditions, machines and substances are needed for this. Such industrial processes are: mechanical separation, spray drying, sterilization, freeze drying, vacuum packing, food treatment, radiation, infrared treatment. Food is not only subjected to unnatural processes, but also various types of food additives are used, which are not a natural food ingredient but are added to obtain specific effects. Food additives are defined differently in different countries. For example, in the European Union, a food additive is “a substance that is not normally eaten but is intentionally added to food for technological reasons“, while in the United States food additives are “substances whose intended use causes, or can reasonably be expected to will make it directly or indirectly an ingredient of food or otherwise affect the properties of food “(Wikipedia). Such substances include: flavouring compositions, dyes, emulsifiers, thickeners, raising agents and other substances that are intended to thicken the product, also preservatives, antioxidants and stabilizers, compounds that are to extend the life of products. These compounds have different origins, sometimes they are made from natural products, and sometimes synthetic. Importantly, they never occur naturally.
There are many misconceptions and contradictions when it comes to explaining which food additives and in what amounts are harmful to human health. It is generally accepted that everything that is in the product you buy in the store is not harmful and does not pose any threat to your life. Logically looking – why would they inform about the fact that what is added to food is not necessarily healthy?
Let’s look at these facts: boric acid was widely used as a food preservative from the 1870s to the 1920s, but was banned after World War I due to its toxicity, as demonstrated in animal and human studies. During World War II, the urgent need for cheap, available food preservatives led to it being used again (!), but it was finally banned in the 1950s. In 1938 US government decided that no carcinogenic substances should be used in food production, however, after the banning of cyclamates in the United States and Britain in 1969, saccharin, the only remaining legal artificial sweetener at the time, was found to cause cancer in rats. But they have found in 2000, that saccharin is carcinogenic in rats due only to their unique urine chemistry. (Wikipedia) So how can we be sure that if something will be fine for rats, will be also fine for humans? Especially in long term?
Do you know, that there’s over 300 different food additives? Which one you should avoid the most?
- Sodium nitrites – check all the deli meat products, and meat products in general – I can guarantee that 99% of them will have sodium nitrite. Have you noticed that homemade deli meat never have such a pink glowing colour, like the one from the shop? It’s mostly because the additives. Naturally prepared deli meat always gets this greyish colour after cooking. But we got so used to what we see in the shop, we start thinking that there’s something wrong with the meat that we cook at home, because it’s not as pink and doesn’t have as strong flavour as the one from the shop. When sodium nitrite is heated at high temperatures or combined with stomach acid, starts producing nitrosamines. They are linked to an increased risk of pancreatic and colorectal cancer.
- Sulfites – are a preservative many people are sensitive to (especially people with asthma). Their use on fresh fruits and vegetables is banned in the United States, but sulfites are present in other foods (also avoid sulfur dioxide, potassium bisulfite, sodium bisulfite or sodium sulfite)
- Trans fats – it’s cheap, they do not go rancid, they can be repeatedly heated and cooled without any harm, and the products prepared with their use are durable and have a long shelf life. There is only one but – this type of fat is really very harmful to health. If you eat a lot of them, and for longer periods you can get diabetes, heart disease, hardening of blood vessels and inflammation. It also reduces your body’s ability to lose weight. Most trans fats are found in all confectionery, cakes, potato fries and fast food.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) – this substance enhance flavour and texture in processed foods (especially Asian foods are known from using MSG generously). People sensitive to MSG can experience nausea, breathing problems and other reactions. You can read about it also in this post.
- E102, E110 (also known as FD&C yellow no. 5 and no. 6) – these artificial coloring agents can cause severe allergic reactions in those with asthma. Some research also suggests a link with hyperactivity in children, but this has not been proven. What’s interesting E110 is not only used in food but also in production of condoms, cosmetics, and drugs (Wikipiedia). Products containing E102 commonly include processed commercial foods that have an artificial yellow or green colour, or that consumers expect to be brown or creamy looking (!). It has been frequently used in the bright yellow colouring of imitation lemon filling in baked goods. E102 is widely use in cosmetic industry, household cleaning products, paper plates, pet foods, crayons, inks for writing instruments, stamp dyes, face paints, envelope glues, and deodorants (Wikipedia). Considering that, how much of E102 a human can absorb not only in food and medications, but also through skin contact?
Now if you eat a lot of processed foods, go to the kitchen and have a look on the labels, how many of these substances you find in your food?
4. Eat when you’re hungry
Depending on the opinion of the dietitian, we are told to eat 5 times a day, or 3 times a day. We are told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that the first meal should be eaten before 9am and the last one no later than 6pm, and so on. All the experts has their own opinions you should be listening to. Such a single pattern that could be applied to every person could make sense only if everyone functioned in exactly the same way. Meanwhile, each of us functions completely different. We have different sleeping patterns (for example, if someone works in shifts), our work is different in terms of time and effort, we have different eating habits and we live in various climate. It is impossible for one scheme to fit all.
For some people, eating 5 meals a day is almost impossible. Depending of how your diet is – more carbohydrate based, or fat based (or both), if you work from home, and you sit most of the time, or you do physical work and need a lot of energy.
What if you would become your own expert? Isn’t you the one who knows your body the best? What if you’re absolutely not hungry in the morning, and you need to force yourself to eat something, when your body’s metabolism didn’t wake up yet?
So if you feel like you have to force yourself to eat 5 times a day, or to have a giant breakfast before 9am, consider thinking through your own body needs and prepare your own schedule that’s the best for you and your lifestyle. Become your own expert. And this leads me to a next one…
5. Observe and be mindful
…to become your own expert start observing how you feel, after eating certain foods, also observe your hunger.
Ask yourself if:
- your body is hungry for food?
- or maybe you’re dehydrated?
- or (if you eat a lot of sweets) your mind craves sugar?
- or maybe you’re just bored?
We tend to be so unaware of our own body, that even if we’re on certain diet we do not recognise what it’s trying to tell us. We often mindlessly subordinate to the rules of chosen diet, without listening to how our body responds. As I have been writing here, before keto diet I didn’t stop and think how eating certain food makes me feel. Why the hell I feel so sleepy after dinner? Why I feel like I would explode after this delicious lentil soup? Why my stomach is heavy and painful after x or y? I’ve never thought about that. I thought it’s normal. If you feel bad after eating certain foods it is not normal. The food you eat should be nutritious for your body, make you feel energised and full of live.
6. Use a lot of herbs & spices
Even if you’re not a masterchef, and your cooking skills leave something to be desired, spices can take your kitchen to the next level. Not only that, spices have healing properties, they support your health, facilitate metabolism and even destroy microbes that are hostile to your body. 2017 research showed that essential oils and extracts of some spices contain active compounds like piperine, eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, linalool, thymoquinones, curcumin, allicin. These compounds acts like natural preventive components of several diseases and represent as antioxidants in body cells.
According to this research which spices has the most healing properties?
- Black Cumin Seeds (Nigella sativa) – helps to treat common cold, infections of the trachea, bron-chitis, urinary tract, and reproductive system. Some skin dis-orders such as warts and hair losses. Egyptians used it to treat stomachaches, inflammations, intestinal worms, and migraines. Modern researches showed that black cumin seeds are potentially antioxidant, hepatoprotec-tive, anticancer, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, analgesic, antiulcer and antihistaminic.
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – widely use in India. Leaves are used to add flavors to medicinal drinks, decoctions, and as flavouring wrappers in the preparation of traditional sweets. Aparft for its internal healing properties, turmeric can be used on the skin as a natural anti-septic. It can be applied topically for the treatment of acne,wounds, boils, bruises, blisters, ulcers, eczema, insect bites,and skin diseases like herpes. Researches showed that curcumin (active compound of turmeric) is highly anti-inflammatory, works against a number of pathogenic bacteria (for example Helicobacter pylori).
- Garlic (Allium sativum L) – has antifungal and antiparasitic properties, it’s also anticancer and antioxidant abilities, can control cholesterol and blood pressure and prevent gastritis. It’s a natural antibiotic.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – it comes from the same family as turmeric. Its antimicrobial, for example fights Candida albicans and Helicobacter pylori which is the main reason for peptic ulcer, dyspepsia, and gastric/stomach cancer.
- Star Anise (Illicium verum) – has carminative, antifungal, antibacterial, analgesic, sedative, anticarcinogenic,and antioxidant properties. Seed from the star anise floret is known to contain about 55%fatty oils along with oleic acid, linoleic acid, myristic acid, andstearic acid.
- Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) – good for head-aches, bad breath, and fever. Also extracts of nutmeg seed showed antibacterial activity against gram-positive bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus.
- Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) – it has antiseptic properties, and its potential for antibacterial and antifungal activity has been tested in laboratories by a number of researchers. Piperine extracts from black pep-per showed maximum antibacterial activity against multidrugresistant gram-positive bacteria.
- Cloves (Syzigium aromaticum) – it’s known to control nausea,vomiting, cough, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, stomach dis-tension, and gastrointestinal spasm. It is recognized to possessanticarcinogenic, antioxidant, and antiparasitic properties. Active compound in cloves is eugenol, that has antibacterial and antifungal activity.
- Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum,C cassia,C zeylanicum,C loureirii) – antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, blood purifying and blood thinningproperties, and it is also used in reducing blood sugar levels andcholesterols. However, excess consumption of cinnamon can be toxic to bodyorgans.
Also there’s plenty of culinary herbs that has healing properties (contains polyphenols) and helps our body to digest the food.
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) – control of swellings, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, anaemia, menstrual disorders, small pox, eye care, conjunctivitis, skin disorders. Traditional Chinese Medicine the leaves were used to stimulate the appetite, promote digestion and to strengthen the spleen and stomach. The seeds were similarly used to soothe the stomach, relieve nausea, for intestinal cramping and constipation.
- Dill (Anethum graveolens L.) – used for digestion problems including loss of appetite, intestinal gas (flatulence), liver problems, and gallbladder complaints. It is also used for urinary tract disorders including kidney disease and painful or difficult urination. Other uses for dill include treatment of fever and colds, cough, bronchitis, hemorrhoids, infections, spasms, nerve pain, genital ulcers, menstrual cramps, and sleep disorders.
- Oregano (Wild Majoram) (Origanum vulgare L.) – Oregano is used for respiratory tract disorders such as coughs, asthma, croup, and bronchitis. It is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as heartburn and bloating. Other uses include treating menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract disorders including urinary tract infections (UTIs), headaches, and heart conditions.
- Parsley (Petroselinum crispum (P. Mill.)) – vitamin C, vitamin A, Vitamin K, some folate (a B vitamin), and iron. It’s high in antioxidants which can reduce free radical damage and oxidative stress markers. If you’re feeling bloated, parsley’s anti-inflammatory properties can be helpful.
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) – n terms of vitamins, fresh rosemary contains vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and other B vitamins such as folate and thiamin. Also improves digestion, rosemary in a tea is great to treat an upset stomach or nausea.
- Sage (Salvia officinalis L.) – increase memory recall and retention, normalise cholesterol levels, treat symptoms of menopause, and improve blood sugar, anti-inflammatory properties as well as plenty of antioxidants.
- Thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) – considered as medicinal plant due to their pharmacological and biological properties. Its properties are due to its main components, thymol and carvacrol. Fresh Thyme has the highest level of antioxidants among all herbs. Fresh Thyme contains Calcium, Potassium, Sodium, Iron, Phosphorus, vitamin A, B, K and vitamin C. Extracts from Thyme have been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of several respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis and for the treatment of other pathologies thanks to several properties such as antiseptic, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidative and antiviral.
7. Reduce sugar
It won’t be a great discovery if I say that sugar is harmful. Sugar addiction is compared to drug addiction.
People who eat large amounts of sweets very often struggle with gastrointestinal fungal infections. It is associated with the overgrowth of the yeast from the Candida albicans family. Probably few people are aware that they are present in the body of every human being from birth. When the immune system is functioning properly, fungi do not multiply, so they are not dangerous – normal bacterial flora keeps them in check. The situation changes radically when we disrupt this balance. Taking various types of medications, such as antibiotics, also causes disturbances in our digestive system, making the body extremely susceptible to the development of yeast. The second factor is eating large amounts of simple sugars that Candida is fed. Long term exposure of the body to yeast and fungus overgrowth causes chronic inflammation and, consequently, many dangerous diseases.
If you eat a lot of sweets and notice any of these symptoms, it is very likely that your body has been attacked by Candida:
- yeast infections of the genitals (especially in women)
- feeling of constant fatigue
- stiff neck
- ear, throat and nose problems
- white raid on the tongue
- metallic taste and bad breath
- bloating and gas
- craving for sweets, pasta and bread combined with irritability, drowsiness, decreased concentration, fatigue and mood changes.
How to get rid of yeast overgrowth?
Traditional medicine, of course, will propose a set of drugs that give you a somewhat miserable feeling that you only need to swallow the pill and your problems will disappear. But the best, most effective and at the same time the cheapest, although not the easiest way, is to change your diet.
How can you prevent yeast infections of the digestive system? Avoid:
- sugars and products containing it (chocolate, candies, jam, fruit juices), as simple sugars are an ideal breeding ground for yeast and fungi
- wheat flour products: white bread, pancakes, dumplings, cakes
- blue cheeses and fruit containing a lot of sugar (oranges, bananas, plums, dried fruit)
It is also important to drink a about of 2 litres of water each day, to help remove toxins from the body that are produced by fungi.
You can make a simple home test, to check the presence of active Candida in the body.
In the evening, put ½ glass of water next to your bed. Immediately after waking up, spit out quickly what you have in our mouth into the glass – do not collect saliva, but only spit out what you have in your mouth. Let the glass rest for 15 minutes. After this time, gently twist the contents of the glass. If the saliva rises on the surface of the water, it’s all fine. But if the water has become cloudy and the saliva has fallen to the bottom, you are most probably dealing with Candida imbalance in our body.
Make a test and stop eating sugar (it means sweets, bakery, flour products, pasta, rice) for a month and see how your body will response.
8. Use a bone broth as a base for your soups
Every two weeks I make beef bones broth that I get from the butcher. I simmer bones in a giant pot for 24 hours, with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (the acid helps to etch the bone marrow). Than I make a few portions of broth, freeze it, and use it for soups. Longer you cook the bones, you’ll get more powerful broth (you can simmer it up to 36 hours). This broth warms the spleen and gives you plenty of nutrients and natural collagen. Such a soup is a mineral bomb. A glass of collagen every day will improve the quality of every part of your body. It seals the intestines, which is the basis for the treatment of autoimmune or cancerous diseases. It warms up the spleen, which begins the entire energy flow in our body. It adds energy, strength and will also make sure that you do not freeze in winter like most of the population. As bone broth simmers, collagen from the animal parts leaches into the broth and absorbs easily to help restore cartilage. One of the most valuable components of bone broth stock is gelatin. Gelatin acts like a soft cushion between bones that helps them “glide” without friction. Studies show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities (such as to wheat or dairy). It also helps with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut and supports healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract. Collagen also maintains healthy skin.
So instead of using stock cubes, pods or granules as a base of your soups, which apart from artificial flavour doesn’t have much to give, start making your own soup base. Check your local butcher, usually you won’t need to pay anything or a small amount of money for a giant bone. You’ll get couple litres of broth you can use as a base for the soup, half and half with water (broth is usually quite strong and thick, depending of the part of the bone you use to make it).
9. Eat fermented foods
One of the biggest benefits of fermented foods comes from probiotics. The digestive tract is teeming with some 100 trillion bacteria and other microorganisms, says Dr. David S. Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Changes to the population of gut microbes may create an imbalance between beneficial and harmful gut bacteria, leading to many health problems. When the digestive tract has an unhealthy mix of organisms, it can actually lead to a weakening of the walls of the intestines, which start to leak their contents into the bloodstream — a condition referred to, not surprisingly, as leaky gut syndrome. Chronic exposure to these substances leaking out from the intestines has been linked to a host of health problems, ranging from asthma and eczema to schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to Dr. Ludwig.
With fermented foods you can not only prevent from getting autoimmune diseases, but also built your immunity to different bacteria and viruses. Have a look at this post where I’m writing about Dr. Jean Bousquet Professor of Pulmonary Medicine at the University of Montpellier in France was looking for association between consumption of fermented vegetables and COVID-19 mortality at a country level in Europe. Also check this recipe for homemade sauerkraut juice and couple informations about its healing properties.
10. Give yourself a fast day
Long time ago people did not have continuous access to food, so fasting was a natural state for the body. In the modern world, when we have continuous and unlimited access to food, it happens that we spend most of our day eating. In such a situation, our body is forced to constantly digest the food we eat and it is not possible to “focus” on regeneration. All energy is used for digestion – if you provide your body with processed food, difficult to digest and stuffed with chemicals and toxins, the body accumulates them, without having enough time or energy to get rid of them.
Even though there’s been already researches about benefits coming from intentional fasting, there’s still a lot of disinformation and controversy around this subject and doctors who advocates to natural medicine, fasting and other alternative to modern medicine widely used and recognized as effective.
There are different types of fasting:
- eating window (intermittent fasting) – for 6-8 hours a day you eat meals, the rest of the time you fast, giving your body time to digest and regenerate,
- one-day fasting – e.g. once a week,
- multi-day fasts – from 48 to several dozen hours.
Benefits of intermittent fasting:
- increases insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for health, because insulin resistance, i.e. poor cell sensitivity to insulin, contributes to the development of many chronic diseases,
- normalizes the level of ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone”, thus reducing the feeling of hunger,
- improves blood sugar management,
- increases the production of human growth hormone,
- inhibits inflammation and reduces oxidative damage,
- supports autophagy and mitophagy – natural cleansing processes necessary for optimal cell renewal and function,
- accelerates fat burning, improves metabolic efficiency and body composition, including by significantly reducing visceral fat and body weight in obese people,
- prevents the development of type 2 diabetes and slows down its progression,
- improves the functioning of the immune system,
- reduces the risk of heart disease,
- reduces the risk of cancer,
- regenerates the pancreas and improves its function,
- protects against neurological diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease through the production of ketone bodies,
- eliminates carbohydrate hunger.
I highly recommend Dr. Berg’s publications on his YouTube channel – the source of vast knowledge presented in an accessible and understandable way. Not only about intermittent fasting, but also plenty health problems, with holistic point of view.
I hope you’ve managed to read up to the end, and somehow you find it useful. I would be very happy if any of these tips and habits would help you to feel better in your body. If you have other habits that are helpful for you, please write them in the comment section below.
Source of knowledge: