You will find below a detailed review on what to eat and how to combine food. This chapter will provide you with a snapshot, please refer also to the literature section for engrossing literature. You will find the following sections:
- Dairy products
- Meat, fish & eggs
- Wheat, bread, cereals & rice
- Vegetables, fruits, seeds & oil
- Leguminous plants and other protein rich ones
- Sugar, honey, goodies & “light” products
Only water is a “true” beverage. Without water there is no life. 90% of our body is made up of water. It is the only “neutral” beverage for us. But all waters do not equal. You should prefer natural, still water. In Ayurveda it is recommended to boil water– this changes the molecules’ structure, thus the water can penetrate your body more easily. Starting the day with a big glass of warm, boiled water is very beneficially for your daily detoxification.
Please be careful with mineral water. They tend to be rather “heavy” for our digestive system and some scientists claim their minerals’ structure to be too large to pass the colon’s wall and enter into our blood stream, hence most minerals they contain are expelled. Sparkling water can have disruptive effects on the digestive system.
1.b. Tea & coffee
For our coffee fancier: Avoid having coffee in the morning: Your body’s systems run several fine-tuned cleansing and expelling processes that risk to be disturbed through caffeine stimulation. Your body knows how to wake up and if you do experience difficulties in getting started in the morning, it’s a sign that your current lifestyle is rather misbalanced. Moreover, you should know that to the same extent that coffee stimulates, it triggers sagging, thus its consumption causes important swings to your energy level.
If you like coffee, try to have it before lunch time – in Ayurveda, having coffee before eating stimulates “agni”, your digestive fire. Despite it being a common habit, try to avoid having coffee after lunch as it interferes with digestive processes. In terms of quantity, one cup of coffee a day should be enough.
Black tea is much similar to coffee, but has less caffeine.
Green tea is a better alternative. In contrast to caffeine, green tea’s substances do not directly stimulate the cardiovascular system but the nervous system. Thus, its stimulation is more constant over time. In addition, organic green tea has some interesting nutritive values, e.g. it is a very potential antioxidant and increase heart functions, memory and brain activity.
1.c. Soft drinks
Being straight-forward: Just abstain from drinking them. Most soft drinks are jam-packed with sugar and other synthetic substances. Carbon dioxide disrupts the gastro-intestinal system.
1.d. Fruit and vegetables juices
Fruit juices should be considered as goodies: They contain lots of sugar, regardless whether they are organic or not (remember the 8 grams of sugar a day). It’s a transformed nutrient not a natural one: You can easily have two glasses of apples juice in a row, but try to have several fresh apples in a row… – as always, everything in moderation…
In Europe, it is a common habit, notably during winter time, to start the day with a glass of freshly pressed orange juice, notably to reinforce the immune system through the vitamin C boost. However, most of the vitamin C taken at once cannot be retained and in Ayurveda orange juice is considered to have very cold features. So if you suffer from repetitive colds in winter, you better skip this habit.
Organic vegetable juices can be very interesting from a nutritive point of view, notably if lacto-fermented. They can complete a meal, replace a meal or constitute a cure over a given period of time. My preferred ones are sauerkraut (for colon) and beetroot (for blood).
If you enjoy alcohol on a rather regular basis you should consider some liver cleansing programs.
2. Dairy products
Patients with weak respiratory systems (e.g. common cold, repetitive bronchitis, all sorts of cough, asthma…) should avoid milk products all together!
Dairy products are not indispensable to our alimentation – the often referred to vitamin D can be obtained from vegetables. Without wishing to kick-off any polemic discussion, it is indeed surprising that the osteoporosis ratio seems highest among populations with an important dairy products’ consumption whereas it remains an unknown for nations that do not at all consume milk products.
If you enjoy dairy products, please do not combine them with any other aliments (except green salad), in particular do not mix them with other proteins (eg meat, fish). You should take them at a good distance to your precedent meal.
Dairy products should be organic in order to limit traces of hormones, antibiotics and other medication or synthetic substances.
Milk, notably cow milk, is rather difficult to digest for human beings, especially when transformed, e.g. pasteurized, homogenized, skimmed….
In Ayurveda, cow milk can be a tonic aliment, but only when you take fresh, untreated cow milk (with cows grazing grass naturally) that you boil together with some cardamom or saffron.
Milk should always be taken on its own and not combined with other ailments.
In general, you should prefer goat milk (or even mare milk for children). You can also try vegetable milk from oat, almonds or rice. Please be careful with soy milk. All non-fermented soya products tend to be very allergen. The only soya products I recommend are tempeh, soy sauce and soy sprouts.
Following some intensive advertising campaigns of alimentary industries players’ most consumers seem to agree that yoghurt is a beneficial aliment for our colon’s micro flora as well as for our bones.
For yoghurt to be truly beneficial for the colon, it should be fresh and untreated (non pasteurized, non homogenized, full fat). And please, do not go for yoghurt mixed with fruits, a rather difficult to digest combination!
Soy yoghurts, once again, can be allergen.
2.c. Cheese and butter
Let’s keep it short, you should opt for goat cheese and cheese made from untreated, raw milk. You can also buy butter from raw milk.
I advise most of my patients to cut back their cheese consumption. If you are among the truly passionate, try to avoid its daily consumption, but have a “cheese celebration” instead: once or twice a month you will only have cheese together with some green salad.
3. Meat, fish & eggs
3.a. Meat & Fish
In general, meat and fish should only figure twice a week on your menu. Meat should be from organically raised animals limiting alien substances such as antibiotics, hormones or other medication. In general, you should prefer white over red meat and go for meat from small, wild animals, eg chicken, goose, duck, hare, deer etc. Raw ham meat (eg. Parma, Grison meat, Bresaola) is a very interesting option since it is raw meat.
Fish should be fresh and not tinned. You should alternate fatty and white meat fish.
Please note to not combine meat and fish with other animal proteins, notably cheese.
Please notice that today eggs are sterile and no longer fertilized. That’s makes them much less interesting in terms of nutritive value. If you have eggs, please have them soft-boiled. A very interesting alternative are quail eggs. Three to four eggs a week should be sufficient.
Nowadays, we completely forgot that naturally hens did not have eggs all-year long. In cold climates, e.g. Europe, there was off-time during winter, in hot climates during summer peaks and notably during molt.
4. Wheat, bread, cereals & rice
4.a.Wheat and gluten
Today, wheat is everywhere! And we traditionally believe it to be very healthy. However, the wheat we eat today is completely different from what has been cultivated 50 years ago and several scientists claim this “new” wheat to be harmful to our colon. According to MD CT Schaller, gluten needs to come along with vitamin E so that our body can digest it properly. However, if grounded or cooked / baked, vitamin E gets destroyed and gluten forms a gluey paste sticking to our colon’s walls. It “agglutinates” our colon! MD CT Schaller states that a gluten-rich diet takes more than 8 days to pass through the gastro-intestinal system compared to a “normal” benchmark of 1-2 days!
Consequently you should avoid wheat products – notably white refined wheat products, e.g. white bread, bread for toasting, pasta, pizza, pastries and so on. You can stick to wild wheat (kamut) or einkorn which is an ancient form of wheat. Or you can switch to rye, buckwheat, oat etc. As for pasta health-food shops propose gluten-free pasta.
Please choose whole grain (no wheat) bread (giving the bread a typical beige to brown colour). “Good” bread can be easily stored for at least one week. You can try einkorn or rye bread and crisp bread – I very much enjoy buckwheat crisp bread. You will also find quinoa or chestnut bread. A very nice alternative is sprout Essence bread.
Less common today, but cereals can be cooked and served as side dish to replace pasta or rice. From a nutritive perspective it is very interesting to combine cereals with leguminous plants as it is often the case for traditional dishes.
Regarding your morning cereals, please avoid industrial (wheat based) morning cereals. Once again, they are stuffed with sugar, transformed and contain gluten. You can mix pure flakes and add various seeds. During winter times you can switch to a warm mush or porridge prepared with water.
You should opt for whole grain rice and avoid “white”, polished rice. Wild rice sorts are very interesting like Camargue, Black rice, Wild rice…
5. Vegetables, fruits, seeds and oils
A no-brainer: eat them! Vegetables should account for up to roughly 50% of your daily diet. The rawer, the better! Many alternative practitioners claim that an optimal ratio would be 80% of raw food (notably vegetables, but also fruits and seeds) and 20% of transformed food.
Raw food should always precede cooked one! Just cut into small slices and try: carrots, fennel, turnips, radish, tomatoes, chicory, cucumber but also olives or avocados. And don’t forget about herbs, they are delicious and should be added to your various meals.
You can grow your own sprouts and have them at the beginning of your lunch or dinner. They constitute an excellent source of oligo elements such as minerals, enzymes and vitamins.
Fruits are very beneficial, even though some care should be taken with regard to their high sugar content. They provide us with several minerals, vitamins and fibres. In Europe, especially apples are of high nutritive interest and should be part of our daily menu.
Fruits should always be eaten alone, on an empty stomach (+1.5h distance to other meals). Fruits are digested very quickly and if you have them together with other food, the digestive system gets disturbed. The only exceptions are papaya, mango and pineapple: they contain special enzymes that are beneficial for digestion and thus you can have them for dessert.
In Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda, oranges, grapefruits and lemons are “cold” aliments. Therefore you should limit their consumption during winter times, especially if you are subject to repetitive colds.
5.c. Seeds & nuts
Seeds and nuts are very interesting. They contain many minerals and fatty acids, commonly referred to as brain food. I recommend eating them on a daily basis. Nuts and seeds should be raw (avoid toasted and salted ones). To patients that are ravenous for chocolate, I recommend to always have some pumpkin or sunflower seeds at hand.
Almonds or sesame puree are very interesting alternative to butter and can be easily added to upgrade mush, notably for children.
Should you have problems with low transit or constipation, try a spoonful of flax seed (soaked during night) in the morning with a glass of warm water. It’s an excellent natural remedy for lazy intestines.
Oils are extremely important for our daily nutrition! 20% of everything you eat is used to feed your most important muscle – your brain. Our brains fancy fatty acids and since we request it to work over-hours nowadays, we need to take extra care of its proper fuelling.
You should have at least two soup spoons of extra virgin oil a day to cover your daily needs. The very popular “Crème Budwig” of Dr Kousmine, famous for her anti-cancer and anti-age alimentation approach, is based on the daily consumption of extra virgin rape oil. You can also refer to France Guillan and her “Miam-o-Fruit”, a derivative of the “Crème Budwig”.
The oil you pick should be extra virgin, cold-pressed oil. The most common oils are olive oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil and colza oil. You should keep these oils in a cold and dark place.
Use only sunflower oil for cooking and roasting. Heat transforms oils’ characteristics and only sunflower oil said to remain stable if heated.
6. Leguminous plants and other protein rich ones
Leguminous plants tend to become scarce in our daily menus – it’s a pity! They used to be a key component of our daily alimentation. They have very interesting nutritive values, are easily stored and very cheap. You just need to get the habit of soaking them during night time. Several practitioners recommend eating at least two spoonful of leguminous plants a day. Since they are somewhat difficult to digest, you should eat them preferably for lunch time and add spices that help your body digesting them, e.g. fennel, caraway, coriander seeds…
Other protein-rich and very interesting alternatives are quinoa, millet, and amaranth.
Generally speaking we should limit our salt intake since too much salt is a burden for our kidneys. However, salt can be a very important to increase bones’ density.
You should take natural salt. My preferred one is Himalaya salt for it is rich in minerals. Another option would be natural bay salt.
8. Sugar, honey, goodies & “light” products
8.a. Sugar & honey
It goes without saying, please avoid industrial white sugar altogether. Lucky us, there are lots of alternatives available today, notably in health food stores. My preferred ones are sugar-cane molasses or unrefined, pure sugar-cane powder. Both are very rich in iron, magnesium and calcium and come along with a mild to strong liquorice taste. Honey is another alternative however less adapted for some patients.
We know it oh so well; goodies should not be part of our daily menus, they are Sunday’s special!
But if you are of the sweet kind, try to go for the following: extra dark chocolate (let it melt onto your tongue), dry fruits (notably dates, plums, apricots, figs), home-made raw pastry made up from ground sesame or nuts mixed with honey or dry fruits. These products are all very caloric and rich. But the closer they come to their natural condition, the easier your body recognizes them and your longing for sweets will stop all automatically.
If you are frequently longing for sweets, you should double check your alimentation: if our body lacks high-quality nutrition, the gastro-intestinal system signals this shortage to our brain, and this comes often with a strong appetite for sweet food (which in former times used to be very rich). If we now provide our body only with “empty calories” from goodies, a negative circle driving us into overeating sets off. So here it’s better to have sweet aliments that are very rich in minerals and vitamins. Another common reason for sweet cravings is emotional misbalance, often frustration.
8.c. Light products
Well, light products are seldom “light”. They do not properly feed your body and your brain keeps asking for more food. Hence, you quickly overeat. And let’s not list all alien substances these products usually contain. So please opt for the “heavy” and even super rich products. They will feed you properly and consequently, your brain will stop reclaiming more food.