Healthy Food That Poisons… (guest post)

Please to welcome back Igor.  I love the way Igor thinks as this is precisely why I resisted for YEARS sharing the fact Im two decades gluten-free.

This could also be called: Why You’re Getting Sicker and Fatter Despite Eating Healthier.

wpid 2011 12 30 06.07.34 e1325264660618 Healthy Food That Poisons... (guest post)

MizFit note: my FAVE food may be your poison!?

 

Pop quiz!

Fruits are good for you, right? Generally speaking yes, but not if you have adrenal fatigue (a collection of symptoms characterized by needing coffee, “bags” under the eyes, fatigue, feeling lightheaded when going from lying to sitting or sitting to standing, etc.).

Why?

Because in adrenal fatigue, you usually have low sodium levels. The higher your potassium levels, the lower your sodium levels. And since fruits have a lot of potassium and very low sodium, it makes them worsen your condition.

How about veggies?

Veggies must be good for you, right? Well, if you have a slow thyroid, the very pictures of “health food” will actually be bad for you. Specifically, vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and others will actually make your thyroid condition worse.

Oh, and how about white bread, white rice and white potatoes?

Bad for you, right? Not necessarily.

If you have digestive problems, these might actually be quite beneficial since they’re processed.

I can hear it already “but processed food is bad for you.” The majority of the time, yes. But in certain cases, no.

In this case, the processing removes the fiber, which takes a lot of stress off your digestion.

After all, what’s the definition of “fiber”? Open any basic nutrition textbook and you’ll see that fiber is undigestible carbohydates. That makes it a real problem for your stomach if you have digestive problems. Once your digestive problems are resolved, you should include more fiber in your diet.

Whenever I do speaking engagements, by the time I mention all of the above, my audiences have to take a minute to pick up their jaw off the ground.

We’ve all heard the saying that “one man’s food is another man’s poison.” And it most definitely is true.

The truth is that there are no universally good or bad foods. It’s more about how a particular food interacts with your own physiology.

A generally good, healthy diet includes:

 

  • Lots of veggies
  • A few grains
  • A bit of meat, fish or seafood (and their alternatives, like milk and eggs)
  • 1-2 servings of fruit per day
  • Small amounts of nuts and seeds
  • Small amounts of herbs and spices

 

And for the perfectly healthy, well-balanced person, this diet will bring amazing health and energy.

But there is one little problem.

There are so few of these “healthy, well-balanced” people, that the generally “healthy” diet needs to be tweaked. I know what you’re thinking: “I’m healthy and well-balanced, so I’m the exception.”

Well, see how many of these apply to you:

  • Crave sugar
  • Crave salt
  • Crave coffee
  • Crave chocolate
  • Have dark circles under your eyes
  • Dry skin
  • Oily skin
  • Feel lightheaded when going from lying to sitting or sitting to standing
  • Have a hard time falling asleep
  • Have a hard time staying asleep
  • Feel constant fatigue
  • Have gas after meals
  • Feel sad, anxious or depressed
  • Under constant stress
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Low libido
  • Hair growth or hair loss

 

If you have just one of these, your diet requires modifications (albeit, probably just temporary). If you have more than one, you definitely need some modifications.

The other important lesson you should get out of this article is that as your body changes, so should your nutrition.

So what may have been a good diet for you when you had 10 of the above signs and symptoms may not be an appropriate diet for you 6 months down the line, when those symptoms started to get better or disappear entirely.

And probably the most important thing is to listen to your body (instead of the talking head on TV or the write of a magazine).

There are so many individual differences that although one diet may work for one person, it may not work for you, no matter how sound the science is or how spectacular the results are that others get.

If it’s not working for you, don’t do it.

How has listening to your own body improved your health?

 

About the Author

Igor Klibanov was selected as one of the top 5 personal trainer in Toronto by the Metro News newspaper. He is the author of a book called “Unlimited Progress: How You Can Unlock Your Body’s Potential.” He is a self-described information junkie, and loves to study and educate himself on all aspects of fitness and nutrition.

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Comments

  1. says

    Very interesting!

    When I started changing my food habits with my trainer, she made it very clear that we would have to “test and see what [my] body responds better to”. For example, we played a little bit on the macronutrients proportions.

    I see a lot of people who think their eating of fruit (including dry fruit) and nuts and seeds is healthy… but their portions are way too big!

    • says

      You have a good trainer!

      I would add to the macronutrients that it’s also important to consider the food itself (micronutrients, phytonutrients, anti-nutrients, etc.)

    • says

      Kristina,

      I know we have a knee-jerk reaction to processed foods, but there are certainly situations in which they’re the most appropriate food. For instance, diabetics walk around with sugar pills (of pure glucose) in their pockets for the situations when they experience an episode of low blood sugar (which can be life threatening for a diabetic). Processed food? Yep. But there just isn’t a natural alternative that’s as effective.

      Hopefully that clarifies the issue.

      • says

        The author really hit the nail on the head in the last paragraph where she mentions it’s important to realize that each person has their own biochemistry and that no diet is perfect for everyone.

        I think a lot of dietitians and or nutritionists (or health care provider) forgets a lot about this. You see this sort of thing in the Paleo community where they think their diet is God and some of the recommendations they make are not suitable for people with CHF or ESRD.

    • says

      I think you summed it up as precisely as you can. Self awareness is key. If you are not paying attention to how your food makes you feel you are missing the point.

  2. says

    I have definitely found that foods that are “healthy” for many are not helpful for me. And I TOTALLY get why Miz has largely been quiet about how she modifies–I am continually shocked by the number of people who judge what I am/am not eating. ;-) I try to tighten my resolve to do what makes me feel the best!

  3. says

    When I had my blood clot I had to monitor/control my potassium intake because it interfered with the blood thinners. My son thought it was funny that spinach was “bad” for me.

  4. says

    I recently figured out that eggs were causing me a problem. Still grieving that one a bit but focusing on the benefits!

  5. says

    This is so true! My SIL kept getting sick and having to be rushed to the ER because she was having an allergic reaction that caused her airway to close. Turns out she has some weird allergy that is food & exercise related. Basically she can’t exercise within 5 hours of eating or her body will shut down. She’s very healthy and had been working out at night her entire life, so definitely a lifestyle change. It’s crazy how the human body works.

  6. Jen says

    After my first pregnancy, eggs became my poison. Pain that rivaled my appendix bursting. It still breaks my heart. I loved eggs. This is a great post that makes a very important point!!

    • says

      Jen,

      You bring up an important point. That what’s healthy at one point may no longer be healthy at a later point in your life. And the reverse is true as well. What was unhealthy at one point may become healthy again at a later point. The body is ever-changing.

  7. says

    I just wrote a long-winded piece about this exact thing on a health/fitness forum – that just because a food is traditionally considered healthy, doesn’t mean it’s healthy for YOU.

    After 40+ years of severe digestive problems, I’m starting the tedious process of finding out which, if any, FODMAPs foods I’m intolerant to. They include a lot of fruits and veggies – who knew fruits and veggies could make you sick? I already avoid wheat, don’t eat processed food 99% of the time, never buy fast food or soda and I’m pretty peeved that my gut doesn’t appreciate the loving care I take with my nutrition… Sheesh. Talk about ungrateful!

    • says

      Kek,

      If you find that you’re intolerant to a lot of things, there may actually be a deeper problem to it, that lies in your own biochemistry.

      In cases like these, it’s important to investigate thyroid function, and the function of your immune system. In these cases, a holistically-oriented physician is invaluable.

      • says

        Thanks Igor. Hopefully it’s just one or two foods…but I’ll keep your advice in mind if it turns out to be more widespread. :)

  8. says

    If I ate what everyone agreed is “healthy” I’d be dead.
    Literally.

    My doctors can’t even agree on what I ‘should’ eat. Each specialist gives a diet for his/her own area of expertise, for the INDIVIDUAL condition I’m seeing them for. Most of the time those diets conflict, then the doctors say, “Well, do you want to suffer from A, B and C or X, Y and Z?”

    I don’t want to suffer from anything.

    I eat what I can eat when I can eat it.

  9. cheryl says

    oh god….when did we become such a nation of whiners and allergic to anything and everything? I grew up on hot dogs, balogna, whole milk, butter and white bread and kool aid. My parents were too busy working to support us to always have healthy food on the table and I was a terrible eater. My daughter was too. She practically grew up on “Lunchables” and is a healthy adult. Just eat stuff when you are hungry and stop when you aren’t. That’s really the whole problem as I see sooooo many FAT people on a daily basis who don’t move their sorry bodies.

  10. says

    Total agreement about our individuality with diet. I believe I have found what works for me, right now, but recognize that it can continually evolve as well. Great topic!

  11. says

    I love that the main point of this is to listen to your body and find what works for you. So often, people think that the diet that they are doing should be great for everyone because it works for them!
    Great post!!

  12. says

    Our bodies definitely each have their own unique set of needs. Some require more carbs. Some more protein or fat. It is finding a balance that actually makes you FEEL GOOD and that doesn’t just look good on paper.

    I definitely believe in the rule EVERYTHING IN MODERATION! :-)

  13. says

    My journey to healthy was my own, so i can’t agree more. Yes, you need to do what works best for you.

  14. says

    I LOVE THIS POST!!! Listen to the bod!!! I know you know I write this as you do Carla! I have been listening to my bod for years & making changes along the way. I am so glad I learned this because when perimenopause hit, well let’s just say I was changing things every 3-6 months! I still have to work on that to this day. The bod keeps changing! :)

    GREAT POST!!!

    • says

      Thanks for the kind words, Jody.

      Absolutely agree. No diet author, no matter how qualified, and how many letters he or she has behind his/her name is more of an expert on YOUR body than you are.

    • cheryl says

      quit using menopause as an excuse/crutch for weight gain. Get it out of your head that it’s a problem and it won’t be!

  15. says

    I love this post, as it reflects a lot of what I have been learning recently. I have a chronic condition called ulcerative colitis, and I met with a dietician last month. She recommended some things that at the time sounded crazy (low fiber foods, white and not wheat bread, very few fruits), but as I have started implementing these things and limiting my dairy intake, I have seen improvements in my condition. So I have learned firsthand that what I once thought was healthy, was not healthy FOR ME.

    • says

      Gigi,

      If you find that you have a lot of foods that are poison to you, the cause may be a slow thyroid, enzyme deficiencies, or a number of other issues. You can often reverse your intolerance to many foods (although not all) with the help of a qualified practitioner.

  16. says

    I saw my doctor yesterday and we discussed bloating and diahhrea I suffer and she gave me info on FODMAP. I’m coeliac (celiac) and lactose intolerant and it seems something else might be playing havoc with my digestion. She said that sometimes we think we’re being healthy by eating certain things and it could be making us sick. Garlic and onion are on the no-go FODMAP list and they’re things I eat daily thinking they’re doing me good!

    Deb

    • says

      Deb,

      I had a client who had BAD digestion. Despite visiting a number of naturopathic doctors, and running all kinds of tests, nothing changed, until a very astute naturopathic doctor pointed out that if nutritional solutions aren’t working, the issue may be mechanical, and he referred her to an osteopath to manipulate her insides. After that, she never had digestive issues.

  17. says

    Great read, I know that there have been times when I get sick from eating too much fruit, but I just love it so much I can’t help it! Thanks for sharing!

  18. says

    Things can get very confusing these days on what is good and not good for you. Your article has highlighted some really important facts that many are not aware of.
    Generally, my take on things is to eat a healthy balanced diet with a mix of fresh and wholesomee ingredients. Avoid processed food as much as possible and keep salt intake and consumption of animal fats to a minimum.
    Most things in moderation are ok and the occasional food binge will not hurt if you stick to regular exercise and a healthy diet plan.
    Works for me :)

    • says

      Tara, overall, for a healthy, well-balanced person, that’s more or less accurate.

      But for the person who has the symptoms I mentioned (and others), this approach may not work. As Erin illustrated in her case with ulcerative colitis, she did better on processed foods. So they’re appropriate in certain conditions, and only until that condition goes away. Then get back to pretty much your recommendations.

  19. says

    Good list of a general healthy diet, my only reservation would be your addition of milk. Often thought to be a healthy beverage, it is actually filled with sugars and often harmful steroids. Throwing our hormones out of balance and offering very little beneficial nutrients. The time has come to understand that milk is not all its cracked up to be, make the switch to water and tea.

    • says

      Haha Jeff, I was actually wondering if anyone would mention that. If you want to start a war online, just say that milk is either really good or really bad.

      Like most things, it depends what kind of milk we’re talking about, as well as the person ingesting it.

      There’s no such thing as a bad food. Only the wrong food for the wrong person at the wrong time.

  20. Alison B. says

    I never heard of adrenal fatigue before, but now I need to ask my doctor about it! Sounds very familiar.

  21. says

    Wonderful function! This is the sort of information and facts that should often be shared over the online. A sense of shame around the look for search engines for the time being not necessarily placing this specific distribute superior! Seriously more than and also check with the web site. Many thanks =)

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