French Paradox, Mediterranean Diet, Okinawa Diet…Oh my!
How do you chose?
You don’t have to choose, you can enjoy them all.
All authentic cuisines the world over include foods that belong to these four categories:
- Meat on the Bone
- Organ meats
- Fermented and sprouted foods
- Fresh, uncooked ingredients
While most of my patients are aware of the importance of fresh foods, few people realize that we also need to include foods from the other three pillars. Here’s what you need to know about each:
Meat on the Bone
1) It enables the bone nutrients to infuse into the meat, imparting wonderful flavors.
2) Heat, water, and acid break down the collagen. When making bone stock (by boiling bones in water with an acid source, for instance tomato sauce) you fill the water with molecules called glycosaminoglycans. These molecules act as joint growth factors, keeping the collagen in your joints healthy and facilitating the repair of damaged joints.
I recommend you eat meat on the bone twice a week
Recognize this? It’s liver pate. Few people are familiar with liver, kidney, bone marrow, and the other huge variety of offal meats that our ancestors universally enjoyed. I often hear people say only poor people eat this stuff and they do so because they can’t afford the “better” cuts of meat. I don’t believe that’s the whole story. It takes a good deal more culinary know-how to know how to prepare this stuff. Few people bother to learn the tricks. Why bother? Liver and other organ meats contain omega-3 and other essential nutrients most people are sorely deficient in!
I recommend you eat organ meat once a week
Fermented and Sprouted: Truly Live!
What are fermented foods? Yoghurt is probably the most well known food that still contains live bacterial cultures which you eat. These little critters toil and toil to turn simple nutrients, like sugar and cellulose, into amino acids and vitamins. They also are probiotic, meaning they are “good life forms” that keep on living inside you. While there, they fight off pathogenic bacteria and help prevent a wide range of infections. A few other commercially available foods still contain live cultures.
Sprouted grains and legumes are the counterpart branch of this truly living, most dynamic pillar of traditional cuisine. Thousands of years ago, the only way to transform hard kernels of wheat into dough for making bread was by partially germinating the seeds. Of course, the processed occurred naturally when seeds would absorb water during storage and begin to come to life. Today, thankfully, a few manufacturers take the extra steps to make bread the old fashioned way and to provide us with a variety of sprouted nuts, seeds, and more. As with bacterial fermentation, sprouting transforms a simple nutrient – starch – into more complex ones, including fiber, amino acids, and vitamins.
I recommend you eat sprouted and fermented foods five times a week
Fresh: The Benefits of Raw Food
One word: Antioxidants.
More than any other pillar, fresh food delivers a powerfull wallop of inflammation-fighting antioxidant chemicals.
So many people taking supplement powders that claim to reduc inflammation would get more bang for their buck if they just ate fresh food! Why? Because cooking and processing – and that includes the process of encapsulation into pill form – destroy antioxidants. Antioxidants are only useful before they react with oxygen. Afterwards, they are “burned.” While stomach acid can sometimes rehabilitate antioxidants that are only partially destroyed by cooking etc., you still need to consume fresh food once a day to get the antioxidants you need. (For those of you thinking you’d like to try Eskimo diets, you can get antioxidants from raw meat!)
I recommend you eat fresh food daily
There are many more benefits of Four Pillar Foods!
Once you start eating them, you’ll experience all kinds of health benefits, from reducing asthma and arthritis, to avoiding deadly cancers and heart attacks. And all of these have beneficial effects on nerve tissue – meaning they can reduce pain and improve memory!
(Deep Nutrition has over 300 references to support the statements made on this page.)