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Debunking Some Diet and Nutrition Myths!

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By Dr. Michelle Jorgensen

Have you ever had a time when you didn’t feel like you were going to keep up?  Like you’re running on top of a spinning wheel….the wheel spins faster and faster and you’re sure you are going to fall flat on your face or get thrown off the back end.  Have you ever felt like that??  That’s a perfect description of my week last week!

The crazy started with the birth of NINE baby goats in my backyard!  I was there for all of them, and let me just tell you, birth truly is a miracle.  These adorable babies are up walking around on shaky legs five minutes after being born, and eating 30 minutes later.  All the mommas and babies are doing great, and they have taken over our yard!

The crazy ended with me speaking at the Latter Day Learning Conference at American Heritage school on Saturday.  The title of my presentation was “5 Simple Secrets to Raising Healthy Families Today”.  I talked about our life and how we survive our craziness and stay healthy through it all.  The handouts for the presentation can be found on the www.totalcaredental.com website, along with some great family-friendly recipes.

5 obstacles to being healthy

There are 5 common obstacles I’ve heard that get in the way of us raising healthy families.  We all want that – right?  I’ve never met anyone that said they want to be unhealthy, or they wish their kids were weak and sickly!  I think it’s safe to say health and happiness are common goals.  What are these obstacles?

  1. It costs too much to eat healthy

  2. It takes too much time to do all of these healthy things

  3. My kids are picky and won’t eat healthy foods

  4. I don’t know enough to help my family be healthy

  5. There are so many opinions, I don’t know where to start

Can you relate with any of these?  I think we all can!  For me, #2 is the big one.  TIME!!!  I often have twice as many things I’d like to do as I have time for.  So what tips and tricks help with these obstacles?  If you want the full scoop, download the handouts, but one of the answers to #5 isn’t on the handout, and I would love to tell you more.

Frustrated with conflicting nutrition information?

I talk to people all the time that are so frustrated because they are following the latest and greatest “diet of the month” with little or undesired results.  So I have one trick for you that so far has been fool proof.

The trick – let nature be your guide.

What does that mean?  Let’s start with an example:  You have probably heard of the green smoothie trend (or have added smoothies to your diet – like I have.)  When I first made those smoothies, I would put handfuls of greens in each one.  We would load up at Costco each week to keep the supply coming.

Greens, greens

Without Costco, can I get that many greens, 365 days per year in Pleasant Grove Utah?   I am growing greens outside in my greenhouse and cold frames right now, but I’m barely getting enough greens for a salad every couple of days.  Most people don’t even have that luxury.  So if we’re using nature as our guide, we shouldn’t be having handfuls of greens every day during the winter.  (keep reading to find out if nature is right…)

In April, we will have more greens than we can possibly know what to do with.  Literally!  So April must be a good time for greens – and it is.  Our bodies are waking up from the long winter’s nap and heavy foods.  We need greens to help clean out and start fresh.  Funny – that’s when the greens are growing.  Someone must have planned that one out!

So, is there a problem with using modern technology and grocery stores for year round greens?  I used to say no, but now I say a very loud YES!  Greens, namely spinach, kale, swiss chard, collards and beet greens all have oxalic acid in them.  In small amounts this isn’t a big deal, but in handfuls a day, it can be.  That oxalic acid interferes with the absorption of calcium.

I have patients with teeth that have literally dissolved away because they eat too many greens.  If your body can’t absorb calcium because of the oxalic acid in these greens, it pulls calcium from readily available source like your teeth and bones.  So your teeth and bones dissolve.  Wow.

There are two solutions – take a break from greens for a while, or cook and dehydrate them before using in your smoothie.  (cooking removes some of the oxalic acid)

Nuts for nuts

Ready for another nature-guide example?  Nuts.  Have you even harvested nuts?  It is SO labor intensive!  You have to pick the nut, remove the outside husk, crack the nut and try to pick the pieces out of the crushed shell.  By that time I don’t even want the nut anymore!

A lot of gluten free cooking has substituted nuts for other grains in cooking.  Some recipes call for cups of almond meal or cups of soaked cashews.  Should we be eating that much?   (play scary music here)  Nature would say no.  And I do too.  Nuts also have oxalic acid in them, and phytic acid, which is an anti nutrient.  Both of these acids make the nutrients you eat less absorbable.  You can eat an amazing diet and completely undo all the good you’ve done by eating an excess of nuts.  Wow again.

These are two reasons people who are very careful with their diet still get cavities and have dental erosion (teeth dissolving).  So nature is an excellent guide.  If something is difficult to harvest, like nuts, that means we should eat them sparingly and with a little reverence!  If something is in season, NOW is the time to eat it.  Then take a break when it is not in season any longer.  People are surprised when I tell them I don’t eat salads in the middle of the summer.  Why?  Lettuce isn’t in season – it’s too hot.  I eat peaches and pears, tomatoes, squash and green beans.  They are in season, and my body needs the nutrients they provide right when they are available.  I’ll say it again – someone must have planned that one!

Moderation is key

Moderation in all things.  If a diet trend says to eat something exclusively or in large amounts or leave something out entirely, let nature be the one that guides what you do.  Your health and happiness with be better because you paid attention.  Here’s to spring!

Love, Dr.Michelle Jorgensen

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