The days are getting longer and warmer weather will eventually arrive. Now is a good time to start preparing for the months ahead. It is a great time to start moving toward health that will allow one to enjoy the upcoming seasons to their fullest. Good nutrition is a key part of good health.
People frequently ask me for nutritional advice. It is difficult to give good advice about diets; people are unique and each person needs advice appropriate to their situation. There are hundreds of books available that tout the benefits of all the legitimate and, more often, illegitimate diets out there. That being said, I’d like to discuss a simple concept that I think has potential as a great first step toward a healthier relationship to foods for the generally healthy person — the so-called “No White Foods Diet.”
For people who carry unwanted pounds, it is natural to want to lose a lot of weight yesterday. There are many diets that promise to do just that. Under the care of a physician, personal trainer or nutritionist, some such diets may offer benefits. However, most quick-fix diets fall under the category of “fad diets.” Most experts agree that fad diets are not good. If you go on a diet that makes you lose 20 pounds in a month, it can do bad things to your body and chances are you will fall off the wagon and gain it all back, along with a few more pounds. The No White Foods Diet sounds like a fad, but I think it is really a catchy phrase describing a concept that may help you move toward a healthy, sustainable way of eating and living.
What is the No White Food Diet? It is a diet that classically includes no “white foods” (with commonsense exceptions) and excludes things made from “white foods.” What white foods am I talking about? White rice, white bread, sugars, white potatoes, white flour and everything made from a significant amount of these products. What white foods can you eat? They include whitefish (of course in Kodiak!), cauliflower, egg whites, parsnips, milk, apples, poultry and many other things. By avoiding “bad” white foods and things made of them, you will find you have eliminated most processed foods from your diet, the very foods that contain large amounts of sugar and its relative starch. According to many experts, sugars and starches have likely played a large part in the explosive weight gain of the Western world over the past 100 years. Of course, unhealthy oils, inactivity, etc., are other culprits in this phenomenon.
By thoughtfully approaching the No White Food Diet you will find yourself naturally moving toward healthier foods. A growing body of medical and scientific evidence is backing up the idea that many of the serious diseases we suffer from may be related to over-consumption of bad white foods and things made of them. Countries that historically had some of the healthiest people in the world prior to being introduced to Western foods are now home to some of the least healthy people. Bad white foods and the things made from them fill us up and may make us temporarily feel good. However, they are largely devoid of good nutrients. Many experts suggest a role between such foods and obesity, diabetes, many forms of heart disease, hypertension and numerous other illnesses.
You can use the No White Foods Diet in combination with other dietary concepts to improve your health and meet unique needs you may have. If you want to work out and get healthy and strong, nutrition is key to your success as an athlete — variations of the No White Food Diet are often used by sports nutrition experts. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, avoiding eating white starchy foods, sugars, and foods containing them is frequently recommended by physicians. If you want to lose weight, portion control, consuming healthy proteins and avoiding bad white foods is a good start to a diet that isn’t a fad and is sustainable.
We all need helpers to get us moving toward a healthier lifestyle. I think the No White Foods Diet is a safe concept to share and explore. It can serve as a first springboard toward getting from where you are to where you want to be in terms of nutrition and health.
If you want to get healthier and ready to enjoy the idyllic months that lie ahead to their fullest on our beautiful Emerald Isle, learning about the No White Food Diet, and more importantly the concepts behind it, is a great place to start in my opinion.
I have to stoke the fire and shovel snow now. As I look out the window on this snowy day, warm summer days seem a ways off.
Best wishes to everyone and good health!
Jeffrey A. Larsen MD is a board certified general surgeon who practices in The Specialty Clinic at The Providence Medical Center in Kodiak.