- Diet Challenge -
Note on Recommended Diets for Parkinson's (The diet challenge is at the bottom)
There are many different diet recommendations for Parkinson's available on numerous websites. If Parkinson's is in fact rooted in liver dysfunction, many of these recommendations may be somewhat irresponsible due to a simple lack of understanding. In fact some of these recommendations could possibly worsen the condition rather than improve it even though they are well intentioned. The body is a complex organism and has many requirements to remain healthy. There are also many seemingly harmless things that can do damage to the body. It is very important to take this into consideration when choosing what and how you cook and eat. Below I have listed some do's and don'ts when it comes to your diet. None of this is touted as a cure for PD. It is rather a list of guidelines for genuine proper nutrition.
Eat whole foods - This means buying single ingredient unprocessed foods and cooking from scratch. It is a huge adjustment to do this, but it is incredibly important.
Eat cruciferous vegetables daily - The organic matter contained in vegetables is critical to your body's well being. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and leafy greens contain phytochemicals, vitamins and fiber. They are also noted for stimulating enzymes that detoxify the body. Stimulating these enzymes can reduce oxidative stress, promote cardiovascular health and reduce inflammation. Any leafy green is good such as Chard, Spinach etc.
Eat fruits and berries - Fruits and berries provide several things in your diet. The most notable is the antioxidant properties of berries, these are brain food. Fruits also contain important fibers and help to stimulate your metabolism. If you are concerned about your weight, fruits are probably the shortest path to having a lean body but you must commit to making them a part of your daily diet. Don't worry too much about the sugars in fruit, they are quite important also and help to increase your body's metabolism and provide energy. With a balanced diet these sugars will do your body more good than harm and you will feel better.
Eat Fish regularly - It is widely known that fish provides Omega 3 fatty acids. Fish also has strong anti-inflammatory properties and an excellent source of B-Vitamins, minerals, protein and amino acids. Many types of fish are noted to be high in cholesterol., this is not to be of huge concern. There is in fact a difference between ingesting cholesterol and your body creating cholesterol. Again, with a balanced diet and proper nutrition your body will create the right enzymes and process it just fine.
Eat whole Grains - This can be confusing, so here's a lowdown on whole grains. There are 3 components to a 'Whole Grain'. There is the bran layer that contains B-Vitamins and trace minerals, the endosperm which is the middle of the grain and contains carbohydrates and proteins and the germ that contains anti-oxidants, vitamin B, vitamin E and healthy fats. When a grain is milled or refined the bran and the germ are removed leaving only protein and carbohydrates. Most grains fit into this category especially if they say "Made from whole grain". Most pastas, breads, cereals and rice fall into this category and don't provide the same nutritional values. Whole oats, Quinoa, Farro, and sprouted wild rice is where you will get the best nutritional values. Eating any processed or packaged grains will severely limit the benefits of these foods.
Drink 100% pure juices - Liquid nutrients are much easier for your body to absorb than solids. Most liquids that keep you hydrated are absorbed through your intestine and the foods you eat. Of course it is still important to drink plenty of water but it is just as important to obtain vitamins through liquids. 100% pure means just that. Some things to watch out for on the labels are from concentrate, benzoates, sulfides just to name a few.
Eat Legumes regularly - Yes beans! They are rich in anti-oxidants, fiber and proteins that your body needs. They also contain important iron and carbohydrates as well as being low in cholesterol and calories. If they upset your stomach, continue eating them as it will pass in a week or two as your body adjusts. Do not eat canned beans, the cans often contain high levels of BPA along with preservatives. It takes some adjustments to your cooking style but it soon becomes routine.
Eat Nightshades - Eggplant (the skin) is an excellent Iron chelator, potatoes are good for carbs and energy, tomatoes and peppers are also good for you and loaded with vitamins and anti-oxidants. These plants are known to help with PD.
Use only pure Olive Oil - Remember that virgin or extra virgin olive oil is pressed and processed thereby eliminating many of the health benefits. Don't worry about that fats in it, they're the right kind that your body needs. There is no reason to use any other oils.
Use Vinegar - Especially apple cider vinegar. This aids in proper liver function and helps to detoxify your body. Think of it as a tonic.
Drink Lemon water in the morning - This helps stimulate bile and also balances the alkalinity in your body. On top of that it will give you a boost of energy!
Read the Labels - Read the entire label. If you don't know what it is, don't buy it and look it up. Many food companies use some fancy footwork to disguise additives and preservatives to meet labeling guidelines.
Don't cut protein out of your diet - Your body needs it to survive. There are some misconceptions about protein and it's effect on PD. Eating protein is not going to make your body produce more harmful aggregated proteins. Remember that your body converts everything you eat into something else useful. If you take Levodopa you just need to manage when you eat protein. Usually 45 minutes before or several hours after will work just fine.
Limit your salt intake - This one is obvious. Flavor your food with herbs or better yet itself. Some sodium is ok and Sea Salt is probably best, just don't overdo it.
Limit consumption of red meat - If you eat it try to buy it from a local butcher and make sure it's not loaded with hormones. There are some benefits to red meat but it is difficult for your body to digest and is known to have some ill effects on the heart particularly due to the carnitine and fat as recent studies have determined. It converts fat to energy but consumption should be limited.
Don't eat canned goods - They are loaded with preservatives and worst of all the cans are lined with BPA which is known to be harmful. You can do without these.
No Fast Food - EVER! This is one of the worst things you can do for your body. It's primarily the refined and processed sugars and saturated fats that will do the damage. If you haven't seen 'Supersize Me' I recommend watching it. You will be enlightened.
Avoid Alcohol - If you do drink, try some red wine,. Hard liquor and beer just aren't good for you in so many ways. Red wine does have some complex sugars and reservatrol but consumption should be limited.
No soda or sugary drinks - These can be devastating in many ways from weight gain to tooth decay. Just say no! They are also loaded with preservatives including questionable compounds such as Aspartame.
Don't be fooled by 'Organic' - Much organic produce contains just as many toxins as non organic. The difference is that rather than being sprayed on, the toxins come form the soil. Just wash it all very well. There have been many studies on this.
Overall there are some pretty obvious dietary habits that we know we should follow and it is hard in today's world with so many options and wonderful tasting artificial foods. There are also many things about ingredients our foods that are deceptively marketed to us even though there are known detrimental effects. Being aware is essential when it comes to what you put in your body. One of the most difficult changes I have ever made was my diet and it has benefited me greatly. This is just my take and my own recommendations based on much study and personal experience. More to come later......
We've been considering a diet page for a while and here's an idea we came up with.
We know that foods are the building blocks for protein and DNA, along with providing the essential nourishment our bodies need. We live in a world where packaged and processed foods are so overwhelmingly abundant and easy to obtain that many of us neglect to maintain a proper diet at some point or another due to our busy lives.
With this in mind, we considered the possibility that a diet that consisted of mostly whole and natural foods may in fact have an effect on DNA over time and possibly reverse some symptoms of Parkinson's. After all, Parkinson's is a disease that occurs due to changes in the DNA and the genetic code. Something had to cause that change and it's probably not food related, but the type of food you eat does affect your bodies ability to repair your DNA. If your diet lacks certain enzymes and proteins that assist in cell repair and protection, would it stand to reason that changing to a diet full of these essential building blocks could help to repair some of the damaged cells and DNA in your body? It's certainly possible.
This is a personal challenge that you might consider taking on. It won't be easy, but we will be right here to support you and hopefully others will join in this challenge with us. We are providing a set of 'rules' for this challenge that will be somewhat difficult for many of us to follow, but it's important to do so. Don't cheat yourself. We are also providing an open forum for everyone who wants to do this and discuss anything regarding diet. Click here for the forum.
What You Can Eat:
· Any unpackaged or unprocessed foods.
· Beans (I do not eat any type of canned goods)
· Cereal (no additives, preservatives or sugar)
· Cheese (not pasteurized processed cheese)
· Coffee (ground)
· Dried fruits
· Fish as often as you like
· Fresh Fruits or berries
· Fresh Vegetables
· Grains (farrow, quinuoa, wild rice etc. NO BLEACHED RICE)
· Fruit Juices
· Meat once weekly
· Olive oil (no other types of oil are allowed, do not use extra virgin)
· Real Butter
· Tea (brewed)
· Water (obviously)
· Whole grain breads (no additives)
· Whole Milk
What You Must Eat:
· 1 serving of berries per day
· 3 servings of fish per week (may substitute organically grown chicken if you don't like fish)
· At least 3 servings of nuts per week (unsalted, NO FLAVORED NUTS)
· At least 3 servings of raw fruit per day
· At least 3 servings of raw vegetables per day
· At least one serving of 100% pure juice per day
· Legumes (whole beans) 3 times per week or more
What You Cannot Eat:
· Bottled drinks or soda
· Canned Goods
· Fast Food (of any kind)
· Foods with additives or preservatives
· Frozen foods (unless you freeze them yourself)
· Pre-packaged food
· Processed Food
You may use condiments such as Mayonnaise, Mustard, Ketchup if they are made from scratch. You may also use dried herbs and spices.
Good luck if you choose to do this, be sure to share with others.