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Live Healthy, Feel Healthy

Dr. Vida Talebi, ND

The below information is what I have compiled over time from various sources. I have found these points to be invaluable when one is ready to make lifestyle changes to attain their health goals, whatever those may be.

As a society, we are becoming more and more aware of the relationship between diet and health. Many health conditions are diet related. Research has linked conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, kidney stones and obesity to lack of a healthy diet. But what you may not know is the connection between diet and common problems such as fatigue, headaches, mood swings, indigestion, constipation, skin problems, arthritis, and menstrual discomfort, to name a few.

As you embark on this new journey, towards a healthier lifestyle, remember the following:

Patience. Take things one step at a time. Give up one of your "downfall" foods at a time, not all of them at once.

Visualization. Think about a specific situation you're going to encounter and how you will deal with it. "See" yourself going out to dinner and eating a healthy meal.

Accountability. Rely on a support group, friends, or even a therapist to whom you have to report. Put this in place prior to the changes you are making.

Self-control. Realize that every time you resist successfully, you're developing self-control. Congratulate yourself each time you do this.

Goal-setting. Think in terms of small goals. You don't need to lose 60 pounds; all you need to lose is one pound next week. Each small goal you achieve will reinforce your motivation and set you up for success.

Journaling. Keep a written account of your actions, your thoughts, and your feelings, as well as what you eat. This not only increases your self-awareness, but also helps you let out feelings you may try to "stuff" back in with food.

Assertiveness. Learn to say no. Ask yourself, "Is this going to get me closer to my goal or further me away?

General Principles of a Healthy Diet

  • Eat a whole foods diet, which include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, wild fish, free range meats and wild game. This would mean staying away from packaged or processed foods which are high in preservatives, food additives, hydrogenated fats, trans fats, food dyes, salt, sugar and caffeine.
  • As a general rule try to buy organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, free range meats, and wild rather than farm raised fish.
  • Avoid drinking fluids with your meals as this will reduce adequate digestion of food.
  • Cut down on the number of alcoholic drinks
  • Minimize your caffeine to one cup a day
  • Increase consumption of good fats such as Omega Fatty Acids
  • Don't eat in front of the TV.
  • Eat every few hours instead of letting a snack attack drive you to the vending machine.
  • Create a safe nutritional environment at home -- have plenty of healthy food on hand and don't keep junk food in the house.
  • Plan healthy snacks for those times when you are vulnerable to eating, especially late afternoon and after dinner.
  • Find alternative behaviors to eating: take a bubble bath, go to the movies, walk the dog, wash the car. Chances are, if you can distract yourself, the urge to eat will pass.
  • Do something physical before dinner – take a walk, ride a bike around the block -- to help yourself calm down from the day and sort through feelings before you start to eat.

Remember these facts:

  • Even though Eskimos, Mediterraneans, Scandinavians, Celtic Irish, and North Coast Native Americans consume high amount of fats in their diets, they tend to have low cancer rates, low cholesterol, and low rate of heart disease amongst them.
  • Low levels of good fats will induce fat cravings. People tend to resort to unhealthy sources of fat such as French fries, cheese and corn chips, in these instances.
  • Reduce the amount of TV you watch
  • TV watching has physical and psychological implications. While you are watching TV, your basal metabolic rate goes down. Activity and exercise levels tend to be lower in individuals who watch TV. TV watching can psychologically reduce your sensitivity to internal signals for hunger and satiety and increase the sensitivity to external stimuli such as sight, smell, and taste that can increase appetite.