Is it true that “you are what you eat?” The answer is a resounding YES! The field of epigenetics is an exciting discipline, receiving a great deal of press and interest through a number of excellent books and studies on the relationship of food [and nutrition] to our genes. Not only are YOU what you eat, but what you eat can and does have a significant impact upon the health of your children, and your children’s children.
Catherine Shanahan, MD, in her book “Deep Nutrition,” discusses the relationship of good food to health, beauty, and even healthy childbirth. She says that “no matter what genes you were born with, I know that eating right can help reprogram them, immunizing you against cancer, premature aging and dementia, enabling you to control your metabolism, your moods, your weight – and much, much more.”
With all of the options out there, and the great diversity of conflicting information, what should you do about healthy eating choices? Low-fat or no fat are touted as healthy, but tasteless alternatives. Watch your carbs, too! How about the Adkins diet, Weight Watchers, the Mediterranean diet? Are any of them right? Or can you pick and choose from all of them, smorgasbord style?
Into the fray is a great new book by a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner [NTP], Margaret Floyd. In her book,” Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You,” Margaret provides a common sense approach to the issue and gives very basic guidelines for the journey to reclaiming the genes responsible for good health, and for minimizing trips to the physician for one pill after another.
Following is a review of this great book, written by Norm Brekke for publication in the “Nutrition Therapist” journal. Norm is also an NTP, and owner of Keep in Touch Uptown.
Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You. Margaret Floyd, NTP; Reviewed by Norm Brekke, NTP, CMT
Reading through my emails several weeks ago, I must confess that this book’s title is the first thing that captivated my attention. Not wanting to wait days until my local bookseller would have a hard copy; I jumped online and downloaded a copy of “Eat Naked” to my Nook.
As a newly minted NTP, with a passion for nutrition and the desire to communicate it in a compelling, concise and clear manner, I search for books that transmit our message effectively to the mass market. Margaret has taken foundational material from the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner course and distilled it into easily digestible tidbits of information.
Margaret is quick to state that “Eat Naked” is not a comprehensive and in-depth study of the ‘ins and outs” of a whole-foods diet. For further study she recommends Nina Planck’s “Read Food” and Sally Fallon’s excellent “Nourishing Traditions.”
Eat Naked is divided into two major sections. The first part, “The basics of eating naked” simply addresses the principles of eating naked and how we can apply those to our daily intake of the basic food groups. In the second part, “how to get naked,” Margaret provides a blueprint and a step-by-step process for transitioning to a naked diet. The goal is to make changes that will last a lifetime, rather than sputter and fail after a jackrabbit start.
Who is this book for? The audience is anyone “who loves food, wants to eat well, wants to feel well, and doesn’t want to spend loads of time trying to accomplish these things.” In short, her target is all of us, and all of our clients.
As you can imagine, eating naked has little to do with the clothes you are wearing, though Margaret says that you may be more likely to truly “eat naked” after faithfully following Eat Naked’s guidelines. So, what is eating naked? Simply put, it means eating:
– Food that’s whole, unrefined, and often comes unpackaged.
– Food that’s grown naturally.
– Food that’s fresh, in season, and ideally hasn’t been preserved.
– Food that’s locally grown.
– Food that’s minimally prepared.
Eating naked fuels and satisfies our body’s innate desire to obtain the nutrition it so desperately needs and craves. Our body tells us what it needs. Feeding it foods that are over-processed, lack nutritional value, and are chock full of worthless and harmful additives is unsatisfying and leads to a state of nutritional depletion and unhealthy dissatisfaction.
Eating naked isn’t a fad diet. Every week I encounter clients that have gone from one diet to another, experiencing momentary success and then falling off the wagon – in many cases regaining all of the weight previously lost. It is a process for a lifetime and a return to the way we ate before the slavish dependence on processed foods. Margaret goes on to outline how eating naked is not only good for me and my body, but for the world [being environmentally responsible and supporting our local economy].
One of the many highlights of Eat Naked is the elementary information in each of the chapters that explains in layman’s terms the basics of:
Naked Produce; Naked Meat; Naked Dairy and Eggs; Naked Fish; Naked Grains, Beans, Nuts, and Seeds; and Naked Beverages, Sweeteners, and Condiments.
While many of my fellow NTP’s came to this profession with a long history of knowledge, information, and personal experience, mine has been a year-long, quick-starting and transformative journey. For me, and my clients, this book is a worthy introduction and a fun starting point for this incredible journey.
Part Two takes the reader from the theory to the practice of ‘transforming to a naked diet – and it truly is a transformative process. One danger that we face with our clients is “piling too much on their plate” at one time. A lifetime of bad habits cannot be overcome in a single day. We are encouraging a process that builds over time. I can tell you from personal experience that a look of great relief emanates from the faces of clients that recognize this fact – realizing that they don’t have to empty the cupboards and refrigerators [at least not immediately].
While the client can do a full sweep of the kitchen immediately and stock up with good, naked food, we can also encourage them to make adjustments one meal at a time. Eat Naked has an excellent selection of recipes in the book. Encourage clients to try one new recipe a week – take that recipe and make it their own [personalize it, modify it, add to and subtract from it]. Margaret suggests that you might want to host a “naked dinner party” for a great communal experience. Make sure that they guests know what the party is about to prevent embarrassment!
Not only are we to cook naked, we should shop naked. Become acquainted with your local Farmer’s Market, Community Supported Agriculture, Organic Delivery Services, and grocers with a commitment to naked foods. Go shopping with your list in hand and determine to buy naked.
Margaret ends Eat Naked with a very important principle: when not to eat naked. It is very unlikely that we all eat naked all of the time, and we should give our clients the freedom and flexibility to do the same without guilt. Her 80:20 rule recognizes that 80 percent of the time, our food should be naked – whole, fresh, organic, homemade – and don’t worry about the rest. The important subset of this rule [the remaining 20% of the time] is: when you indulge — and you will — you should truly, fully, and completely enjoy it – with no guilt. Eat that guilty pleasure food in a parasympathetic state and digest it fully while relaxing and savoring it.
Eat Naked not only occupies a prominent place on my reference shelf [yes, I also purchased a hard copy], but I am also encouraging each nutrition client to purchase a personal copy. This book is a simple, easy to understand book, written with the nutrition neophyte in mind, but it is also a good refresher for the NTP.
We encourage you to not only eat local, but to buy local. Purchase a copy from one of the Twin Cities’ fine local bookstores.