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Eating for Optimal Health: Diets, Meal Plans & Food Plans

by Michael Cheikin, MD


The term "diet" implies the restriction or elimination of foods, such as "low-fat diet", "gluten-free diet", and, the diet of all diets, the "weight-loss diet". At the beginning of each year we also go on the "New-Years-Resolution-One-Week-Diet" to accompany our short-lived gym membership.

A number of   people, often women, fail to shed a pound with strict diet and exercise ("D&E"). Over 90% of the time, D&E fails within five years, all the weight and more coming back. Some still believe this is because of the person's lack of willpower. However, our understanding of how hunger, satiety, emotion, addiction, and therefore willpower is modulated by food is increasing. When the D&E model doesn't work, it's the theory, not the patient that is to blame.

With regard to nutrition, weight, and health we actually all have a lot more facts than we realize. We just can't see them because they're obscured by the theories.

The Facts
1. Two people can eat the same meal and have two completely different effects: the first feels good while the second gets bloat and anxiety and gains weight.
2. One person can eat two different meals with the same calories and breakdown of fat, carb and protein, and have two opposite effects. 
3. A person can eat a food on a regular basis, and then suddenly not be able to eat that food due to a strong reaction such as rash, diarrhea, constipation, and anxiety.
4. Some children grow out of their food allergies, such as dairy or peanuts.  Others can desensitize with shots or other therapies. Some can not.
5. Some people wake up hungry; many have no hunger, or even nausea, and can't eat for hours.
6. Some people can go without food for hours, some can not. In some, this can vary with the composition of the meal.
7. Certain foods feel better when eaten in the morning, others later in the day. This varies from person to person. 
8. Certain foods in combination feel better than others. 
9. There is a tendency to gain weight as we get older. However, this does not affect 100% of the population.
10. Fasts and detoxes are parts of religious rituals and modern treatments. Some people feel and do great, others get sick and sometimes cannot return to baseline.
11. Energy medicine, such as acupuncture and NAET can dramatically improve food allergies, sometimes in a matter of minutes.
12. Leptin, ghrelin and other newly discovered hormones from fat dramatically influence metabolism and hunger. (This is in part the basis of weight-loss surgery) 
13. "Epigenes" are signal molecules that we inherit from our grandparents, parents and earlier ancestors. They work by turning genes on and off. If DNA is the hardware, Epigenes are the software. They transmit environmental information over generations.
14. Modern chemicals, such as trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, pesticides, food additives, growth hormones and genetic modification can affect individual and global health.
15. All other observations as observed. This is similar to the job description "all other duties as assigned". What this means is that we continue to make observations individually and communally. Clearly, the science has lots of holes.

Conclusions
1. Weight loss involves more than the input (diet) and output (exercise) of calories. We are not simple vats.
2. There are control mechanisms for metabolism that involve fat, brain, gut, hormones and other systems.
3. Food is not just energy and material, it is also a signal, or computer program. Sequences and combinations over time alter the programming.
4. The science of nutrition remains rudimentary and unfortunately influenced by special interests. Clearly the world-wide obesity epidemic will require more than diet and exercise
5. We have different responses to different foods. This can also change over time and circumstance.
6. A carb is not a carb. A fat is not a fat. Therefore a protein is not a protein. Within each family, there are good and bad, as well as individual differences. Fads are out!
7. Finally, and most importantly, each of us has unique biochemistry. This changes over the day, season, and life phase; as well as with different foods and combinations.

Food Plans and Meal Plans

A "food plan" is a set of rules about individual foods, their combinations and timings (what, when and how), as described in the center box, which is unique for the individual. There are advantages to thinking in terms of "food plans" With a set of foods and their rules for use we can then create an infinite number of meals. A "meal plan" is  a series of pre-determined dishes, based on a food plan. 

Food plans that have evolved include Kosher/Halal, Vegetarian/ Vegan/Fruitarian, Raw, Combining Rules, Allergy/ Elimination/ Rotational strategies, Timing strategies (such as Intermittent Fasting), Paleo, Weston-Price, "Gluten-free" and several in combination.

Biochemical testing and safe strategizing with the help of the right practitioner can customize optimal food plans and allow healing of many chronic and obscure conditions. As Hippocrates said, "let food be your medicine". 

IMPORTANT NOTES:
1. This educational material may not be used to influence medical care without supervision by a licensed practitioner. 
2. These contents are ©2016 by Michael Cheikin MD and may not be reproduced in any form without express written permission.
3. Dr. Cheikin's website has related articles and references such as “Anti-Nutrients”, “Seeing the Obvious”, "Epigenes" and others.

Michael Cheikin MD is a holistic physician, Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation ("Physiatry"), Pain Management, Spinal Cord Medicine and Electrodiagnostic Medicine and licensed in Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Cheikin has extensively studied yoga, diet and metabolism, Ayurvedic, Chinese and energy medicine and other alternative modalities for over 30 years. He specializes in obscure, chronic and severe problems that have not responded satisfactorily to other methods of healing. www.cheikin.com


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