Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water

When it comes to diet and health, diversity is king.

But we are creatures of habit and tend to eat the same things again and again and again.

We also have a epidemic of food phobia taken to religious extremes.

Consider the battle between the carnivore diet (pretty much just meat, FYI it’s essentially an extreme elimination diet) and the recent trend for veganism (it comes with a standard narrative that animal products are “bad for you”).

But when you restrict any group based on a theory or pseudo-religious belief, you are going to potentially restrict your nutrition input.

Me, I want to remove any food intolerances/sensitivities from patients diets and add in as much densely nutritious food as I can.

Because as the end of the day, what is making us ill?

Not enough good stuff (nutrients), too much bad stuff (toxins in some form).

Let’s take dairy as an example of how it easy go from well meaning intentions to bad long term health decision.

You see, full fat dairy is a really good source of vitamin K2 (menaquinones) and K2 is really important in calcium deposition into bones and by contrast if it’s not going into your bones it might be going into your arteries.

FYI there is a relationship between osteoporosis and heart disease.

Now we are not totally sure exactly what is happening here, but certainly low K2 intake is one of the theories.

I will also add it is hard not to throw in a sustained low grade inflammatory response as another player, as inflammation damages everything via free radical/oxidative stress.

And we have some epidemiological data (not ideal but it’s the best we have right now) that low K2 is associated with heart disease.

So let’s say you have watched the game changers film and decided that milk is essentially the devil’s semen and now only drink nut milks.

Then long term you are going to drop your intake of K2 down.

And unless you are really working the fermented foods into your diet daily (bacteria in fermented foods make K2, they do it in your gut too) it’s going to stay down.

Long term, by trying to be healthy, you unknowingly become low/deficient in a critical nutrient, which only manifests years later as a chronic disease like osteoporosis or heart disease.

Maybe you eat dairy but you have been told in no uncertain terms by the NHS that fat is bad for your heart (and makes you fat), so you have only ever had low fat forms of dairy.

Well, you just dropped your K2 intake same as the vegans.

When you remove the fat, you remove the K2 (and indeed any other fat soluble vitamins and omegas)

So unless you and your patients know via elimination or blood test that they simply do not tolerate dairy from a cow, sheep or goat (or camel – no joke, it’s a thing, I might even try it, the drinking I mean. Not the milking though, they look grumpy as f**k ), they should keep dairy in their diet.

Simply removing a nutritious food because you are “paleo” or “vegan”, and these “tribes” have theories that dairy in general is bad, is not an intelligent idea.

Also, in reality patients will not adhere to restrictive diets in the long term unless they have clear results with removal – this is a really important point so I will repeat it – patients will not adhere to restrictive diets in the long term unless they have clear results with removal.

I work on results not theories, how about you?


Encourage your patients to eat unpasteurised butter from milk made from grass fed cows like the amazing Isigny ste Mere (available at Waitrose and some Sainsburys):

Or at the least Kerrygold which is from grass fed cows.

For cheeses try Comte, Caerphilly, or Roquefort which are all unpasteurized.

Book recommendation: Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan – a modern take on Weston Price’s work which recognises the benefit of traditional foods like raw dairy, organ meat and sprouted foods.

And as always don’t waste those valuable adjustments,

Speak soon