Improving Health, Wellness and Nutrition with Daniel Chong
Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed that there is increasing interest in the Paleo Diet around the world. It seems to me that it is a valid dietary choice which many people are embracing because of the benefits they attribute to the diet.
Its popularity began in the 1970s and has grown as more and more people have discovered the benefits of this highly nutritional diet.
I’ve wondered about it often and have now overcome my personal inertia and did something about my curiosity. I liked what I found. And, because of that, I’ve become very interested in it myself since it is, by definition, gluten-free! It contains no grains… Period!
So, I’ll be sharing what I consider to be high-quality, Paleo-related information with you in the coming weeks.
Plus we will be adding a Menu Entry to our Navigation as well as a category for Paleo information on the Elegantly, Gluten-Free website.
And, in order to share that information, Elegantly, Gluten-Free will be running a series of Guest Blog Posts/Interviews, Book Giveaways, Articles and Videos about Paleo.
But, before I go any further, I want to tell you that I have an affiliate relationship with Paleo Cookbooks. That means if you buy something from them I will make a commission. Please, understand that managing this blog is my “day job” and I get paid out of the advertising revenues for this site. We only accept what we consider to be high-quality products to promote so you don’t have to worry about us “Pushing” products just for the money.
Thank you for your understanding and your continued support of our advertisers.
All of these Paleo Posts and other information will be in addition to my regular, generally twice-a-week posting schedule (as time permits, a Menu Plan on Sunday or Monday and a recipe on Tuesday or Wednesday).
Plus, in the next few days before and/or after Christmas, I will be giving away free e-books and recipes that are about or are Paleo. Generally, the freebies will be sent via e-mail to my Connoisseur Club members, only. That will be the only way you can get a copy of the freebie from me.
So, if you would like to receive a copy of the giveaways for yourself or a loved one, be sure to join the club in the form provided in the sidebar column on most pages of Elegantly, Gluten-Free except the Home Page and the “Legal” pages.
Today’s guest post is the transcript of an interview conducted by Nikki Young with Greg Battaglia an acknowledged expert in fitness and a proponent of the Paleo Diet.
Improving Health, Wellness and Nutrition
with Daniel Chong
Nikki Young interviews Daniel Chong
Dr. Daniel Chong is a family physician who enjoys treating people of all ages, with a wide variety of ailments. Over time, he has also developed a keen interest in the treatment of chronic health conditions. His passion is to combine what he calls treating his patients the “old fashioned way”, with cutting edge advancements in functional diagnosis, nutritional and herbal medicine. In addition to his private, clinical practice, he also offers his services via online and telephone consultations.Dr. Chong is a 2000 graduate of the National College of Natural Medicine, in Portland, an active member of the Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and is licensed as a primary healthcare provider in the state of Oregon. He can be contacted at SeekHealth.net.
Daniel, I first came across you when listening to an audio interview you participated in on a gluten-free health based website and I remember you shared some really great information about your personal experiences with not only eating gluten-free, but combining that with other aspects to ultimately follow the paleo diet. would you mind sharing a bit of insight as to how you first became interested in following the paleo diet?
Well to be honest, i’ve never really felt comfortable following or recommending (to my patients) a specific “diet”. I would find that everyone had their opinions and I would often agree with what some people said, but not everything they said. I ended up instead gravitating towards simply following common sense. There is no diet out there that makes more sense to me than the paleo diet. Interestingly enough though, since discovering it (the paleo diet), I have even realized though that there are varying opinions even within the realm of the paleo diet recommendations!
What are some of the varying opinions you have come across which are false and should be looked out for from people reading up on following a paleo diet for health?
I think the largest area of confusion within the paleo diet has to do with fat consumption. Depending on what you read, you could end up thinking you need to eat low fat/high fiber, high fat/low carb, little to no saturated fat, lots of saturated fat, canola oil, lard, even butter!
What is the truth? Well, of course, I have my opinions too. Again, they are based both on common sense and what I’ve seen work best in my practice. That being said, and assuming you are eating a fairly low carb diet, I feel it is important to consume animal fats as your largest calorie source. The people who end up with problems on a lower carb diet tend to overeat protein and under eat fat.
If you switch to a paleo diet and stop eating grains, the carb content of your diet will inevitably drop. You will need to replace some of that loss with something, but for whatever reason, many people seem to gravitate towards more protein. It must be that these people simply have a difficulty escaping this idea that fat is bad for you. Well, if they read the research and even some of the great books and websites out there on this topic, they will quickly come to realize how important it truly is.
I also think that some people on the paleo diet over eat fruit. Part of this stems from the simple fact that fruit tastes good, and that people following a paleo diet, don’t get to eat many other types of sweets. It also stems from the fact that some “authorities” have stated there is no limit to fruit consumption on a paleo diet. I think this is preposterous. We need to remember that for the average hunter gatherer, fruit was only available for a small portion of the year. Overeating fruit can contribute to problems in susceptible people, especially the overgrowth of candida, if other conditions also favor that. Without going into the details here, I can say that this can be a MAJOR problem for people and lead to all kinds of unpleasant symptoms.
You have two beautiful children that look very healthy in the photo you have of yourself on your blog – being a naturopathic doctor, what difference would you say your children have in their health from eating a nutritious diet, over some children you may consult with who eat a poor diet?
I would have to say that the biggest differences I have noticed so far have to do with their immune systems. Neither of them tend to get sick very often, but more importantly, when they do they tend to get over things very quickly. Neither of them has ever had an ear infection, or coughs that went into their lungs.
They almost never have anything but “perfect poops” at least once a day. They also have very beautiful skin. I have literally not seen any sort of rash on either of them since they were infants. At the same time, there are probably many people out there whose kids
do not eat as well as mine, that can say the same things. Kids are incredibly resilient. I think the most important thing to remember is that they don’t need much to thrive, but the more opportunities you give them to be healthy (by feeding them well and making sure they are active and outside a lot) the more they will surprise you.
Most people who follow a paleo diet ultimately are seeking to achieve optimal health. Besides food consumption, what should we look out for, or do, in order to combat a lot of miss-informed marketing for good health or stressors faced by our environmet?
Wow. that is a big question! Don’t know if I can hit on everything there, but i’ll try for some important ones.
First and foremost, sticking with food for a bit more, I think eating food that is organically grown, especially local food that is in season is incredibly important. If someone does that and follows a paleo diet to boot, they are doing extremely well. I get a little nervous about the “organic” foods sold at big chain grocery stores. However, if it’s all you have available, then you’ve got to do what you’ve got do.
Otherwise, I think it is important to realize that there are some things about this world that we can control and some things we can’t. We need to realize that and not freak out about every single little thing. Do what you can, but don’t do it to the point of stress or it’s no good for you anyways. That being said, I do feel it is also extremely important to keep the rest of your life as natural as your diet is – i.e. Take a close look especially at the things you do and use every day. Personal hygiene products, cleaning products, clothing, bedding, cookware, toys for kids, food storage containers, the list goes on and on. These are all potentially potent sources of additional toxins in our lives, and that’s not even going out of our houses yet!!!
I think a good rule of thumb is to simply try and develop a habit of awareness. Look down at what you are doing right now, what you are wearing, etc. Is there anything you can easily do differently to reduce your exposure to chemicals? Start with the easy stuff, then go from there. In our house, we have a water filter and an air filter. We try to buy organic for our bedding and sleepware at least and other clothing when we can. Our cleaning products and personal hygiene products are chemical- free, etc, etc.
Remember, it’s rare to find a big brand company that really has your best interests in mind. I am a big fan of low carb diets, but I don’t like nearly all the “low carb” products out there, they rarely contain real food. If you decide to go paleo, try to do a traditional paleo diet – i.e. meats, eggs, and fresh produce. Don’t try and replicate your current diet while just staying in the parameters of the paleo diet – i.e. Forget about all those bars that are low carb, and contain no dairy, grains, sugar, etc but are instead filled with other non-foods that “fit” into the rules.
As far as supplements go, I do feel that certain types of supplements are absolutely necessary, no matter how healthy our diets are. This is the sad truth of the quality of our food today, when compared to say 100 years ago. No matter how high quality it is, it doesn’t have near the nutrient levels it used to.
I consider 4 things to be essential: a multivitamin, a probiotic formula, fish oil (unless you eat fish 3 or more times a week) and extra vitamin D (unless you live in the tropics). If you are going to buy these things, don’t waste your money on the cheap stuff. Get the highest quality stuff you can. There are a lot of companies out there just trying to cash in, and putting out absolute junk, however, their excellent marketing makes their products look good. If you don’t know how to identify what is good and what isn’t you need to contact someone who can help you.
Interesting point on chemical-free cleaning products. I have noticed many times in my local heath food stores they will stock “chemical-free” or “organic” cleaning products, but when I look at the ingredients they still contain many harmful chemicals such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS).
What are some of the main chemicals we should look out for within cleaning products (including shampoo and conditioners), and does “organic” actually mean anything when placed on a cleaning product?
Well, SLS for sure. Another common ingredient to avoid is propylene glycol. Others would include fragrances of various kinds, parabens (methyl-, propyl-), and this is just in personal care products.
If we venture into the world of household cleaners, etc, the list can get much bigger, very quickly. There
are literally so many it’s not really worth listing them all here. There are a number of great websites that go into great detail about these things (I like organicconsumers.org). Be aware that the standard items people are using every day to clean their houses, cars, etc contain substances that to varying degrees cause cancer, hormone imbalance, asthma, eczema, neurological disorders and many other serious conditions.
I think we can also be mislead by labeling and advertising, using terms like “organic”. In other words, a company can legally put that on a label and still include items in the bottle that are very harmful. We have to educate ourselves about what is truly safe and natural and what is not, as well as search for trustworthy companies, who do a lot of this work for you and truly produce safe products.
Following a paleo diet alone ultimately helps eliminate the consumption of chemicals that are found within many processed foods. But it’s also important to understand that dangerous chemicals enter our body through other means – such as chemicals in products (as talked about above), air pollution etc. Ultimately, what are some of the long-term effects of being in contact with chemicals on a daily basis?
Really you name it. Chemical toxicity has been implicated as a causative factor in everything from cancer, heart disease and various neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, to allergies, asthma, eczema, autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Really that just scratches the surface. In my practice, chemical toxicity is something I consider as a contributor to nearly every chronic health condition I see.
Through research I believe illness can not only arise from nutritional aspects, but also skeletal, mental (i.e. trauma) and environmental (radiation and/or chemical toxicity). Within your practice, is it possible to provide an estimate percentage of the patients you see who are seeking your assistance to improve their health, where their illness/condition/poor health is arising solely from their dietary choices?
An estimated guess would be 0%. Now, bear with me. What I mean by this is that every person I see is a human who lives in this world. If you fall into that category, it is impossible to avoid the influence of other things like mental or physical stress. It is impossible to avoid all the chemicals out there, so on and so forth. All of these things impact our health as well.
That all being said though, I would also say that 100% of my patients will do at least somewhat better, regardless of what condition they have, if they improve their diets in an appropriate manner. Some of my patients, actually improve completely by simply changing their diets, but I don’t think it’s because their diet was the only thing affecting their health. I simply think that eating well is so powerful, it can strengthen and improve the function of the body so much that it is more able to handle all of these other things that impact it, and not be affected by them nearly as much.
I believe one of the best things one can do when they are looking at improving their health through nutrition is to spend the time reading and researching nutrition. Un-fortunately along with valuable information out there, there is also some really poor information about nutrition that people take on board and consequently they suffer the opposite benefits they are seeking for their health.
Could you provide a reference to some books/websites which you would recommend in order to gain knowledge in the correct area’s of nutrition?
Here are my current favorite books and websites:
- Primal body, primal mind, by Nora Gedgaudas
Do you have a favorite paleo recipe?
Well, of course anything in your Paleo Cookbooks (www.paleocookbooks.com)! Beyond or aside from that, I like simple. To that end:
Sit down breakfast:
Eggs scrambled in duck fat (lots of it), mixed with avocado chunks and chunky salsa. Fruit on the side if I just worked out.
Breakfast on the run: Primordial Ooze (Read Daniels introduction to Primordial Ooze at his blog http://nalukainaturalhealth.blogspot.com)
Primordial Ooze Recipe
For one serving, blend the following items in a high powdered blender in this order:
1. 4 oz filtered water
2. 4 oz organic, unsweetened juice (ideal choices are pomegranate or unfiltered apple)
3. 1 tsp or 1 bunch (depending on form it comes in) of seaweed (dulse, arame, etc) – let it soak for a couple minutes while you get out the other ingredients
4. 4 tbsp hemps seeds
Blend the above together til milky, then continue adding:
5. Large handful of dark, leafy greens (rotate kale, collard greens, spinach and dandelion greens)
6. Small bunch of cilantro
7. Small bunch of parsley
8. 1 tsp turmeric powder
9. 1/2 banana
10. 1/2 avocado
11. 1/2 to cup frozen blueberries
12. Liquid stevia can be added to taste
Beneficial additions if tolerated:
13. 1-2 tbsp grass-fed liver powder
14. 1 clove raw garlic
15. 1-3 raw egg yolks (save the whites and cook on the side for more protein)
Blend and ENJOY!!
Nikki, you have done an outstanding job with these Paleo Cookbooks. My experience in working with patients has shown me that explaining the diet to them and convincing them of its value are the easy parts. Getting them to actually implement it into their daily lives is definitely not!
With your cookbooks, you have created some rare resources for those people who are willing to give this very necessary way of eating a try, in a simple and immediately accessible format. I look forward recommending the Paleo Cookbooks to my patients over and over again!
~ Dr. Daniel Chong
The Paleo Cookbooks provide you with a range of dishes for every occasion — from light no-fuss meals through to dinner parties, family celebrations and summer salads.
Using foods provided by Mother Nature that provide the framework and principles for healthy living, these exciting and flavorsome recipes using foods which are basic to our biology and our digestive system will help you experience wonderful results in your health and help to achieve positive results such as:
Increased Energy – Increased Sex Drive – Clearer, Smoother Skin – Weight Loss Results – Better Performance and Recovery from Exercise – Stronger Immune System.
These paleo recipes are easy to follow and use wonderfully fresh ingredients, with the emphasis on flavor and visual appeal. The Paleo Cookbook provides a wealth of ideas and recipes for a collection of mouth watering meals.
Simple and Easy to Create Recipes with clear step by step instructions you will be able to produce paleo friendly meals that get rave reviews from friends and family every-time!
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