Dr. Feingold’s Change Your Life Plan is an integral part of her book, Let’s Go Food Shopping Together. The plan is a comprehensive nutrition and lifestyle program designed by Dr. Ellen Feingold, based on medical research findings that promote good health and long life, free from the chronic inflammation that causes chronic, debilitating diseases. This plan starts in your kitchen.
Let’s Go Shopping Together teaches you step-by-step how to institute this plan for yourself and your family. Each bullet is one goal in the program. Try to reach as many goals as you can.
Fruits and vegetables
‘5 plus 5’, five portions of fruits plus five portions of vegetables every day
- Eat a wide variety, at least one from each color group every day, trying to achieve ‘5 plus 5’
- Eat organic fruits and vegetables
- Eat the richly colored, edible skins from organic fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant and fiber value
- Eat locally grown, in season produce
- Incorporate plant-based omega-3 fatty acid sources: flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts
- Make vegetables the cornerstone of your meal planning
- Try to eat your dose of the ‘longevity antioxidant’ resveratrol every day
- Add citrus fruits to your daily diet
- Eat a wide variety of whole grains
- Do not eat white flour or white rice or any refined grains
- Get at least 25-30 grams of plant-derived fiber every day
- Use legumes as your protein source to help you reach this goal
Proteins at every meal
- Eat a wide variety of proteins
- Include one portion of heart-healthy nuts in your diet every day
- Increase your consumption of legumes (beans)
- Use proteins in your snacks, together with fruits and vegetables, to achieve 100-200 calorie snacks that make you feel full longer
- Dairy products should be reduced-fat or fat-free
- Dairy products should be certified organic
- Beef should be at least 90% lean (preferably 93%)
- Eat beef only occasionally
- Eat less beef, pork, and poultry overall
- Avoid processed meats like hot dogs, bologna, and kielbasa
- Eat non-predator fish 2-3 servings weekly
- Predator fish are shark, swordfish, king mackerel, albacore tuna, tilefish (also called golden bass and golden snapper). Several predator fish are on the list of those containing highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. [This fact makes us face how we have damaged our earth and our oceans!]
- Be careful of farmed salmon: it contains more mercury than wild salmon
- Be careful of fish originating from China until that country puts a food surveillance system with effective enforcement in place
- Canned light tuna is preferable to albacore or white meat tuna
- Highest levels of mercury are in bluefin tuna sushi. For sushi, choose yellowfin or bigeye
- Non-predator fish with the lowest concentrations of mercury are the smaller ones with shorter life spans: anchovies, catfish, sturgeon, sardines, perch, cod, black cod (also called sable and butterfish), sole, haddock, flounder, halibut, whitefish, hake, herring, tilapia, pollock (in most fish sticks), mahi-mahi, shad, sole, and shellfish (oysters, crab, clams, crawfish, crayfish, lobster, shrimp)
- For up-dated fish advisory on pollutant levels, visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at epa.gov/ost/fish
- Note the exceptions for certain groups of people: infants, young children, and pregnant and lactating women with regard to recommended number of servings per week of fish
Avoid added sugars
- Choose no sugar added beverages
- Consume sugary desserts only very occasionally
- Do not purchase food items that contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) because:
·HFCS is an indicator of high calorie foods
·HFCS is an indicator of cheaply manufactured foods
·HCFS may be more damaging to your pancreas than other sugars
- Beware: of hidden added sugars, lurking in so many processed food staples (for example, ketchup, canned corn, vanilla extract).
- Use artificial sweeteners (sugar substitutes) sparingly because they have been linked with over-consumption of total calories. [Evidently, artificial sweeteners play havoc with our brains’ chemical mechanisms for satiety.] Sucralose and Stevia are probably the safest artificial sweeteners.
Eat a low-salt diet
- Daily sodium should not exceed 2,300 mg
- If you have hypertension or pre-hypertension or you are at risk for hypertension, then your daily sodium should not exceed 1,500 mg
Use culinary spices instead of salt
- Become familiar with the health benefits of culinary spices
Avoid the Three P’s: processed, packaged, and prepared foods
- Choose natural whole products instead
- Choose nutrient rich foods
- Least processed foods are the ones that grow from the earth: fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds
- Choose 100 percent whole grains in the forms that are minimally processed
- Beware of food-like products, especially low-fat products, designed to appeal to your rational brain. Big Food makes them palatable by adding sugar and a wide range of unhealthy chemicals.
Choose olive oil over other fats and oils
- Eliminate all trans fats
- Do not purchase food items that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil
- Include food sources high in monounsaturated fatty acids in your daily diet.
Apportion your total calories among the 3 major food groups
For weight loss
30-40 % of total daily calories from complex carbohydrates (whole grains)
30-40 % of total daily calories from protein
20-25 %t of total daily calories from fat
10% of your total daily fat calories from saturated fat from animal sources while 90 percent from poly- and monounsaturated fats
For weight maintenance
50 % of total daily calories from complex carbohydrates (whole grains)
20 % of total daily calories from protein
30 % of total daily calories from fat
10% of your total daily fat calories from saturated fat from animal sources while 90 %from poly- and monounsaturated fats
Water is your main beverage
- Green tea (mixed together with herbal teas for flavor, if desired) is another beverage staple due to its antioxidant and metabolic powers
- Seltzer may increase satiety (feeling satisfied) and decrease food cravings
- Drink when you are thirsty
- Try to drink about 6-8 cups of water a day, depending on activity level and ambient temperature
Avoid food additives: synthetic food dyes and colorings, artificial flavors, and other food chemicals
- Avoid food dyes and artificial flavors
- Avoid nitrites and benzoates
- Avoid prepared foods especially targeted to children
- Avoid nitrites and nitrates
Alcohol consumption should be moderate.
- Moderate alcohol consumption: no more than one drink for women and 2 for men daily
- No binge drinking
- Red wine contains the most resveratrol, the ‘longevity antioxidant’
- Beware: Alcohol interacts with many pharmaceutical medications.
- Ask your doctor for advice about drinking alcohol if you are taking prescription medicines.
- Beware: Alcoholics, past and present, and persons at high risk for alcoholism, should not drink any alcohol
- Beware: People who have and who have had cancer should not drink any alcohol
- Beware: Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not drink any alcohol
Learn what constitutes a portion and exert portion control
Learn about energy density
- Calculate the energy density* of a food by dividing the calories by the grams in one portion
- Eat those foods with an energy density of less than 1 frequently and use them for snacks
- Eat foods with energy density 1-2 less frequently
- Eat small portions of foods with energy density 2-3
- Foods with energy density more than 3 should be reserved for special occasions
* [Adapted from UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, October 2009 p6].
Follow the rules of ordered eating
The Rules of Ordered Eating Quick List
- No secret eating
- Eat one portion of everything
- Always sit down and eat at the table
- Always eat in the kitchen or dining room
- Try to take at least twenty minutes to eat your meal
- Eat a wide variety of food choices throughout the day, week, and month
- Do not skip meals.
- Always eat breakfast
- Eat three meals and one or two snacks every day, depending on age
- Never participate in ‘fad’ dieting for weight reduction
- Resist using food as entertainment
- Become an educated, savvy, food shopper
- Eat at home
On the special occasions when you eat out of the home, choose your restaurant and your meal beforehand.
Minimize your eating of prepared and processed foods by eating at home and making your meals from healthy ingredients that grow from the earth.
Use family mealtimes and modeling
- Use family mealtimes to transfer your values about food and eating habits to your family
Learn about nutritional supplements*
- Use nutritional supplements to augment your health
*A good place to start learning is The Complete Self-Care Guide to Homeopathy, Herbal Remedies and Nutritional Supplements, by Dr. Ellen Feingold.
Follow tried and true weight loss behaviors
·Use the tried and true methods to increase your metabolic rate
·Keep track of your daily calories in a food diary or app*
*Try the online tracker at prevention.com/healthtrackers and join the online community at FoodFit.com. You can easily track your daily calories using LoseIt, MyFitnessPal, DailyBurn or SparkPeople which are websites and/or apps that are free to use.
· Journal your feelings and experiences
·Participate in a weight loss program for support and inspiration from others.
·Weigh yourself on a digital scale every morning
·Use a compartmentalized dinner plate that helps you to stick to recommended portion sizes
·Learn which are your food triggers and institute new behaviors to avoid them
·Eat and drink for early satiety 15-13 minutes before meals:
Remember: Eating one whole fruit before a meal is associated with immediate satiety resulting in consumption of about 150 fewer calories during that meal. Although the research was done with apples, it is likely that eating any whole fruit before a meal will make you feel fuller going into that meal. The theory is that the fruit fiber decreases hunger.
*[Adapted from AICR Science Now, Summer 2009, p2].
·Eat citrus fruits
Remember: Citrus fruits contain naringenin, a naturally occurring flavonoid chemical weight loss stimulator. Naringenin acts to increase insulin sensitivity, making it easier for you to lose weight.
- In cosmetics, skin care and personal care products, and cleaning products
Limit your exposure
- To synthetic chemicals by inhalation by avoiding plug-in fragrances and paraffin wax candles
- To electromagnetic radiation by using wireless devices (cell and cordless phones and bluetooth devices) with a headset or earphones
Adhere to all the other good health practices*:
- Do not smoke and no using any tobacco products
- Perform adequate daily physical exercise (at least 30 minutes daily for adults; one hour daily for children)
- Get adequate sleep
- Take time for daily relaxation techniques
- Seek humor and love in everyday life
- Seek calm and beauty in surroundings
- Practice a positive outlook on life
- Practice healthy sexual relationships
- Encourage relationships for social support
- Engage in activities for intellectual stimulation
- Limit television time to less than 2 hours daily
- Do things for other people
- Perform daily oral health prevention activities
- Avoid risky behaviors (like unprotected sexual intercourse, riding at unsafe speeds and without a seat belt)
- Avoid all illicit drugs
- Participate in preventive health testing
*These good health practices are discussed in The Complete Self-Care Guide to Homeopathy, Herbal Remedies and Nutritional Supplements, by Dr. Ellen Feingold, 2008, p2).