Written by: Dr. Sarah Vadeboncoeur, buy ND

1. Ditch Plastics

Plastics (from water bottles and food containers) can contain chemicals that have estrogen-like properties and have been linked to weight gain, help diabetes, and infertility. Even BPA-free plastics can have these effects.

2. Drink Pure, Filtered Water

Unfiltered tap water can contain chlorine, fluoride and other chemical contaminants. Carbon filters (such as Brita) only remove small amounts of chlorine. The gold standard in water filtration is reverse osmosis.

3. Go Organic

Organic food contains less pesticides and chemicals and isn’t raised using hormones or antibiotics. The most important foods to choose organic are dairy, meat, and the Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables.

4. Choose Your Meat Wisely

Whether or not meat is “healthy” is in large part determined by how the meat is raised. Conventionally raised animal meats are often a rich-source of inflammatory omega-6 fats, and may have antibiotic, hormone, and pesticide residues. Choose organic meat whenever possible. Chicken should be free-range or pastured; beef should be “grass-fed” NOT grain-fed.

5. Choose Free-Run Eggs

Free-run eggs contain higher levels of vitamins A, E, B12, and folate and more omega-3 fats than conventional eggs.

6. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Completely eliminate all artificial sweeteners from your diet such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium (Equal, NutraSweet), and sucralose (Splenda). Watch out for hidden sources of artificial sweeteners such as chewing gum, fat-free yogurt, and low-calorie and calorie-free drinks.

7. Limit your Sugar Intake

Your intake of added sugars (from all sources except fruit) should not exceed 25 grams per day, the equivalent of 6 teaspoons. Start reading labels for sugar content and avoid concentrated sources of sugar such as specialty coffees/beverages, fruit flavoured yogurt, breakfast cereals, fruit juice, energy drinks, sports drinks, and soda.

8. Eliminate Refined Vegetable Oils

Most vegetable oils are refined, processed, and contain large amounts of omega-6 fats which in excess can contribute to inflammation and diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Eliminate all refined vegetable oils: canola, vegetable, soy, peanut, safflower, and sunflower and choose healthy oils such as: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and flaxseed oil.

9. Go Wild for Salmon

Most salmon you’ll find at the grocery store is farmed salmon. Farmed fish contain more mercury and contaminants and less healthy omega-3 fats. Choose wild salmon such as Coho, Chinook, and Sockeye.

10.Remove Common Food Allergens

The most common food allergens are: Milk/dairy products, Eggs, Wheat/gluten , Peanuts, Tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc), Fish, Soy, and Shellfish. Ask your Naturopathic Doctor to help you identify food allergies (and sensitivities) through an Elimination Diet or Food Sensitivity Testing.