Asclepios Wellness & Healing Retreat - , Alajuela, Costa Rica

General Nutrition Advice

  • Healthy Food

“Eating is not a science; it is a relationship with nature. Healthy eating manifests spontaneously when your mind, body, and nature are connected, communicating, and co-creating the next moment.”       

Nathan Daley, MD, MPH

“Diet and nutrition are the primary building blocks in the foundation of human health and longevity, and the essential elements of life provided by food cannot be replicated or replaced with any form of modern technology.”

The Tao of Detox by Daniel Reid

  • Return to the simplicity of eating. Eat humanely, with gratitude and respect: try to eat with the awareness that you are ingesting life to continue life.
  • Re-establish a connection with the food that you are eating. Notice what food grab your attention and then get to know it. Observe it, hold it, feel it, smell it and finally savour it.
  • Privilege natural whole food. Avoid all processed, refined, canned and fast foods. Nature has spent 4.5 billion years revising the ongoing dynamic formulation of these health tonics. Humankind could never articulate this complexity and nature will keep these secrets. However, nature gives us the final product of this magic for free! Natural whole foods meet and exceed the recommendations of nutritional experts.
    The industrially refined foods are contaminated with poisonous pesticides and preservatives, chemically altered with artificial flavors and coloring agents, and further denatured by irradiation and genetic modification.
  • Eat Local, Fresh, and Seasonal Food: Storing and transporting whole foods reduces their nourishment. Whole food is food you can grow or raise on your own. Chose foods native to your local habitat and nature will do most of the work for you. Wholeness originates in the local environment, our local ecology, and wholeness dissolves effort.
  • Eat Organic, wild, or raw, wild-like food: Whole food is maximally nourishing when fully connected to nature. Wild plant source foods tend to have more complex micronutrients like phytoalexins, which are defenses against plant pathogens. Wild animal source foods eat wild plants, move about with great activity, and experience the natural dynamics of nature as well. They tend to be leaner with healthier fatty acid profiles, richer in micronutrients, and happier.
  • Maximize diversity: Diversity is a hallmark of healthy ecosystems and eating within a healthy ecosystem naturally leads to eating a great diversity of foods. In modern times, most of us eat a limited variety of fresh foods. Go to local farmer's markets and find all the interesting and unusual vegetables and fruits and try them. Indigenous populations often identify and consume over 200 different edible plants in their local habitat. 
  • Eat More Plant Than Animal. This is the proportion of nature. In most ecosystems and bioregions, there are more plants than animals. Let your plate be the same.
  • Use Somatic Wisdom. How we decide what food to pick out of an assortment of foods heavily influenced by our habits or emotional voids? By becoming more somatically aware and reducing the distraction of the disembodied mind. Our physiology and somatic wisdom co-evolved with plants. The millions of years of interactions between human physiology and plant source foods have produced a wisdom, which greatly surpasses our scientific knowledge and reflects the needs of the present moment. This includes the impulse of hunger as well. Hunger and satiety are trusted guides which will not fail us when eating nature’s foods. Whole foods are quite satiating and hard to overeat.
  • Take the time to eat and do it with pleasure and calm, chewing food well and savoring it.
  • Begin each meal with a green-leaf salad to which you may add all kind of sprouts (rich vegetable source of amino acids and excellent suppliers of enzymes!) Enzymes are catalysts of chemical reactions, being involved in all vital functions of the organism.
  • The average healthy meal should contain 20%-30% protein, 30%-35% carbohydrate (mostly vegetable and fruit with a small amount of whole grains), and 30%-40% fat, including polyunsaturated Omega-3 essential fatty acids, monounsaturated Omega-9 fatty acids, saturated fats and a small amount of Omega-6 essential fatty acids. Contrary to what the “medical establishment” has been telling us, all fats are good except for Omega-6, which are pro-inflammatory and are bad in the high quantities that they are eaten in a Western diet hidden in industrially processed bakery and vegetable oils (hydrogenated) which lead to Trans fats that must be avoided by all means.
  • Deep sea fish is a good animal protein option due to their content in the essential Omega-3 fatty acids, mainly those small fish that start the food chain and for that reason are less contaminated in heavy metals. The list of such fish includes sardines, herring or salmon, black cod –sablefish, butterfish or trout. Seafood is best obtained from wild, not farm-raised fish. Vegetable Omega-3 fatty acids are obtained from avocado, black olives, walnut and flaxseed. Nuts and seeds (hazelnuts, almonds and sunflower or pumpkin) can be added to breakfast cereal or salads. Omega-3 fatty acids are of great benefit to the health of brain, neurotransmitters, heart, arteries, liver, sight -thanks to their action on the retina, skin, etc. They contribute to emotional balance, combat depression, aggressiveness and headackes. They also have major anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Meat is best obtained from "Certified humanely treated" or "100% grass-fed/finished meat and pastured chickens or “cage free” turkeys.
  • Reduce consumption of acid foods: orange, green mango, strawberries, kiwi, and other acid fruits, vinegar, milk chocolate, black tea, coffee, ketchup, mustard, pickles, white wine. Also decrease foods that cause an overproduction of hydrochloric acid for their digestion (sugar and refined flours, e.g., industrial bakery, red meat, sausage, soda, excess legumes (beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas). Disease thrives in an acidic environment.
  • Increase consumption of alkalizing foods: vegetables in general, banana, avocado, pear, papaya, almonds, sweet potato, potato, non OGM corn.
  • Steam cook and stew to preserve nutrients.
  • Use unrefined sea salt for cooking. Unrefined sea salt contains sodium chloride, iodine, magnesium and almost all trace elements. Beware of fluoride added to refined salt. Himalayan salt or any other salt in its natural state is also recommended.
  • Cook only with olive, grape seed oil or coconut oil: these oils resist high temperatures without losing their nutritional value and denaturing (moving from cis to Trans fats that the body cannot metabolize). Moreover, olive oil contributes to the evacuation of the bile, improves intestinal transit and helps lower bad cholesterol.
  • Use plenty of aromatic herbs and spices: thyme, rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, coriander, basil, tarragon, parsley, bay leaf, chives, garlic and onions to condiment and enhance the flavor of your meals. Many of these herbs have anticarcinogenic properties and also contribute to a better digestion preventing the putrefaction and fermentation of foods in our intestinal tract, which enhance the immune system.
  • We also recommend the consumption of seafood such us oysters (very high content in zinc), mussels and mostly algae which is an important source of trace elements and minerals such as calcium. Japanese food like sushi or sashimi, or some Lebanese dishes like hummus, eggplant caviar or cucumber and yogurt dishes are also welcome.
  • Consume whole grains in limited quantity. (Quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice, rye, barley, millet, “steel-cut” oats, non OGM corn). Whole grains retain all their nutrients: their content of vitamin B is involved in the balance of the nervous system and in a good assimilation of sugar. Fiber also improves digestion and positively affects the metabolism of fat by preventing it from accumulating in the form of adipose tissue. Avoid wheat, modern wheat has been hybridized to such an extent that it has been completely transformed from its prehistorical genetic configuration becoming a human poison. “Modern wheat contains a new protein called gliadin that is an opiate. This protein binds into the opiate receptors in our brain and in most people stimulates appetite, such that we consume 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year”. According to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist, author and leading expert on wheat. “Thousands of people dropping wheat are losing 30, 80, 150 pounds of weight. Diabetics become no longer diabetic; people with arthritis having dramatic relief. People losing leg swelling, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and on and on”.
  • Breakfast cereals should contain more fiber than sugar grams and should be natural without preservatives. Choose, for example, Uncle Sam’s cereal, Ezekiel’s or other similar brands.
  • Incorporate into your diet these incredible foods: Lemon, Turmeric, Ginger, Coconut Oil and Chia

o Lemon (Citrus): Lemon is an acid and alkalizing fruit, with the best medicinal qualities. Purifies the blood. It is a wide spectrum anti-microbial agent against bacterial and fungal infections; is effective against internal parasites and worms, regulates high blood pressure and is an antidepressant; helps combat stress and nervous disorders. It is said that destroys the malignant cells in 12 types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreas.

o Turmeric (Curcuma Longa): Turmeric contains curcumin, the polyphenol identified as its primary active component and which exhibits over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, which include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, analgesic, boots immunity, anti-carcinogenic, helps maintain cholesterol levels, promotes digestive health, it is a liver detoxifier. Regulates metabolism, lowers triglycerides and weight management. Regulates high blood pressure, memory and brain function, neurological disorders, and various skin conditions. Adding black pepper to turmeric or turmeric-spiced food enhances curcumin’s bioavailability by 1,000 times, due to black pepper’s hot property called piperine. By mixing turmeric and black pepper together, you increase your body’s absorption of the turmeric by 2000%!

o Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Ginger is a tonic, antipyretic (reduces fever), diaphoretic, antiemetic (anti-vomit), antispasmodic, anti-flatulent, antiseptic, expectorant, stimulates the circulatory system, it is an aphrodisiac, it is anti-inflammatory for the stomach, protects the liver and it is also a cholagogic (helps bile secretion), relieves cough and cold. Is estrogen-like and it also has a beneficial effect on fertility, it increases sperm volume and improves sperm motility.

o Coconut oil (Cocos Nucifera): Coconut oil is a great nutrient for the brain; it has been associated with improvement of cognitive abilities in Alzheimer's patients. It is very effective to heal wounds and has been used for this purpose since ancient times. It has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic properties. Coconut milk is a highly effective anti-ulcer agent. Recent researches have shown that coconut oil also has anti-fungal properties with great susceptibility to Candida Albicans. It has been shown that coconut oil also decreases oxidative stress of the bone, which prevents structural damage in osteoporotic bone. Finally, coconut oil acts as an excellent sunscreen.

o Chia (Salvia Hispanica): Chia seed is highly nutritious and balancing; it’s content in Omega 3 helps reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides, enhances energy levels and promotes concentration against ADHD. Helps cleanse the digestive system through the gel which is created when soaking. It promotes tissue regeneration by regulating blood clotting. It contains proteins of high biological value with all the essential amino acids. Strengthens the immune system. And has anticancer properties and also against diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels.

  • Minimize frying and consume cold-pressed raw vegetable oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, and hazelnut) with your salads and vegetables, keeping them refrigerated, or in a dark place to prevent oxidation.
  • Consume red and purple fruits and vegetables, i.e: black grapes, cherries, beets. All of them contain polyphenols and anthocyanins, as well as vitamin C, powerful antioxidants that stimulate collagen formation and contribute to the firmness of the skin. It is also said that such vegetables and fruits are linked to the prevention of DNA mutations associated with age. These bioflavonoids are also found in white or green tea, berries and dark chocolate. Also consume blueberries, cherries and raspberries, which have the virtue of regulating the level of glucose in the blood.
  • Prefer farm eggs.
  • Reduce consumption of dairy products, which cause allergies, phlegm and digestive problems, affecting the balance of the intestinal flora and the passage of undesirable particles into the bloodstream. Prefer goat and sheep cheeses and nut milks or non OGM soya milk. Cows milk has been linked to many diseases in both children and adults such as chronic fatigue, anaemia, diarrhea, iron deficiency, atherosclerosis, arthritis, cramps, obesity, allergies and heart problems.
  • Avoid consumption of coffee, black tea and soft drinks for their high caffeine content and their harmful effects on the nervous system. When choosing juices, look for natural ones without added sugar (e.g., most cranberry juices are excessively sweetened). Juices can also be mixed with water to reduce sugar intake while improving your hydration. Beware of the many names of sweeteners -high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, molasses, honey, cane juice, etc.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water as pure as possible per day. Filter your water; it is not advisable to drink tap water, not bottled water which in some cases is worse than tap water containing chlorine and lots of other chemicals. Ideas to flavor your water: lemon, thyme, or organic orange or tangerine juice.

Avoid frustration: give yourself a little pleasure every day

Marisia Jiménez, N. D.



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