DIET

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How Food Helps Resilience & Wellbeing

What we eat, drink and our dietary habits can alter inflammation, our metabolism, gut health and our microbiome and even influence mood, feelings of stress and global mental wellbeing.  Diet & Supplements together are part of the core RM toolkit because of their ability to alter everything from inflammation to metabolism, gut health and our microbiome and influence mood and mental wellbeing.

 

The Resilience Medicine Diet

A ketogenic or modified keto diet is one of the most metabolically impactful types of eating for many people. This is because of the effect on our cell powerhouses called mitochondria and the way our body handles sugar and insulin. 

However, a whole foods anti-inflammatory low GI diet may be more appropriate then going keto for some people and have many of the same benefits, especially for many women based on Dr. Dani’s experience with patients using nutritional medicine for over a decade with patients as well as the latest research. 

Recent research shows that diet strategies for improving brain health, mental health, and many chronic diseases that decrease inflammation should be a core part of treatment and prevention and are crucial for resilience and wellbeing.  For many years, modern medicine turned away from diet especially in mental health and wellbeing but recent research is now showing what an important role food has on mental, physical and immune system health as well as a crucial role of regulating our gut microbiome.

The foods we choose and diet can have an enormous impact on the biochemistry of our bodies and brains. The RM diet was developed by Dr. Dani Gordon over a decade of experience treating patients with difficult to treat conditions and based on the latest nutritional medicine and integrative medicine research. This dietary approach is a way of eating to support optimal brain and neuro-immune function and mental wellbeing rather than a diet for weight loss purposes. However, if you are over your ideal weight most people will naturally shed excess weight when following this way of eating due to its beneficial effect on metabolism and insulin regulation, which is especially important to shift  ‘metabolically active’ fat around your tummy or middle.

The RM diet is designed to improve each of the 4 resilience skills of calm, energy, mood and clarity and can be individualized based on your unique resilience make up and resilient assessment results. 

How The Diet Works

  1. Improving Insulin regulation in the brain and body. Insulin regulation is not just important if you have prediabetes or diabetes but is now linked to mental health conditions and brain ageing disorders including dementia. Restoring health insulin regulation is a core aspect of the RM diet
  2. Gut repair. Restoring the microbiome to the most optimal balance is integral to normal immune function as well as mental health and neurotransmitter function, since the majority of brain neurotransmitters regulating mood are made in the gut. The Endocannabinoid system is also active in the gut and restoring the gut microbiome and healing a leaky gut is thought to improve endocannabinoid system function.
  3. Mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are our cell energy powerhouses. Many diseases of ageing as well as neuropsychiatric symptoms including central sensitivity pain syndromes, depression and brainfog and fatigue all involve mitochondrial dysfunction. The RM is a mitochondrial protective diet and designed to help make your cell powerhouses work more effectively in both the brain and body.
  4. Regulate/reduce inflammation. Neuro or brain inflammation, microglial (brain immune cells) regulation and global chronic inflammation all contribute to mental and physical health symptoms and disease and reducing these pathways of inflammation and supporting microglial function through an anti-inflammatory diet rich in a variety of active plant compounds including cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpinoids and polyphenols is key to health and also to getting chronic inflammation-related symptoms under control.
  5. Support telomeres. Telomeres, part of our DNA, can be thought of as little hats on the end of our DNA sequences. They control how fast our cells age, when they get shorter we age faster. Chronic stress and inflammation and a diet low in antioxidants shortens them. Telomere shortening is also seen in conditions associated with premature brain aging and chronic diseases as well as mitochondrial dysfunction.

There are 2 Different Levels of the RM diet that may suit different people and then further customized options based on your resilience assessment and make up. In the app, after you get your RM assessment results and report, you can decide which level suits you best based on your personalized recommendations and track how well it is working for you.

The Resilience Medicine Diet Principles

  • No added sugar
  • Minimal simple carbs- bread, rice, potatoes, alcohol
  • Minimal processed foods-this means things that come pre-packaged, especially snack foods, foods with preservatives and additives and processed snack foods such as snack bars, granola bars, chips, crisps, crackers, baked goods and other ‘simple carbs’
  • High in Healthy oils, mostly from plants- MCT, cold-pressed virgin coconut, olive, cold-pressed tree nut oils, moderate amounts of organic butter or ghee
  • The majority of each meal made up of non starchy vegetables (eg. not potatoes, bread or meat as the main portion of a meal).
  • Low Glycemic index (GI) foods are the bulk of diet (below 35 score on the GI)
  • High in Fiber-especially soluble fiber which is found in large amounts in beans and legumes, peas, oat and oat bran, avocados, berries, apples, banana, grapefruit and citrus fruits, inulin
  • Minimal gluten- not everyone has a problem with gluten but if you have any damaged gut lining or chronic inflammation, gluten can open the tight junctions in the gut and create a leaky gut which can lead to inflammation and immune related issues from foods as well as other ingested substances, chemical or toxin residues on foods etc. being able to enter the body via the gut wall. Therefore, it is best to minimize gluten containing foods especially in their processed forms (Eg. break, baked goods, snack crackers etc.).
  • Minimal-moderate dairy, mostly fermented. Some people may do best with minimal or no dairy whereas others may tolerate a moderate amount of healthier dairy such as goats and sheep’s milk, kefir, yogurt and cheeses from organic producers. If you are following the keto level of the RM diet and you do not have any dairy sensitivities, these healthier forms of dairy provide a good source of low carb protein and fat to the diet. Those who cannot have dairy should include non-dairy fermented cultures eg. organic coconut or nut based kefir and yogurt, fermented vegetables (eg. sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented soybeans) unless you have symptoms of what is called MCAS, where fermented products can worsen symptoms.
  • High in Nuts and seeds-tree nuts and seeds of all varieties
  • Anti-inflammatory herbs, plant polyphenols and flavonoids
  • Moderate Protein intake, some at every meal
  • The majority of ‘carbs’ from high fiber whole food non-bread or pasta sources eg. root vegetables, fruits, vegetables and small amounts of whole grains in unprocessed forms.
  • 14-hour fasting window each day and optimal meal timing and eating window to support metabolism and 24-hour body hormone circadian cycles: Eating last meal by 6:30 pm (eg. early dinner) so that I can have breakfast by 8:30 am to start the day.

Level 1 RM Diet (RM KETO DIET)

  • Daily Carbohydrate level <50
  • No Grains, very minimal root vegetables, or starches

Level 2 RM (RM GI IMPACT DIET)

  • Minimal processed carbs or simple carbs, no added sugar-whole fruits are fine (eg. minimal white or processed bread, pasta, pizza, crackers/snack bars/crisps, sugar-containing drinks, juices or snacks/candy).
  • Small quantities of unrefined gluten-free grains (Eg. brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, whole wheat couscous) are allowed at meals with fat and protein and unlimited non-starchy vegetables-eg. quarter of a plate grain, 1/2 vegetables and other 1/4 protein
  • Snacks- unlimited nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, nut butter, whole fruits as snacks. 1-2 squares raw cacao or high quality dark chocolate per day