Walt Whitman, the American poet, may have written “Leaves of Grass,” but he was an advocate of what he called a “manly” diet: “Let the main part of the diet be meat, to the exclusion of all else,” he wrote in a newly discovered essay. Well, ol’ Walt apparently didn’t know that diets without a balanced approach to nutrition can leave you starved for essential nutrients.
For example, the paleo diet (lots of meat proteins, sat fat and vegetables) is devoid of whole grains (fiber to feed your gut biome, regulate blood sugar and battle obesity), low- or no-fat dairy, and legumes (beans, lentils, etc.). That can leave you short of B vitamins, calcium and vitamin D.
And a quarter of folks now eat gluten-free foods! According to the Institute of Food Technologies, that can, but doesn’t have to, make it hard to get the fiber and nutrients found in 100 percent whole wheat, barley and rye. The smart move: Get complex carbs and nutrients from produce and gluten-free quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat groats, corn grits, millet, sorghum, wild rice and teff. And remember, as Dr. Mike’s Cleveland Clinic says, “Apples, carrots, fish and almonds are gluten-free ... but a gluten-free cookie is still a cookie!”
The lesson? Pay attention to the nutrient content of foods and ask your doc about taking supplements (a multivitamin -- half, two times daily -- and DHA omega-3). Then, as Walt also wrote, you’ll enjoy, “The feeling of health ... the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.”
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.