March is National Nutrition Month!

Posted On: March 17, 2015

March is national nutrition month. I am Dr. David Johnson the director of North Shore Spinal and Sports Rehabilitation. My training as a chiropractor required that I take a class in nutrition. It wasn’t much but in the mid eighties it was more than was offered at most medical schools. I remember walking away from the course thinking that I didn’t get a lot out of it.

Being that I am a life long learner, I continued my quest for knowledge. I read books and even looked into the efficacy of some of the fad diets. There was the Fit or Fat approach, The Atkin’s diet and of course The Zone. I took another biochemistry course at Northwestern, which made me more skeptical of the fad diets. I did like what Dr. Sears was saying in his The Zone as he appeared to apply good biochemistry.

Then I enrolled in a masters degree program at the National University of Health Sciences. The degrees was in advanced clinical practice. There, Dr. David Singer, a chiropractor, taught a course in clinical nutrition. This guy didn’t pull any stops. He turned us onto the work of Cordain, whose paper: Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was a real eye opener.

To me this made sense. Finally after all of these years of fad diets, the pyramid, the American people getting more obese and experts who really didn’t have a clue, here was an answer.

It is simple really if you want to be healthy and live longer, eat a lot of vegetables, fruit and some lean protein. Limit your oils to monounsaturated ones like olive oil. Stay away from processed foods (trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup). Don’t eat sugar or wheat. Stay away from dairy.

My wife lived in Greece when she was younger. They caught their own fish and picked their own vegetables. They also grew their own olives and pressed their own olive oil. What she described is a real Mediterranean diet. This diet is one of the few diets that has stood the test of time and has held up well as one of the healthiest in the medical literature. What Cordain describes as a healthy diet and what my wife ate, do not differ.

My story runs a little deeper. While I was taking the classes to complete my masters degree I was diagnosed with throat cancer. I chose not to quit the course but rather to continue with the course, in spite of going through chemotherapy and radiation. It may sound crazy, but for me it was the best thing that I could do. It kept my mind occupied and once I start something I don’t quit it.

Flash forward to today. I am over two years cancer free. I eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and lean protein (preferably wild fish or grass fed beef). I do not eat sugar, whey or dairy. I stick to olive oil or some other good monounsaturated fat. I will allow some saturated fat in my diet but I will not allow trans fats. I weigh about 183 pounds, which is what I weighed when I started college. My energy levels are great and I weight train 3-4 days per week. I am very happy to be alive and healthy and am doing everything in my power to be around for a lot of years.

As far as supplementation with vitamins and minerals, I believe that you can get a lot of the good nutrients in your diet but there are some that should be considered. I personally take vitamin D, fish oil high in Omega III, magnesium and a probiotic. These I do more as an insurance policy rather than as a magic bullet for without the good diet they would be worthless.

So, happy national nutrition month and please bite into a happy lifestyle.

To learn more about our practice visit us at To schedule an appointment, please call our Lake Forest, Lake Bluff office at 847.295.0920, or our Highland Park office at 847.432.4077. 

You may also use our online Request an Appointment form.

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