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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Preston

Journeys and Stories in Health #2: Packing The Basics - Eat

Updated: May 17, 2021

Updated May 2021

Example Packing Food List for Your Journey

  • Sandwiches

  • Pineapple Lumps

  • Spaghetti

  • Occasional take-away

  • Ice-cream

  • Toast

  • Doughnuts

  • Cake

  • Wine

  • More wine

  • Chocolate

  • Lots more chocolate


I often ask my patients: “So what dietary advice have you been given?” 9 times out of 10 the answer is “none”. Occasionally they say “I was told to lose weight - but how can I do that - look at me - I can hardly walk”.

You need to eat real food!!!!

Make food one of your main medicines.

In simple terms this probably comes down to not eating processed foods - which means no sugar, limiting or eliminating grains and gluten and choosing truly healthy options - and that might mean eating very differently to what we have been taught is healthy. When you look at the evidence, low fat hasn’t solved anything. The food pyramid has been a disaster.

What is the key - well in most cases it starts with buying unprocessed meat (that includes fish and chicken) and vegetables that are not too high in carbs. And it probably means cooking it from scratch at home - at least most of the time. No pre-cooked meals or take-aways.

Yes - it is possible.

Here is a short list of websites and books to get you on your way. Note that although many of these reflect a lifestyle that includes eating meat, all of them could be modified to allow for plant-based eating only.

Many chronic illnesses are at least partly if not completely autoimmune or related to inflammation or made worse by inflammation and autoimmune systems running riot.

Anything from arthritis to multiple sclerosis and chronic pain conditions.

In most cases it’s not about losing weight. It’s about reducing inflammation, slowing down autoimmunity and truly nourishing your body with what it was designed for.

If you have Grave’s disease, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Type 2 Diabetes, cancer, alzheimers, any inflammatory arthritis - rheumatoid, gout, etc - this might be for you.

NOTE: This is not a cure. This doesn’t mean stop your medicines. This doesn’t mean stop your chemo. This doesn’t mean ignore your doctor. What it means is do this as an extra. And if you feel better talk to your doctor and ask if you can maybe reduce your medication. Don’t do that yourself - you need to be sure that you work with and not against your doctor every step of the way. Explain that you are simply exploring every avenue :-)

Check out some of these and see what works for you. Most are written by doctors. For most you can buy and eBook and get a lot of free info if you sign up. You really don’t have to spend anything more.

The word “keto” appears a lot. Don’t be put off. It’s not like the old “dirty keto” - eat anything high fat and add more fat and really low carbs. It's more what is now thought of as "low carb - healthy fat". As you will see it’s mostly about lots of low carb veges and a small amount of high quality meat. And if you are vegetarian there are options covered in many of these too. In many ways it’s the Mediterranean Diet without the grains and wheat products. Healthy meat, veg and plant-based oils.

The Pesco-Mediterranean Diet

Here is some recent research published in a mainstream medical journal - American College of Cardiology - talking of the Pesco-Mediterranean diet - I think this is a very helpful approach. They even have a new food pyramid and you will see just how well the vegan and vegetarian options stack up - but there is a little edge to some fish and meat. This is a great place to start before you look into the more controversial world of keto.

Look at

If you want to hear how it fits into heart health here is an interesting but LONG podcast with one of the authors at

In essence

  • Fresh plants

  • Healthy oils - olive oil and nuts

  • Moderate amounts of fish and small amounts of meat if you wish.

  • No processed foods and pure sugars

  • Compressed eating window/intermittent fasting

  • Water and tea or coffee

Other Options - Low Carb Healthy Fat and Keto

Here are some additional helpful resources. These authors come from quite different approaches - you might just find one that makes sense to you. These aim more at the therapeutic benefits of true keto.

And remember - Keto does not mean you have to eat lots of fat and it doesnt mean you have to eat meat. Low Carb Health Fat is fine. Plant-based is fine. Meat is fine. Processed is not fine.

Healthy unprocessed food that you cook for yourself is what this is about - and leaving out what we know can be an issue - such as glutens. And maybe eating less often - FASTING???!!!

What the Fast - What the Face - What the Fat

All about low carb healthy fat - LCHF. And next level intermittent fasting.

And the authors are all Kiwis - New Zealanders - true home grown wisdom.

Prof Grant, Dietitian Caryn and Chef Craig are leaders in the food revolution in New Zealand and Australia.

3 books - slightly different focus.

Read the book - eBook or actual book and browse the website.

What the Fast is a great "how to" book that gives you an easy to follow process to get started. Near the end there is some info about the whole autoimmune and chronic health benefits.

What the Face teases out new information on Gut and microbiome and such. It also puts a positive spin on Inner and outer radiance and beauty - the skin bit.

These are all easy to buy in NZ.

This site has several articles that outline basics and articles about specific illnesses.

Website only.

The Wahls Protocol - A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles

Terry is a doctor with multiple sclerosis. She got out of a wheelchair using diet and supplements to reduce autoimmune response and feed her brain. This is the book to look at if you want help to sort out serious illness.

Read the book - eBook or actual book and browse the website.

The website has a LOT of "buy my product" stuff - but the book is great.

The Energy Paradox by Steven Grundy

Along the same lines as some of the above but focuses on your energy.

The website has "buy my product" stuff - but the book is great.

Easy to buy in NZ.

Keto-Green 16: The Fat-Burning Power of Ketogenic Eating and the Nourishing Strength of Alkaline Foods

Anna is a doctor who got very unwell and got her life back by eating right.

So many chronic pain disorders affect women. This book looks at a way of harnessing keto and alkalinising and helping to reduce inflammation, get hormones in balance and maybe losing weight.

Read the book - eBook or actual book and browse the website. The website has a LOT of "buy my product" stuff - but the book is great.

Keto for Life

Mark Sisson goes beyond diet.

Read the book - eBook or actual book and browse the website.

FOR DOCTORS - Kinda next level but a good read for anyone wanting to go deeper

Peter Attia

Deep dive into this sort of material - everything from cholesterol to body movement to fasting

Website and podcast.

Chris Kresser

Functional medicine at the forefront.

For patients he also has some amazing free ebooks on things like thyroid disease - thyroiditis and diet.

Website and podcast.

There are lots more - and some of these may be better suited to you. But all of these are balanced and largely written by doctors or folks with a good track record who are looking for something more than just medication in their armamentarium.

Enjoy :-)

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