eat your way to balance.
The concept of eating a "Cannabinoid Diet" -- or a diet rich in foods that boost your Endocannabinoid System -- is really an old diet with new tricks. Tying together the basic tenants of an anti-inflammatory diet with age old paleo principles, the goal of Cannabinoid Diet Planning is to target ECS imbalances through nutrition and lifestyle and, ultimately, achieve results through balanced wellness.
Phytocannabinoid compounds in our diets interact with the ECS and confer a wide spectrum of health benefits.
The goal of the Cannabinoid Diet is to harness the functional components of the foods we eat to shift our bodies into a state of balanced health.
10 Cannabinoid Diet Basics
1. The Cannabinoid Diet is an inclusive dietary program with the goal of balancing the ECS by incorporated targeted functional foods to address nutritional / ECS imbalances and achieve overall health. It does not restrict vegans from choosing a plant based diet or omnivores from including animal based products. The Cannabinoid Diet does, however, recommend that the majority of your calories come from plant based foods to promote overall health and prevent diseases related to North American dietary imbalances.
2. There are two phases of the Cannabinoid Diet: the Detoxification Phase and the Rebalancing / Maintenance Phase. The Detoxification Phase is a 3 day elimination diet that allows your body to cleanse any unwanted toxins and prompts a shift in your metabolism toward CB2 receptor activation. The Rebalancing / Maintenance Phase reintroduces ECS balancing foods back into your diet, while incorporating the other nutritional tenants of the Cannabinoid Diet and tracking your progress.
3. Choose whole or minimally processed foods only. Prepackaged and processed foods contain high levels of saturated fats, sugars, salt and preservatives, which shift your ECS into survival mode via CB1 receptor overactivation.
4. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, as they contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that interact with your ECS and support your overall health.
5. Eat cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel's sprouts, cabbage and kale all contain the phytonutrients indole-3-carbinol and diindolylmethane, which activate CB2 receptors and have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
6. Choose non-dairy substitutes. Dairy products contain high levels of saturated fats, sugars and inflammatory proteins that can cause immune overactivation and lead to inflammation. Substitute with coconut, almond or hemp milk products.
7. Pay attention to your omega 3 / 6 balance. Choose less meat and grain products and incorporate omega-3 containing foods such as wild fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackeral), which contain the polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA, as well as hempseeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts, which contain the vegetarian counterpart, alpha linolenic acid. Vegan fish oil supplements are available in the form of algae oil. Choose healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil for dressings or cooking.
8. Incorporate fermented foods regularly. Microorganisms in your gut impact the ECS and the expression of endocannabinoid receptors on intestinal cells. Probiotic bacteria in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt (non-dairy), kimchi, miso, tempeh and kombucha are great sources of probiotic bacteria that help to regulate the gut microbiome and improve endocannabinoid tone.
9. Supplement the basics. I always encourage people to include a daily whole food vitamin mineral supplement and recommend everyone take a CBD oil product to help boost endocannabinoid (EC) levels in the body and promote CB2 receptor activation, while helping to limit CB1 receptor activity and overproduction of ECs.
10. Balance is key. At the end of the day, we are aiming for a mostly plant based diet containing a healthy balance of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, cage free eggs (if desired), wild fish / grass fed meats (if desired), fermented foods, herbs and spices, but not every day is the same. Track your progress and cut yourself some slack on "off" days.