Make healthy changes gradually

Believe it or not, when tossing out those sinfully delicious foods from your diet to meet your healthful goals for 2013, some nutritionists caution against going whole hog.

“The key is to do it slowly,” said Nancy Utter, a naturopathic physician with a specialty in food and gastrointestinal health. “You have to be gentle with yourself.”

She advises starting with eliminating white sugar from your diet, calling it a poison that harms the brain, joints and G.I. tract. She also counsels her patients to buy organic products when they can because herbicides, pesticides, waxes and preservatives are toxic to the human body.

Her motto? Don’t eat anything you can’t identify.

“A piece of bread can be made out of sawdust or wheat flour or almond meal, you can’t know by looking at it. If you look at an apple or a bell pepper or a chicken, you can say, ‘I know what that is.’”

Utter says she views food as the basis of the body. Every cell is made out of what we put into it – if you’re eating a fast food hamburger, you’re making bad cells, if you’re eating organic spinach, you’re making good ones. And if you’re reading a label, you’re eating processed foods, the potential cause of everything from diabetes to heart disease.

“We all have to eat,” she said. “Why not eat to foster health?”