It would be nice if that were how things were today. Unfortunately, thanks to the power of the big drug companies, processed food companies and their marketing agents, big agriculture and their lobbyists, we have lost our way. We need to return to basics. How people ate when they lived in more primitive cultures when they lived off the land was much more healthy than today's diet which is full of harmful additives, sugar and sorely lacking in nutritional value. Our prescription for a healthy and pleasurable food plan is simple and easy to follow. It is based upon Traditional Chinese Medicine, common sense, and recent information.
It really matters what you put into your body. Do you have dream car? Think how well you would take care of it…the best fuel, oil, regular maintenance. You would probably wash it regularly and polish it until it looked really good. Your body needs the same care. It will still work even if you mistreat it, but to keep it running smoothly for a long time you need to take really good care of it.
Here are some general concepts for a healthy eating plan (if you have serious health problems consult your physician before making any dietary or lifestyle changes):
Eat lots of pesticide-free vegetables. Your plate should contain a colorful bounty of fresh vegetables. The fresher the better. The nutritional content is highest when the plant is still growing. Each day it is "off the vine" it loses more nutrients. Eating what is in season not only supports local farmers, but keeps your body in the natural rhythm of the seasons. In summer when it is hot it makes sense to eat cooling, hydrating foods like watermelon and cucumbers. In fall and winter try eating more warming and nourishing vegetables like squashes and yams or hearty soups. Try to eat several servings of vegetables every day. Vegetable juices and soups are a easy way to help get your servings.
Eat lean, hormone-free meat and wild fish (unless you are vegetarian or vegan). If you are not on a plant-based diet, your meat and fish choices should be pure as possible. Ideally you want grass-fed, hormone-free, free-range meat. Support farms that raise animals consciously. Fish should be line caught, wild fish. You don't want farmed fish. Also be careful about fish that contains mercury like tuna, swordfish, shark etc.
Dairy in moderation. All dairy should be hormone free and preferably organic. The best dairy choices are kefir and yogurt because they contain beneficial bacteria (probiotics). Beware of sugar and aspartame in most yogurts. Organic eggs are a good source of protein and Omega-3s if you eat the whole egg.
Skimp on carbohydrates. Carbs turn to sugar quickly in the body and are stored as fat. Unless you are an endurance athlete you probably don't need as many carbohydrates as you are eating. The best choices are yams, wild rice (not really a carb anyway) and quinoa (great protein source). Carbohydrate food choices have many problems beside the sugar issue. Most derive from GMO crops (more about that later), and contain gluten which many people have difficulty digesting. The American diet has become very carbohydrate laden, and as a population, we have become more and more unhealthy and overweight. So think about eating a hard-boiled egg and a veggie juice in the morning instead of a bagel or donut. Unless you can work off the carbs you consume you will store them as fat.
Eat fresh, pesticide-free fruit. Fruit contains natural sugars so it's best to limit fruit to 1-2 servings per day. Eating a piece of whole fruit or a serving of berries is preferable to juicing. Juicing fruits deprives you of the beneficial fibers in fruit, and gives a quick jolt of sugar. When you eat a piece of whole fruit your body breaks it down more slowly. Berries are especially beneficial as they contain anti-oxidants.
Eat seeds and nuts. Seed and nuts are great snacks and contain many beneficial nutrients and "good fats". Ideally, select organic varieties, but at a minimum you'll want to know they are pesticide-free.
Cook with healthy oils. Olive oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil are all good choices.
Eat in moderation! Chew your food carefully as digestion begins in your mouth and you'll have a better idea if you are full if you eat slowly. Try not to overeat. Do you have an indulgence like french baguettes, coffee, red wine or chocolate? No one ever ruined their health with one cup of coffee or one piece of chocolate or a glass of wine. Enjoy in moderation.
Avoid processed food. It's full of chemicals, preservatives, additives, salt and sugar.
Here are some menu ideas:
One glass of filtered or spring water with lemon upon rising
on-the-go weekday breakfasts: freshly squeezed vegetable juice, hard boiled egg - a smoothie with fruits/vegetables add in protein powder, spirulina, or other supplements, as desired - yogurt with berries, seeds and nuts - organic hot cereal with berries and seed/nut mix.
leisurely breakfast: vegetable omelet or egg scramble, berries, avocado
snack: handful nuts and seed and dried fruits
Lunch options: vegetable soup and salad - mixed greens, chopped veggies and grilled salmon or chicken - quinoa and mixed vegetables salad - grilled chicken salad -
snack options: kefir - raw vegetables - raw vegetable juice - avocado w/lemon and sea salt - rice crackers - apple
Dinner options: Grilled fish, vegetables, salad - yams, salad, vegetable - steak, salad, vegetable (basically any protein and vegetable combination) - wild or other rice, soup, grilled vegetables