What is a Healthy Diet?
Food is fuel – Would you put fake fuel in your car and expect it to run?
A healthy diet is absolutely essential for your overall health, energy, immune system, normal development, clear thinking, weight and a stable mood. And that’s just the beginning…
The problem: Most Americans consume the Standard American Diet – also known as the SAD diet. This diet is heavily laden with calorie dense nutrient-poor food and beverages, processed foods and includes few fruits and vegetables. It has been linked to the growing problem of obesity (1/3 of US adults are obese according to the CDC), diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, arthritis, food allergies, mood disorders and cancers. This diet, in combination with a sedentary lifestyle, large portion sizes, and high stress compounds the negative impact.
Approximately 75 percent of the $2.8 trillion in annual health care costs in the United States is from chronic diseases that can often be reversed or prevented altogether by a healthy lifestyle.
The diagram below represents the SAD diet and percentage of each category of food consumed.
The Solution: Eat Real Food!
You are what you eat. Food is fuel. If you provide yourself with healthy fuel, your body can function optimally. Eat what your body is designed to handle – REAL FOOD! You wouldn’t put fake fuel in your car and expect it to run, so why would you consume fake food (processed and artificial) and expect anything different?
A healthy diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to perform physically, maintain wellness, and fight disease. What you don’t eat is equally important. Americans whose dietary intake includes fresh whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, and fish have a lower incidence of major chronic disease and especially of diet-related diseases.
Calories also count — fat is much denser in calories, so when you eat less fat, you consume fewer calorie but fats are also very important to satisfy hunger. It’s also easy to eat too many calories from sugar and other refined carbs because they are so low in fiber that you can consume large amounts without getting full. Sugar is absorbed so quickly that you get repeated insulin elevations, which promotes Type 2 diabetes and accelerates the conversion of calories into body fat. Carbohydrates contribute significantly to weight gain especially around the midline.
I suggest you eat and drink real food and I have listed the groups in order of priority:
- Water – drink approximately ½ your weight in ounces per day. E.g. 140 pounds = 70 ounces
- Green vegetables – 5-7 servings per day – this is difficult for most to achieve so consider a green smoothie each morning – Check out our Green Smoothie Recipe / Ten Healthiest Vegetables
- Fresh fruits – 3-4 per day – Check out ‘Top 10 Fruits’
- Healthy fats – olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, fish, free range eggs etc. Check out this helpful video on Healthy Fats
- Nuts – macadamias walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, not peanuts Health benefits of nuts
- Seeds – Raw is best – pumpkin, sunflower, chia, flax
- Meats – lean, grass fed is best. Beef, chicken, turkey, pork cold oily fish (contain all essential amino acids)
- Whole grains – What are Whole Grains?
Limit or remove:
- Remove processed carbohydrates – non whole grain bread, chips, crackers, muffins, sodas
- Limit grains, corn (it’s a grain – not a veggie), pasta, rice, wheat, beans, peanuts, peas, soy because they stimulates insulin which stimulates fat storage when consumed in excess – Learn how to become a fat burning machine.
- Limit sugar – especially processed refined sugar
- Remove chemical additives, dyes, MSG, high fructose corn syrup. If the “food” can sit on the shelf for a long period of time it is full of preservatives that your body is not designed to process.