“I eat really healthy food.”
I hear this a lot. Depending on who I am talking to, this could mean they follow a Paleo, Vegetarian, Atkins, The Zone, Body Ecology, Vegan diet or it could mean their meals consist of low-fat or sugar-free products.
So what is “healthy” anyway? The only person who knows that is you. Your perfect diet will be different than your neighbor’s. It depends on your genetic makeup, where you live, the time of year, season of your life and the amount of stress you are under. Your perfect diet might be different in 6 months than it is now.
The key to optimum energy and ideal health is to listen to the clues that your body is telling you. Do you eat “really healthily” but can’t seem to lose weight, have a horrible sleep cycle or have depleted energy? If you have a food intolerance or your body doesn’t know how to digest a food that you eat daily, no matter how healthy it is, this food could be a constant source of inflammation. Pay attention to your body.
As I was traveling all over the US this summer and eating with many different kinds of people, it was very apparent to me that there is not one perfect diet for all types of people. That said, there are some basic concepts that everyone could benefit from. These are included in the following “Back to the Basics” principles:
Ginger Newtrition’s “Back to the Basics” Principles for Healthy Eating:
1) Eat fresh, whole fruits & vegetables in their natural form. Local is best. Choose organic produce if it is on the dirty dozen list. If organic foods aren’t in the budget, get a veggie wash to reduce exposure to the pesticides.
2) Soy is not a health food unless it is fermented. Miso, tempeh and tamari are all fermented and are the best choices if you are going to consume soy. Soy is one of the top 5 food intolerances and it is highly genetically modified, so watch for reactions. One of my clients recently figured out that the soy yogurt she was eating daily for a year was the cause of her incredibly painful face acne.
3) Fat-free is never a good choice, unless it’s a naturally fat-free product. Let’s face it, pull the fat out of something and it tastes bad. The blah taste of Fat Free products is often covered up with more sugar.
4) Eat the Yolks. If you eat eggs, then make sure you are eating the whole egg. The majority of the nutrients are in the yolk, they are delicious, and they yolk contains lecithin, a fat emulsifier which helps your body break down the cholesterol in the egg.
5) Partially hydrogenated oils such as margarine or Crisco shouldn’t be consumed… EVER. We have all heard that trans fats are not good for us and the majority of that comes from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. A product can claim NO trans fat as long as it has less than 0.5 grams. Look at the ingredients for partially hydrogenated oils instead of the claims on the front of the can or box.
6) Lose the blue, yellow & pink packets. Artificial sweeteners are also hiding in “light” products such as yogurt.
7) Food dye is not a necessary ingredient in any food. If you want to know what effect food dye can have on a person, come over to my house an hour after my daughter is given blue jelly beans. It… is…. Scary. Before you chalk your child’s unstable behavior up to genetics, make sure you have removed the dyes, additives and chemicals from their food.
8) MSG (monosodium glutamate) can wreak havoc on your neurotransmitter balance. Yes, this is still in foods & restaurants and it can be especially detrimental to children.
9) Eat more good fat. Think nuts, avocado, fish, coconut, olive and flax oil. Did you know that you need dietary fat in order to make all of your hormones?
10) Avoid all fried foods especially with seed oils, canola oil, or in a restaurant where they are reusing the oil. If you really have a craving for a fried food, make it at home in coconut oil.
11) Drink more clean water.
12) Eliminate white sugar and sweeteners.
13) Limit alcohol.
14) Gluten, Corn, Dairy, Eggs & Soy are the top 5 food sensitivities. Make sure you test how these foods make you feel by removing them for 1-2 weeks and slowly adding them in one at a time.
15) Eat something fermented daily. For example sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, miso or kombucha (if it agrees with you!).
So instead of sticking to this diet, that plan, or believing that this food is good and that food is bad, remember the basics. Try something and see how it works for you. Keep what works, throw away what doesn’t. Your perfect plan will always be evolving.