What Constitutes A Good Diet?
A nourishing diet should be customized to suit each person’s lifestyle, constitution, and particular health issues. Though there is no one right diet for everyone, there are some general principles that can be applied across the board. Here are some:
1) EAT WHOLE FOODS in their natural state, organically raised/grown when possible. AVOID processed foods (this means anything that comes in a package with a long list of unpronounceable ingredients). Michael Pollen, that great foodie, says, “Don’t eat anything that your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food”.
2) EAT BREAKFAST. According to Chinese Medicine practices, the qi is in the stomach and spleen meridians (the 2 main organs associated with digestion) from 7-11am. Our body is primed to assimilate and digest in the morning. Breakfast sets your blood sugar and metabolism for the entire day. An ideal combination is protein, fiber, wholesome carbohydrates and a little healthy fat.
3) ELIMINATE SIMPLE SUGARS– this goes back to #1- EAT WHOLE FOODS. Sugar is not even food. We try to rationalize it as a little won’t hurt, and we all love it, but really, it’s best to not eat it.
4) ELIMINATE TRANS-FATS & REFINED VEGETABLE OILS– almost everyone is aware now of the dangers of chemically altered fats. When incorporated into the cell wall they are linked to causing everything from diabetes to cancer. Stick to healthy, stable fats like BUTTER, COCONUT OIL, MONOSATURATED OLIVE OIL
5) INCREASE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES and eat a wide variety of foods to avoid over-sensitizing your system to any one food. It’s great to have a favorite vegetable, but surprise yourself. Wander farmers market and try something you’ve never tried before. Balance protein, carbohydrates and fats to suit your activity level. The more rigorous your physical activity the more carbs you’ll need, but WHOLE FOODS, nothing processed or refined.
6) AVOID EXTREME DIETS
7) CHEW SLOWLY & THOUROUGHLY. Digestion begins with chewing.
8) EAT UNTIL YOU ARE 70% FULL then STOP. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that it is full. If you are shoveling food down, you most likely will overeat before you even realize that you are no longer hungry.
9) TRY NOT TO EAT LATE IN THE EVENING- the exception to this is people with hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar during the night can trigger an adrenaline spike that can cause insomnia. One of the best ways to regulate/stabilize your blood sugar is to eat breakfast (# 2) and to eat a consistent, balanced, diversified diet (#5).
10) EAT FOODS LOCALLY GROWN AND IN SEASON- There are great Farmer’s Markets- almost every day in the East Bay area.