There has been much written and published on diet and what we should and shouldn’t be eating. This page is written to help people work out what is a healthy diet for them as an individual.
Each of us is unique and has different dietary preferences and requirements but most of us will be healthiest if we follow a good diet. Dietary guidelines in the western world have until recently reflected the thinking that saturated fat is bad for us and carbohydrates are better. This way of thinking has led to an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and chronic disease. Now carbohydrates and processed food are known to have negative health consequences. Saturated fat is not the enemy we once thought.
What defines a good diet?
Our food should be fresh, minimally processed and as natural as possible. If we can’t eat it raw then we probably aren’t adapted to eating it. If it doesn’t look and smell like food then it probably isn’t good for us. If it is heavily processed and contains chemicals and artificial preservatives, sweeteners, sugar or fructose it probably isn’t good for us.
- Vegetables – organic preferred
- Fruits – organic preferred
- Meat and fish – meat should be organic, free range, grass fed. Fish should be low in mercury and sustainably fished
- Eggs – organic free range
- Nuts and seeds
- Good oils – olive, omega 3, coconut
- Herbs and spices
Foods to avoid
- Highly processed foods especially those containing sugar and fructose, artificial colourings, preservatives and artificial sweeteners
- Dairy – many people lack the basic enzyme for digesting dairy, others are intolerant to the proteins.
- Most grains – especially gluten containing grains. Some cultures have eaten grains for centuries and have ways of preparing them that decrease gut problems but for some of us grains should be avoided
- Soy – although fermented soy may be used if no allergies
- Processed meats – these have been shown to increase your risk of cancer
- Foods containing chemicals, preservatives, colourings, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, artificial sweeteners
- Alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, other drugs
This is not a black and white list. Some people have food intolerances or allergies to foods on the good list or choose not to eat some of these foods (vegetarians, vegans). Most people can cope with small amounts of the foods to avoid without adverse health effects but eating too much of them can result in negative health consequences.
If you have health problems then paying attention to your diet is even more important and will yield positive results often in a short amount of time. I will write more about this in future pages and posts.