Eat What?--Evidence Backed Strategies for Optimal Health
Eat real, whole, nutritionally dense foods. The basic eating template is as follows: imagine a round, empty plate in front of you. Now fill half of that plate with protein such as chicken breasts or salmon. Now split the other half of the plate into quarters. One quarter can be filled with green, leafy veggies and some healthy fats such as spinach sauteed in garlic and oil. The last quarter can be filled with a complex carb such as beets, sweet potatoes or quinoa, etc. Here’s what’s not going on you your plate: artificially processed foods with added salt, refined sugar and processed fats (e.g. fast food, boxed/packaged foods, seed oils, hydrogenated oils, etc.); simple carbs (think sugary junk foods and processed breads). 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Reduce refined carbohydrate consumption, You can eat carbs. This says reduce, not eliminate. What you want to focus on is consuming nutritious complex carbs and not simple carbs so think sprouted grain bread over white bread, baked potato over french fries, etc. You don’t want to make grains the primary focus of your diet or a large portion of your plate of food. Think small in terms of grains. A little goes a long way. Your focus should be filling yourself up with nutrient rich foods. 1, 2, 3, 4
Eat high quality beef/pork/poultry/fish. Eat the highest quality meat you can afford. And eat the fatty parts as well as the organ meats. These cuts are the most nutritionally dense and satiating. An example would be grass-fed rib-eye steak--it has protein, it has fat, it has nutrients. Pair that with some high quality green leafy veg that's dressed with some healthy fat and a sweet potato on the side and you've got yourself a perfect meal. As far as quality goes, you really want to avoid meat that comes from CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) lots. Make a conscious effort to purchase organic, humanely-raised/slaughtered, pastured (grass-fed and finished), hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. and wild caught, small fish (e.g. mackerel and sardines). Essentially, only eat meat that has eaten it's natural diet (e.g, cows that ate grass not corn, fish that lived in the sea not a tank, birds that were pastured, etc.). 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Fertilize your microbiome. There’s mounting evidence that the gut affects everything from our weight, our mental state, our moods, and our immune systems. So it makes sense to include foods in our diets that are rich in pre- and probiotics. The prebiotics are like fertilizer for the good bacteria in our guts and come from complex carb sources such as green leafy vegetables, artichokes, complex carbs like oats and barley and bananas. Probiotic sources include yogurts, kefir, fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi. The more variety of foods we have in our diet the richer our microbiome and the healthier our bodies and minds will be. So, like your stock portfolio, diversification is great long term strategy for health. 1, 2
Eliminate artificial, processed fats such as trans fats (partially hydrogenated/hydrogenated oils) from your diet. Replace bad fats with good fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocados/avocado oil, macadamia oil, olives, and nuts. Use fats that are stable at high temperatures for cooking: grass fed butter/ghee, pork lard, beef tallow, and coconut oil. Avoid processed seed and vegetable oils as they tend to oxidize under high heat and have unbalanced omega 6:3 ratios. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Eat lots of greens and green-leafy vegetables. If your goal is to lose weight then limit starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes and beets). Choose organic produce in order to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Nuts are a healthy, satisfying snack full of healthy fats. Stick to macadamia, almonds and walnuts. Take it easy with the nuts though, they are high calorie and some can be high in carbs ( e.g. cashews).
Choose full fat dairy over low fat dairy. 1
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. If plain water is boring then flavor it with lemon, mint, cucumber, or any combination you like.
Coffee and tea (green/herbal/yerba mate teas are my personal favorites) are great for a healthy caffeine fix.
If you want something sweet, eat berries, they're low in natural sugar and won't spike your insulin. Use natural sweeteners such as pure stevia or a little organic honey (not truvia as it is cut with erythritol).
Latest revisions to this page: February, 2019.