The food portion of great health and longevity can be seen as quite simple. With a few basic rules you will be well on your way.
Three things to Remember
All you really need to do in order to eat healthy is to keep these three things in mind:
1. Whole Foods
2. Fresh Foods (mostly fresh, preferably organic or natural)
3. Eat more vegetables (especially leafy greens), high quality meats (grass fed and/or naturally raised organic meat) and less carbohydrates (especially simple ones such as sugar and refined flours)
This is the basis of a healthy diet.
You should not fear your food. Enjoy it, embrace it and love it. Eat real food and stop worrying so much about it. Food is a social event. Eat it, enjoy it, savor it and live.
Whole foods are the entire edible portion of the food. Typical whole foods are your fruits and vegetables, whole grains and meats. Typical refined foods are white breads, instant oatmeal, cookies, frozen dinners and anything boxed. I once heard two pieces of advice when choosing foods at he grocery store. One was to shop on the perimeter of the grocery store (vegetables, fruits and meats are found on the perimeter while refined foods are on the inside aisles) and the other was to purchase foods that do not have a label telling you that they are healthy. Fruits and vegetables do not require a label telling you that it is good for you. The added vitamins and minerals on the packaged food is a marketing ploy to get you to buy them.
Soon after your food is harvested the nutrient level begins to decrease. Typical grocery store foods travel incredible distances to reach your pantry. This food is often picked before it is ripe and chemically ripened. Consuming local natural/organic produce supports both your health and the health of you local economy and farmers. Frozen fruits and vegetables maintain a very high level of nutrients as well.
Eat more Vegetables/Quality Meats and less Carbohydrates
The standard american plate is centered around meat. Increasing the amounts of vegetables that you eat will make a large difference in your health, especially leafy greens. High quality meats are naturally/organically raised, such as grass fed beef. I believe our bodies are geared to work properly on the fats and proteins of these meats. As you fill your plate with these meats and vegetables you will thankfully crowd out the simple carbohydrates such as white breads, sugars and sodas. Eating fat does not cause weight gain.
The Timing of Meals
Humans are predators. Predators are geared to be most effective when they are on the hunt, and they hunt when they are hungry. Therefore we are naturally at our peak performance when we are hungry. We should only be eating for 4 hours in the evening, with small recovery meals after a workout or to stave off the worst of the hunger pangs. No more scavenging food at all hours like a vulture. These are the main reasons why.
Insulin regulation is achieved through proper food choices and intermittent fasting.
“When you fast, insulin drops and the hormone glucagon increases, to ensure a steady supply of energy to the body. When glucagon dominates, most of the body’s energy is derived from glycogen reserves and fat stores. Also, the drop in insulin allows the growth hormone to peak. Elevation of GF increases the body’s capacity to rejuvenate, repair tissues, and burn fat.”
“The Warrior Diet” by Ori Hofmekler
Natural detoxification allows the body to remove toxins that you have in your body. When you eat breakfast you are literally (break)ing your (fast). This allows a daily fast (controlled fast/under eating phase) as well as an opportunity to “indulge” in the evening. In the evening you eat as much food as it takes to make you full and then during the day you fast.
“It’s east and undeniable whence experienced. – The body’s natural purification in the am, and the dissipation of hunger throughout the day…and the permitted and “healthy” bit of hedonism at sunset. Every time I hear the 6 small meals a day, all I think of is self slavery.” Todd BandiagaRa
I believe the food portion is the most important portion of being healthy. All of this is found throughout this blog. Search through for further details on the above. Blog posts to look for in particular are the earlier ones on the specifics of food and The Timing of Meals parts 1 and 2.