Ideally Suited for:
Those wanting to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables while moving toward a more natural, whole-food diet without completely changing their current eating style.
Calories from Fat:
< 25% calories from fat.
Vegetables provide protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat, as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Adding them to your diet either raw or cooked is a great choice for improving your health. The USDA recommends 3-5 servings a day, but why stop there?
Canned or home-cooked, beans are packed with protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. They can be eaten as a stand-alone dish or added to an endless number of soups, salads, entrees, and side-dishes. Since canned beans tend to be high in sodium, rinse off the broth to reduce salt intake. Even better, buy the "no salt added" variety. Try to have some beans every day.
Only breads or pastas labeled 100% whole grain can be trusted not to contain any refined flour. Refined grains like white rice and enriched flour have been stripped of the fiber and nutrients which naturally come packaged together. The synergy between fiber and nutrients increases the health-promoting value of grains in their natural state.
Fresh or frozen fruit is a great way to sweeten your life and get vitamins and antioxidants. Eating the whole fruit provides nutrition as nature intended it; fruit juice spikes blood sugar and adds calories without keeping the stomach satisfied for long. The USDA recommends 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit per day.
Animal Products & Meat Substitutes:
All animal-based foods cause inflammation and greatly increase the risk of disease. Pursuing optimal health means lessening dependence on animal-based foods. Premade veggie burgers and other meat-substitutes can aid the transition to new tastes and textures. Learning how animals are raised, slaughtered, and processed can motivate diet changes.
Oils, Nuts, Seeds, and other High-Fat Foods:
Because all oils have some saturated fat, they damage the arteries. Oil also adds unnecessary calories to meals. Nuts and seeds should be eaten raw or dry roasted. Chia seeds, freshly-ground flax, and walnuts are all whole foods that are high in valuable omega 3 fats.
Timing of Meals and Snacks:
Timing of meals affects our health. Eating breakfast has been shown to reduce obesity. For weight maintainance, the majority of calories should be eaten before 3:00 p.m. If snacking is necessary, whole foods like carrot sticks, apples, or 1 - 2 oz. of nuts are a better choice.
Salt & Sugar:
Salt and sugar are not health foods. However, it is better to eat our fruits and veggies with salt or sugar than not to eat them at all.
Vinegar, Chilis, Irritating Spices, and Other Condiments:
Know what's in your food. Read lables and choose foods with ingredients you recognize. Beware that condiments can add significant amounts of unwanted fat and sodium to your diet.
Drinking 8 glasses of water a day keeps our digestion working well, our blood flowing smoothly, and our skin glowing. Try soaking mint leaves, cucumber, or raspberries in water overnight to give water a flavor boost.
Alcohol use increases the risk of certain cancers; excess alcohol damages the brain, liver, kidneys, and immune system.
Going to bed before 10:00 PM is beneficial because our body repairs itself most efficiently in the hours of sleep before midnight.
Weight goals should determine the calorie concentration of food choices.