Healthy Eating Guidelines
and Diet Advice
Conventional healthy eating guidelines not working for you? End dieting forever with this unconventional diet advice to boost your energy levels and help you lose weight.
Yes, my healthy eating guidelines are a bit off the beaten path.
Because the “official” healthy eating guidelines just don't work.
And, by “work” I mean
- Boosts your energy levels,
- Helps you lose weight (or maintain your ideal weight),
- And, most importantly, promotes real, honest-to-goodness, true health.
If they did work, we wouldn't have so many diet programs and 27.9 million websites about healthy eating ... and still more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.
If they did work, they wouldn't need a different diet for diabetics, a different diet for people with heart disease, a different diet for weight loss ... What works for one should, for the most part, work for all.
Why Don't They Work?
Let's take a quick look at the USDA's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
- Fats and cholesterol: “Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. ... Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol.”
First, contrary to popular belief, saturated fat is not bad for you. In fact, you need saturated fat as it provides some major health benefits and helps you feel fuller longer. The problem with saturated fat is that it is usually paired with excess sugars. However, if you eat the right foods, fat won't be a problem.
Second, dietary cholesterol does not cause high cholesterol. Your liver produces 75 percent of your cholesterol, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Which leads us to ...
- Grains: “Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains.”
First, grains metabolize the same as sugar. Even whole grains. All grains promote insulin resistance. It is very important that healthy eating guidelines balance your blood sugar and insulin levels. To do this, drastically reduce your grain intake or, preferably, cut out grains altogether.
Second, this statement implies that it is OK for up to half your grain intake to be from refined grains. You may as well just spoon sugar down your throat. Nutritionally, that's what you're doing when you eat refined grains.
Third, so many people are sensitive or allergic to gluten and don't even realize it. You don't have to have celiac disease to have problems with gluten. Eliminate gluten grains from your diet, and you will feel so much better.
- Dairy: “Increase intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages.”
First, pasteurized dairy products of any kind are not recommended, even organic ones. Once the milk has been pasteurized, not only does it now have almost no nutritional value of any kind, but it also can actually worsen your health.
Second, like grains, so many people have dairy sensitivities and don't realize it, not just those who are lactose intolerant.
Third, reduced fat milk products are recommended primarily to reduce saturated fat consumption. I believe we already covered this, but it bears repeating: saturated fat is not bad for you.
Fourth, no soy. Just no. Almost all soy grown in the United States is genetically modified. Plus, think about this: why “fortified” soy beverages? What I mean is, why are they fortified? Because they have no nutritional value of their own. That's very important. It goes for all fortified foods.
- Calories: “Control total calorie intake to manage body weight. For people who are overweight or obese, this will mean consuming fewer calories from foods and beverages.”
Like so much of their healthy eating guidelines, the USDA is just focusing on the wrong details. It's not the calories in and of themselves that are the problem. It's the foods. Eat the right foods, and you won't have to worry about calories.
- Sodium: “Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2300 milligrams (mg) ... ” and “Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals -- and choose the foods with lower numbers.”
First, again, focusing on just a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. Eat the right foods, and sodium won't be a problem.
Second, “frozen meals”?! This implies that frozen dinners have some place in a healthy diet. Let's be clear: they don't. You cannot get healthy eating frozen dinners, despite what Lean Cuisine would like you to think.
These are just some of the problems with the USDA's healthy eating guidelines, not an exhaustive list.
So, what does work?
Healthy Eating Guideline #1:
Whole Food Diet
A whole food diet forms the foundation of healthy eating. What are whole foods? I like what Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser says:
If it doesn't come out of the ground, and it didn't have a mother, don't put it in your mouth. -- Jillian Michaels
What comes from the ground?
What had a mother?
It's really easy to remember: Whole foods good. Processed foods bad.
Eat real, whole foods in their most natural state.
Get organic, if possible. Locally grown is even better.
Use spices for flavor. If you want salt, use unrefined sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt. These are actually good for your health, unlike conventional table salt.
Now that we have our foundation, let's kick it up a notch ...
Healthy Eating Guideline #2:
Gluten Free Diet
As I said above, many people are sensitive or allergic to gluten and don't even realize it.
Do you have any of these common gluten intolerance symptoms?
- Low iron levels
- Aching joints
You may have a gluten sensitivity.
Grains are not essential for good health, and refined grains are detrimental to health. Even if you don't have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, cutting out grains could be the answer you're looking for if you're overweight or suffering from health problems.
A whole food diet is already mostly gluten free anyway, so it's easy to go just a little bit further and cut out grains. Try a gluten free diet and see what happens. If you want to eat grains, choose the gluten free varieties.
Now, let's take it one step farther ...
Healthy Eating Guideline #3:
Dairy Free Diet
Remember Healthy Eating Guideline #1?
Whole foods good. Processed foods bad.
The milk you find in grocery stores in the United States is highly processed. It's pasteurized, homogenized, has had fat content removed, and thus, has had to be fortified.
Contrary to popular belief, milk does not do a body good.
There is no evidence that high intakes of dairy products reduce the risk of osteoporosis. In fact, the United States has the highest rate of dairy consumption and also the highest rate of osteoporosis.
There is evidence, however, that high intakes of dairy products may increase the risk of some chronic diseases, including ovarian cancer and prostate cancer.
Like gluten, many people have a milk sensitivity and don't even realize it.
Some common milk sensitivity and allergy symptoms include:
- Iron deficient anemia
- Abdominal Pain
- Joint Pain
- Chronic sinus congestion
Looks a lot like the list above for gluten intolerance symptoms, doesn't it? If you have any of these symptoms, I suggest cutting out both gluten and milk products for a while, and see what happens. You may discover you feel 110% better.
Even if you don't have a dairy sensitivity, since pasteurized milk is processed (not a whole food), has a possible link to some chronic illnesses, and has very little to no nutritional value, let's just get rid of it. That does not include eggs, just milk and milk products (cheese, yogurt, etc.).
The exception would be if you are one of the lucky few in this country who has access to unpasteurized, raw milk, which has powerful health benefits. If you can get your hands on raw milk or any raw milk products, do it. Now. You can thank me later.
Healthy Eating Guidelines and Diet Advice:
Let's Put It All Together Now
So, what we have now is a whole food, gluten free, dairy free diet.
Most important is eat whole foods. If you do nothing else, eating whole foods will do more good for your health than any other one thing that you can do.
The gluten free and dairy free diet are highly, highly recommended.
Healthy Eating Guidelines and Diet Advice:
Focus On What's Important
The #1 healthy diet tip I can give you is to focus on what's important.
Calories, servings, fat, sodium, etc, etc, etc ... These are details people often focus on when following a diet. That's why dieting doesn't work. Even if you follow all the diet guidelines, you're focusing on details that aren't important.
What is important is what foods you are eating.
Eat fresh, natural, whole foods. Get organic if possible, locally grown is best.
You should have a good variety of different healthy foods and a good mix of proteins, fats, and carbs (mostly from vegetables). If you eat a good variety of real, whole foods, you don't have to worry about things like sodium, fat, and calories. They will take care of themselves.
Listen to your body to see if you need more heavier foods (proteins and fats) or less (more vegetables). Your body will tell you if these healthy eating guidelines are working for you or if you need to adjust them.
Continue on to Healthy Eating Plan Step #2: Superfoods.
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