We will start off with foods you should be eating daily. Types of foods may vary by quality of what you can afford or what is available, but it is important to include as many of the high quality foods as possible.
High quality foods are powerhouse foods. They have the most benefit per ounce, benefits being nutrients your body needs, fiber, or healthy fats. Eating the correct type of fat is very important, but secondary to fat itself. You need about 30% fat by calories in your diet to be healthy. Fat also keeps you warm and feeling full.
When it comes to vegetables, color is most important. The more colors you can eat daily, the better you will feel. When the choices are available, eat orange, green and red vegetables. Here are some of the best examples:
Cooked vegetables: Yams, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Beets, Tomatoes, Greens, Carrots and Peas for example.
Raw vegetables: Tomatoes, Peas, Broccoli, Romaine Lettuce and general Greens for example.
In general vegetable are only limited by what you choose to eat. There are very few bad vegetables in general.
In the winter, you want to eat more root vegetables, and in the summer more above ground vegetables. Root vegetable examples are yams, carrots, potatoes. Any vegetable where the part we eat grows in the dirt underground.
In the summer, you want to eat more above ground vegetables. Above ground vegetable examples, are tomatoes, peas, green beans. Any vegetable where it is picked from a plant and not dug up,
Common nutrient poor foods: Iceberg Lettuce, Bread, Flour Tortillas, Most White Potatoes, Rice, Milk.
Shrimp and Lobster for some people raise Cholesterol, so do not eat them often.
Really Bad food choices: Butter (more than on bread, in oatmeal, or on vegetables), Candy bars, Soda of any type, Fruit Juice, Grapes, white potatoes. The reason these are bad, is they are all very low in nutrients (vitamins and minerals), and very high in starch and/or sugar.
Here is a short list of do’s and dont’s for eating:
1. Don’t only eat low or no fat foods
2. Eat real food, not processed foods
3. Don’t eat food you don’t like
4. Very little Grains, Potatoes, Sugars – Honey is sugar.
This may sound really confusing, but it will become easier as you get used to eating better. If you pay attention to how you feel, you will find you feel better and you won’t want to eat junk foods.
Think of a plate divided into four. You can label them 1, 2, 3, 4 and it doesn’t matter which one you call number one. When you start to cook, or put food on your plate, this is what you do:
1. This is the section for meat – beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs. The piece of meat should be about the size of your palm. Some type of meat or eggs should be eaten with every meal.
2. & 3. This is the section for your vegetables. Any vegetables are good, cooked or raw. No potatoes here.
4. This is for your good carbs: Cooked Yams (mashed or cut into pieces), oatmeal (cooked or granola, Red or Yukon Gold potatoes – NOT Plain White potatoes like Idaho potatoes for example, Squash.
4. You can substitute fruit if you want in number four. Fresh fruit, no juice. Melon of any type that is non-gmo or organic, Strawberries, Blueberries, Kiwi, Bananas, Watermelon, Apples – Gala or Honey Crisp, Peaches, Fresh Cherries, Figs & Dates (a small amount), Raspberries, etc. Little or no citrus fruits as they are high in sugar and low in nutrients. Keep the peelings on if peelings are normally eaten.
Vegetables and Fruits – You can buy fruits in two ways: 1.) If you buy fruit that is peeled, like bananas, it doesn’t matter if they are non-gmo or organic. Pesticides sprayed on is thrown away with the peel. 2.) Apples, pears and such, because you should eat the peel, should be organic or washed in cool water and dish soap before eating if not organic.
Snacks – Whole nuts, Apples, Pears, occasional Banana and oranges, Mango, Plums, Cherries (limited), etc. Notice these are not sugary fruits like pineapple. Dark semi sweet Chocolate is an excellent choice, and recommended these days. No more than two ounces per day.
Healthy Food is usually more than food in a bag, paper wrap or a to go container
Now let’s discuss what else you need:
Oil – Olive, Avocado or Olive & Avocado mixed. Nut oils are healthy, but expensive and must be refrigerated. Corn oil is generally unhealthy
Morton iodized salt – Sea salt, I found out, lacks iodine which we all need. In the early 1900’s in the U.S, people died from lack of iodine in their diet.
Whole pepper and a pepper grinder. Some spice companies sell an all in one, this is what I use.
Garlic Powder – not garlic salt
Any other spices you like.
Cooking choices – A lot of people like to fry their vegetables because this is how Chinese food is cooked. Chinese Restaurants fry vegetables because it is the easiest, fastest, and fairly cheap. The best way to cook vegetables is steam or boil them. Vegetables are healthiest when they are cooked, but not soggy.
Meats are healthiest cooked the same way. Of course steamed meat is not very tasty. Simmering/boiling meat is healthiest, followed by baked, and fried is last. BBQ’ing meat is okay, but they have found that BBQ meat can cause cancer over time if the meat is burned or crunchy. This usually happens by trying to cook BBQ meats too fast.
General: You want to eat four cups vegetables every day to be healthiest. You also may get an upset stomach or diarrhea if you suddenly start eating four or more cups of vegetables right away. Here is a plan for this:
1.) Week one goal is one cup vegetables, one cup root vegetables, and one cup fruit each day.
2.) Week two goal is two cups vegetables, one cup root vegetables, and one cup fruit each day.
3.) Week three goal is three cups vegetables, one cup root vegetables, and one cup fruit each day.
4.) Week four and beyond goal is four cups vegetables, one cup root vegetables, and one cup fruit each day.
Eat more soup. Vegetable soup with beef or chicken is very filling, and quite healthy. Soup is a good way to use a lot of vegetables. If you want to make stew, use corn starch instead of flour to thicken it. Put about a tablespoon of corn starch in a shallow bowl. Add some cool water to make it runny. Stir it in when soup or stew is simmering. Keep stirring for about a minute. Repeat if needed, until you learn how much you need.
Eventually, you may get to the point where the idea of eating a certain vegetable makes you want to gag. This is normal, and a very good thing. It is your body telling you that at last, you have enough vitamins and minerals and do not need to eat a particular vegetable.
As you pay attention to your body and what it wants, you will know when you want to eat a particular vegetable again. Just don’t confuse, your body not wanting something with you not wanting to eat it. You must think of your body like a car. It needs good gas and quality oil. If you don’t put gas in your car, it stops running, if you stop adding oil, it breaks down.
Especially starting out, you may find you don’t want to eat certain foods. For example, you don’t want to eat more vegetables. This is normal too. Change is difficult. Stick with it. You are changing your eating habits, and it takes time. Usually around three weeks before it becomes the new normal.
You will notice after about a month, some foods lose their appeal. For example, you might really like Little Debbie snack cakes, and as time goes by they aren’t as good as they used to be. The reason for this is junk food companies are really sneaky.
A lot of junk food has vitamins and minerals in it that we all need! Because the average person’s diet is so poor, junk food replaces vegetables as the main source of vitamins and minerals. Our bodies are interesting. For example, if you do not eat enough salt, (about 1/2 teaspoon a day if not doing heavy labor), but you eat bacon that is cured with salt, your body will crave unhealthy amounts of bacon because salty bacon is your bodies only source of salt.
Be aware of any cravings you have now. If it is for a certain junk food(s) you find yourself eating daily, your body is lacking in nutrients that the junk food is supplying! You body will crave all kinds of fatty unhealthy foods if they contain something it needs to function.
Water is the best drink. Of course most people can not live on water alone for a drink. Green Tea, Black Tea Coffee are okay, with coffee falling in and out of the good for you drinks list. “Sobe” type drinks if low or no sugar are okay. Soda Pop and especially Diet Soda is horrible for you. Fruit drinks and juices are really flavored sugar water and should be avoided, unless they are melon juices. Diet soda is thought to destroy essential microbes in your intestines.
Speaking of Microbes and Biome. Microbes and Biome are what make your intestines work. We each have about three pounds of them and they number in the billions. You got your first Biomes from your Mom when you where born. As you change what and how you eat, your microbes and Biome will change slowly. It may seem like you have really sunny diarrhea, but Biome change out and flush is what is really going on. This may happen every couple of weeks, and is normal.
A month from now, you can check to see if you are eating correctly. Get the inner pot from a crock pot with a lid from Good Will. A normal size crock pot liner. You should fill this with vegetable scraps at least once per week, of you are eating really well. This is compost and you can start a compost pile with it, if you wish. If not a gardener will be happy to have your vegetable scraps.
Finally, we live in the real world. Some days, someone will serve you cake, a donut, cookies, etc. Unless you want to punish yourself, go ahead and eat it. Draw the line at Soda of any type. Pay attention to coffee. Black coffee tends to make people feel, ‘hungry’. Put a little cream in your coffee to cut the acid.
If you “have” to eat pizza, tortillas, Mexican food, sweets, or other unhealthy foods, put them in a food schedule. Say Saturday is your day for Mexican food. Monday you eat some candy bar you really like. Thursday is pizza day. The only thing you want do when eating these foods, is eat them as early in the day as possible, and do not over eat. Food like these are treats and not everyday foods with the exception of Mexican food. Eat them at lunch time and limit the fat content in your dinner.
Mexican food can be made at home in a healthy way. Most of Mexico is proof of this. Use healthy low fat meat and very little cheese. Make re-fried beans just mashed beans with no oil. Limit beans and rice to less than 3/4 cup each. Use corn tortilla instead of flour tortilla.