The Healthiest Diet: Eat Real Food
The healthiest diet in the world is quite simple. The healthiest diet possible is just eating real food. What you eat affects absolutely everything: your health, mood, skin, and what diseases you might develop over time. If you are looking to lose weight, don’t bother spending hours at the gym, it is more effective to prioritize your nutrition instead. It’s extremely vital to get proper nutrients into your body!
I want to share with you the best things you can do to get on the path to better health. There is conflicting information out there about what to do and through this blog I will share with you what I have found to be true and helpful.
Keep it simple and follow these tips. Over time I will expand on many areas of nutrition and how to eat the healthiest diet. I’m sure you already know to not eat fried foods, drink soda or eat doughnuts all the time but maybe you haven’t given these areas much thought. A few key things that you should be doing: avoid eating processed foods, eat more vegetables and fats (yes fats!), and drink more water. Learning to cook is an important part of healthy eating. Stop listening to what you’ve been told is “healthy” eating and do what feels good for your body.
Stop Eating Processed Foods.
If you have to look at an ingredient list of things, don’t eat it. Eat things without lists. Start looking at ingredient lists rather than the nutrition facts label. Who cares if something has less carbs if it also has a laundry list of junk in it as well? If you plan to buy something in a box or can, which I advise to avoid, make sure you know what everything is. We do not know what those chemicals do in our body and they are not part of the healthiest diet. We do know that other countries ban some of the things the U.S. does not. “Processed food” includes most breads, pastas and grains. I avoid eating these things because, whether you feel it or not, they are harder for your body to digest. Loading up on processed junk and flours will make you feel sluggish, bloated or irritable.
- Avoid food with labels
- If you do buy things with labels, pay attention to ingredient lists
- Absolutely avoid processed oils – see my post here: Healthiest Fats for Cooking
Ignore USDA Recommendations
The whole idea of “MyPyramid” and “MyPlate” is not based off of sound, reliable research. Why would anyone think eating 6-11 servings of grains per day is the path to better health? The bottom of the pyramid also happens to be the cheap food that companies make a lot of money from, but that is a discussion for another day [see Shameless Sugar post]. Don’t count calories, carbs, and fat; just eat real things and eat when you’re hungry. With that mindset, you don’t need to worry about servings. Eat food that will fill you up and not food that will make you hungry two hours later. Below is a better representation of what you should be eating. This pyramid is a better example of what to eat, more so the healthiest diet.
- Eat real food
- Stop counting calories
Eat More Vegetables
Vegetables are one of the most nutritious food you can eat and definitely a part of the healthiest diet. Most of us grow up hating vegetables but they are an essential part of healthy eating. Vegetables don’t have to be boring, it makes such a huge difference if they are flavored properly. If you only like certain vegetables, just start with that and maybe try a new one each month. If you really can’t stand vegetables, you aren’t alone. You can find tons of recipes online that show you how to hide them in your meals. For example, I regularly make pizza that uses cauliflower for the crust instead of wheat flour. The flavor is not lacking and it holds up pretty well. You can feel great about eating that whereas a takeout pizza would make you feel bloated and maybe even a little guilty.
- Embrace the few vegetables you like
- Hide vegetables in tasty recipes
Eat More Fat
For decades we have been told that fat and cholesterol are bad but that is not the case at all. The past and present research has shown time and time again that we’ve been mislead but that is something that I go into in another post. Of course we should make sure our fat comes from healthy sources and from healthy animals that eat properly. Don’t count how many grams you’re eating, you’ll be satiated sooner from meal with proper fat.
Find healthy fats such as pasture raised animals, avocados, nuts (except peanuts), uncooked olive oil, coconut oil, pasture-raised butter, eggs. Saturated fat is not bad either. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils you can eat and it has 15 grams of saturated fat. Good fat allows our cell membranes to work properly and allow certain vitamins to get absorbed more easily. Cholesterol has vital roles in the body as well, such plays a role with our hormones and production of vitamin D.
- Good fat does not make you fat
- Include healthy fats at every meal
Learn To Cook
This is probably the most important of all. Cooking really encourages the use of real ingredients and allows you to realize the potential that all of these foods have. Naturally, if you are cooking with fresh ingredients, you won’t have to be buying processed foods anymore. When you see a recipe out there that says “Add 1 can of this and 1 can of that” this is not cooking! You need to take the bare ingredients and put them together in order to eliminate all of the extra junk that we don’t want in our food. I know it’s easier and we all have to start somewhere but our goal is to get the point where we aren’t combining cans and boxes but actually creating something from basic ingredients.
If you need help getting the hang of cooking, Blue Apron and similar delivery services will send you quality ingredients with recipes. These types of services are very useful and well worth the cost. If you can follow directions, you can cook, it really is that easy. Go to Pinterest or Google, look for something you like and you will find tons of recipes. After a while, when you are feeling more confident, you can get creative and experiment then you’ll be making up your own recipes. If you feel like you might not have time, you can throw ingredients in a crock pot all day while you are at work and it will be done when you get home.
- Find recipes and start cooking
- Make it easier by using a slow cooker
I know you’ve heard it before but it is very important to drink enough water every day. Stop drinking empty sugar drinks or ones filled with chemicals. We think Crystal Light packets are healthy, but have you really taken a look at what is in it? You may be surprised. Water is wonderful. You’ll get use to it. Add some fruit if you’d like. Every system in your body needs water to function. Just a little dehydration and things don’t work as they should. This can show up in many ways like headaches and dry skin.
- Drink water instead of empty flavored drinks
Fresh Idea: The healthiest diet is to eat real food with nutritional value.