Today we’re going to paint a portrait of the ideal diet.  Keep in mind when I say “diet,” I don’t mean a temporary meal plan.  I’m talking about establishing good eating habits for life!

To sum it up in one sentence: An optimal diet consists of a wide variety of mostly plant foods that end up on your plate looking pretty similar to how they are found in nature.  Let’s elaborate, because that sentence was kind of clunky.

Wide variety:  Different foods provide different nutrients.  Eating a variety of foods ensures that you get the nutrients you need to thrive.  Try filling your plate with lots of different colors; it’s both pretty and nutritious!

Mostly plant foods:  The most nurturing diet is supported by a foundation of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes.  Plant foods should be the loud rockstars of your diet, with meat and dairy as the quieter backup musicians.

Similar to how they are found in nature:  Our bodies evolved to eat food the way that it comes naturally.  Foods that are refined and processed until they have no life left in them do not do very much for us nutritionally.  A whole foods based diet, sometimes referred to as “clean eating,” consists of minimally processed foods.

How processed is “minimally processed?”  There’s no exact definition on this, but there are two clues you can consider while looking for clean foods.  First, how many steps did this food go through to get to where it is now?  I can get from milk to plain yogurt with minimal work.  It takes a lot more steps to end up with nonfat, artificially sweetened, Boston cream pie flavored yogurt (and I don’t even know what some of those steps would be). 

The other clue to look for is the packaging.  Firstly, try to buy packaged foods as seldom as possible.  Fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, bulk grains, nuts, and beans all can be bought as naked as the day they were born.  If you are buying a packaged food, check out the ingredients.  Is it a long list or a short list?  Do you recognize each of the ingredients, or are there some weird long words on there?  If you don’t know what it is do you want to eat it?

I hope these guidelines give you some food for thought on your next trip to the grocery store!

Tosca Reno is an author who has a number of great books on “eating clean.”  She is not a nutritionist, but her guidelines are well informed.

8/2/2012 03:05:03 am

I'm laughing right now--for breakfast I had kale-cabbage-lentil salad (YES, for bfast) with a bowl of blueberries and a poached egg. SOOO good. Once you start eating whole foods anything processed tastes pretty bad.

8/2/2012 01:14:53 pm

I love it Marilyn! I do the same thing; I throw an egg on leftover veggies and call it breakfast.

1/3/2013 09:21:43 pm

Although humans are omnivores, each culture and each person holds some food preferences or some food taboos. This may be due to personal tastes or ethical reasons. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy. Thanks.

1/9/2013 08:51:15 pm

A particular diet may be chosen to seek weight loss or weight gain. Changing a subjects dietary intake, or going on a diet, can change the energy balance and increase or decrease the amount of fat stored by the body. Some foods are specifically recommended, or even altered, for conformity to the requirements of a particular diet. Thanks.

2/3/2013 07:23:45 pm

Nice healthy point you have shared on diet to get healthy weight. Thanks for your great healthy support.

6/16/2013 05:50:01 pm

This is the article that I would recommend everyone to read. It gives us various health tips and helps us in selection of various food habits also. It also helps us know about various varieties of plant foods. I will continue looking after your blog for such informative articles.

7/21/2013 01:33:43 pm

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