The experts say….well, that frequently changes in regards to healthy eating. New diets and fads can be found all over the internet, and it can be hard to know which are best for your specific needs. Fortunately, there are basic tips and guidelines that ensure healthy eating without requiring you to follow a specific diet.
Paleo and Low carb diets are great for some people. The most important thing to note when on Paleo or a Low Carb diet is that you should not limit your fat intake and must avoid grains, legumes, and sugar. These diets are some of the most healthy, as the aid in cutting sugar completely from your diet, including grains and flours, which turn into sugars during digestion. This even includes whole grains. Of course, an occasional treat is okay, but these diets aim to cut out over 90% of sugars.
Healthy fats, such as beef tallow, lard, olive oil, avocado oil, and a few nut oils are preferred to hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenated oils are structurally altered to preserve food, and in the process of alteration are stripped of any and all nutrition. Hydrogenated oils are high in trans fats, which raise to bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. Your brain and body need healthy, nutritious fats.
Many people enjoy a diet with moderate protein, no sugar or starches, and lots of healthy vegetables and fats. This appears to be the most universally beneficial diet. in this diet, processed grains are mostly eliminated, but whole grains can be enjoyed in moderation.
When we design our menu at Live Well Eat Smart, we strive to provide healthy alternatives to white potatoes, processed oils, flour, sugar, processed grains, and idolized salts. We use healthy, whole fats such as olive oil, avocado oil, and rice bran oils exclusively and substitute sweet potatoes for many of the recipes that otherwise require white potatoes. Our baking frequently features no flour or grains, instead opting to use coconut, almond, quinoa, and tapioca flour. Instead of white sugar, our baked items are designed with molasses, coconut sugar, stevia, and monk fruit sugar.
We use all organic grains and beans when these items are present in a dish and reduce the amount used. This way you can enjoy brown rice or beans but we use less of these starches and more veggies with olive oil.
Michael Pollan had it right with his book “Cooked”, where he advises eating meat, grains, and beans sparingly, and loading up on vegetables.
I’ve found that the easiest way to know if a diet will work for you is by judging how you feel. Some people will experience and drop in energy when first starting a low carb diet that omits all grains, flours, and sugars. Fortunately, this problem is easily solved by taking an electrolyte supplement. We love Ultima brand electrolyte powder (delicious and sugar-free!).
Listening to your gut is also great advice for healthy eating. Our gut bacteria are connected to our brains, and overall health is achieved when you eat foods that feed your gut biome. We add fermented foods frequently to our menu, and make our own Kim Chi and Sauerkraut. Our breads are long fermented and made with heirloom grains for easy digestion.
Eating local produce is important as the biodiversity in locally grown organic produce has been shown to aid in digestion and vitamin and mineral are more bioavailable.
Enjoy your favorite foods in moderation and strive to eat only clean and non-processed foods and you should see an increase in energy and focus.