What is a Healthy Diet?


 

Did you make a New Year's Resolution to eat healthier?  How is your diet resolution working?  Do you need a diet re-solution?

Everyday there are people resolving to eat healthier. Have you? Do you now ask yourself, “What is 'healthier'? To answer this most turn to books, magazines, TV commercial, doctors, friends and family and the government food pyramid for answers. They'll then try gimmicks, diets and the latest eating trend. The 'eat healthy' resolution usually goes by the wayside because of lack of commitment, unobtained results and total confusion. So many opinions and ideas to wade through: juicing, smoothies, meat, high protein, fat free, vegan, eat for your blood type, paleo, gluten free, supplements, etc. Makes my head spin!

I'd like to offer a simple solution......Forget it all! Choosing what to eat is a simple task. Or at least it can be. To begin your new eating lifestyle you must be clear on what you expect from your effort of eating healthy. It must be realistic. For instance, you can't expect to live forever but you can expect to loose weight, lower blood pressure, clear acne, strengthen immune system, have more energy and get rid of pesky acute or chronic symptoms like asthma, migraines, sinus issues and maybe heal disease. With a clear idea of what is expected from this healthy diet let's answer the big question........What is a healthy diet?

 

Let's start on the diet re-solution.  First and foremost, a healthy diet begins with the understanding of what is healthy food. Healthy food starts with wholesome food. Wholesome food is whole, natural and unrefined food. It is food that is presented to us from the earth that is made by God, not the laboratory or manufacturing plant. My definition of Wholesome food never contains artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives or flavor enhancers like MSG (monosodium glutamate). It is not genetically modified (GMO) or super hybrid, think common wheat. 'Wholesome' is farm style vegetables and fruits, unpeeled, whole grains, raw nuts & seeds, fresh eggs, fresh fish and fresh meat (not deli meat). These are nutritious foods that living things have evolved eating over the millions of years, including humans. Remember that humans and all living things posses the desire to eat for nourishment and calories; to obtain vital vitamins, minerals, amino acids (protein) and sugars in a balanced form. The further away you get from eating these whole, natural and unrefined foods, the further you get away from the whole foods designed to nourishing your body. If it isn't nourishing it's just filler, empty calories, and it is taking you away from your desired reward. And don't fall into the trap of thinking the enriched or vitamin added products are healthy. That's unwholesome food in disguise! Does adding a few vitamins to corn syrup water make for a wholesome beverage and good health? Of course not!

 

Sadly, we are a society that has lost touch with food. It seems common practice is to eat to 'fill up' with a heaping plate of refined enriched white pasta, white rice or a bowl of packaged cereal “with 11 vitamins and minerals” added. If you look at the conventional or standard diets they consist almost entirely of super hybrid refined wheat flour. This super hybrid variety of wheat has be fashion in the lab to contain a higher gluten proportion, resist pesticides and grow differently. Great for growing and manufacturing but maybe not so much for our digestion or health. Refining of wheat flour removes at least 36 nutrients except for the 4 synthetic nutrients that have been replaced. Refining removes most of the B vitamins (folic acid, pyridoxine B6, pantothenic acid B5), vitamin E, chromium, zinc and manganese which are essential to human health. Don't think nutritious food is important? It has been shown that people with B vitamin deficiencies are more likely to have severe depression symptom. Is there a correlation between refined grains and the state of our nation's mental health?

 

Refining also removes fiber and beneficial fats. The fiber of whole grains reduces cholesterol, heart disease and ensures gastrointestinal health. This accounts for far less colon cancer, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and constipation. “The fiber content of the whole grains is probably the biggest difference between the natural, or primitive, diet and the industrial, or Westernized diet, and likely a big difference between poor health and good health,” says Elson M. Haas, M.D., Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Fiber from the bran and fats from the germ aids satiety and helps keep blood sugar levels even by slowing glucose absorption. Refined grains are sugar. Remember, refined grains are metabolized as refined sugar so the white bakery bread, white rice and white pasta you eat is just like eating sugar!

 

Equally important to a wholesome diet is knowing what is healthy for you. What is 'healthy' to you is not necessarily healthy to someone else. Let's use dairy products as and example. There are those who would consider dairy products a wholesome food. I for one am very sensitive to dairy products. I get acne, sinus drainage and reduced immune function. (I get a lot of colds and flus when I consume dairy.) Yet every where I turn I'm being told dairy is a part of a healthy diet. In my family of 5 dairy consumption caused postnasal drip that progressed to constant ear infections, asthma/bronchitis, eczema, sinus infections, bacterial infections accompanied by high fevers and lots of bouts of the flu. I find it hard to believe that symptoms like these are unique to my family. Especially when I notice so many suffering the same symptoms. Yet we are told to consume dairy products daily all in the promise of good health. I learned that dairy was not 'healthy' for me or my family.

 

I know it's a tough idea to follow when 'experts' are telling you what to do to be healthy. Bottom line, everyone has food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances. How food culprits deprive you of good health is special to you. It all depends on your unique genetic makeup. Pay attention to what you've eating when you experience symptoms. Figuring out what bothers you is easier to discover when you are eating a truly whole food diet.

 

Let's use bread as an example. If you notice after you eat bread you get lethargic or have sinus pressure and the ingredients in the bread you eat are whole grain (usually wheat), water, yeast or sourdough starter and salt you have only 4 ingredients to view as potential culprits. Now tell me what you'd do if your bread's ingredient label reads: wheat flour, water, high fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, yeast, barley malt, wheat gluten, salt, calcium carbonate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, vit D3, vinegar, mono and diglyerides, calcium sulfate, monocalcium phospate, yeast nutrients (amonium chloride, ammonium sulfate), enzymes, yeast extract, wheat starch, calcium dioxide, ferrous sulfate (iron), B vit (Niacin, Thiamine, Mononitrate (B1), Riboflavion (B2), Folic acid), soy lecithin, azodicarbonamide, soy flour, whey, calcium propionate (to retain freshness), Datem, sorbic acid?

 

The later is a crazy ingredient list and I hope you are asking yourself why would anyone eat that! You get my point though. Your body must 'deal' with everything you eat. Plus it doesn't look wholesome.

 

There are a lot of temptations out there so remember the further you move away from your wholesome healthy diet the longer and harder it will be to obtain your results.

 

Be Healthy.......Be Natural........Be Tempted by good stuff!

 

Lori Diversey

The Nutritional Foodie

M. SC. Nutrition