We are so bombarded by information that sometimes it makes it hard to think. We become paralyzed by knowledge, not knowing which direction to turn. We have been told to not eat meat, then to eat lots of meat and no carbs. We were told to not eat fat, then told that fat is good. Red wine is bad… never mind, its good!
Debates rage on, is it better to juice, or blend? Is it bad to combine my foods? Proteins and carbs shouldn’t mix, but wait! To get a complete protein I’ve been told I SHOULD combine my food! Should I take on a raw diet? Vegan? Raw Vegan? Should I eat according to my blood type? My astral sign? Should I eat naked while standing on my head under the moon howling like a wolf?
OH MY GOD! STOP! STOP THINKING SO MUCH!
Don’t take me the wrong way, I in no means am implying that you should stuff your face with whatever comes your way. I am not saying give up. I’m saying, there’s an easier way.
Its so simple, its stupid really. First we need to understand the 3 macronutrients that your body needs to survive.
- Carbs – This is energy. This is our fuel. Whole grains such as quinoa, barley, oats, millet, brown rice, fruits, vegetables and sometimes wheat (unless you’re wheat sensitive or have celiacs). WHOLE GRAINS, not processed white flours that turn to sugar in your body, in turn becoming fat.
- Fats – Needed for the absorbtion of nutrients, it helps protect our organs, our joints, and wards off brain deterioration such as Alzheimers and dementia. This includes healthy fats found in avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds and in small amounts, extra virgin olive oil. NOT THE TRANS FATS, THE HYDROGENATED OILS, OR THE COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF OIL WE USE IN COOKING.
- Proteins – Protein is the building blocks of life, it is even (in small amounts) in fruit and vegetables. It is in everything. Nuts, legumes, and grains. For my non-vegan friends, it is okay to eat lean meat. Without the use of growth hormones and antibiotics, and organically raised in humane conditions, the consumption of meat is not a bad thing. (Sorry to offend my hardcore vegan readers here, but the consumption of animal products is necessary for certain people, see, “I Had to Eat Meat to Cure My Chronic Illness” http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8803/yes-im-eating-meat-to-cure-my-chronic-illness.html) Cold water fish such as cod and salmon, as opposed to farm raised, is okay and quite good for you. However, you will be hard pressed to find a protein deficient person, even among vegans, so it is absolutely unnecessary to eat animal products. Quinoa and tofu are complete proteins but if you worry about getting enough in your diet, add in a protein powder to your daily repitior.
Once we understand that we can’t ignore any one of those groups and maintain good health, even if we lose weight in the short term (which is very common with fad diets that cut out one of these completely, such as atkins) then we can delve a bit deeper. Micronutrients are your vitamins and minerals, your fiber. Vitamin A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins. Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium Sodium, Chloride, sulfur. (b12 is the one thing a vegan is usually deficient in, but that is quickly overcome by including a multivitamin or adding in nutritional yeast, which can be used in everything from pasta to salads)
The thing is, if we eat a wide range of food from the macronutrients, including lots of fruits and vegetables, we really don’t have to worry about how much vitamins and minerals we get. We just do. We are so lucky to have access to foods from all over the world, and the ability to freeze and can our produce for the winter months, when the farmer’s markets close down and we might be limited to the local produce. By having shakes and salads that include fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains, we usually are getting all the vitamins and minerals that we need. Recently I did a project for school where I tracked my intakes for 3 days and my vitamin and mineral intakes were mostly 100% of my RDA, with a few in the 200% range, and a couple in the 300%. Plus, the diet I put forth is extremely alkaline, but again, not something you even have to think about if you eat properly. Now I can’t speak for everyone, but since I do post recipes quite often about what I’m eating on a daily basis, it isn’t hard to follow my example. At least that’s my hope.
Here a few rules I strive to get across to people, its not a short list, but it isn’t complicated, its just the basics:
- Make sure a majority of your diet is fresh vegetables and fruits with a side of whole grains. Variety is key. If one week you’ve eaten a lot of kale, try spinach the next. If you had brown rice today, have quinoa tomorrow.
- Juice, or blend, it doesn’t matter, but if you do decide you like juicing better just make sure you get enough fiber in your diet. (Fiber, the part of the food extracted by the juicing process)
- Stop eating out, stop eating packaged processed foods, stop relying on your microwave.
- Stop saying you have no time, stop saying its too expensive, stop making excuses. Make time for yourself.
- Have salads and healthy sauteed meals.
- Eat whole foods, eat organic, and eat local, seasonal produce.
- Learn to clean your house and body without the use of toxic chemicals
- Stop gorging on sugar (all kinds, High fructose corn syrup, glucose-fructose, liquid sugars, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar)
People around me are sick, they are depressed, they are inflamed, and they are dying. Yet they keep doing the same things over and over. It should be mentioned here that even though a Doctor can give you a pill to “cure” most anything, from attention difficulties to obesity, there is usually a natural remedy that works just as good if not better without all the negative side effects. (Most pills for mental disorders have a 50/50 chance of working anyway, with the side effect of worsening the condition, i.e. an antidepressant that may cause suicidal thoughts) Good health, mentally and physically, is not a hard thing to obtain if you follow the simple rules I stated above. There is no need to over think what you eat if you know what healthy food looks like. Of course, meditation and good, healthy relationships with friends and family are also very important, but for the purpose of this article, I’m focusing on what you put in and around your body. While I understand the nature of food combining theories, and I am well versed on what is alkaline and what is acid forming, and I personally subscribe to a mostly raw vegan diet, I feel the more advanced subjects such as these are better left alone until we can overcome the bigger hurdles the majority of the population face. Overall it just confuses people struggling with the first steps in conquering their health.
You are the master of you health. The body is a resilient machine and every day is a chance to detoxify from past mistakes. Take control of your health, and stop over thinking your diet. Understanding what is bad, (processed food, sugars, trans fat) and what is good (whole fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains) is all you need to know. That’s it. Everything else will fall into place and then you can start to delve deeper into the issues of nutrition and decide what works best for you. Whether you choose to eat meat, or vegetarian, pescetarian, vegan, or raw…all of that comes after you take the first step to owning your health, and your destiny. Please stop thinking “nutrition” and begin to think, “real food”. I promise, the rest will fall into place.
*And last but not least, I’m not a doctor. I’m not licensed to diagnose or prescribe. This is for educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Use information at your discretion, taking into account medical history. I speak from life experience and my schooling in holistic nutrtion.
- Raw Food Diet (noshme.wordpress.com)
- The Cost of Raw Vegan Dieting – Less Than Expected (journalistnikkiraz.wordpress.com)
- 18 foods that fight common ailments (mytechnologyworld9.blogspot.com)
- Is feeding your children a raw vegan diet nuts? This family says is helped them beat everything from asthma to acne (thisismoney.co.uk)
- Getting down and “clean” with clean living. A Mom Living the Vegan Lifestyle (peskyapronstrings.wordpress.com)
- “So, Where Do You Get Your Protein?” (karenknowler.typepad.com)
- Healthy Life Guidelines To Follow For Better Nutrition (toddycorbin.wordpress.com)