The logic behind healthy nutrition is not calorie-counting; it’s just a matter of not eating processed foods. People that have changed their diet to include more natural ingredients have noticed benefits like an increase in energy, clearer skin, and less overall illness – so it’s not just weight loss; investing in a diet plan with healthy foods is a rejuvenation of the whole body.
Basic Healthy Foods Pyramid
Below is the ideal healthy food pyramid for weight loss, with a brief description of each food group.
Meat, Fish and Eggs – You should be eating these at least once a day. Eggs for the protein and essential choline are contained in the yolks. Just egg whites don’t count; there’s so much good stuff in the yolks too. Fish is vital for the necessary Omega 3 fatty acids – these are vital to beating the inflammation that causes heart disease, stroke, arthritis and other ills. Meat, especially grass-fed beef, is an excellent source for those fatty acids. The fat and protein in these foods also mean you’ll be full faster and be less tempted to overeat than if you ate carbohydrates, like pasta or pizza.
Vegetables & Greens – This one shouldn’t come as a surprise; veggies are essential for providing all of the vitamins and minerals for your body. You want to aim for as wide a variety as possible: spinach and kale are just as important as carrots and capsicum (bell pepper). Mix different colours on your plate and try to avoid starchy things like pumpkin and potato, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
Nuts, Coconuts, and other healthy fats – Fat is your friend if you’re looking to lose weight (Sound strange right?). Cholesterol is actually needed in every cell of your body, or else they die. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have complete free reign, but here are a few things you definitely shouldn’t be afraid to eat more of: Olive oil, butter, avocados and their oil, nuts (especially macadamias and almonds), animal fat (lard or dripping is excellent for cooking) and coconut in all its forms (think cream, milk, shredded coconut and coconut oil).
Healthy Foods You May Try:
Just want to feel better without bothering about weight loss? Here are some food groups you should experiment with – see how you feel without them first, and then try adding them in and see if you notice a difference.
Fruit – yes, fruit is optional because of the sugar content. If you want to lose weight, definitely steer clear of gorging yourself on fruits; you can easily get your vitamins from veggies. You’ll be able to eat it again once you get more active and have less fat to burn. Suppose you need something sweet (oh, don’t we all sometimes?) have a couple of berries. Berries are pretty low in sugar content and actually contain healthful antioxidants.
Starches: potato, kumara (that’s sweet potato), yam and pumpkin-like fruit; these are all fine in small quantities, especially if you exercise a lot. They are essentially complex sugars, though, which means that when on a weight-loss journey: stay away! White rice is on this list too, but not brown – brown rice is in the ‘bad grain’ category, as it prevents you from absorbing essential nutrients.
Dairy: milk, cream and yoghurt – some people don’t have an issue with dairy, but you might be lactose intolerant without even realising it. How? You’ve always consumed dairy, so you don’t know life any differently, but you might feel better without it. To find out, try going without for a month, then adding it back in: if it makes a difference to your body, you’ll know.
‘Don’t Eat’ Foods
These are just plain bad for you, and I’ll be explaining them in more detail in a few weeks. In the meantime, let’s just say that all these food groups do weird stuff inside your body, and you should stay away from them as much as possible.
Vegetable Oils and Seed Oils – I’m talking sunflower, peanut, canola, and salad oils – dubbed the “heart-healthy” cooking choice. These things are actually chock full of trans-fats, something your body doesn’t know how to digest, which causes all sorts of upset. So throw out the bottles of cheap and nasty oils, and start cooking with good high-quality olive oil or animal fat.
Sugary, processed foods – chocolate and lollies (sweets or candy, depending on where you’re from), these are unhealthy, and you know it. Sugar (or some form of it) can be found in just about any packaged food: cereal bars, flavoured yoghurts, and peanut butter all contain sugar. So read the ingredients list next time you’re about to put a plastic-wrapped product in your shopping trolley. If it contains sugar, sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, (or any other -ose) and especially high fructose corn syrup, put it right back. All is not lost, though, as you can often find healthier versions of whatever you usually buy, even at the local grocery store. Go for the natural, whole fat yoghurt or the super-dark chocolate. Always check the ingredients and nutritional breakdown on the back: the less sugar and the more real food, the better.
Wheat and other grains – the primary nasty in this list is wheat because of the gluten, which deserves a whole article by itself – but that’s for another day. Grains, in general, are essentially harder to break down sugar, messing with your blood sugar levels the same way chocolate does, except longer and slower. The myth is that you need to keep your blood sugar high by constantly eating grains or sweet things. Still, you can actually keep it steadier more efficiently by breaking out of the sugar cycle. Grains also aren’t all that nutritious, so breakfast cereals have to be ‘fortified’. By the way, if you have iron deficiency, be careful with cereals and milk; mixing them can actually prevent the absorption of the zinc, iron, and calcium that you got from your meat and veggies.
Opt for products with natural ingredients and less or no sugar and additives. A healthy foods diet plan will help you live and feel better both physically and mentally.