We have spent the last month looking at some different eating styles and plans:
- The Standard American Diet
- The Mediterranean Diet
- The New Nordic Diet
- The Okinawan Diet
- And just for fun: how a 127-year old French woman ate!
It is fascinating to me that people groups located so far from each other in very different climates and cultures can have basic principles and practices in common among their healthiest members. I guess it shouldn't be surprising - God made us all and equips our environments, regardless of how different they may seem, to allow us to live well if we choose!
Let's pull this together in three different ways:
- Common Principles To Engage (Eat This)
- Common Principles to Avoid (Don't Eat That)
- Unique, sometimes non-dietary recommendations (Think About This)
All of the healthy programs we looked at encouraged consuming the following:
- Lots of fruits
- Lots of vegetables
- Healthy fats (Dr. Mercola has a great article introducing healthy fats)
- High quality meat products, primarily fish, poultry and eggs
- *Whole grains, especially rye, barley and oats
*Wheat grain is a whole other health issue that we will address in a later post.
Don't Eat That!
All of the healthy programs we looked at encouraged limiting or avoiding the following:
- Processed foods (another article by Dr. Mercola outlines why this is so important)
- Sweets (including hidden sugar in sauces, sodas, fruit juice, etc.)
- Red meat
- "Bad fats," like hydrogenated vegetable oils (Crisco, vegetable cooking oils and margarine - these are found in just about every prepackaged foods, like chips, cookies and crackers, frozen pizza etc.)
Think About This!
There were also some things that were either not found across all of the different eating styles and plans, or that were not actually related to the food itself. I still think they deserve consideration:
- Eating with others as much as possible
- Slowing down when you eat
- Exercising (primarily walking places)
- Limiting your eating at a meal to the point where you feel 80% full
- Focus on seasonal, regional foods
- Eat organic when possible
- Avoid food additives
- Wild game as a meat source, whenever possible
- Herbs and spices, instead of salt
- More "root" vegetables
- Increasing anti-inflammatory spices and herbs
- Eat at home more
- Emphasize low glycemic index foods (lower carbohydrate content)
- Continue smoking until you are at least 117, eat 2 lbs of chocolate a week and drink port wine daily (all right, in deference to Madam Calment, she did actually quit smoking at 117!)
Make It Work!
We have spent the last month going over what some of the healthiest diets in the world look like. Today, we've brought all of it together in one post. Consider doing the following over the next few days:
- List all of the problems you are having in your life that you think might be even remotely food related: fatigue, depression, digestive issues, appearance, lethargy, chronic joint pain, fibromyalgia, diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, etc.
- Review the Eat This and Don't Eat That lists above and compare your own diet to it.
- Go to the Dr. Mercola links listed above and read the articles (and more, he really is a great resource).
- Decide if you want to move in a different direction.
- Review the Think About It section listed above and pick two or three things that stand out
- Make out some action steps and engage!
- Don't forget to share your thoughts and plans with those closest to you who can really help you on your journey.
I hope you have enjoyed the last month's blog posts on healthy eating. I have learned a lot personally in putting together this information and I hope it helps you to reach the healthiest you possible. God created us to be whole - eating right is part of that picture!
To Your Health!
Doug Williams, D.C. Care Chiropractic Lafayette, Indiana