Working with people and their diets is a challenge to say the least. I can barely keep myself in check most of the time. I believe that eating should be simple, should be enjoyable and should not be a chore. If one should look around, one can find a plethora of diet plans, fads, meal plans, and whatever the current trend or supplement is that week, but it is all for nothing. If one changes the focus from eating to lose weight to eating to be healthy then we can make smarter choices regularly and that will make us better in the long run which is the most ideal in my opinion.
After reading a book by Michael Pollen called, “In defense of food,” I picked up this term. “Eat whole foods, not too much, and mostly plants.” This statement has become my montra to help people understand how to eat better, eat simpler and still be able to enjoy life without consistently counting everything or taking supplements. Though this is a simple plan, it by no means makes this an easy plan to follow and I will explain why here in a moment. Let’s define this plan further.
- Eat Whole Foods: Before we can eat whole foods, we must first know what is a whole food. A whole food is simple, there are no other ingredients other than that food. A chicken breast is a chicken breast, there is nothing more added to the ingredients. An apple is an apple, no ingredient list necessary. If you stay to the borders of the grocery store, you typically find foods that require no ingredient label. These foods have an expiration date, they are perishable. A good rule of thumb, if you can not pronounce the word on the package, you probrably should not put it in your body. If we did nothing more than buy all of our food like this, we would much healthier in the long run, guarenteed. The key point, stay away from man made food stuff, non perishable food stuff and fast food stuff.
- Eat not too much: This point is going to be relatively different for each and every person. A couple of simple habits here can go a long way to helping improve our over all health. Fill your plate with mostly vegetables, keep protein portions to about the size of your palm at any one meal, and eat healthy carbs with each meal. What is a healthy carbohydrate. If it grows and is not processed then that is what we want. Great examples are sweet potatoes, white potatoes,oats, and fruits. Keep portion sizes relatively the same as protein portions for each meal, approx 4-6 ounces. Fill your plate and do not go back for seconds. Eat 3 to 5 of these kinds of meals per day depending on your activity level.
- Eat Mostly Plants: This is the most common area in which people struggle, eating their vegetables. When I speak to my vegetarian clients about nutrition, the first thing I have to get them to do is eat more vegetables. And if vegetarians are not eating enough vegetables, then the rest of us are really behind. When you are preparing your plate for a meal, the majority of the plate should be covered in vegetables. People can get pretty down in the weeds when it comes to different types of vegetables and which are best. In the words of keeping it simple, let’s focus on first just eating vegetables with every meal. Once that habit is established, we can nit pick further if we so choose.
There you go, this is my simple prescription or rather Michael Pollen’s simple prescription for eating healthy. This is one of the simplest plans to follow in my opinion, but that does not mean it is easy as previously stated. We live in a world full of fake and fast/convenient food. It does take time to develop the habit of eating healthy. But once we do, our energy is increased, our health is increased, and our overall quality of life is increased.
Habits to make this type of plan happen:
- Shop the borders of the grocery store.
- If you buy something in a package, read the ingredients.
- If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, put item back.
- Make your meal mostly vegetables
- Portion size of protein about the size of palm
- Portion size of carbohydrate about the size of palm
- Eat 3 to 5 of these meals a day