The last 2 weeks I’ve blogged mainly about what shouldn’t be, or limited, in a healthy diet and how to structure your diet to start lessening the toxins. Eliminating the most toxic aspects of a modern diet goes a long way towards reaching health goals, whether it be weight-loss or general, overall health. So let’s review:
Stop Drinking your Calories. Sodas, canned and bottled juices and other drinks usually are full of sugar and empty calories. Even the no calorie versions of these products have been show to be problematic.
Action: Eliminate or drastically reduce all sodas, juices, drinks, etc. Replace with water, tea and coffee.
Hitting the Reset Button Transitioning from a typical modern diet of processed foods and drinks is usually best performed by “resetting” the body. Using a low carb or cyclical low carb approach for a couple of weeks or longer- depending on goals- the body “learns” how to properly run on fat(dietary and body fat) and glucose regulation(blood sugar) is improved.
Actions: If you are trying to lose weight, 1)I highly recommend eating 50-70g of carbohydrates or less a day for at least 2 weeks. Those carbs should be gotten from green vegetables and 2-3 pieces of fruit a day. The rest of the calories should be gotten from a moderate amount of protein and mostly good fat. 2)After 2 weeks, those who need to lose a lot of weight can continue low carb(I do recommend throwing in a starchy vegetable or rice every 2-3 days at dinner). Others can start eating carbs again if they choose. Those carbs should come from starches(potatoes, sweet potatoes and rice) and fruit. When inserting carbs back into the diet, be sure to balance out the energy balance(calories) by bringing your fat and carbohydrates into balance with your caloric needs.
Sugar: What’s the Skinny(or Fat) This post was an introduction to the carbohydrates glucose and fructose- the good, the bad and the gray areas.
Actions: During the low carb reset phase, limit carbohydrates(glucose and fructose) to the levels stated above. When not low carb, glucose(starch) is generally benign and can be eaten liberally. Just be sure to alter caloric fat intake in relation to carbohydrate intake to match your energy balance. Fructose from natural sources such as fruit is relatively benign and can be eaten liberally. Fructose from high fructose corn syrup and table sugar should be avoided.
Fat: The Other Fuel I explored the different kinds of fats in this post and pointed out the good and the bad.
Actions: Throw out all PUFAs such as vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and canola oil. Replace them with animal fat, butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Note that almost all restaurant food is cooked in PUFAs so eat out as little as possible and when you do eat out, eat baked, unbreaded meats or ask for the dish to be fried in butter.
Grain, Grain Go Away The relative good, bad and ugly concerning grains was explored in this post.
Actions: Wheat and its products should be drastically limited at least with the goal of total elimination. White Rice is benign and a great source of starch. Corn, oatmeal and quinoa are gray areas and if tolerated should be eaten in limited quantities. If not tolerated, avoid.
Legumes: Bean There, Done That This post was an overview on legumes, which are generally a gray area in the diet. They contain many beneficial compounds but also contain lectins and phytates.
Actions: If properly prepared and tolerated, legumes are generally okay in limited quantities except for soy(and it’s products) and peanuts. These should be eliminated.
Taking the actions outlined in this overview goes a long way towards improving health. I would argue that toxin avoidance in food is even more important than seeking out the “healthy foods” and consuming them.