We would all love to find a convenient way to follow the “perfect diet,” after we figure out what that actually looks like. Many studies agreed on the same healthy diet philosophy. The most popular was published in 2014 by Yale University and identified ‘the best human diet for health’ was to simply eat whole foods.1 This traditional nutrient-dense approach to diet has proven to be effective for those who follow it. However, due to information overload in our society and lack of clear guidelines, implementing a whole food approach on a day-to-day basis can feel overwhelming and unattainable for many.
Here are some easy guidelines to simplify the process of mastering your optimal diet, despite your lifestyle:
Lower carb meals. Aside from some athletes, many health professionals suggest approximately 80% of your meals should lean towards having a lower, or ‘slower’ carbohydrate content.2,3 Slow means the carbohydrates have high fiber content which slow blood sugar spikes. A typical low carb lunch may consist of a large salad, chopped vegetables and beans or chicken. Tip: Don’t skip the healthy fats like olive oil-based dressing or added nuts and seeds.
1/2 plate full of vegetables. Your carbohydrates should come from mostly vegetables. This means replacing your bun and fries with lettuce wrap and a double side of sautéed broccoli. Easy!
Protein. The absolute best appetite suppressant known to date is protein. It also repairs tissues and sustains energy like nothing else. Prioritize and budget for high-quality of protein, especially if from an animal source. Plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, and seeds count too!
Nothing from a bag or a box. Probably not new advice to you, but track how many snacks you consume that are pre-packaged…replace those with veggies and dip, boiled eggs, homemade low-sugar trail mix…real food.
Limit alcohol to 2 days per week. Especially for fat loss; 1-2 drinks max. Nothing thwarts fat loss like alcohol. As a sugary additive to our diet at an average 7 calories per gram, it can easily put your body into fat-storing mode.
The secret behind the above guidelines is not so much that it is offering you the “perfect diet” (still worth following since perfect doesn’t exist!), but it is actually setting your body up for better digestion, increased metabolism for fat burning, and enhanced detoxification. When we provide the body with the optimal nutrition from real food, along with healthy lifestyle habits like exercise and well-managed stress, we can make it easy to manage detoxification, blood sugar and even an occasional ‘off the diet’ splurge.
Diet is at the root of health, so it must be a priority. Thankfully, unlike some life situations and environmental toxins, it is something we can control. Keep these simple guidelines in mind to easily improve and maintain your health.