I accidentally found the best piece of nutritional advice in small print on the back of a packet of strawberries. Here it is – A healthy diet consists of lots of fruit and vegetables, it is based on starchy foods such as whole grain bread, pasta and rice and is low on fat, salt and sugar.
Very clear, concise and easy to understand. It reminded me of the famous life advice – Don’t worry, be happy. Sounds wonderful but how do you get there?
Start with assessing what you eat now.
The first step on the way to your individual healthy diet starts with assessing your current eating habits and the foods you eat. Before you make any changes to your normal diet it is really important to have a clear picture of what you eat, how much you eat and when you eat.
The best way to do this is to start a food diary. The food diary is going to be your main tool in working with, changing and re-balancing your diet.
It will be really helpful to record how your body reacts to changes of the diet in general and to certain foods in particular. Don’t forget to note how your energy levels change over time. You can also take a note of your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, skin condition or any other personal health indicators and see how they change over the time with the changes in your diet.
If you regularly over eat it may be helpful to a note in your food diary why you eat.
Do you eat sometimes because you are bored? Is it just a habit for you to eat when someone puts a plate of food in front of you? Is it because you are craving sugar? Do you eat because it’s a social occasion and you are expected to eat? Is eating a form of entertainment for you?
Answering these questions will help you identify those occasions when you overeat, when you eat junk food, when you eat ultra-processed food for entertainment and many other occasions when you overload your body with the food it does not need.
Eliminate completely all foods with chemical additives.
Once you have a clear picture of what you are eating on a day-to-day basis the first step is to eliminate completely or cut back as much as you can all the ultra-processed and packaged foods and drinks. These foods contain additives and chemicals which are most harmful to the human body and most difficult to eliminate from the body. This is a really important step on the way to a better diet and better health.
Even if this is the only step you are going to make you’ll do a huge favour to your body.
The second step is to stop overeating. Eating too much on a regular basis overloads your digestive system, overloads your organs of elimination (the gut, the liver and kidneys) which leads to all sorts of digestive problems, health problems and excess weight.
At this stage it is also important to identify addictive foods in your diet which make you overeat. For most people these are: sugar, cheese, chocolate, coffee, refined carbs and fried food. You can add to this list natural and unnatural flavour enhancers and sauces which are designed to make food taste better so you can eat more of it. If you think that food cannot be addictive try giving up sugar or coffee for a week and see what happens.
Addictive foods make you overeat. Eliminate them from your diet.
Addictive foods make you eat when you are not hungry, they make you overeat. In large quantities addictive foods can be very harmful to the body. They can overload organs of elimination, make them work less efficiently and prevent them from removing waste and toxins form the body.
Your body will never tell you when to stop when you are eating addictive foods.
Live and fresh fruit and vegetables, natural and wholegrain foods are never addictive, they do not cause any unhealthy dependencies. If you are hungry and your body really needs some food you will greatly enjoy eating fresh juicy fruit, eating whole grains and you will know when to stop instinctively – when you stop enjoying the food you eat.
You can eat as much bananas, apples and grapes as you like without causing any harm to your body. If you occasionally overeat natural food the body will digest and absorb whatever it requires and eliminate the rest without any problem.
Normalise your bowel function.
The third step it to normalise your bowel movements to 2-3 times per day. What is considered normal for some people – one bowel movement per day – is actually a chronic constipation. It is especially harmful if there’s a lot of meat products in your diet.
Large amounts of semi-digested meat stuck for days in the warm and moist atmosphere of the small intestine begin to rot, putrefy and produce toxins. These toxins leak into the blood stream through the walls of the gut lining and poison the entire body.
You can start normalising your bowel movements by increasing the amount of rough fibre in your diet. The best and the most natural way to do this is to increase the proportion of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Fresh, uncooked vegetables are incredibly important for your gut health. Rough fibre found in vegetables is essential for healthy gut flora, it supports the integrity of the intestinal lining, it simulates the walls of the gut that help normalise bowl movements.
At this point you don’t need to make any drastic changes to what you normally eat (assuming you’ve eliminated all chemical additives). You just need to increase the proportion fruit and vegetables.
Replace the most harmful foods with less harmful.
The fourth step is to replace the most harmful foods with less harmful. For example, if you eat a lot of processed meat (burgers, sausages) replace it with meat that has not been processed – e.g. steaks. After a while you can gradually replace red meat with healthier chicken and fish.
If you try to start eating fish instead of burgers and sausages it is probably not going to work for you. But if you move gradually from harmful foods to less harmful it is going to be a lot easier to give up addictive processed foods.
There is no point making yourself eat something you don’t like. If you don’t like something, if you don’t have an appetite for something, However healthy it may be, that means that your body does not need it and eating it will just add an extra load on your digestive system.
Start eating more fruit and veg.
Most people enjoy eating fruit, but if you don’t try to experiment and try to find fruit you really enjoy eating. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount to start with. You can even start with fruit juices (freshly squeezed, homemade only) and gradually move on to fruits you enjoy eating.
If you are not used to eating fresh salads and vegetables you have to be creative to make sure you eat them every day. You can use any natural ingredients you like to make salads tastier, more appetizing and more appealing – you can use honey, mustard, raisins, oils, fruit to make sauces.
Evaluate your progress.
As you make these changes your diet should evolve and progress towards mostly natural, unprocessed food, whole grains, fresh fruit, salads and vegetables, legumes, nuts, as well as some organic grass fed meat and wild caught fish.
A very good sign that your healthy diet is working and you are on the right path is that your main organ of elimination – the gut started actively cleansing itself and your bowel movements have normalised to 2-3 or more times per day. This means that the waste and toxins removed from your body are not just from the natural food you eat but also those which were locked in your body.