If you’ve read many of the articles on this website, you’ll know that I don’t believe that there’s only one path to weight loss (or health!). Each individual has their own hormone, habit, metabolism, medical, emotional, stress, genetic and other challenges to overcome. Even so, there really are some rules for healthy eating that apply to all of us… so here are some. If you think of additional ones, please add them in the comments!
A Dozen Rules for Healthy Eating
- Never sprinkle your food with guilt. Enjoy every bite, and be grateful for it.
- Learn about the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, even if you can’t eat 100% organic. Do your best to buy organic when it comes to the worst pesticide culprits. The “Clean 15” can help you keep food costs down. Even non-organic (well-washed) vegetables and fruits are generally better for you than processed foods.
- Buy from local farms and farmer’s markets whenever you can. The food is fresher and has higher nutritional value, and you’re supporting local business.
- If there are more than five ingredients on the label, especially if you can’t recognize them, leave it on the store shelf.
- If you’re full, leave food on your plate. Or better yet, tuck it away for later. No matter what your parents taught, you don’t need to clean your plate.
- It’s important to eat good fats such as butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, ghee… it’s even more important to avoid bad fats.
- Watch out for the calories you drink. This includes alcohol, soda, and yes, even fruit juice. Avoid these, not only because they’re fattening, but because they contain limited or no nutrition.
- Drink lots of water – 6 to 8 cups of clean water every day. Tea counts. Organic green tea is excellent for you.
- Avoid “hidden” toxins, such as antibiotics in dairy, hormones in meat, pesticides on non-organic teas, clean-up crops such as peanuts in (non-organic) peanut butter, aluminum in cooking utensils. You don’t have to be perfect, but keep learning.
- Try to reduce or even eliminate foods containing white sugar and white flour. Consider dropping grains containing gluten, at least for a trial period. If you must eat grains, try sprouted whole grains.
- If you eat meats, try to get them from organic sources when you can. Don’t over-cook or especially char them.
- Don’t fall for “low-fat” or “sugar-free” labels. Food manufacturers play a game of spiking more sugar, salt or fat to cover for the flavor loss from whichever ingredient is “low” this time around. If that doesn’t work, they usually add chemical flavors. Don’t go there. The book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter Michael Moss is a real eye-opener on this topic:
“Every year, the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese and seventy pounds of sugar. Every day, we ingest 8,500 milligrams of salt, double the recommended amount, almost none of which comes from the shakers on our table. It comes from processed food, an industry that hauls in $1 trillion in annual sales.”
How Healthy Eating is Achieved
Understand that healthy eating isn’t something that happens overnight. There’s a learning curve – you’re going to learn as you go and you’ll refine your shopping, your cooking, and even your food storage as you find out more. Every step along the way will improve the long-term quality of life for yourself and your family, so take small steps. There are lots of articles on this site to help you learn to improve the nutritional quality of your food and make healthy choices.
Remember, if you have a “Rule for Healthy Eating” that I missed, please post it below!