Q: “WITH ALL THE CONFLICTING INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET, I’M CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT TO EAT. WHAT IS A HEALTHY DIET? “
–Hungry in Dublin
Dr Allegra says….
A: Food confusion is very common. It is the number one question I get. People, just like you, want to how to eat better. A healthy diet is essential at all ages. The more nutrient dense your food, the better you feel mentally, physically and emotionally.
First, there is not a one size fits all diet. We all have different digestive abilities and needs. Assessing your individualized dietary needs can be done with a licensed healthcare provider that is well versed in nutrition. In my private practice, I find that assessing your personal food intolerances is the best and most effective place to start optimizing your diet. I use this with all of my patients with great success.
Know that what you eat is important, and it is also important to look at HOW you eat. Many people benefit from eating 4-5 small meals a day, while others thrive with 2 larger meals daily. Including 1-2 servings of protein with each meal helps balance your blood sugar and mood. Keep in mind, a serving of protein is equivalent to the size of your palm, so everyone has different needs.
Please understand this tiny peek into healthy eating is NOT an all or nothing approach. Every little bit you do to make better food choices will benefit you. Do what you can, move slowly, keep upping your food game, and don’t sweat the rest.
Here is a framework to help you make better food choices.
What to Include in a Healthy Diet:
- Pasture-raised/wild meat, fish, and eggs
- Raw dairy, whole fat (if tolerated)
- Local seasonal food, vegetables, and fruits
- Quality fat: pastured butter, olive oil, pastured lard (without hydrogenation or preservatives), pastured tallow, and coconut oil
- Whole grains and nuts (if tolerated), seeds and legumes prepared properly– soaking, fermenting, sprouting
- Fermented foods: kefir, full-fat yogurt, raw cheese, sauerkraut, kim chi, sourdough, kombucha, jun, water kefir
- Clean filtered water
- Unrefined sea salt
Foods to Avoid/Limit:
- Processed cereals (packaged cereal, cold cereal, cereal bars)
- Refined sugar from cane, corn, and beets; including agave
- White flours
- Meat and eggs produced in confined factory farms; including farmed fish
- Vegetable oil, including hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils: corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, and safflower
- Corn syrup (all kinds)
- Ultra-pasteurized dairy
- Processed foods
- Processed soy products like soy protein, textured vegetable protein, soy milk, edamame, lecithin, and MSG
- Canned foods—BPA is linked to reproductive abnormalities and a heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. Look for brands with no additives and held in glass containers.
- Preservatives and artificial sweeteners—effects of additives are cumulative
This framework is just a small part of beginning to make better choices with your food. Choosing healthier food is a way to build your health AND these choices will help us create healthier families, healthier communities, and a healthier world. How is that for a positive ripple effect?
Need more help to eat better? Check out my healthy eating course here!
If you have a question for Dr. Allegra you would like considered, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “The Doctor Is In Question”.