Stop eating the wrong foods is such a controversial and complex area; my challenge is to cover this in just a few short pages, and without upsetting anyone; that’s going to be hard!
For the last 40 years, our culture has been drowning in bad dietary advice. That’s largely why today, you can’t open a newspaper or switch on the TV without hearing about ‘the obesity epidemic’, ‘the diabetes epidemic’, rising cancer rates, rising heart disease rates, the worry of rising childhood obesity. The massive increase in autism spectrum disorders, the rampant rise in auto-immune disease, the dangers of chlorinated chicken, public fears around genetically modified organisms, arguments over ‘low-carb’ or ‘high-carb’ and fear that red meat is giving us all heart disease and cancer.
Over the last 40 years, we pointed the finger of blame for our weight problems and the rise of heart disease at saturated fat from meat, then at eggs for causing high cholesterol and then at butter. Consumers have been told that eating fat makes you fat, and in our quest to remove the fat from our supermarket shelves, foods have been pumped full of white refined sugar and processed vegetable oils.
The results are not pretty.In my opinion, based on my own personal health transformation, the hundreds of books and scientific studies I have read, the hundreds of doctors, trainers and experts I have spoken with and learned from, and my experience helping other people to lose their unwanted weight, the main thrust of Western public nutrition advice over the last 40 years has been wrong. Dead wrong.
So, what should we eating?
This short Article does not allow me the space to go into great detail – if you want to read lots more in detail then In short:
1: Eat plants and animals.
This is the basis of eating the Mother Nature’s Diet way. Just eat fresh whole foods, that’s plants and animals. By volume, two thirds of your food should be plants, and one third should come from animal sources. Vegetables and meat or fish should form the bulk of your diet. Buy organic, buy free range, buy pastured meat and sustainably caught fish.
At least 90% of the time, you should eat just vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, fruits, nuts and seeds.
Don’t buy cheap meat that has raised indoors and fed grains. The animals are mistreated and the meat is less nutritious. Your goal should be to buy outdoor grass-fed meat, free range eggs, organic veggies and fruits.
2: Cut the sugar.
When the mainstream health advice was to cut fat, food manufacturers responded by cutting fat from the food on the supermarket shelves. The result was tasteless food, so they replaced the fat with additional sugar, lots of sugar.
The end result of that is High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in many processed foods and drinks, a factor that is contributing to the obesity epidemic and the rise in type-2 diabetes (this remains under debate in the science community).
They add sugar to everything these days. Pizza, orange juice, pre-cooked chicken portions and almost everything else that comes in a packet, box or carton with a label, a bar code and a list of ingredients.
The more food manufacturers add sugar to everything, the more ‘normalised’ we all are to sweet tastes. It’s ‘poisoning’ our palates, our sense of taste, making us crave sweetness in everything. This makes life harder when folks try to adopt a healthy lifestyle. At first, they think vegetables taste bland, boring or ‘yuk’ when really, they don’t; it’s the person’s palate that is at fault, not the vegetables.
We have to break that cycle (it’s OK, you can break it in just a few weeks) by cutting out all the sweet tastes and learning to love the fresh taste of proper food again.
Just cut the sugar, and avoid all processed, packaged food. A little sweet treat from time to time won’t do you any harm, but sweet food is often super convenient, and it’s just too easy to habitually overeat the stuff. If weight loss is your goal (and you’re reading this article, so I assume it is) then cut the sugar out of your life for a few months and see how it helps you shift those unwanted inches.
3: Eat more vegetables – try for 10-a-day!
Less fruit, more veg!
Here in the UK, the government has been promoting ‘5-a-day’ for years, since the WHO (World Health Organisation) broadly recommended that a healthy diet should include at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day.
The main problem is, most people don’t eat five a day, especially not the vegetables, and over the last ten years or so, a lot of research has argued that in fact five is far too low, and the advice should be seven a day, or 10-a-day, or even 13-a-day, as is recommended in some other countries.
Here at MND, I believe that in fact, 20-a-day would be a worthier target, if you want truly abundant healthy living. Personally, I achieve an average of 17-a-day, generally that’s three fruit and 14 veg. On some days I have managed to pack in 21 or 22 servings per day, mostly veggies.
Try to eat lots of fresh green vegetables every day, plus a range of fruits and veg across the colours – reds, oranges, purples and yellows.
4: Fat, especially saturated fat, is not the ‘baddie’ of the food world
The saturated fat in wild-caught game, wild caught fish, grass-fed meat and pastured dairy is not bad for you. Public health advice pointing the finger at “animal fats” has been misguided.
I’m trying to short-cut a lot of science in just a few words here, to avoid going off into pages and pages on this topic, so think of it this way:
Meat from lazy overweight animals kept locked in a barn all day eating grain = poor fats.
Meat from healthy animals allowed to roam free outside eating grass all day = healthy fats.
It’s really quite-a-bit more complicated than that, but that’s the basics of it. Do the best thing for your own health, and don’t support the mistreatment of farm animals, stretch your budget for their health and yours and buy the free range,organic, pastured meat. Opt for sustainably caught fish too.
5: Drop those processed, refined grains.
When fat was wrongly thought to be ‘the enemy’ causing obesity, mainstream diet advice told everyone to eat more grains. In my opinion, this was bad advice.
In short, the case against grains comes down to a few key points:
Processed starchy carbohydrates (think white bread and pasta) are contributing to the obesity epidemic. We’ve been told that carbohydrates are ‘slow-release energy foods’, and there is a decent amount of scientific truth to that. The problem is sedentary lifestyles.
Let me put this in plain English for you. You don’t need a whole lot of ‘slow-release energy food’ . When all you do is sit around on your big butt all day long. Consuming excess calories from highly-palatable carbohydrates (sweetened breakfast cereals, soft white bread, lots of rice and pasta) is contributing to weight gain, and these same sugary calories seem to be an exacerbating factor in the rise of type-2 diabetes too.
In small amounts, they might be OK, but the trouble is. Most people eating them in large amounts, and this is a problem. These foods tend to provide a lot of calories, delivered as sugars. With not much else in the way of quality nutrition. These sugars can be harmful over time, leading to reduced insulin sensitivity and increasing your chances of developing metabolic dysfunction, perhaps not in everyone, but certainly in those who are susceptible, such as those folks living a sedentary life- style.
Get your carbs from vegetables
If you include these starchy foods in your diet, then they are displacing other foods – namely your target 10 or more servings of vegetables per day!. The vegetables will contain a lot more vitamins and minerals (and some great beneficial fibre) than the starchy processed carbs, so opt to get your carbs from vegetables the way Mother Nature intended, not from cereals, bread and pasta.
Many people are intolerant to gluten, a protein in wheat and related grains. Between one third and one half of the human race is somewhat intolerant to gluten. Depending on your sensitivity, this may be causing you direct symptoms, or just nudging you towards sub-optimal gut function.
The problem of Grains
Grains contain naturally occurring chemicals that play havoc with our digestive system – phytates, gluten, lectins. They are designed to protect the grains from being digested. And they can cause all sorts of digestive problems inside us. These are likely to cause problems with digestion for some people. (If you really ‘know your stuff’ when it comes to nutrition, please accept my apologies for brevity here! I’m trying to keep this very simple and accessible to everyone!
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These are the general food rules for life. These are not specific guidelines for specific instances. If you are an athlete preparing for a competition. If you are trying to achieve some specific goal, you may need something different. But for most people, most of the time, this is the MND way to eating for desired fat loss. Because a long healthy life, abundant energy and a lean strong healthy body.