Best Diet Practices
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on April 4, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
There is always a lot of controversy about what to eat and what not to eat! Despite the controversy, many experts agree that there are certain habits you can develop that will lead to excellent health.
Here are some of them:
1. Get back to basics. Your diet must include protein, fat and carbohydrate. Eliminating any one category leads to certain trouble. For example, if you stop eating any protein – beef, fish, turkey, chicken, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, and legumes, you will develop protein malnutrition. Your skin will look lifeless; your muscles will begin wasting away and in a short period of time your hair will fall out in handfuls. Include all three nutrients – protein, fat and carbohydrate in your diet.
2. Stay away from caffeine drinks that falsely charge you up while depleting your adrenals and your body’s stores of water.
3. Trans fats are a no-no. You must read labels and if trans fats are listed, it’s time to make a decision. Do you want temporary satisfaction that contributes to setting your feet on a path towards developing disease? Trans fats substitute for good fats in the body on good fat receptor sites. They block the good fats from performing their functions in the body: functions such as nerve transmission and brain function. The sooner you associate that cookie with trans fat and slow thinking, dementia and neurological disorders, the quicker you’ll be able to give it up.
4. Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption, focusing more on the vegetables than fruits. By doing this, you cut your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other degenerative diseases.
5. Have a handful of raw nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or Brazil nuts.
6. Drink pure water and do it freely.
But My Needs are Different… or are they?
Many people believe that their own personal best diet practices are different from others. In some cases this is true, such as when someone who is suffering from food allergies or diseases that have definite diet protocols. However, your DNA is very much like the DNA of your neighbors, brothers and sisters; in fact, it’s greater than 99% alike. Our bodies function very similarly and according to basic human physiology principles. Best diet practices don’t change much if you live in Africa or America. The only thing that differs is the choice of foods to accomplish the same end result.
Get Back on the Track of Best Diet Practices
Thus food choices can be good or bad. Try this little experiment: on a sheet of paper, draw a horizontal line from the left edge of the paper to the right. Now label the left side as BAD FOOD CHOICES and the right side as GOOD FOOD CHOICES. In the middle of the line, draw a crosshair that separates the two sides from each other. Next write down foods you eat under each category, taking into consideration that the middle of the line represents the crossover point. For example, pudding would be closer to the middle of the line than at the far left; potato chips would be at the far left on the line under bad diet choices while red potatoes would be on the right about halfway between the middle and the rightmost point.
Taking part in this exercise is extremely helpful because it sets boundaries in your mind for food choices that can carry over to your next visits at the grocery store. When you do go shopping, look at what you put in your cart. How many foods were on the ‘good’ side of the line? How many were on the bad side? Shift the balance to 7 or 8 ‘good’ foods to every ‘bad’ food. After awhile, increase the number of ‘good’ foods to 12 to 14 to 1 ‘bad’ food. Then start noticing how much your health is improving. It won’t take long before your food choices match the best diet practices recommended by the experts.
Photo Credit: stevendepolo
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan