A Healthy Diet - Foods To Include, Foods to Avoid

A healthy diet for you may differ from my ideal diet, however there are some parameters from which to choose the best foods to support your health.  

Although many people believe we are all different, and therefore what works for some may not work for others, this needs to be clarified.  

A healthy diet constitutes choosing from among those foods that best support human health ~ whole, nutrient-dense foods that our human physiology is best designed to utilize for immunity from  disease, and optimal physical, mental, and emotional health.  

A look at human history and evolution, along with observations made by researchers and  pioneers like Weston A. Price, DDS,  who obtained detailed records and measurements comparing dental health, along with physical health, strength, and stature, and  immunity from disease of Native populations still consuming their ancestral diets with those of similar ancestry who were consuming so-called modern foods provides a good indication of what constitutes a healthy diet for humans.  Although the precise foods varied from tribe to tribe, clear patterns emerged.  

The primary staples and foods considered most sacred were all of animal origin.   The specific types of animal foods consumed varied  depending on what was native to their region ~ an important macrobiotic principle.  

All animals including humans are capable of consuming an omnivorous diet, however, the physiology of each species  ~  gut size, stomach acid content, and much more ~ determine the types of foods  ~ animals, fish, birds and insects versus plant matter ~ that each species specializes in eating, that is, what each species is designed to eat for optimal health.

A healthy diet for you will be determined by which foods best support your health goals,  and can best restore and maintain health  based on your constitution, current condition, past dietary history, the region you live, and even your ancestry.  

There are many ways to customize your individual diet ~  within the full scope of available foods that the human physiology is designed to eat for production of energy, maintenance of a healthy weight, and immunity from disease and premature degeneration.

Don's video explains this further ~ showing the contrasting gut size and structure, stomach acid content, and other variables of herbivores versus carnivores, including our primate 'cousins.'  While many are labeled 'omnivorous' ~ Don points out that all animals and humans consume both plants and other animals.  What is important to understand is what our physiology is designed to preferentially specialize in for the most optimal physical health and development.

The first principle of creating a healthy diet according to your true nature is to understand some nutritional basics, including knowing which foods are considered  the least healthy by pretty much everyone in the field of nutrition and health.

Here is a list of foods that pretty much everyone should avoid, most if not all of the time.

Foods that are not part of a healthy diet:

  • Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats - These fats have a hydrogen atom added chemically to allow a vegetable oil is naturally liquid at room temperature to become solid, and therefore more shelf stable.  You can often read this on the label as "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" palm, cottonseed, or corn oil.  These fats are a synthetic alteration that the body is not designed to utilize, and can cause a host of problems.  Anything that is synthetically altered should be strictly avoided, and is not part of a healthy diet.

  • Highly synthetic sweeteners and refined sugars, including high fructose corn syrup, and synthetic or 'fake' sugars, such as saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame, neotame, and sucralose.  

    Some of these sweeteners go by the brand name of 'Equal' or 'Sweet and Low.'  Synthetic modified food substances are lower in calories, but they are intensely sweet.  They are used in diet sodas, gum, mints, and many other products.  

    Holly Strawbridge, former editor of Harvard Health interviews Dr. David Ludwig to see if he agreed with the claims made by the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) that the use of artificial sweeteners may help people consume fewer calories leading to less weight gain.  Less weight gain means lower risk for heart disease and diabetes.  Ludwig has a few concerns about this logic.  First, he is concerned that people will replace the lost calories from consuming no or low-calorie diet sodas containing artificial sweeteners with other sources, in as he says an "I'm drinking diet soda so it is okay to have cake" kind of rationale.

    He believes the intensity of the sweetness may cause people to lose their taste for natural foods like fruits and vegetables.  He also points out that the San Antonio Heart Study found that those who drank 21 diet sodas per week were twice as likely to become overweight to obese as those who didn't drink any.  This can be due to several factors, however, many people play the deny and rationalize game, deluding themselves about their actual intake of food.  The synthetic sweeteners have also been linked to headaches or migraines, and other health issues.  Artificial foods that have been created in a lab are simply not part of a healthy diet.

  • Junky snack foods that are dry, salty, high in sodium, and contain other chemicals and flavoring agents, including cheese flavored corn chips are not part of a healthy diet, and should be avoided.  

    Substitute a baked chip, or learn to enjoy other foods to get your crunchy fix on, like crisp fresh vegetables.  Too many dry crunchy salty snacks leads to dehydration, which leads to an excessive intake of fluids which taxes the kidneys. 
  • Foods with food colorings, and anything written on the label that you can not identify as a real food are definitely not part of a healthy diet!

  • Essentially, most foods that come in a can or box  are  overly processed (with few exceptions), and are not considered staple foods in a healthy diet, unless fresh alternatives are not available.  That being said, some are far worse than others, but in general, eating a healthy diet involves reducing reliance on packaged and processed foods.  Sardines, mackerel, and possibly canned tomatoes are among the exceptions.
  • Sodas with food coloring, and artificial sweeteners or refined sugars are avoided in healthy diets, as explained in the second recommendation above.  There are healthier alternatives, including plain mineral water (our favorite is Gerolsteiner), or sparkling water with natural fruit flavor added, such as those made by Sprouts or Trader Joe's. Otherwise, purified water, and various teas, coffee, or coffee alternatives are recommended as your main beverages.  Tea contains small amounts of manganese.

  • Refined grains and sugars, including products made with 'wheat flour', 'enriched flour' or any processed and milled grain, and refined sugar.  

  • Many people may also need to avoid whole and refined wheat, products made from wheat, or other gluten-containing grains, such as barley, rye, and possibly oats, kamut, spelt or other whole grains.  Those with Chron's disease or irritable bowel may want to experiment with avoiding beans and legumes, and products made from them as well.

  • Genetically modified foods should be avoided to the best of ones' ability given the lack of food labeling laws.  Corn, wheat and soy are at the top of the list.

Sodas with artificial flavoring, and lots of sugar, along with dry crunchy processed snacks are not recommended to be consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet.  An occasional treat can be enjoyed by those in decent health, although best to totally avoid them.  They are harmful, expensive, and not worth the brief satisfaction they may provide.  Photos courtesy of Pexels.com

A healthy diet is a balanced diet.  What constitutes a balanced diet?

In the Churchill Livingston book, Chinese Dietary Therapy, with Liu Jilin as the main editor, and Gordon Peck as the subject editor, a balanced, healthy diet is defined as follows:

"A balanced diet means that the kinds of foods we consume and the nutrients these foods contain should be comprehensive, adequate in amount and proportion, so that the nutrients supplied by our diet will meet the needs of the body." 

Further,  "the types and amounts of foods should be present in appropriate proportions."

Protein and fat is required by our body as sources of essential amino acids and fatty acids.  There is no actual requirement for dietary carbohydrates.  The body can convert the small amount of glucose required by the brain from protein and fat.  

Fats, and especially cholesterol are primary components essential for healthy brain functioning,  healthy nerves, fertility and reproduction, and  many other important functions.

Keta (Chum) Salmon is milder and less fatty than Pacific wild salmon. Served w/ a red pepper & red onion sautéed relish.

The second principle of eating a healthy diet is understanding which foods are
most appropriate for human health.  

The most nutritious foods are those foods which provide the greatest, and most easy to assimilate nourishment.  These foods may vary a bit depending on your ancestry, as you are more genetically adapted to the foods that your pre-agricultural ancestors consumed.  

The best foods for optimal health are whole, natural foods, as close to their original form as possible.

The most nutrient-dense foods are animal foods of all varieties ~ especially organ meats.  Primitive and tribal cultures ate 'the head to the toe' ~ or all parts of the animals.   Organ meats were most revered as they contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C found in adrenal glands.

Native populations world wide ~ including our Neanderthal ancestors ~ consumed whatever types of fish or animal flesh foods, wild fruits (which were smaller, higher in protein, and less sweet),  fresh wild greens and  plants, underground storage tubers, nuts, and seeds that were seasonally available in their local region. They did not eat imported foods.

Some populations also supplemented their diets with whole grains, such as millet or quinoa, wild corn, or beans.  Weston Price observed that these foods supported health to a much lesser extent as the animal food portions of diets, however refined versions of these foods quickly led to decay, disease, and degeneration.

Dairy foods were included in many early Nordic, Germanic, and French diets as well.  

The Tibetans, the Maasai and other primitive cultures have also consumed high protein and fat diets and the milk from various animals for generations free of our modern diseases commonly (and erroneously) associated with high-fat diets.

Wild cod with sautéed vegetable relish.

"While Price was a pioneer, other scientists have studied traditional cultures and concluded that food is almost certainly responsible for the nearly complete protection that hunter-fisher-gatherers enjoy from dental and chronic disease."

~Ron Schmid, ND, Primal Nutrition, Paleolithic and Ancestral Diets for Optimal Health

Scientists from MIT and the University of Laguna in Spain examined human fecal remains found in El Salt in Southern Spain, an area known to have been inhabited by Neanderthals dating back 50,000 years.  

According to the article, Did Neanderthals eat their vegetables?  published in MIT News, upon examination of both the fecal samples and the soils, the scientists concluded that, "while Neanderthals had a most(ly) meat-based diet, they may also have consumed a fairly regular portion of plants, such as tubers, berries, and nuts."   According to Ainira Sistiaga, a graduate student of the University of Laguna who led the analysis, "We believe Neanderthals probably ate what was available in different situations, seasons, and climates."  

For many people ~ especially those of European descent ~ a healthy diet will best proximate the Neanderthal diet.  Proteins, fats, and some plants.

Those of European and Asian descent share in DNA with Neanderthals, hence what is appropriate for these populations may differ than those of African descent, who do not share ancestry with Neanderthals.  Eating animal foods meant survival during cold winters. 

The TYTN Healthy Diet Plan is  a low-carb diet, higher in protein and fat, and sometimes referred to as a Keto-Diet, or a Carnivore Diet.  

The TYTN Low-Carb Lifestyle offers plenty of  wiggle room to be modified to suit individual needs, and personal priorities and preferences.  

The primary staple foods includes a variety of  animal foods and fats, with plant foods enjoyed more as a supplement to provide variety, flavor, and greater enjoyment ~ as per one's individual tolerance!

Whole grains are chosen over refined grains, which are by and large eliminated.  Consumption of whole grains is as per one's tolerance, consumed in appropriate amounts.

Now Avail. on Kindle!

Food so good,  a Neanderthal would eat it!

Check out Don's book on Intermittent Fasting!

Once you learn how to trust your true nature, your tastes will spontaneously guide you to the best choices for optimal health.  

But before you can really trust yourself to choose the healthiest diet,  there may be some faulty programing about which foods are best to eat, and which foods should be avoided that may need re-wiring.  

We all have been indoctrinated with various beliefs about what is considered a healthy diet.  Sometimes we have to unlearn, or cleanse our minds and our bodies  to come to peace with our food choices, and finally have a healthy relationship with food. 

When you think of it, a blood test is  a mere snapshot in time that may provide you with your cholesterol score, but tells you little about how you are actually feeling, and what symptoms you are experiencing.  

(Read Don's great article about high cholesterol and building muscle, here.)

Collards Stir Fried w/ Onions & Shiitake Mushrooms
Blue Corn Crusted Tilapia

In summary, the TYTN Healthy Diet Plan will vary from person to person, contingent upon one's condition, the season, and geographic location.  

For any healthy diet, the choices should focus on the best quality available, that you can comfortably afford:  Wild game that is hunted, cattle that is grass-fed and finished, and chickens that are pastured will be more nutritious than their conventional counterparts, however, these choices will depend on budget and availability.  

Always do your best, without guilt.  It's a process, whereby the first step is to improve your health ~ eating what you can afford.  

Next, you may become more conscious about how the food is raised, and prefer to source it locally.  

Finally you may realize that self-reliance is the ideal situation, and embark on a journey to raise your own food, or begin a permaculture garden!

Animal foods should be chosen based on what will provide the greatest balance.  Beef and pork are more neutral in nature, while poultry is very warming.  Eating chicken all the time to 'avoid red meat' may create excess heat in the system.  When making choices, begin to pay attention to how you feel after eating.

Eat 'appropriate amounts' of  fresh vegetables, greens, and fruits as per your condition and tolerance.  Favor foods from your local or similar bioregion.  

Eating a lot of imported food is more taxing to environmental and ecological resources as well. It goes against macrobiotic principles practiced by cultures worldwide throughout history.

 It's best to eat those foods that grow in your own, or a similar bioregion.  They will have cultivated the energy to withstand the very climate you live in that will be transferred to you when you consume these foods.

Blackberries, almonds & honey

Need help learning how to trust your true nature when crafting your ideal healthy diet?

Want help with weight loss, or restoring vitality, immunity from disease, fertility, and overall mind-body health?

 TYTN Health Coaching specifically focusing on improving health and fitness, and weight loss with the TYTN Diet Plan.

When you align with your true nature ~ and eat a healthy diet ~ you will experience greater harmony and flow in all areas of your life.  Learning to trust your self builds confidence.  Eating the best diet for you is also a liberating and rewarding experience.

Ready to Learn To Trust YourSelf?  Coaching is available by phone/e-mail from anywhere.  Live video options may also be made available, such as Skype.  

Questions?  Contact our office at 602-954-8016.  Or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.

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