You ask a really great question, one that is central to whether a person lives a good life or a miserable one. Trouble is, this is a complicated issue these days. Our food supply is badly damaged, and there is a lot of propaganda, misinformation, and just plain lies about diet out there. Respectfully, I have to suggest that, if you are truly serious about getting a good answer- and a good life- you literally need to 'build your own' (answer to your question). Research, research- you have to do your own.
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2008 4:59:35 AM
I don't believe there are any really good, workable, pre-packaged diets or diet plans or food lists or whatever- certainly not any that would be good for everybody. This is because humans have been living in such different circumstances for so long. You have to find out your 'diet type' because there are such different expressions of DNA and humans are so different from region to region.
Here's one suggestion- look into Dr. Mercola's website, and take the free 'metabolic type' test to learn if you are a 'protein type', a 'carbohydrate type', or a 'mixed type'. www.mercola.com.
Second, understand that a lot of the food we eat is damaged or otherwise adulturated, and it is not all that simple to figure out what might be good or bad for us. Some basic principles- you always do best to work with the freshest food and to avoid processed food. Fresh meat, fish, and fowl instead of processed, overcooked stuff. Fresh fruits and vegetables instead of 'factory food'. This is pretty simple and intuitive at this level.
But there are traps and snares, and here, things start to get controversial My strongly held opinion- best you should avoid sugar as much as you possibly can. Ditto for highly processed anything, but I'm thinking particularly of foods made with highly refined grains, 'enriched flour' and such. Better you should stick with whole grain products only. But know that there is a lot of deceptive packaging out there, so a lot of stuff that claims to be "whole grain" based actually is not. You have to dig deeper than even ingredients statements sometimes to get at the truth.
One particularly dangerous area is fats. Many fats in our diet are damaged or very inappropriate. Further, some folks would have you believe fat is 'the enemy'. That idea is absurd. You need fats in your diet. About 1/3 of your calories should come from fats, but they must be healthy fats. There's the rub. Most people don't know which fats are healthy or not. But this much we know, and even the federal government now admits it- all those hydrogenated vegetable oils they have been telling us were 'OK' are actually extremely unhealthy and should be avoided at all cost. Note that this means most bakery goods are off your list if you are interested in eating healthy. Research in particular the writings of Mary Enig regarding fats, also the Weston A. Price organization. They will pretty much steer you in the right direction. You can google these and get hours of good reading about fats from people who understand, and have no vested interest.
Some healthy fats include virgin coconut oil, virgin olive oil (but not for frying). some peanut oils (but only for frying) and some butter (but butter has some issues in recent years). Best avoided- all hydrogenated fats and most vegetable oils, because the later will load you up with way too much alpha omega six, you need less of that and more alpha omega three essential fatty acids. You will almost certainly need to supplement to get enough alpha omega threes. Fish oil capsules work. Some of the fairly rare food sources are fish- salmon, mackerel, sardines; also walnuts.
Above all, remember to do a lot of research before reaching your own conclusions, and remember, too, that many so-called authorities writing about nutrition today work for companies whose products have a questionable place in human nutrition or are downright harmful. Sugar and artificial sweeteners come to mind here, in particular, but there are many, many others. These folks are at best misguided and woefully misinformed, at worst, scurrilous liars. Consider carefully your sources when evaluating the merits of their arguments. Just one example- diabetes organizations funded by sugar producers, who argue that dietary sugar has little or nothing to do with diabetes. Yeah, right. Caveat emptor- let the buyer beware!
You can find the truth, it truly is 'out there'. You just have to dig for it. I'd steer clear of 'diets' and any other such quick fixes and simplified solutions. This is a very deep subject, no easy answers here, IMO. You can do it. Good luck!
Last thought- most Americans eat way too much meat and such, nowhere near enough fresh fruits and vegetables. It is a lot more work to cook healthy, that's for sure. But if you do, you'll have abundant energy and greater happiness. A bad diet greatly saps your strength and your health. Most Americans, alas, eat a very bad diet.