The question I am often asked is, “What should I eat?” This can be a very complicated topic. I do not believe there is one “right” diet for everyone. There is a lot of argument and fighting between groups like: paleo, vegan, vegetarian, mediterranean and high fat, but they are all actually more the same then they are different. Keep in mind, I am talking about healthy vegetarians that actually eat more veggies than processed foods and healthy paleo that eat more veggies than bacon. People have taken these diets and modified them to their liking.
For the sake of keeping it simple let’s look at what they all agree on; lots of vegetables, nuts, seeds, olive oil (or good fats), and fruit. They all cut out (or keep to minimum) processed foods and sweets. Do you need to cut out all grains and legumes like the paleo diet? No, unless you have an auto-immunity disease or possibly severe cardiometobolic syndrome and of course gluten if you have a sensitivity or Celiac. And unless you are vegan, there is nothing in grains you cannot get elsewhere in your diet.
Typically experts say to eat more free-range chicken, eggs and wild fish, than grass-fed beef and pork. If you are eating factory farmed meats, they are probably doing you more harm then good. Dairy is better if you can find it raw and better if it is a fermented dairy like a high quality, low sugar kefir and/or yogurt. Soy is good if it is organic/non-GMO and fermented, but much of it is GMO and processed.
So what does a healthy plate look like? It might be something like a plate with ½ vegetables, ¼ protein of chicken, fish or beef (maybe lentils/beans/temphe for vegans) and ¼ good fats like olive oil and avocado with a high quality carb. I believe a small helping of wild rice, quinoa or sweet potato can be part of a healthy diet. A good snack could be mixed nuts, small apple with almond butter, organic/no nitrate turkey or beef jerky or veggies with hummus. I will also add that eating mindfully with friends and family, instead of on the run, in a car or in front of a TV will decreases how much you eat and changes how your food is digested. If you mindfully eat mostly whole foods, lots of vegetable and good fats, staying away from processed foods and get high quality protein you are well on your way to good health!
Picture credit to my professor Dr. Cindy Geyer