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You’ve found yourself on this page because you want to eat a healthy diet and you’re not sure exactly what a healthy diet is. You’ve done plenty of research on the internet which probably has brought up more questions than provided answers. But here’s the reality: the only question you need to be asking is “What is the right diet for me, for now?”
Our goal is to give you the knowledge you need to you make an informed decision on how and what to eat that fits into your life and allows you to live a healthy, happy life.
If you decide that you need a little guidance, we will help you find the right expert (because that’s what we are all about here at LHL, helping you find what you need in order to live the healthy life!).
What is the Best Healthy Diet?
What is the best healthy diet? That answer depends on who you ask, and the school of thought they subscribe to. Different practitioners believe different things.
When it comes to eating, there isn’t one diet that works for everyone. Which explains why there are so many eating plans, and why a new one seems to be introduced every day. No wonder it’s so confusing. There is some truth (and fiction) to most of the data presented.
So, what is a healthy diet?
The basics of a healthy diet are actually quite simple.
Your body (every body) needs a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, plus vitamins and minerals to sustain a healthy body that feels good, moves well and functions at its best. Done right, your food choices actually protect you against chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A bonus is that you get to do the things you want to do, and life a fulfilled life.
Your overall dietary plan is essential for a healthy body and healthy mind. Eating a variety of foods, consuming less salt, sugars and saturated and trans-fats, are essential for healthy diet. The foundation of a healthy diet should be to replace processed food with real food, most of the time. Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t eat, focus on all of the nutritious and delicious things you CAN include on a daily basis to improve health while also tantalizing your taste buds.
Eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it can make a huge difference to the way you think, look and feel. A diet based on real food may be one of the most important things you can do to for your health. In a nutshell eat real food for a healthy, happy life!
What is Real Food?
Real foods are whole foods which are mostly unprocessed, free of chemical additives, and rich in nutrients. These are the foods people ate prior to the 20th century, when processed, packaged and ready to eat meals became the bulk of the western diet.
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, lean meat, poultry and fish are the staples of a healthy diet of real food.
The basic premise of Eat Real Food, (aka clean eating) is consuming foods the way nature intended them (or as close as possible). It’s a lifestyle philosophy, not a diet. Eat Real Food is a very simple concept.
Traffic Lite Bites is an easy formula to help you navigate Eat Real Food. It takes the concept of a traffic light and applies it to what you should and should not eat on a daily basis.
When it comes to weight loss most experts agree that Eat Real Food (clean eating) is the fastest, healthiest most sustainable way to lose weight. Real food is high in nutrition, low in calories and keeps you fuller longer. Plus, a nourished body has fewer cravings!
Note: We know it’s difficult to completely eliminate all processed foods so minimally processed ones are OK in moderation. Shhh…just don’t tell that to the Clean Eating Police.
As simple as Eat Real Food sounds there are competing theories and philosophies, diets and fads that can make it complicated. They come in a number of forms such as Keto, Mediterranean, Plant-Based, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Whole 30 which are currently among the more popular, and there are many more.
There are those who swear by these diets and others who caution against them. Our goal is to give you the best information so you can make an educated decision on what will work best for you!
NOTE: Before trying any diet please talk to your physician.
The chart below compares six of the most popular philosophies.
|Eat Real Food-Clean Eating
Eat whole foods, or “real” foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled so they are as close to their natural form as possible.
Permitted: Fresh fruits and vegetables, dried legumes, nuts, farm-fresh eggs. Minimally processed include: Unrefined grains, frozen fruits and vegetables, meat (wild or, pastured over grain-fed), sustainably sourced fish and seafood, hormone-free dairy, oils
Prohibited: Any overly processed foods like deli meat, breakfast cereals and most packaged foods.
The main principle of the ketogenic diet is to eat foods maintaining of high fat/low carbs (percentage of your diet: carbs 10%, Protein 20-25%, Fat 60-75%)
Prohibited Foods: grains, most fruits, starchy vegetables and beans, wheat/flour, sugars and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup
Based around whole, plant foods. Unprocessed or minimally processed veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seed.
Permitted Foods: Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts & Seeds, Beans, Legumes, Grains, Lentils, Plant Based Fats, Alcohol, Vegan Sugar & Sweeteners
Prohibited Foods: Meat, Fish/Seafood, Dairy, Eggs, Honey, processed, foods, refined grains, oils, gelatin, white flour, and refined sugar
Eating foods that according to evolutionary theory were around during the paleolithic era; prior to the age of agriculture.
Permitted Foods: Grass Fed Meats, Wild Caught Fish/Seafood, Eggs, Natural Fat, Nuts, Most Vegetables
based on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries like Italy and Greece back in 1960
Permitted Foods: Fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds, legumes, potatoes, breads , herbs, spices, fish, seafood, Extra virgin olive oil Limited: Poultry, eggs, cheese & yogurt Rarely: Red meat
Prohibited Foods: sugar, sweetened beverages, processed meats, refined grains, refined oils & highly processed foods
Eat nothing from the animal kingdom. Extends beyond food to ingredients made from animal products: includes shoes, clothes, makeup and shampoo and more.
Permitted Foods: Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts & seeds, beans, legumes, grains, lentils, plant-based fats, alcohol, vegan sugar/sweeteners
Prohibited Foods: Meat, poultry, fish/Seafood, dairy, eggs, gelatin, honey and ALL animal products like leather, silk, wool, gelatin, beeswax and lanolin
For any healthy diet you should avoid:
Now that you’ve looked that over you may be thinking, that eating healthy means you have to radically change your diet and give up all your favorite foods. Not necessarily! Improving your health could be as easy as swapping a few unhealthy choices with healthy ones.
While some philosophies suggest otherwise, eating a healthy diet doesn’t mean you must eliminate entire categories of food from your plate. Each food group provides your body with nutrition.
Reducing the amount of certain food groups may be a better option for you. There is even a nonprofit organization named Reductarian that promotes a diet where participants reduce the amount of meat they consume in order to improve their health, protect the environment and reduce the number of animals killed for human consumption.
Again, it is important to choose a healthy diet that will work for you and your family. Instead of eliminating entire food groups, consider selecting the healthiest options from each category.
We’ve made it simple. Click here to Grab The Living Healthy List Eat This Not That Cheat Sheet
There’s one more thing that you need to know…
Calories do count!
There are many thoughts about calorie counting, but at the end of the day, the number of calories you eat, versus the calories you burn, will have the biggest impact on both your health and your weight.
Choose the healthiest foods while staying within your body’s unique calorie needs. Too much of a good thing (even certain fruits and vegetables), can be a bad thing when it comes to your weight.
But how do you know how many calories you should be eating? It’s different for all of us so use this Daily Calorie Calculator to find out your unique number.
Warning: Eating too many calories will cause you to gain weight. Eating too few calories is will most likely lead to binge eating, feeling tired, weak and cranky. Fuel your body properly and it will reward you.
It’s not about perfection but sustainability!
You don’t have to be perfect; you don’t have to completely eliminate the foods you enjoy, and you don’t have to change everything all at once.
A better approach is to make a few small changes, manageable steps at a time —like adding a salad to your diet once a day. Go vegetarian for breakfast or lunch and enjoy foods you may never have tried. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.
Eating Real food is just one component of a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, quality sleep, lower stress levels, and fun are essential. But there’s no doubt that eating real food that maintains proper nutrition will put you on the path to living the healthy, happy lifestyle you always wanted.
Each expert at Living Healthy List has gone through a screening process. We want to introduce you to professionals who are not only qualified but are also passionate about helping you. You can read our Nutrition Coaches bio’s here and connect with them directly.
Also, you can always contact us at Living Healthy List. We’re here to help answer questions, connect you with a life coach or point you in the right direction.
We hope that you find this information useful and are here to answer any questions.
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