My Diet Rules!
I am writing a very quick post about diet because I am getting ready to travel to Europe and I have minimal time for blogging. I do feel I need to remind everyone that diet is a bit more simple than what us humans have made it to be. All this nonsense in the diet world is just saddening me as I see it is confusing people, making them sick and overweight while they are still hungry and dissatisfied.
Why is there so much confusion about diet?
Below Photos: I happen to have a few photos from WHOLE FOOD’S – the vegan salad and hot food bar.
What is with the sugar detox trend? It’s a theory that started with Dr. Atkins who died of heart disease and obesity. The whole low carb, high protein thing should have died with him yet the trends has gotten even stronger. I randomly saw a video this morning of Zuzka Light who is a fitness trainer and she offers diet advice in the video that someone sent to me. She promoted low sugar in her video. Of course she is fit and thin so it sounds like good advice. Well if you can maintain tiny portions for the rest of your life and feeling like you are dieting and restricting what your body craves it might actually be healthy. I know that low calorie diets are healthy and promote longevity. So even if it’s poorly combined foods and some animal products the fact that you will be fasting most of the time is good enough for the body to detox it. But the reason that I am writing this quick note is because I know not everyone out there can eat 10 pasta spirals “when they have earned them” and protein powder for dinner or breakfast. That’s just not how we humans have done it through our evolution.
We have ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS thrived on carbs from fruit and veggies. Hunting has not always been possible for us and it has not been a reliable source of calories despite what the meat industry wants us to believe. We have been farming for more than 10,000 years and that means cereals and produce were the most reliable source of calories for us.
Lately the whole high protein, low carbs fad has become so common I hear people in their 70s talk about it as if it is something from their childhood. If you think about it this whole notion about low carb diets started just recently. And all of a sudden everyone thinks carbs make you fat. Nothing, nothing could be further from the truth. High fat diets can make you fat unless you can calorie restrict for the rest of your life. Can you eat one potato with butter and cheese and a piece of chocolate for dinner and feel satisfied? I personally prefer a lot of potatoes with some almond milk and curry spices over one potato with a slab of butter. On the other hand high protein is just unnecessary as protein is a poor energy source and a dirty fuel for your system so to speak.
So what is best for your body coincidentally is what you crave and what you can eat in large quantities without feeling heavy or gaining weight- yes fruits and veggies with some nuts and seeds and grains. When you are eating a clean plant based, minimally processed diet you can eat as much as you want and the food is actually detoxing and nourishing at the same time due to its high water, nutrient rich, fiber content.
So don’t fall pray to the latest diet craze. The last one was low fat everything. Rememebr the 80s? Back then there was no mention about low carb. Now it’s low carbs and it actually reminds me of the story about the naked king. He is naked and everyone is going along with it as if he is wearing clothes because they feel like they are supposed to be getting something that they are not getting… you get the metaphor. I am just not getting how is it that anyone let alone everyone believes that carbs make us fat.
Yes processed sugar and white flour are bad but that doesn’t mean all carbs are bad. Just because we abused and refined grains that doest mean grains are bad. It just means we- humans- are not meant to isolate nutrients, mess with nature, modify nature and then put that on a plate…
My diet rules are pretty stiff to a random person but I feel they are very common sense so there they go.
1. Eat fruits and veggies for the majority of my calories.
2. Eat some cereals and nuts if I feel like I want some- which is usually in winter when there is less fresh fruit available.
3. Eat big portions. Fruits and veggies of course- big salads, few servings, huge servings of say baked kabocha squash with coconut milk and cinnamon.
4. Buy seasonal produce and incorporate that into my meals. I buy a lot of different veggies and fruits through the year. As brussel sprouts season starts I get them by the pounds, then artichokes come into the stores- I buy those as if they are going out of style… So forth and so forth
5. I am the queen of tasty dips and dressings. Any vegetable can taste divine with the right veggie/tofu/peanut/sesame/herb dressing.
6. I do not eat between meals. Period
7. I drink a lot of water before meals, but NEVER during or directly after a meal. Water can dilute the enzymes and natural acids in your stomach used for digestion.
8. I do not combine fruits and veggies.
9. I avoid starches and acids combined. I can make an exception but it seems to be less than optimal for digestion- example is rice and lemon.
10. I like some grains such as millet and oats but i have to say I have not been eating cereal grains as a main part of my diet for years. I simply do not prefer them over seasonal fruits and veggies. I would steam winter squash and sweet potatoes over millet and quinoa. That’s just my palette and preferences. Otherwise I feel they are equally good for you.
11. I am not extremely stiff with my rules- I have wine for birthdays, I celebrate life. If I am eating out I would have a good salad dressing with oil on it. I won’t pour oil on my own salad- rather I use peanuts, tahini, coconut meat, olives, avocados. Whole food fats.
12. I vary my fat intake from 5 to 20% of my caloric intake. In general it is around 10% but there are times in summer when I feel I can go lower and it feels great and is much needed during the winter when I prefer a bit more fatty foods in my diet. Less raw foods.
13. I absolutely would not do 100% raw through the entire year. I had done that for years and it reminds me of a religious cult type of mental glitch and it is overly dogmatic. It is heavily promoted now. But twelve years after I dropped the 100% raw diet I feel it’s a bit of a fad. However, it can be very effective as a protocol for healing for a certain amount of time. I do eat mostly raw but anyone telling me anything with 105% certainty looses credibility with me. I really appreciate many of the raw food gurus getting the message out, but I feel that many of them have become overly rigid with their diets. Intuitively humans should doubt themselves a little otherwise it’s a dogma, not a deep understanding of nature. I try to be as flexible as possible and follow my gut (no pun intended) when it comes to eating.
14. Switch it up, experiment wisely! AND HAVE FUN! ENJOY WHAT YOU EAT!
15. TON OF GREENS NO MATTER WHAT! I cannot succeed on this lifestyle without greens. If i don’t get any for a few days I start to crave them. If i don’t eat them for a while i notice that it affects me adversely. You can blend them with celery and lemon if you don’t like eating them. My favorite way to eat greens is in a salad with a lot of dressing on top. I make different dressings – the ingredients I love the most are coconut milk, tofu, tomato sauce, even pasta sauce, carrots, pumpkin, parsley, peanut butter (sometimes), hot sauce, savory, etc. Essentially I dress my greens with vegetables 🙂 sneaky huh? 😉
That is for now. I am sure I am forgetting a few things but that will be a subject for my next diet blog.
One more thing I should point out is I use juicing sparingly. I blend greens often and I would have green juice less often but overall juice is a refined product. Not a whole food. So it goes in a processed food category for me. Fruit juice on the other hand is a no-no (unless you don’t eat fruit as a habit and you use it in place of soda pop)(overall its all a mater of comparison and gradation). Green juices can be great if you don’t eat your greens, or you crave a nice refreshing drink or you eat too many animal products, etc. Just don’t make them the center of your diet 🙂 A juice fast can be very healing if you are struggling with a health condition. Juice “feasting” as a lifestyle is something I don’t find healthy, beneficial or balanced. Of course juice feasting is much healthier than the standard american diet but compared to a balanced whole food plant based diet is inferior IMO.
Love you all and I want to see a healthy and thriving World <3
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EXCELLENT article Ali..sound healthy advice. …also, very do-able. I love rice and potatoes and they are a staple of my diet…inexpensive and healthy. They are great with any kind of veggie and they help me stay full longer…which is helpful for avoiding between meal hunger…Thank you as always Ali for the great article…xoxox, L
i ove potatoes, sweet potatoes, millet – yum oh sweet rice is amazing too, organic corn. there are many options in the different areas in the world. 😀
This is great diet advice. Thank you! One question…. Why no snacks between meals? And how many meals then? Thank you, Ali!
i meant no eating while still digesting. not good for digestion. if you have a few small snacks through the day and then big dinner thats fine. 🙂 thats just what i find to be best for digestion.
Thanks for the diet rules. I always feel better when I’m eating that way. It’s easy to backslide into bad habits because my kids don’t enjoy as many fruits & veggies as I do. It’s a struggle.
I would LOVE to have some of your recipes for dips and dressings. I tend to make the same old things and I need new ideas. I like that dressing veggies WITH veggies.
Ali…. Excellent, succinct post. I followed the low carb diet for many years and it left me feeling starving for energy and dizzy half my life. Half to one serving of fruit would be my goal for the DAY. No wonder I wasn’t thriving. High carb/low fat has turned my outlook on life and energy around. I feel lightyears better but am still “coming into my own” so I do appreciate this “diet rules” post very much :).
On a side note – I COMPLETELY agree with you on the 100% raw front. I was just telling my husband the other day how dogmatic & fanatical I thought it was (yes, exactly like an uncritical devotion that you would find in a cult, as you’ve said). To me, 100% raw is all ego. We love to travel all over the world, and I could never imagine going places without trying at least some of the local flavors and wines. It is a celebration of life to experience other cultures and the local cuisine is a huge part of these cultures. Of course, you don’t have to go off the rails eating fatty foods day & night, but savoring and enjoying them in small amounts can be a delightful & quite spiritual experience, in my opinion.
Anyway… a bit of a ramble, but thanks for indulging me! <3 Safe travels to Europe. Love & light.
Oh! But I did mean to ask you one thing. Why no fruit with veggies? I often makes banana smoothies with spinach, for instance, mango dressing with salad, etc. Thanks! 🙂
yes, bananas and spinach is fine, bananas and celery, apples and celery, lettuces, etc. I mean more of broccoli and peaches is a bad combo. its not the worst combination – there are much worse things than that but as a daily practice i avoid mixing things that don’t go together. mango-tomato-pepper-cilantro dressing is fine also. i hope that makes sense 🙂