In this article, we will discuss the fundamental principles of diet and nutrition, and from there, you can specify them to your needs, tastes, and goals. If you only follow the three most crucial principles of a healthy diet, you will get a lot from this article.
Create a goal for your diet
Everyone seems to be looking for the best diet, but it will be different for each person. To find it, you need to decide first what your goal is.
If your goal is to eat the tastiest-easiest food there is, you will have a different diet than if your goal is to lose weight, gain muscles, reduce inflammation, or heal a particular disease. Some goals can even be moral or religious, and one should consider if they come before or after their health.
You can sometimes combine a few goals, but it needs to be realistic and honest. One of the most common traps is “I will diet for three months, lose some weight and then go back to eating what I feel like” So if you are honest, you are trying to eat the easiest, tastiest food and not to gain weight.
Is it realistic for you? It depends on your age and metabolic health. If you have tried it a few times and it doesn’t work, you need to decide which one is more important to you – taking care of your health or eating what is easy. If this is your current decision, It is better to choose what is easy – at least you are not deceiving yourself and exhausting your system with radical short-term dietary changes.
When you are fooling yourself, the conclusion will be – I can’t lose weight; I tried so many times. You will feel like a failure and depressed, negatively affecting other areas of your life. So, it is wise to check, was your goal honestly to lose weight and be healthy? Or to find the shortest route to eat whatever you desire?
Most common consideration in choosing a diet:
- General Health
- Treating a specific health condition
- General well being
- Weight management
- Practicalities of buying, making, and consuming food
- Price of the meal
- Enjoyable food
- Moral aspects include vegan, religious customs, game meat, grass-fed, organic, non-GMO, etc.
Most people, assessing their nutritional goals, want to eat a healthy diet and find a way to make it practical and enjoyable. The order is critical since you can decide to put practical before healthy, and then the whole diet changes. If you are very busy, practicalities can be second before enjoying. Of course, you can vary in some dinners, such as a family gathering, which can be less practical and more enjoyable.
Create a plan for your diet
After defining your goals, you need to find the best food for you and the best habits you can maintain. It will be wise to divide it into two stages of achieving your goals. One needs much more discipline, such as losing weight or treating a physical or mental condition, and the second is maintaining it for a long time, which can be less strict than the first stage.
In the same way that the wrong food can make you sick, proper nutrition can heal you. You should consult a therapist for the best diet if you have a medical condition. In many cases in my clinic, I see that food can heal, but when combined with acupuncture, herbal medicine, and emotional work, the healing is much faster.
In most cases, it is much more effective to actively create healing with acupuncture and support it with nutrition, even in digestive conditions such as IBS, Chron’s, or constipation. In addition to that, a lifestyle change can be challenging when you are also suffering from pain or depression. So, for some people, it will be easier to change their diet after they feel better.
Before we go into different diets, everybody should adopt these three easy principles for better health. Following only these simple three principles will dramatically improve your health.
The three most crucial diet principles
1. Eat whole food – avoid processed food
Eat the food in the exact form it appears in nature. Avocado is good; a box of guacamole is bad (many other ingredients). Orange is good – boxed orange juice is bad (raises glucose level very fast). Chicken is good – chicken nuggets made from paste are bad.
2. Check the ingredients
If you do eat something packed – read the ingredient. A rule of thumb is not to eat a product with more than five ingredients unless they are all food you recognize. Avoid gravy, dressing, soda drinks, etc. Anything in a plastic or paper box should be treated with caution.
In most products, one or two ingredients will be considered nutritious- for you, and all other components are for the manufacturer to preserve the product and make it more addictive.
The first and the second principles suggest that 80% of the so-called food in the supermarket is not appropriate for humans. If you understand that, you are already in a much better place than most people.
3. Avoid food that is bad for you
Some types of food, even natural, can harm you by creating inflammation and disruption in the digestive system or other organs in the body. Most practitioners will agree on the first two principles, but different diet approaches will consider different types of food as not good for you. It is more of a personal discovery.
If you are not suffering from a disease and nutritional changes are hard, you can ignore the third part for a while and follow one and two. Over time, the wrong food can lead to many physical and mental conditions such as digestive diseases, cardiovascular, lung, or liver disorders, hormonal imbalance, thyroid and pancreas- diabetes, general pain and arthritis, fatigue, and of course, being overweight.
After agreeing that chemicals and processed food are terrible for you, other types of food are generally considered harmful for most people. They are listed by order of usually bad for everyone, into more specific cases. You will never know how it affects you if you never try to eliminate them. For some, it’s enough to reduce consumption; for others, you need to eliminate them for a few months to see results.
Avoid Sugar and wheat – these are the most common reasons for inflammation in the body. Most people who avoid them or reduce their consumption will feel much better. That includes all bread, pastries, candies, sugared drinks, etc.
Avoid seed oils – More and more data shows that seed oils seem responsible for many digestive issues in recent decades. These oils are heavily processed and vastly used in the food industry; you must read the labels. The worst seed oils are Canola oil (Rapeseed oil), Soybean oil, Sunflower oil, Corn oil, Cottonseed oil, Rice bran oil, Grape seed oil, and Safflower oil. Vegetable oil is another name for seed oil, so you should avoid it too. Good oils to use are olive oil, avocado oil, and for cooking coconut oil, Butter, ghee, and tallow.
Avoid Carbohydrates and grains – Same as the first one, just more strict and includes all grains and carbs. For most people eating carbs from fruits will be ok. You can limit the number of fruits if you want to lose weight or are diabetic. Sorry, no alcohol and no Beer.
Gluten-free products might give some solution, but in many cases, they are so processed that it is no better than gluten products.
Dairy products – Some people can’t digest dairy easily, and most cannot digest a large amount of milk. Avoid dairy altogether, or try only hard-aged cheese for a few months. It seems that organic cow milk or goat milk is easier to digest.
A simple Chinese medicine diagnosis of pulse and tongue will show if you tend to be sensitive to dairy and grains. If you have rhinitis or any form of phlegm, it is usually a sign that milk products are not suitable for you (very common with children)
Specific food you are sensitive to
If you have a food allergy, you probably know about it, but food sensitivities are hard to identify. You can eat a particular food occasionally, and all is fine, but if you eat it too much or day after day, you will increase the inflammation in the digestive tract and disturb your digestion. Blood tests are also offered in our clinic, but they only identify recently eaten food, which is inaccurate.
The best way to check it is to do a restrictive diet and gradually add different food types. If you haven’t reduced processed food, carbs, grains, and seed oils, you will most likely not be unable to pinpoint any other sensitivities.
Some of the typical foods that are considered healthy but can be hard to digest:
- Cruciferous- such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choi, etc. These plants can be hard to digest, especially if the thyroid is weak (common with overweight). Cooking or steaming them can help with digestion.
- Legumes, such as – peanuts, beans, and chickpeas, can often create bloating and gas. Rinsing for a long time and long cook can help.
In many cases, after avoiding the wrong food for a few months or a few years, especially with treatment such as acupuncture, your digestive system can become more robust, and you will be able to handle some of the “wrong food” if you rarely eat it.
4. Personalize your diet
Some people are better with graduate changes; some can handle drastic measures.
You need to see what is best for you. Educating yourself is super important. Read books, read articles online, watch you-tubes, consult with professionals, and most importantly, learn what is best for you.
The more you learn about diet, you will see that the best diet doesn’t exist. Some people will object to that even with the principles I have mentioned before. It is your body, your life, and you are responsible for finding the best way for yourself. It is a journey for life; over the years, you may change your preferences, and it’s ok.
5. What to eat and when
When you know what you can’t eat, you can decide what to eat. It depends, again, on your goal. A low-carb diet is the best for most people who want to lose weight, lower sugar levels and reduce inflammation.
It is good to consider when you eat, such as eating windows in intermittent fasting, and how much you eat, especially with high-calorie food.
Meat-based diet – is low carb, hence less inflammatory helps lose weight and grow muscles.
Intermitted Fasting – Meat-based diets are usually connected to intermitted fasting since there are fewer carbs and fewer cravings. You can create time a day for eating and fasting. The most common one is 16 hours of fasting and eight eating. For example – you only eat from noon to 8 pm, No Snacks! Intermittent fasting helps regulate the sugar levels in the blood and reduces snacking on unnecessary food.
Keto diet- eat very few carbs and more fat. Based on beef, chicken, and other types of meat, eggs, nuts, and vegetables. This diet teaches your body to use ketones (fat) to create energy. It may take a few weeks or months, and your body will not need sugars or carbs to feel energized. It reduces cravings, sugar swings, mood changes, and stabiles energy levels. There are many recipes and many options, and this can easily be a way of reducing carbs.
learn more about the keto diet and intermittent fasting:
The carnivore diet – is a more extreme meat-based diet. Some plants and other ingredients in food can be toxic and affect the digestive system and health. This diet is based on beef, beef organs, and other meat and eggs considered the least inflammatory and the most nutritious. Some may add fruits or other food; some eat only beef and water.
This diet helps reduce inflammation, treat many medical conditions, and lose weight.
learn more about the carnivore diet:
Macro diet – Eat everything balanced: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. You can eat carbs and change the ratio between the ingredients in this diet. Make sure to try and eat whole foods, not processed, and less “bad carbs,” such as sugar and white flour. This is probably the most recommended diet by medical nutritionists, together with counting calories.
Counting calories – spend more calories than your intake. Still, it would be best to remember that not all calories are the same. This diet may work to lose weight, but it doesn’t mean you will be healthy. It would be best if you still tried to eat healthy food.
Plant-based diet – Vegan or vegetarian diet is often connected to a moral perspective; some people just like this food and feel better when eating a plant-based diet. With a plant-based diet, it is hard not to eat carbs, so it is essential to choose healthy carbs. Also, there are many processed products for vegans that are heavily industrialized but are still marketed as beneficial and healthy, such as vegan burgers.
These are usually cooked with seed oils and GMO products such as soybeans and corn. Genetically modified food is less healthy and heavily sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. In many cases, people’s sensitivities to certain carbs are a reaction to pesticides and herbicides. Try to make your homemade veggie burgers and use unprocessed ingredients. Try to make sure you get enough protein by combining rice and legumes.
Most vegans will need to supplement with Vit B12 and iron. Vegans that are anemic, especially women (who want to get pregnant or to have more energy) and are willing to bend the rules a little, can eat eggs. Even better, eggs are raised locally by farmers. It is a guilt-free healthy food – since the chickens are not suffering, and the eggs are not fertilized. Eggs are one of the best superfoods we have.
Chinese Medicine diet – It is considered more as a therapeutic diet. After the acupuncturist has diagnosed your energetic conditions, you should eat food that is good for you and avoid the bad ones. Each type of food has a specific energy, and each way of cooking can add or reduce that energy. For people with a weak spleen (related to being overweight), it is good to eat cooked food with warm spices such as ginger and black pepper and avoid cold food such as milk, raw vegetable, etc.
Many times, our appetite will direct us to the wrong food. Generally speaking, Anemic skinny women with a deficient spleen (cold) would like to eat raw vegetable salad, which will weaken their spleen. In contrast, men with heat in the stomach would like to drink alcohol, and spicy and greasy food, which will only add heat to the stomach.
Any diet for weight loss should be combined with exercise. Exercise burns calories, improve all body functions, and reduces stress and anxiety. Research shows that Exercise can reduce all-cause mortality by five times. There are many ways to exercise; if you are still trying to figure out what to do, talk to a specialist. But In a way – anything is better than nothing. It is good to combine different types of exercise such as long slow cardio, intense shorth interval cardio, weight or bodyweight training, and flexibility. Be careful not to injure yourself; if you do, Balance method acupuncture is excellent for treating injuries and can bring you back to the gym quickly.
7. Tips for diet
- After you decide what food is unsuitable for you, throw it or give it away. If other household members want this type of food, put them in the cupboard so you won’t be tempted.
- Make sure you always have healthy food ready. You can always pre-cook and freeze.
- When you travel, eat out, or go to other people’s houses, bring your food or ensure they have what you want.
- If you are on a low-carb diet and want a cheat meal, make sure it is not the worst kind of carbs, and be careful since it can bring all the cravings back.
- Add exercise to your lifestyle.
- If you have any physical condition such as low thyroid, IBS, constipation, or any mental difficulty with dieting, it is good to get help with acupuncture, herbal therapy, emotional counseling, and more.
- The most important is that each one of us is responsible for our health, so it is our responsibility to learn and educate ourselves and choose the best diet for us.