Michael Pollan summed it up in his book In Defense of Food: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. He made a distinction between food and “edible food-like substances.” Here is a quick run-down on what to eat.
Focus on the perimeter of the grocery store: fruits, vegetables, and meats should be the majority of your shopping list. High-quality, nutrient-rich foods should be top priority. Eggs, beans, and nuts are inexpensive, versatile, and packed with healing nutrients. The frozen food aisle can be a timesaver as well as a source of quality foods. Follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your diet should be “real” foods like these.
Packaged and boxed foods are often lacking in nutrients beyond carbohydrates and fats. They are difficult for our bodies to digest and contribute to digestive disorders like heartburn. Aim for a maximum of 20 percent of your diet from processed foods that fill you up, but are really “edible food-like substances.”
Cut down on liquid sugars like soda and juices because they stress your body too much. It’s like driving your car at maximum acceleration for an hour, and it causes accelerated aging and body breakdown. Stevia is a natural alternative to sugar. Avoid any food-like substance that includes ingredients you can’t pronounce or have to create in a chemistry lab.
Should you supplement? Unless you can eat all organic, local foods and cook all meals from scratch – and have eaten this way all your life – you will not get all the healing nutrients you need to combat the stresses of modern living. Most people should take a whole-food-based multivitamin/mineral, probiotics, EPA/DHA (a high-quality “fish oil”), and vitamin D.
What named diets are good? Paleo and Mediterranean-type diets are excellent models for eating, and these recipes and cookbooks are easy to find. Remember that we are basically hunter-gatherers and are designed to eat real foods.
If you put low-quality fuel into a high-quality machine, you get terrible performance – heartburn, indigestion, fatigue, and other signs of being underpowered. Regardless of your current state of symptoms, your body is designed to heal itself, if given the proper ingredients for health!