“Drink 8 glasses of water a day.” “Don’t eat foods high in fat.” “Eat breakfast.” “Don’t eat foods with gluten.” There are enough food recommendations out there to really overwhelm a person! Trying to follow every recommendation you hear is impossible. And frankly, we’re missing the point. In an effort to make healthy eating choices, we’re crippling ourselves with information. We’re hearing the guidelines but applying them in all the wrong ways.
This post was inspired by a conversation I had with a client. My client said that she had a friend who was a budding nutritionist and gluten-free eater. This friend made a gluten-free pizza and put some strange toppings on it including bee pollen, so my client was asking me about it. Just because you hear that one specific ingredient is good for you does not mean you should replace other healthy options…. like vegetables for a pizza topping.
We hear that nuts are fattening. So, many people who are trying to lose weight avoid nuts. Yet, you will find nuts (especially walnuts) on almost every “superfood” list you read because of their heart-healthy properties.
Lately, fruit has been getting a bad rap because it tends to be high in sugar. The fact that fruit has cancer-fighting antioxidants, fiber, low calories, and is on every “superfood” list does not seem to matter.
Shunning fruits and nuts in favor of low-fat options usually leads us to over-processed carbage. When was the last time that you heard pretzels had any health benefits? See? We’re getting it all wrong! We need to be eating foods that are nutrient-dense.
It’s time to follow some simple guidelines and master basic healthy eating before we start concerning ourselves with extremely specific recommendations. For optimal eating, follow these condensed food rules:
- Eat more vegetables, especially the green leafy kind
- Eat lean protein like chicken, eggs, beans
- Eat healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, and nuts
- Don’t eat highly refined carbs like chips, white bread, pasta, and sweets