I recently saw this photo, which was shared by Dr. Mark Hyman on his Instagram feed. I thought this was a great visual for people to look at when trying to figure out what to eat when trying to eat healthier.
On the left is where you can explore with a wide variety of vegetables, nuts & seeds, berries, avocado, leafy greens and more. These are the low-sugar plant choices you can eat. With regards to nuts, you can’t go wrong with Macadamia, walnuts and almonds. Try to avoid nuts roasted in seed oils like canola, vegetable, etc. Good old raw nuts will do! For your proteins, it is highly recommended to buy the best quality your money can buy. It is better for you to pay more for higher quality and eat less, than to pay less and buy more. For example, getting grass-fed ground beef instead of conventional steaks would be a wise choice. You’ll get more nutrients with the grass-fed than you will the grain fed beef. One of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat is eggs. Same rule applies here, go for the best quality (pasture raised) your money will buy. Seafood can get tricky. A good rule of thumb is to look for wild caught as opposed to farm raised. Don’t be fooled by “Atlantic” Salmon and assume that it is wild caught in the Atlantic Ocean. This is actually a species of salmon that does not necessarily mean it was wild caught. A lot of the salmon you see in stores is farm raised, which is typically something you should steer clear of.
What I really like about this picture is the question “Did you work out?” Depending upon the level of your activity each day, this should dictate how much food you need. Our hunter gatherer ancestors would sometimes go days without eating. I can assure you they were not getting in their miles on the treadmill during times of fasting! Try to be aware of how much food you are eating compared to your level of activity. On the days where you are getting in some miles walking, or doing some workouts with weights, you can treat yourself to some carbs with one of your meals. I like to stick to sweet potatoes, or some form of organic sweet potato. Other options to consider are wild rice or quinoa.
The more whole foods you can have in your diet the better. Be mindful about what you are putting into your body. The more you can treat food like medicine, the better you will feel in the long run!