Are you having trouble eating a healthy diet? Well don’t be too hard on yourself because there are a lot of factors working against you. In this article I write about some of the main obstacles in your way of eating a healthy diet.
We can’t say with 100% certainty what the healthiest diet is because it’s very difficult to do real-world nutritional research. And that’s due to the endless variables involved in that kind of science.
Here’s what a healthy diet looks like to me.
Prepare your own food.
Try to limit eating out to no more than one meal per week. The reason for this is when you eat out at a restaurant you don’t know what’s in your food. Remember that restaurants are in competition with each other and there is a tremendous amount of research that goes into making food taste better which usually means sugars and non-food ingredients are added.
When you prepare your meals at home from scratch you know what’s in your food. You will also be more likely to use fresher and healthier ingredients when you make your own meals.
Don’t eat too much or too often.
The advice I give to my patients is to eat 2-3 meals per day and only at meal times. Never snack in between meals or before bed. In addition, meals should always be eaten at the same time every day. The reason for this is to control the release of insulin, reduce caloric intake, and to sync the release of the hunger hormones with meal times.
Avoid refined sugars.
You have probably heard this a thousand times — AVOID REFINED SUGARS! The over-consumption of refined sugars is what is responsible for the increase in Obesity, Type II Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. If you need more information on this topic, watch my video called, “NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR Shows How to Overcome Sugar Addiction”.
Eat real food (aka whole foods).
When shopping at the grocery store try to stay around the perimeter where most of the real foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, meats and dairy are kept. Limit purchasing processed foods. Especially avoid processed foods which contains ingredients that you are unfamiliar with.
Avoid Food Sensitivities.
Don’t eat any foods that you have known sensitivities to. You can determine this by having your doctor order a food sensitivity test or by doing an elimination diet. If you constantly eat foods that your immune system is responding to, you will have chronic inflammation in your gut which will affect your overall health. For more information on this, watch my video called, “Food Sensitivities Explained” and my other video called, “How to do an Elimination Diet”.
Eat a mostly plant-based diet.
Limit consumption of animal products to 3 – 5, 4 oz. servings per week or less. The main reason for this is raising livestock has a tremendous negative impact on the environment. Environmental pollution negatively affects all of our health. Also, based on our anatomy, such as the structure of our teeth, the types of digestive enzymes our bodies make and the length of our gastrointestinal tract, we are probably supposed to eat more plants than animals.
Here’s why it’s difficulty to eat that way.
It’s hard to know what eating healthy is.
There’s a lot of confusing information out there on what a healthy diet looks like. Your doctor may tell you to drink a glass of wine every day, eat lots of grains and avoid saturated fats. All the keto folks online may tell you to keep your carbs below 50 grams and eat a bunch of fats. Others may tell you other things. The result of all this information is confusion.
Don’t be misled by healthy sounding buzzwords. I have had patients who thought they were eating a healthy snack because it was gluten free. Just because something is gluten free or organic doesn’t automatically make it healthy.
Know what fundamentally makes a food unhealthy by reading the ingredient list on the package. If the top ingredient is corn syrup and the ingredient list contains words that don’t look like food then it’s probably unhealthy.
Changing your diet = changing your culture.
When one decides to eat healthy they are often faced with cultural challenges because food is a huge part of culture. Since culture is a strong foundation in ones life, changing one’s culture is very difficult.
When a person tries to change their culture not only do they have to adapt to new things, there will be resistance from members of their old culture. For example, for someone who decides to eat a whole-food diet, an awkward situation arises at the next family function where Doritos and Coke are the appetizers.
Since changing one’s culture is a big step, adopting new dietary changes should be a slow process taking place over a couple of years. Start with making a few simple, but permanent changes here and there and over time they will add up to a big cultural shift. On the plus side, others might see how healthy you are and want to shift their eating culture to yours.
It’s more convenient to eat unhealthy food.
In the United States, there is no shortage of restaurants. It’s so convenient to just stop off at Chipotle after a long days work and have them prepare your meal and do the clean-up for you.
Eating out is a huge part of American culture. In order to step away from eating food prepared by someone else it takes work, dedication and time. One would need to have the self-discipline to meal prep, cook meals and clean up 2-3 times per day. This is why so many people fail when they try to make positive dietary changes. Unhealthy food is just so easy.
It often feels good to eat unhealthy food.
It had probably been about 6 years since I had eaten anything from McDonald’s when I decided to get a quick breakfast one day. I ordered an Egg McMuffin with hash browns and an orange juice. The meal tasted so delicious and afterwards I felt a little bit euphoric. I don’t know whether the experience was bringing back old memories, or if some chemical added to the food made me feel good, or if it was just a sugar high. I do know that for most big food manufactures and restaurants, a lot of scientific research goes into making the food more tasty and more addictive and this is probably why it feels so good to eat unhealthy food.
Another factor is the emotional attachment to food. I won’t get into the psychology of this too much here, but if certain foods (often sugary foods) are given to a child to comfort them in times of stress then as an adult that person may turn to those same foods to help deal with stress.
Take some time to think about what you read here and try to see what eating habits you can change right now. It could be something simple like every weekend you meal-prep for the coming week or keeping sugary drinks out of your home. Making and maintaining small changes today could have a huge impact on your overall health for years to come.
If you liked this article be sure to watch the video I made on this topic below and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more like this.