What is a healthy diet?
There is a huge amount of information out there about what constitutes a diet for healthy living. The following general guidelines are the result of my own research, personal experience, my work with healthy people as well as patients affected by major illnesses. The following summarises an excellent maintenance diet for the average person in the street. Whilst many books and articles market different diets for different diseases, it is less well known that you can use the same good food to maintain your health, regardless of whether you have a family history of heart disease or cancer.
If you have a specific disease, you are recommended to seek your physician's advice prior to starting a new diet.
Good food is an essential part of healthy living. It should not be a source of stress.
The Guiding Principles
• Concentrate on eating health promoting foods
• Avoid food that is known be associated with problems
Ideal proportions of food
A good diet is based on vegetables, grains and fruits. 70% is raw food ideally, 30% is lightly cooked Of this diet, there ought to be:-
• 50-55%% grains
• 20-25% vegetables
• 15% legumes (for example, beans, lentils, peas, sprouted beans, soy products)
• 0-5% animal products (including dairy products).
What foods to avoid
• Salt (replace with low salt miso & tamari which can be used occasionally)
• Sugar (replace with 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup per day)
• Refined foods (replace with whole grain products, for example, good breads, brown rice and so on)
• Caffeine (replace with herb teas and dandelion coffee or grain beverages)
• Chemical additives (read food labels on prepared food to find out if it has additives)
• Foods fermented in alcohol or vinegar
• Smoked or preserved meats
• Fried, burnt or barbecued food
• Animal fat
Amount of fat you need
• Ideally, you should only have 15% fat in your diet
• Avoid all saturated fats, for example animal fat, palm oil & coconut oil. Palm oil is prevalent in biscuits as this makes the product crunchy
• Understand the effects of omega fatty acids on your immune system:
A. Omega-3 fatty acids are in fish oil & flaxseed oil. This is a tonic for your immunity.
B. Omega-6 fatty acids in sunflower and safflower oils. Avoid these, they adversely affect the immune system.
C. Omega-9 fatty acids in olive oil are neutral for the immune system. Olive oil has other health benefits.
• Fats and oils are degraded by heat, air and light. Buy cold-pressed oils in small quantities only (because they become rancid quickly and easily) and add oils to food only after cooking. With flaxseed oil, store in amber glass bottles or tin containers (not plastic) in the fridge.
Amount of protein you need
• Ideally, you should only have 55-60 grams of protein each day. Vegetable protein sources are preferable. Fatty meat protein is highly undesirable.
• To calculate the amount of protein to include in your diet, start off with low protein sources already in your diet which will contribute to the overall total, such as grains. Add to this a maximum of 500g protein per week from the sources below:-
A. Vegetable proteins: Soy beans, lentils, chick peas, tofu or beancurd, any type of bean
B. Deep sea fish
C. Dairy products: Not recommended for people with multiple sclerosis or active cancer
D. Meat: In descending order - lean white meat (rabbit, veal, free range chicken), lean red meat, fatty meat
Amount of alcohol
• It is difficult for the liver and brain to metabolise alcohol. Drink in moderation, in manageable amounts, if you are healthy.
Amount of fibre
• Use whole grain
• Do not peel vegetables
• There is no need to add bran or other fibre to your diet
Useful additions to your meal
• Condiments - turmeric, ginger, garlic, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, basil, bay leaves, black pepper, coriander, dill, fennel, saffron, thyme
• Nuts - eat as much chestnuts as you like, 10-20 almonds each day. Avoid peanuts.
• Drinks - water, fresh juices, herbal tea, dandelion coffee or grain beverages.
• Make your own alfalfa seed or fenugreek seed sprouts in a jar.
How to prepare food
• Whenever possible, use organic products which are free of chemicals.
• Read food labels so you can discriminate.
• If you buy commercial vegetables and fruits, wash in 1% white vinegar and rinse in clean water beforehand helps clean the products before you consume them.
• Use stainless steel, cast iron, glass, tin, earthenware and enamel utensils. Do not use aluminium or plastic utensils
• Steaming, dry baking, wok sautéing in water (and not oil).
• Boil rice and other grains, bake bread, stew under slow heat
• Do not cook with oils, especially avoid deep frying as this changes the chemical configuration of the oils. Similarly, do not use the microwave oven as it results in uneven and unpredictable heating or cooking.