People can’t get this thing figured out, they’ve been told so many different things about what they should and shouldn’t be eating that there is an uncertainty about what is healthy, and what isn’t. What is the ideal diet we should eat? We have been given a nutritional guideline from the USDA in the form of a pyramid for the last several decades, which was most recently replaced by MyPlate which is the same nonsense given to you in a different form; unfortunately these are in no way backed by science. Since we were advised to increase our carbohydrate intake and lower overall fat intake we’ve seen a constant increase in every major disease category. So let’s give you a real food guide pyramid to follow based on science.
Now first off I want to make the point that the idea of having a food guide that everyone should follow is completely ridiculous. Everyone is metabolically different so what may work for one person, may be completely detrimental for another person. This real food guide pyramid is designed to give you a base to start from. Comparatively, here’s what the USDA guides have looked like over the years:
So basically eat 6-11 servings of sugar a day and avoid fat at all costs. Unfortunately science doesn’t support this in any way. The real food guide pyramid presented here again is a starting point where you can look to find optimal health. In general what we want to do is the opposite of the USDA pyramid. Based on science this is a more ideal food guide to follow.
What to eat:
- Meat – Eat animals that eat a diet consisting of what they would eat in the wild (grass-fed, free range, etc.), include organ meats.
- Fish – This should be wild fish, not factory farmed.
- Eggs – Organic if possible or omega-3 enriched.
- Vegetables – Organic if possible, as many green leafy vegetables as possible
- Fruits – If goal is weight loss then fruits may need to be limited since they contain natural sugar. Organic if possible.
- Starches – The primary starches should be sweet potatoes, yams, or even taro. Bananas are put into this section because if eaten green contains 40% starch. Rice can also be added to the list, but white rice should be the preferred rice over brown or wild rice. Again, consume organic if possible.
- Oils – Preferred oils for cooking are high fat oils like coconut oil, palm oil, ghee, butter, lard, tallow, bacon drippings, and olive oil.
- Nuts- Although not included above, these are acceptable.
What not to eat (in order):
- Added Sugars
- Vegetable Oils
- Artificial sweeteners
Ok so as you see basically just cut out the thing that is advised to eat the most, then flip it around and you have a real food guide pyramid based on science. If you’re someone struggling with their health it may be because you’ve been following the wrong diet your entire life, switch to this and see what happens to your health. If you’re afraid of all the fat you may be eating-don’t worry, you were completely lied to about fat, it’s good for you. If you are convinced fat is something you should avoid then read this article.
The reason that we are cutting out most of the bread, cereal, rice and pasta is not because of the carbohydrate intake, although these foods are higher on the glycemic index; that alone doesn’t necessary mean that these foods are unhealthy. The issue with most of these foods comes down to whether or not we can process them, in the spectrum of human history these foods are extremely new and we don’t have the genetic makeup to process them.
Now to point out, there is some evidence showing that grains may have been consumed before the invention of agriculture. However, modern day wheat is nothing like it was 50 years ago, let alone 30,000 years ago if it was even consumed then. There is also a spectrum of which grains are the worst and which grains may be alright to consume, but regardless grains don’t make the cut. There is no reason to consume any grains, any of the nutrients they provide could be obtained from other foods that don’t include the anti-nutrients.
So unlike the USDA food guidelines we are completely eliminating the base of their food guide. Also excluded are added sugars, vegetable oils, and legumes. The excluded foods are listed in order as to which ones are the worst. In other words added sugar needs to be excluded for nearly everyone and legumes are something that is excluded however may be acceptable for some people. Also, dairy is included in the list of acceptable foods in the form of butter or ghee; however industrialized milk should be excluded.
Now while by just following this food guide pyramid you may get some really good results, take into consideration this is just a guide and in order to see success in everyone there has to be an individualized approach. This page is dedicated to giving you the best insight into exactly what you should eat in order to optimize your health so it’s important we look at a few main points.
- Eat real, whole foods your ancestors ate.
Doing this alone without even thinking about your macronutrient ratio could do amazing things for your health. A lot of times when people start a diet they tend to go by how many calories they are eating first and focus on what they are eating as an afterthought. Focus on eating quality foods first and calories as an afterthought. For most people this may seem obvious, but as a society we’ve actually made a conscious effort to not eat whole foods and then masquerade it as a healthier option because of the food guidelines we’ve been give over the last several decades. Taking fat out of food and replacing it with cheap carbohydrates takes a completely healthy whole food and turns it into something your body can’t process, and this is exactly what we’ve done.
I mentioned above that every major disease category is increasing in our population. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, stoke, hypertension (the list goes on but I’ll stop there) are all at the highest rates they have even been in human history. These are diseases that were virtually nonexistent until agriculture came around. Yet we are supposed to eat mainly grains and cut out fats? How does this make any sense? Taking an ancestral approach towards our diet is what everyone should be advised to do as a guide for healthy eating. Our Paleolithic ancestors didn’t suffer from these diseases, and while most people invalidly assume that this is because our ancestors didn’t have the life expectancy that we do-this is simply not the case. The fact that children are now dying of cancer should be enough to prove this point.
- Find your macronutrient ratio.
We’ve seen populations of people have superior health from both ends of the spectrum in terms of low fat/low carb. There is generally a big debate on this issue but the truth is that you could fall on either side of the spectrum, and it will vary depending on your ancestry. So a paleo/primal/ancestral (whatever you want to call it) diet is the way to go, however the concept of this diet will differ from person to person. Looking at how our ancestors ate in terms of macronutrient ratio there really is no set in stone ratio. Depending on geographical location our ancestors carbohydrate intake could vary anywhere from almost none to about half of caloric intake. In other words at the high end of the spectrum our ancestors ate fewer carbohydrates than what is recommended by the USDA food guide pyramid, and as far as our ancestors that ate almost no carbohydrates at all; this would be considered a death ticket according to mainstream health organizations. However; for a lot of people this is exactly what they need to be doing-drastically lowering their carbohydrate intake.
If we are taking a general approach and therefore making a real food guide pyramid, the macronutrient ratio that we should use as a default would look roughly like this: 52:24:24, with fat being 52%, protein being 24%, and carbohydrates being 24%. The USDA food guide pyramid recommends 15-30% fat, 10-15% protein, and a whopping 55-75% carbohydrates. So to average that out your macronutrient ratio as they are recommending would be 22.5: 12.5: 65. In other words, we are being told the exact opposite of what we should actually be doing by the USDA. So where did this ratio come from that I’m giving you? This is a rounded average if we consume an even number of grams of fat, protein, and carbs. Fat contains 9 calories per gram, protein and carbs contain 4 calories per gram. So if you want to get really technical on this it’s more like 53%, 23.5%, and 23.5%. This is also a pretty good estimate of how our Paleolithic ancestors would have eaten as hunter/gatherers.
Even though this is a good ratio to default on, there could be a high variance individually considering everyone’s ancestry is different. Our geographical location (primarily distance from the equator) would have led to completely different diets. Taking this into consideration the numbers would look roughly like this: fat 25-90% protein 5-45%, carbohydrates 3-50%. These numbers are debatable because obviously we have no way of knowing exactly how our ancestors ate but again these are estimates. These estimates obviously come from fossils, but also there have been modern day hunter gather populations that have been studied that have demonstrated higher fat diets.
- Eat fermented foods
More and more studies continue to show how important it is to keep a healthy intestinal microbiome. Fermented foods which contain healthy probiotics are crucial to overall health. Whether it is through food or even probiotic supplements this is an absolute must in following a healthy diet (although the USDA gives no mention of consuming probiotics in their food plans). Our bodies contain nearly 100 trillion microorganisms that outnumber our human cells roughly 10-1; this alone should tell us how important this is to overall health. Intestinal flora is directly part of our immune system. Again it all goes back to how our ancestors lived. Not only were fermented foods consumed regularly but they were also exposed to bacteria in a lot of ways that today we avoid. Our anti-bacterial soaps, disinfectants, antibiotics, and chemicals among other things all contribute to a highly disrupted microbiome. So not only are we not getting enough probiotics in the first place through our diet, but we’re also doing things that negatively affect the microorganisms in our gut.
- Make roughly half of your diet raw foods
There is the argument cooking food was what led to humans larger brain size. I think that the evidence suggests that the main thing that has helped our brains grow was the consumption of animal fat in the diet. At the other end of the spectrum, many people believe that eating an all raw diet (particularly vegan) is the healthiest possible diet. Evidence suggests that cooking food is perfectly fine; however at the same time we still need a significant portion of our food to be raw. Raw foods contain enzymes that cooked food doesn’t have. Our ancestors certainly got most of their calories from raw foods-even after the discovery of fire, or more precisely the controlled use of fire. Raw plant foods would have been a high percentage of the caloric intake and even raw meat would have still been consumed regularly. So if you can stand it, you may want to even add raw meat to your diet! However, if you do this it is important to make sure it is organically raised meat. The factory farm raised meat sold in grocery stores is generally anything but organic so this should be avoided.
Most people are lucky to accomplish even 1 of the main points of this guide. Following the rest of society in terms of health choices means you literally have a 50/50 shot of having a chronic health condition at some point in your life. Switching from a highly processed diet to a diet like this takes commitment but in reality that’s exactly what has to be done in order to live a healthy life and drastically reduce your odds for disease. The main point that this food guide is presenting is that optimal nutrition outweighs obsessing about calories. If your body is fully nourished then you don’t overeat, it’s that simple. The reason there is an obesity epidemic going on today is much more complex than simply people eating too much and exercising too little. This type of thinking has brought us to the point we are at today in our society. It hasn’t done a thing in reversing obesity and the long list of diseases that comes with it. The human body craves more unnecessary calories when we are not getting the nutrients we need. Nourish your body correctly and good health will follow.
Ok so to sum everything up for you and break it down to easy to follow steps:
1: Eat real-whole foods. The primary foods you should be eating are meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, tubers, and high fat natural cooking oils like coconut oil, palm oil, ghee, and butter.
2: Find the macronutrient ratio that works for you, there isn’t a one size fits all ratio but if you’re going to make any assumptions about what the ideal macronutrient ratio should be then a 52:24:24 ratio is a good place to start. If weight loss is your goal then starting with a lower carbohydrate intake may be ideal, and depending on how you feel, you may need to gradually increase your carbohydrate intake.
3: Add probiotics into your diet through supplementation or through fermented foods.
4: Make roughly half of your food raw. Mainly from fruits, vegetables, and nuts however meat can be included if it is coming from high quality and organically raised animals.
In reality, this is what you should be eating to be healthy. Real food.