One Mom in the Middle…
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My rules for a healthy diet

Published 3.9.2016
This is not the first time that I've stated my opinion regarding what is and isn't a healthy diet, but given the series of writings in process, I've decided to do so again. I will list my rules, and discuss each. This will not be a heavily sourced piece of writing as these are my opinions.

Naturally, what constitutes a healthy diet for a given individual will vary with taste and medical condition. However, the caveat there is that for too many people, both online and off, their health issues seem to stem from their definition of a healthy diet.

What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet

  • requires no supplementation
  • does not leave you constipated
  • does not eliminate any macronutrient

Supplementation

I've written about supplementation before, but I'm going to list the reasons why supplementation should not be necessary in a healthy diet again.

  • Just on general principle, I think a healthy diet should leave you in a state where supplementation is unnecessary. 
  • Every time I turn around it seems like the efficacy of some supplement is being disproved, and in some cases, shown to be actually dangerous. 
  • Many supplement pills are the size of horse pills (or seem to be to me)  and are difficult for me to choke down.  
  • Nutrients in food come packaged in fiber and combined with other nutrients. No supplement can match that.
  • The body can only process so much of any given substance at a time, the excess (at best) becomes expensive offerings to the porcelain god. At worst they create imbalances somewhere in the body. 
Everything and anything that can be obtained from a supplement can be found in food—especially plants. The more we learn about supplements, the worse the news gets. If your diet requires that you take supplements to make up for some nutrient in your diet— or to allow you sleep, defecate, or function properly— YOUR DIET IS NOT A HEALTHY ONE.

I don't care how much weight you may have lost on the diet, if you can't get the nutrients your body needs to function from it, it's NOT HEALTHY.

Constipation

Chronic constipation is NOT normal. If you are eating a diet so devoid of fiber that your digestive tract and colon can't eliminate the undigestible bits of your meals without effort, the YOUR DIET IS NOT HEALTHY. You are not healthy if you are constipated.

The amount of excuse making on this point is frankly amazing to me. No one, anywhere, is "naturally" constipated. No, no, a thousand times NO. Constipation can be the result of illness, but almost uniformly (at least amongst so-called diet and lifestyle/fitness bloggers) it is the result of an unhealthy and unbalanced diet.

Macronutrients

Diets that eliminate a macronutrient — whether it's fat or carbohydrates— are unhealthy and unbalanced. Yes, people need a certain amount of fat in their diets to maintain optimal health and vitamin absorption. There is no civilization that subsisted on a zero fat diet. That being said, the assertion that carbohydrates are unnecessary in the human diet is complete bovine excrement. Carbs are the only source of fiber in the diet, and fiber is essential for a healthy gut biome (which is a new concept) and regular elimination of waste (which is not.) No wonder so many low carbers are constipated.

Plants are also where vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are. Yes, some of these can be gotten from meat, but a more reliable source is a varied diet that consists of food options from all through macronutrients. There is no human civilization anywhere or at any time which ate a carb free diet. Even the Inuit ate all the carbs they could get a hold of. Humans are omnivores and their diets (no matter where they live and what their genetics are) are based on ALL THREE macronutrients.


Details

There is no detailed description for the diet meeting these criteria. Many, many diets will fit within these rules. Traditional Asian cultures, which ate high carb low fat diets fit, as does the Mediterranean diet, as does the true Inuit diet— which while being high in fat and protein DID include as many carbs as they could find. The Inuit did not choose to avoid carbs.

My own diet, as I've mentioned previously, currently emphasizes getting enough fiber, because my gut is happiest when I do so. I still exclude lactose and try to minimize gluten— again for gut happiness, but overall I eat a wide variety of foods without stressing out over it.

Although I haven't mentioned it recently, I am still looking to see if I can lower my weight. Eating a lot of fiber means that my meals are filling, high in nutrition and tend to be a bit lower in calorie without any counting or tracking of macronutrient ratios (which I still maintain is calorie counting for the "bros," but I digress). My weight is down from the beginning of the year, but not by much.

Although I didn't set out with this intention, as I've started to give a personal update, I'll continue on. I still stand, walk or pedal while working, and try to get sustained aerobic exercise three times a week (faster walking/jogging in other words). I also still do body weight exercises and yoga almost daily. All of this is as it was the last time I wrote an update. The only new wrinkle is that I have decided to severely curtail the amount of adult beverage I consume, which should work to lower my weekly caloric intake, even if I change nothing else.

As I said, I'm not counting or tracking anything, just living and doing things I think are sustainable for the long term.

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