The 10 Key Components of a Healthy Diet
The very first book we studied at CSNN was Staying Healthy with Nutrition By Elson M.Haas, M.D. The text is easy to read with the Holistic Nutrition philosophy clearly written in its pages;
"natural/whole foods, live/nutritious foods, high quality foods" with a strong emphasis on "food as medicine".
This giant book ended up being one of my favorites out of the whole program, and one I refer to on a regular basis.
The following is a list of ten key components that help to make up a healthy diet.
But don't stress.
You don't have to follow all of them right away. Let this be the foundation. Simply start with incorporating a few at a time into your diet and lifestyle and begin to notice how you feel - mind, body, spirit.
Natural foods – Choose foods which are in their natural state or closet to natural state. The closer to nature our foods are, the more nutrient rich they are. Plant foods (fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains) should constitute 75-80% of your dietary intake. Animal proteins make up no more than 15-20% of the diet and good fats 5-10%.
Seasonal foods – Buying local ensures you are buying foods from the season which you are currently in. This is a great, natural way for your body to reconnect with the earth and its cycles.
Fresh foods – Means foods which are raw or as close to freshly picked as possible. Most nutritious to least nutritious: Raw (includes dehydrated), Steamed, Frozen, Dried, Canned.
Nutritious foods – Choose foods that are dense in their nutrients and go for more nutritious food cutting out processed foods, refined starches and sugars.
Clean foods – Choose Certified Organic when possible. More organic food in the diet means fewer toxins in our soil, air and water and less toxic material entering the body, therefore less work your body has to do to get rid of it and less damage to your body.
Tasty and appealing foods – Taste comes from mineral content. The higher the mineral content in the soil the better the food tastes. Prepare and cook your own foods to have more appreciation for them and have fun with it. Make beautiful art with your food.
Variety and rotation - A good rule of thumb is to buy brightly coloured fruits and vegetables to ensure you are getting a variety of different vitamins and minerals in your diet. Make sure to rotate your foods every day. Eating the same foods day after day can result to food intolerance's and sensitivities.
Food combining – Fruits should be eaten alone as they contain simple sugars that require no digestion therefore will stay in the stomach for a short period of time. Do not mix animal proteins (chicken, fish, red meat, pork) with concentrated starches (pasta, rice, potatoes) at a meal. Eat animal proteins with green leafy vegetables. Eat plant proteins (legumes, soy) with any vegetable. Eat nuts and seeds alone.
Moderation – Adopting a pattern of eating smaller, more frequent meals provides a number of benefits to both your health and weight loss goals. You're less likely to overeat, and you'll have a longer lasting flow of energy to help keep you active and your mood balanced. Three main meals plus two snacks daily is generally recommended.
Balance – Find a diet that is realistic and complements your lifestyle that way it becomes a part of your life and not just another ‘fad.’ Balance in nutrients (macro and micro nutrients), food groups, flavours, colours and acid-alkaline balance prevents boredom and nutritional imbalances.