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5 Principles To Eating A Balanced Diet; Or, The No-Diet Diet

young man in libraryHave you ever searched for the perfect balanced diet by looking through the diet section of a bookstore or library? If you felt completely overwhelmed, you are not alone. If you have ever ventured to look at more than one of those thousands of books, quite likely you were tempted to throw them out the window and eat at McDonald's the rest of your life.

If you went to school before the 1980's, you were taught that a balanced diet meant that every meal you ate had a serving from each of the four food groups.

Now the government is teaching our kids that a balanced diet means following the USDA Food Pyramid. So you go to the bookstore looking for answers, and get more questions instead.

Books about nutrition and diet constantly contradict each other

I have read or skimmed through probably 70% of every diet book out there. Most claim to have the corner on health foods, on what makes a "balanced diet."

One says vegetarianism is the healthiest diet; another says high proteinlobster will save your life. Dairy is good. Dairy is evil. Eat only raw plant foods. Eat only raw meat. (Ha! So much for finding a "balanced" diet.)

Not only have I read them, I have tried out several, including veganism, the Zone, macrobiotic, the pH miracle, No-Grain, blood type, body type, and raw food vegan. I tried them out, hoping to find “the one” that would help me to feel the best and live the longest with the best health.

Each diet book, of course, came with several pages of testimonies from people who had, by following the diet, cured themselves from everything from obesity to stage four cancer.

Most nutrition books have two common denominators

Personally, I found advantages and disadvantages for each diet, and wondered how such varied diets could work the same miracles in people with similar degenerative conditions. After years of research, I finally figured it out.

Almost every single diet, even those on opposite sides of the spectrum, command the dieter to do two things: stop eating processed foods, and increase the amount of vegetables and fruit consumed.

Period. That simple.

But I know simple does not always mean easy. Besides, doing those two things will not necessarily lead to the kind of balanced diet you need.

And many people in a condition of ill health need to do a lot more to clean up their body to the point where it can begin to heal itself.

However, the answer is not to follow a rigid diet that you find in a book, for the rest of your life. More often than not, the author of the book is sold on that particular way of eating for one reason and one reason only: The diet worked for the author. For him or her, it was a balanced diet.

What does healthy eating look like for you?

Any particular eating lifestyle may work for some, most, or perhaps even all people at some point in their lives to lose weight or increase their level of physical vitality.

But we are all unique individuals, and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another. Or a certain diet may be just what a person needs short-term, but long-term might cause dangerous nutritional deficiencies.

In my own life, I have come to the conclusion that the most balanced diet is the “No-Diet" Diet.

Five Foundation Principles of a Balanced Diet

Do you want meals to be full of vibrant life as well as fabulous flavor? Are you ready for eating to be a joyous experience, rather than a drudgery of following rules and counting carbs?

Years of research have led me to discover five basic principles of healthy eating. Follow them, and optimum health and energy, along with superb taste, will become your constant companions.

The five principles are as follows:

1. Eat what makes you feel good (physically, mentally, emotionally).
citrus fruitsIt took me years to figure this one out. No one ever told me, for example, that perhaps the reason for the discomfort I felt after every meal was because I needed to better combine my food. Nor did I make the connection between eating sugar and my constant state of lethargy until I was well into my twenties.

A balanced diet isn't balanced if it makes you sick.

2. Eat a minimum of five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit daily. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and especially cancer-fighting anti-oxidants. Eat as much organic as you can, as organic produce has several, sometimes many times more nutrients than their conventional counterparts.

3. Consume only clean animal products.

Only buy meat from health food stores, or even better, from a local farm that sells their grass-fed beef or free-range poultry. Buy eggs labeled “organic” and “cage-free”.

If you must consume dairy products, eat only raw cheese (available in higher-end conventional grocery stores as well as health food stores) and butter and yogurt made from organic milk.

4. Drink plenty of water. A balanced diet should include a lot of water. As a matter of fact, water should be your drink of choice. There are several guidelines as to how much water you should drink every day. Some say eight eight-ounce glasses, others say half your body weight in ounces of water (so if you weigh 120 pounds you would drink sixty ounces of water per day). Others say drink to thirst.

Experiment and see what works for you. If you are urinating several times a day, your skin snaps back to position when you pinch it, and you are not constipated, you are staying well hydrated.

5. Eat food as close to its natural state as possible.

Processed foods are full of toxins that depress the immune system, clog arteries, and breed cancer cells.

Choose a whole, raw apple is over applesauce in a jar, sprouted grain bread over bread made with flour, brown rice over white rice. Cooking from scratch doesn't take much more time—if any—than preparing the packaged counterpart.

May I coach you? When you follow the five principles I have listed above ninety percent of the time, you will look good, feel good, and live longer. 

You will truly feel balanced. That's my idea of a "balanced diet."

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