Switching from a typical American lifestyle eating the standard American diet (SAD) is best done in steps, at least for most people. It can be overwhelming, there’s a lot to learn and even more to unlearn. So take it a step at a time. For those ‘all or nothing’ people out there, go for it.
My suggestions for getting the ball rolling:
- Remove processed foods. Yes, you can do this! The processed food litmus test; Did your great-great-grandmother eat it?
- Replace sugars/sweeteners with high-quality fats. Yes, easier said than done, but once you master this you will feel amazing, look better, have more energy, have less stress, and sleep better. And then you’ll be poised to take the next steps. Sugar is very, very sneaky. You must check everything you eat to look for the hidden sugars.
- Do not eat polyunsaturated vegetable oils or margarine. Instead, eat high-quality fats such as ghee (easy to make in a slow cooker), grass-fed butter, tallow, lard, olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. Your body needs healthy fat; your brain needs healthy fat.
- Remove grains. Yes, I do still miss them but have no desire to turn back. We make it a point to eat delicious food so we don’t feel deprived. I do have my favorite Miracle Noodles (Shirataki) that satisfy that need for pasta, 0 calories, 0 sugar, <1 carb.
- Eat organic vegetables and fruits. Refer to the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen from the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) if you need to prioritize your organic produce purchases.
- Eat meat and dairy from grass-fed, pastured, and wild-caught sources. Dairy should be eaten sparingly by most. Refer to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch (seafoodwatch.org) for seafood recommendations.
- If you eat legumes, only eat them sprouted or fermented. This makes them more nutritious and easier on your digestive system. Eat sparingly as well.
- Follow the Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid vs. the USDA Food Pyramid. The USDA version has been around since 1992 and has not done Americans any favors. The Primal Blueprint version supports high-nutrient, satisfying, low-inflammatory eating.
- Try intermittent fasting, More details here; Is Intermittent Fasting For You?. For example, if you eat at 6:00 PM, don’t eat again before 10:00 AM the next morning, which is an 8-hour eating window with a 16-hour fast (16/8). If you are new to this, start off with a 12-hour window (12/12) then expand as you can. I typically do a 16/8 window with an occasional 23/1. If you do feel hungry in the morning, drink a cup of bone broth or herbal tea to keep you satisfied until your meal. Your body adapts to this quickly.
- count calories.
- start your week without a plan.
- stress if you wander off-plan.
- be afraid to eat healthy fat.
- push your comfort zone.
- vary your choices.
- slow down and enjoy your meals.
Meals are meant to be enjoyed, preferably with loved ones.