With so much conflicting information on what to eat and what not to eat, it’s hard to know what you should be feeding your body. Click ‘Read More’ to discover what you really should be eating and why.
“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add; rather, when there is nothing left to take away.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“Everything should be made as simple as possible—but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein
The “Perfect Diet” is an idea more than anything. Are any of us on this planet ever going to be perfect? Not likely, not in this lifetime. And neither is our diet. In this lifetime it is unlikely that from this point forward every ounce of meat we eat is grass-fed, grass-finished, antibiotic-free, hormone-free and cooked to perfection to ensure optimal protein structure. It is unlikely that every vegetable and fruit we consume from this point forward will be pesticide-free, grown in perfect soil that contains optimal balance of minerals and transported to our local supermarket in time for us to consume it in its’ freshest state.
WHAT THE “PERFECT DIET” REALLY IS
Ok, so the “Perfect Diet” won’t be exactly perfect. But here’s what it should be, do, and have:
1. The perfect diet should be simple, sustainable, flexible, and organic whenever possible.
2. The perfect diet should include breakfast.
3. The perfect diet should avoid foods that you are sensitive to.
4. The perfect diet should contain enough calories from protein, fat, carbohydrate, and fiber to meet your body’s daily requirements.
5. The perfect diet includes staying well-hydrated.
SIMPLE. SUSTAINABLE. FLEXIBLE.
When you do a study of people who have had tremendous success sticking to diets they almost all agree that success involves keeping things simple. They have a few meals that they repeat again and again. The meals are usually easy to prepare, or they have found ways to make sure they require little time and effort to make. If you’re going to do an omelet for breakfast every morning, for example, and you want to put onions and chicken in it, it’s a good idea to have the onion chopped ahead of time and the chicken pre-cooked.
KEEP IT SIMPLE, SMARTY
If you want to keep things simple, choose 2 meats, 2 vegetables, 1 healthy snack and 1 breakfast meal and stick to it 6 days a week. The foods you choose should be easy to prepare. In our house we do turkey and lamb as our meats, broccoli and spinach as our veggies, celery dipped in peanut butter for our snack, and alternate between smoothies and eggs for breakfast in the morning. Day 7 is our cheat day, usually Saturday, and for advice on that see that article How to Manage Your Cheat Day. It will explain the importance of “cycling your calories” for weight loss or sports performance.
BREAKFAST: THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY?
There is truth to the statement that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets your metabolism for the rest of the day for one thing. What a lot of people don’t know is that breakfast lowers your stress hormone levels as well. To wake you up in the morning your body makes the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline—they get you up and moving. But you need to eat breakfast to turn those stress hormones off, or else they will eat your muscles and make you nervous and anxious throughout the day, relying on stimulants like caffeine for energy.
MAKING BREAKFAST EASY: WELLNESS SMOOTHIES
If you have less than 5 minutes to make breakfast in the morning you can still get all of your nutritional requirements from a wellness smoothie. Click here for a list of our favorite smoothies. They are easy to make and usually require less than 5 minutes to make, drink (or take with you to work) and clean the blender.
Food sensitivities are not food allergies. They don’t produce the throat-swelling anaphylaxis reactions that allergies produce. Food sensitivities are very damaging to your health, however, especially if you consume them on a regular basis. During the Wellness Exam we will test you for sensitivity to the 5 major foods that people are sensitive to—wheat, dairy, sugar, corn, and rice. But what about all the other foods on the planet? Do you need to take a skin-prick test to determine your sensitivity to those foods? The answer is: not right away. There is a far more simple and inexpensive way to determine your sensitivities.
EAT RIGHT FOR YOUR BLOOD TYPE
The best-selling work of Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo classifies foods into 3 different groups—highly beneficial, neutral, and foods to avoid. Highly beneficial foods boost your immune system and remove plaque from your arteries. “Avoid” foods weaken the immune system and cause plaque build-up. Neutral foods do neither. Different blood types react differently to different foods.
If you find you are sensitive to a food that should be beneficial or neutral for you then it is likely your Progesterone levels are imbalanced. This means you have hormonal reasons behind your sensitivity to that particular food rather than digestive issues. In particular, Progesterone is one of the hormones responsible for controlling “genetic switching” which is covered briefly in the article Why We Get Sick.
How your body reacts to different foods is based largely on what blood type you are. For a list of foods that you should avoid or emphasize in your diet, click the appropriate link below. If you don’t know your blood type, you can donate blood and they will tell you your blood type, or you can order a blood type testing kit for $10 on Amazon.com by clicking here.
CALORIES ARE YOUR FRIENDS!
Did you know you are burning calories right now as you’re reading this? It’s true: you don’t just burn calories during exercise. You even burn calories when you’re sleeping. In fact, mental energy requires calories as well. They estimate that world class chess players utilize as many calories during a chess match as a world class athlete does competing in their event! Calories are not your enemy, they are your friends that provide your muscles and brain the energy they need to carry you through the day. It’s where your calories come from that’s most important.
BALANCING YOUR CALORIES
Most humans in the 135-180 pound weight range require 1500-2200 calories/day based on their Basal Metabolic Rate. They may require slightly more depending on duration and intensity of any physical exercise performed. Protein and sugar (carbohydrate) contain 4 calories per gram while fat contains 9 calories per gram. You can multiple your bodyweight in pounds by 0.6 to calculate how much protein you need per day, and that number represents the minimum requirement. So at 150 lbs. you would need 150 x 0.6 = 90 grams of protein per day. The rest of your calories will come from sugar and fat.
Click here to calculate your BMR, which is the total calories you would burn if you stayed in bed all day.
A NOTE ON PROTEIN
Dr. Mike: “Some of my patients have been told by their medical doctors that too much protein in the diet can damage the kidneys. There is no proof of this in scientific literature anywhere. Protein is so essential to proper brain function that Dr. Amen in his book “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life” recommends that you consume protein 3 times per day regardless of whether you suffer from depression, mood swings, ADD, or brain fog.
FAT IS NOT YOUR ENEMY!
Did you know your brain is 85% water, 10% fat, and 5% protein? It’s true. Without enough essential fatty acids in your diet your brain will degenerate. Memory issues, trembling hands and inability to absorb new information will occur. Your joints, tendons, and ligaments will all start to erode, and your hormone system will deteriorate in a hurry, as all hormones from Progesterone to Estrogen to Testosterone are made from cholesterol and fatty acids. The fat in your diet also helps fight inflammation, so if you have joint pain, spinal pain, digestive bloating or other symptoms associated with inflammation then you are likely not getting enough fat in your diet.
HOW MUCH FAT SHOULD I EAT?
You calculated your BMR using the link above so you know how many calories you need per day. You also know your minimum protein requirement based on your weight. The only question here is how to distribute the remaining calories? For example:
5’6″, 150-pound female BMR = 1,500 calories/day
150 lbs. x 0.6g protein = 90g of protein x 4 calories/gram = 360 calories from protein
1,500 total calories minus 360 protein calories = 1,140 calories to split between fat & carbs
You don’t want to eat more than 150g of carbs per day maximum, and somewhere between 50-125 grams of carb per day is probably optimal for your weight loss goals. Let’s say this 150-pound female wants to eat 100g of carbs per day which is equal to 400 calories from carbs:
360 calories from protein
400 calories from carbs
740 calories from fat
740 fat calories divided by 9 calories per gram of fat equals 82g of fat per day. That’s not as much as you think and is probably the easiest to get in your diet. Just make sure it’s good fat from butter, almond butter, peanut butter, fish, nuts, seeds, or avocadoes.
FINDING YOUR HAPPY PLACE
If you’re not comfortable eating this many grams of fat per day you can multiply your bodyweight by 0.8 or 1.0 or 1.2 to raise your protein requirement, but I wouldn’t recommend going much over 0.8 on your protein multiplier unless you exercise 4-5 days/week. It could bog down your liver and make you constipated.
If you don’t want to take my word on fat in the diet feel free to check out Eat Fat to Lose Weight on Amazon.com by Ann Louise Gittleman, one of the best books on the subject ever written.
We often forget that water is essential to our diet as well. I’ve seen it cure headaches, constipation, and low energy within a week. Usually half your bodyweight in ounces of water should be enough to get you through your non-workout days. For more information read Should I Drink More Water?