Looking to up your game in the New Year? Improving your diet can have a huge, (even life-saving) effect on your health. Even making small changes can pay off big in terms of weight loss, in your ability to fight infection, prevent depression and feel enthused and energetic.
Hundreds of studies have looked at the relationship between eating whole plant foods and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. For virtually every disease, studies repeatedly show that people who eat the most vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains always have the lowest risk, no matter what disease is being investigated.
Making changes to improve your health can be challenging, but it is far easier, and less costly, than the alternatives of doctor’s visits, prescriptions and hospitalization; especially because medical care is a leading cause of death in America.
Here are 6 simple ways to get started on a journey to better health:
Use Soups to add more Greens, Beans, Veggies to Your Diet - A Nutritarian Diet emphasizes high-nutrient, whole plant foods that supply large amounts of micronutrients and fiber and crowd out unhealthy, high calorie foods. Eating this type of diet unleashes the body’s tremendous ability to heal, achieve optimal weight and slow the aging process. An easy place to start is to cook a huge pot of veggie-bean soup or bean chili on the weekend, and use it as part of your lunch for the entire week.
Eat One Large Salad a Day - I always say to make salad your main dish at least once a day! It’s is an easy way to incorporate a lot of raw greens and other raw vegetables into your diet. Build a large salad with at least 5 cups of leafy greens, including the cancer-fighting cruciferous veggies like arugula, bok choy, cabbage, or radishes; also include raw onions, tomatoes, no-salt or low-salt beans and top with a nut or seed-based dressing. Avoid salad dressing made with oil, as it contains no beneficial fiber and is calorie dense and fattening.
Stop Adding Salt to Your Food - The excessive level of sodium in the modern diet has caused an epidemic of high blood pressure. Living in the United States, your lifetime probability of developing high blood pressure is higher than 90 percent, with the accompanying increased risks of heart attack, heart failure and stroke. Experiment with fresh or dried herbs, spices and no-salt seasoning blends, add a splash of vinegar, lemon, orange or lime, or bring a bit of heat to your dishes by sprinkling red pepper flakes, dried chilis, or cayenne pepper. Choose no-salt items when shopping and beware of sodium in prepared foods. Get creative with your seasonings and stop relying on salt to flavor your food.
Minimize Animal Products in Your Diet - No matter what type of animal product you choose to eat, it should be a minor part of your diet. Long-term studies with hundreds of thousands of participants have established that diets rich in animal products are associated with a higher incidence of heart attacks and cancers. Make eggs, chicken, fish, and dairy no more than 10 percent of your diet. Avoid red and processed meat completely. You can use animal products shredded in small amounts to add flavor to wokked vegetable dishes and soups, but rarely eat a large serving of animal product as a main dish.
Avoid Using Oil - Oil is a high-calorie, low-nutrient food. Even though some oils are worse than others, all are extremely fattening and do not contain a significant amount of micronutrients. Heating oils adds another degree of danger creating rancid compounds linked to cancer. Avoid adding oil when cooking. Instead use nuts and seeds to achieve a rich, creamy texture by blending them into salad dressings, sauces, and soups.
Use Intact Whole Grains - All products made with flour are relatively high glycemic; meaning they spike blood sugar. Intact grains, such as wild rice, quinoa, farro, steel-cut oats, buckwheat, millet and barley. are not ground into flour and usually have to be cooked in water; they are low glycemic. I no longer recommend white or brown rice. White rice is too highly glycemic and brown rice is most often contaminated with arsenic. Bean pastas taste delicious and can take the place of pasta made with white flour.
Read my books and grow the intellectual power to change; the more you know the easier this gets
Want a simple plan that puts this all together for you, with a full list of what to eat at every meal, with shopping lists and easy recipes? Check out my 10 in 20 Detox Plan which offers meal plans and recipes featuring my Nutritarian Diet principles. Both the original 10 in 20 Detox Plan and its sequel, the 10 in 20 Detox: More of What You Love, utilizes healthful foods to re-energize your body and reset your palate, while helping you to lose weight (up to 10 pounds in less than 3 weeks!). This innovative weight loss plan delivers immediate results and will get you started on a path toward healthful eating. As a bonus, both 10 in 20 Detox Plan and its sequel, 10 in 20 Detox: More of What You Love, come with a free 3-month membership to my website, www.drfuhrman.com