Even among those highly educated in nutrition, there are many points of view on the best food choices. Some believe you should eat as much raw food as possible. Others believe that raw food is too "yin" for most of us, and we should warm our foods so that our bodies don't use energy doing that work. (Also, some nutrients are brought out in cooking.) Some think we should minimize the fat we eat; some think we should minimize the carbs; some think we should avoid meat and other animal products; and so on.
So on this page, I'll summarize some of my basic beliefs on this topic, which I think are at least a good starting place for most of the population. At the end, I'll point you to much more detailed information that I think is useful.
In my opinion, one of the easiest ways to fail in any kind of self-development is to try diving all the way in, because most people cannot handle the overwhelm of new information and changes from the ways they are doing things. I'm not saying you can't do it, but I've found that most people need to find simple steps to take them from where they are today to a better place tomorrow.
Those in dire health circumstances are of course more likely to adopt a radical change in hopes of curing themselves ... and this DOES work many times, even when mainstream medicine has given them up for dead. This works because the motivation is there.
For most people, the motivation for change is there, but not for radical change. They're still addicted to many of their current, comforting habits of living. So I encourage change one step at a time. Start with the easiest. Momentum does build over time. Back in college, I loved Pop Tarts and artificially flavored coffee. I can't even think about consuming them today.
Forget about raw vs. cooked, fat vs. carbs and protein, etc. For me, the very first step is choosing natural food. Even this is not a simple matter, because we see labels that tell us something is "All Natural," and for the purist, this doesn't tell you much because there's no legal meaning to the term. But as a first step in moving toward a healthy diet, I like a "natural" label as long as you READ the label and make sure that it really is free of trans fats, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and artificial sweeteners. If there are "natural flavors" alongside a high sodium count, there may be MSG. I'd avoid that as well. If you're eating wheat products, avoid "bleached" wheat.
This also moves you away from meats from animals treated with antibiotics (allowing them to be very sick before becoming your food) and very often toward "free range" meats. "Free range" means that animals are given at least a minimum amount of space for movement. Factory farming has animals packed together with little room, and these animals are forced to wallow in their own filth. This isn't just about animal cruelty -- this is about sick, weak animals making up our food.
Again, for purists, there is nothing perfect about the organic label. But this is a huge step in the right direction for healthy food. As far as the label is enforced, these foods aren't directly tainted with pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, and other toxins and nastiness you really don't want to be consuming. Here I'm still not pointing you to what TYPES of food to eat or how to prepare them, but toward a freedom from toxins and artificial ingredients.
We should be clear that organic food cannot avoid acid rain or toxic groundwater from getting into the mix. They cannot avoid pesticides blowing in from nearby farms. Again, not perfect. But I think it's fair to say that it's a worthwhile label for those seeking to improve their lives.
Yes, at this time, organic is substantially more expensive. I appreciate that not everyone can afford it. But if you can, you're introducing a food that really is more friendly for building a strong body in my opinion, and you're doing so without having to change much in terms of lifestyle, since many foods you eat today have organic alternatives.
I have, by the way, heard arguments on both sides as to whether organic foods have more nutrients in them. This depends on one's soil and probably other growing conditions. I don't want to get too far into that debate. For me, it's much about what you're NOT consuming when you choose organic.
More to come as I continue on this site ...