Confused About Diet? Use Common Sense!

 “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.”
Thomas Paine, Common Sense

If you are confused about what to eat…join the crowd!  There is more conflicting nutrition information than there are shades of gray.  I say, take a step back. Back to our ancestors. What worked for tens of thousands of years worked better than what we have been eating the past 60 years, the SAD, Standard American Diet. For the first time in history our children are predicted to have a shorter life span than their parents. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are all at an all time high. If you simply use common sense it will tell you that the low fat, processed, sugary food we eat is killing us slowly.

It seems we can’t trust the government’s ‘Food Pyramid’, or new ‘Food Plate’, to tell us what is healthy.  They have an agenda that is shrouded in political shakanery.  It seems we can’t trust most Medical Doctors either.  They have maybe one nutrition class and seem too busy to do anything but prescribe the drugs that have been marketed to them.  How about a Registered Dietician? They are regurgitating the information that has been passed down to them through the years, but nutrition science research is advancing at bullet-train speed, while the courses taught in school are still at the train station.  If you have time you could read all the new research that might point you in the right direction.  But do you know how to discern an observational from a controlled study, or if it uses a true scientific method, and if it is proving cause and effect?  A new group, NuSI, has recently been formed to try to sift through this mass of confusing nutrition information in search of the truth.  In the meantime, if you want to eat sensibly, your best bet is to simply eat with common sense.  Below are my common sense rules of eating.

  • Eat only REAL food   Packaged, processed, bagged, boxed, multiple ingredients, fillers, chemicals, genetically modified=not REAL. Use common sense.
  • Eat Vegetables and Fruits (notice vegetables are first) Eat the whole thing. Not their juices. It came out of the earth that way for a reason. Use common sense.
  • Eat Protein from Healthy Animals Everyone agrees we need protein, and not too much. It should come from animals that aren’t mistreated, injected with chemicals, or sick. Use common sense.
  • Eat Healthy Fat  Every cell in our body contains fat. We need it. Our cells don’t contain trans-fat, chemically altered fat (industrial seed oils), or unhealthy fat like that found in unhealthy, mass produced, mistreated, injected animals. Eat fat from healthy animals and unadulterated oils. Use common sense.
  • Eat Nuts and Seeds  Make sure they are REAL.  Have they been cooked in industrial seed oils, coated in sugar, or heated until their own fat is rancid? Remember, nuts and seeds have hard shells that are hard to crack, so I doubt we are meant to eat cup fulls at a time. They are also inherently hard to digest due to their survival mechanisms (long story), so use common sense when eating them.
  • Don’t Eat Sugar Don’t eat it in solid or liquid form, in food, on food, or in any variation: high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, rice sugar, etc. Use common sense.
  • Don’t Eat It If It Makes You Feel Bad Sure, it’s a rush eating something high in sugar, full of cheap fats, or created to make you want more (yes, food companies know what the human palate finds addicting and irresistible), but does it leave you feeling hungry, tired, hyper, stuffed, constipated, fat, swollen, or is it satisfying and energizing? Does it add to your health or take away from your health? Use common sense.
  • Don’t Eat It Just Because The Label Makes Health Claims. The fact that it has a label probably means it isn’t REAL food.  Read the ingredients.  If it has words you can’t pronounce, and doesn’t comply with the above rules…then it probably isn’t REAL food. Use common sense.
  • If It Rots It Is REAL Food Have you ever seen the video about how long fries and a hamburger last sitting out on a counter top? Do you think this is normal? Do you want those chemicals, that are keeping that food from rotting, inside your body? Use common sense.

These are my common sense, obvious approaches to eating healthy. The next time you are at the grocery store, eating in a restaurant, or trying to decide if a certain diet is the right diet for you, apply these common sense rules to make sense of it all.  If you can start to think before you eat and trust your gut, then you will have gone a long way toward making sense of the confusing information, and will be on your way to a healthier you!

“It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time. People say ‘It’s as plain as the nose on your face.’ But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?”
Isaac Asimov, I, Robot