Healthy Eating Guidelines

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First, here's the healthy eating guidelines in a nutshell. They're pretty simple, really.

You can think of this as adding highly nutritious food and decreasing junk food.

1.  Eat more fruits and vegetables.

2.  Eat more whole foods.

3.  Use unrefined salt.

4.  Eat healthy fats instead of unhealthy fats.

5.  Try superfoods.

6.  Eat more foods that are prepared with traditional methods.

7.  Eat more organic foods.

8.  Eat less processed food.

9.  Eat fewer foods with unhealthy ingredients.

10. Pay attention to how specific foods affect you.


Food bought fresh (or sometimes "minimally processed"), then cleaned or cooked at home. Examples: apples, carrots, t-bone steak, brown rice. Read more.

Manufactured, packaged food. Examples: white flour, canned soup, Wonder Bread, Hot Pockets. Read more.

Practically everything in the supermarket that's in a box, bag, jar, or can. See the list.

Food additives make manufactured food possible. Processed foods have food additives; whole foods don't. Read more.

Guidelines in Detail

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Nutrition experts are often at odds with each other, but they all agree on eating more produce.

Each kind of fruit / vegetable contains unique nutrients. Some contain powerful antioxidants or high amounts of enzymes. 

Studies demonstrate that healthier people eat more servings of fruits and vegetables.

2. Eat more whole foods.

Foods in their natural state retain the complete set of nutrients given by nature.

3. Use unrefined salt.

Refined salt is the ordinary table salt available in the supermarket; the refining process removes healthful minerals that remain in unrefined salt.

4. Eat healthy fats instead of unhealthy fats.

Some healthy fats: olive oil, butter, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, flax seed oil.

Is it OK for your heart to eat healthy fats? See the book Fat and Cholesterol Are Good For You!

Some unhealthy fats: trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils), margarine, commercial salad dressing, refined vegetable oils.

5. Try superfoods.

A superfood has concentrated nutrients, often nutrients that aren't available in other foods!

Many kinds of foods can be superfoods: exotic fruits, berries, green drinks such as wheatgrass juice, seaweed, herbs, and healthy fats. 

Weston Price discovered that traditional diets of the world's healthiest people included one or more of the following: seafood, organ meats, or raw milk products. This is almost certainly due to the fat-soluble vitamins in certain uncommonly eaten superfoods.

6. Eat more foods that are prepared with traditional methods.

Eat more foods that are extracted, cultured, or otherwise prepared with traditional methods, rather than with modern industrial food processing methods. An example is traditionally-made (not commercially made) sauerkraut.

7. Eat more organic foods.

If possible, eat more organic foods. Organic foods can be found at natural food stores and health food stores, but also at Wal-Mart, many supermarkets, and online stores.

8. Eat less processed food.

Eat less of the processed food found in the supermarket in boxes, bags, jars, and cans. These are foods manufactured in industrial facilities and engineered to have a long shelf life. They typically are labeled with a long list of chemical-sounding ingredients. For examples, see this list of processed foods.

9. Eat fewer foods with unhealthy ingredients.

Read ingredients lists on food labels, and eat fewer foods with unhealthy food additives.

The most harmful ingredients include:

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and yeast extract
  • High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Trans fats: partially hydrogenated oils
  • Nitrites and other additives to processed meat
  • Genetically modified corn, soy, and sugar

10. Pay attention to how specific foods affect your health.

Not every healthy food is good for everybody.

Common problem foods are:

More Healthy Eating Guidelines

Michael Pollan, a professor of journalism, frequently writes about the Western diet and the American food production system. His healthy eating guidelines, in this New York Times Magazine article, Unhappy Meals, begin simply, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

The food he refers to are whole foods. "Don't eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food," he writes. He ends his article with nine healthy eating guidelines on choosing and enjoying food.

Pollan's book In Defense Of Food expands on this article.

Weston A. Price was a dentist and researcher who documented traditional diets. The Weston A. Price Foundation is dedicated to traditional foods and traditional farming methods.

The Foundation's Dietary Guidelines emphasize whole foods and traditional foods, and its Dietary Dangers are guidelines for avoiding the worst elements of processed and industrial foods.


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