When it comes to health and wellness, experts agree that what you put into your mouth is way more important to disease outcome than your genetic makeup. That is why today I am going to share with you what I consider to be a food pyramid that will help to optimize your health and longevity.
Let’s first take a look at what the United States government recommends. The 2017 Food Guide Pyramid developed by the USDA and supported by the Department of Health and Human Services is a researched based approach to proper nutrition based upon 3 criteria:
- The food that Americans eat.
- The Nutrients in those Foods.
- How to Make the Best Food Choices for You.
The primary focus of the Pyramid is to reduce fat and sugar consumption because most Americans’ diets are too heavy on fats and added sugars.
The first item the 2017 Pyramid focuses on is consuming 6-11 servings of Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta. This would be equivalent to 6-11 slices of bread or 3-5 cups of pasta. This already is a huge mistake. What you have to consider is that, once digested, all of these carbohydrate foods turn into sugar. This leads to blood sugar spikes and insulin spikes, which are a leading cause of Diabetes.
Next on the list comes 2-4 servings of fruits and 3-5 servings of vegetables. This is equivalent to 2-4 apples, oranges, banana, etc or 1.5-3 cups of fruit juice and 3-5 cups of leafy vegetables or 1.5-2.5 cups of other vegetables. Again, the USDA is not taking into consideration the amount of sugar consumed when you consider eating 4 bananas vs 4 avocados.
Moving further up the Food Pyramid list, the USDA recommends 2-3 servings of dairy products, meat and other animal products, as well as nuts and beans. Again, this would be equivalent to 2-3 cups of milk or yogurt, 4-6 ounces of processed cheese, 4-6 ounces of lean meat (4-6 eggs), 1-1.5 cups of beans, or 2/3-1 cup of nuts. To put this into perspective eating 4-6 ounces of lean meat would be equivalent to consuming 130-170 grams of protein daily. The dietary reference intake for a sedentary individual for protein is roughly 46 grams of protein for women and 56 grams for a sedentary man. Consuming too much protein each day means that your body will convert that excess protein into fat.
Last on the Food Pyramid list are fats, oils and sweets. These foods are to be consumed sparingly. The big negative here is again, the USDA is grouping all fats together. While it is not recommended to consume trans-fats, saturated fats still get a bad name, particularly healthy saturated fats like avocado and coconut oils. Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fats are still considered a healthy fat and are recommended for reducing the risk of heart disease. However, you do need to consider how you are using these fats and how they were processed.
All that being said, here is my recommendation for a healthy Food Pyramid.
- Consume plenty of water daily. At least 60-100 ounces per day (7-12 cups)
- Eat a minimum of 2 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. The lower the fruit and vegetable on the glycemic index, the better.
- Eat 1-3 ounces of protein per day (depending upon activity level). Consume red meat no more than 1 time per week, chicken no more than 2 times per week, and fish at least 2 times per week. Always choose grass-fed, free range, wild caught proteins over conventional farm raised and factory raised protein.
- Avoid dairy at all costs with the exception of raw, unpasteurized dairy like cheese or grass-fed butter. Try dairy substitutes like almond milk or coconut milk.
Use oils like olive oil for salad dressings, coconut and avocado oils for cooking. Never consume vegetable, peanut or Canola oils or margarine.
- Consume fermented foods at least every other day, like saurkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kevita drinks, etc.
Lastly, keep sweets (even dark chocolate) and alcohol to a bare minimum.
At Stanly Wellness Center, we are eager and ready to help you and your families achieve the best health possible. If you are looking for help with your health or you know of someone who is suffering with poor health, call the office of Stanly Wellness Center at 980-355-7600 and schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation with Dr. Patrick Ess to see how he can help. We specialize in nutrition, detoxification and neurological correction. You can also refer to our website at www.AskDrPatrick.com for more information.