Special excerpt from my book, Simple Diet, Beautiful You
Today, a sneak peek from my book as titled above…
Many people, when they hear the phrase “simple diet”, think of one of two things. An image of a plateful of rice and beans is the first. The second is a picture of pioneers in the 1800’s eating food cooked from scratch over a fire.
I’m not sure how we came to romanticize this time, particularly their diet, as we do. Yes, they did not consume fast food, frozen dinners, or potato chips. But they did consume plenty of white flour in the form of bread, cookies, cakes and pie crusts. Those who spent weeks and months on the prairie subsisted on cornmeal cakes and prairie chickens. No greens, no fruit, no omega-3 fatty acids.
And a startling percentage of women died in childbirth – many times, along with the baby they were trying to deliver. Part of that was due to the ignorance of sanitation back then, but I believe a large part was also due to wrong diet. A deficiency in vitamin E, for example, makes the labor and birth process much more difficult than if a mother has plenty of the nutrient in her system.
Read the history of author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family. Almost everyone in her immediate family died in their sixties.
That is young. And if you read through all her books, and notice what was lacking in their diet and what was prevalent, you get a good idea as to why they died so young.
The truth is, a simple diet does not have to be boring, like rice and beans. And it has nothing to do with what farm families in the 1800’s consumed. Even by that time – nay, many years before, because white sugar has been around for hundreds of years – people were eating unnatural foods.
A simple diet is a diet consisting of food that is as close to its natural form as possible. If it is impossible to eat in its natural form, it should be avoided altogether, or considered as a condiment or occasional special treat.
There is one kind of food, and one only, that is so easy for the human digestive system to handle that I have heard it referred to as “pre-digested.” I am talking about fruit.
Most fruit can be picked off the tree, vine, or bush and eaten as-is. Most of the tropical fruits require some peeling, but this is easily accomplished with a moderately sharp tool, if not with hands.
The next easiest foods for humans are raw fish and raw egg yolks, and after that, cooked fish and cooked egg yolks.
I would put the raw tender greens, such as lettuce and spinach, equal to cooked fish and egg yolks. Next in line would be cooked dark, leafy greens such as broccoli and kale, tied with raw milk since the protein in raw milk (yes, even goat milk) is a little tough to digest, while the fiber in dark, leafy greens – unless chewed thoroughly – makes it hard for your body to extract the nutrients from it. Cooked dark leafies, however, are generally more easily digested than their raw counterparts, unless they are fermented as with raw sauerkraut.
I could go on, but I think you’re beginning to see what I mean by a “simple diet.” The more a food has been removed from its natural state, the less nutritious it is – and usually, the more toxic it is.
Some people, if they were to hear the term “simple diet,” would immediately think of raw food. After all, uncooked, natural foods have not been processed. That makes them the simplest of all, right?
I used to buy into that. But as I just explained, the vegetables that belong to the cabbage family are very difficult to digest in their raw state because of their tough fibers. These tough fibers also make it difficult for your body to extract the nutrients from the juice of the plant. Blending facilitates that process as cooking does, but you can’t pick a green smoothie out of the ground, can you? Or, for that matter, a glass of juice, however fresh and organic it may be.
I am not excluding raw kale or egg whites from a simple diet, only making the point that the human body deals with some natural foods much more easily than with others, and those foods might be eaten more frequently and in greater quantities than the others.
If you’re like me, you’re going to be tempted, as you read, to look for the ideal diet for humankind. Or, at least, for you. You’re going to want me to tell you the exact number of servings of the best foods you should eat every day for optimum health.
I’m not going to give you what you want. We do not live in an ideal world. We live in an imperfect world where different people deal with different constraints that keep them from eating the healthiest diet possible. Some families cannot afford to buy all organic food. Others have developed autoimmune digestive issues that prohibit them from consuming fiber in any form. It might be healthier for me to eat salmon three times a day rather than eat nuts and seeds, but at $12 a pound for the fish, this habit would send our food budget through the roof.
You must get the idea of “ideal” out of your head, because if you don’t, it will continually prod you into seeking for it. And since it doesn’t exist, you will only increase your stress levels.
Jason is a fictional name of a real person. I read a book of his that he had published to Kindle. He got into raw food, eventually dropping greens, nuts and seeds out of his diet until he was living on only six pieces of fruit per day. He talked about it in a “holier than thou” way, as if he were the only person on earth eating the ideal diet: only the food that is easiest to digest, and just enough to keep him from looking like a complete skeleton (he had a photo of himself in his book, and he was very thin. And I say that as someone who is just below her “ideal” clinical weight).
Later on in the book, he confessed to binging on fast food and packaged foods various times. He could not explain these cravings.
Could you? My readers are always smart, so I’m going to assume you can figure it out as easily as I could.
Six pieces of fruit per day. Nothing else.
Moreover, I visited his blog and found that he was in a state of despair because the world refused to live up to his ideal of how it should work.
Ideals can make you crazy. Depressed. Get them out of your life. You don’t want to be like Jason.
Instead of ideals, shoot for principles. Simplify your diet by following the ten food-related principles outlined, one per chapter, in most of the rest of the book. You don’t even need to follow them 100%. Aim to start with following them 75% of the time, with a goal to end up following them 90-95% of the time.
Want more? Click here to buy the book. It even has over twenty recipes to help prevent chocolate deficiency!