No perfect diet for humans
Humans are omnivores and though our ancestors may have eaten differently in various parts of the world, they had one thing in common; they ate foods that were "whole," nutrient-rich, free of added sugar, and unprocessed to the point of being depleted. By necessity they ate what was fresh, in season, minimally processed, and prepared using age-old techniques to aid in preservation and digestibility.
Enter our modern eating traditions with an abundance of calories from refined grains, sugar-added everything, refined vegetable oils, processed and packaged foods we have little clue how they came to be; "How do they make Goldfish Crackers?" A misconception of what healthy eating looks like is to think it constitutes twigs, grass, and a cornucopia of tasteless tree bark. How far from the truth. Healthy eating is a joy-filled adventure of colors, tastes and textures. It stresses quality over quantity. It's not vegan, vegetarian, or Atkins, but consists of a variety of plants, fruits, and animal products that have been raised in a healthy manner. In addition, we should drink plenty of water and perhaps some tea now and then to promote health.
Here's a short list of some "Real Foods" from the Real Foods Market Newsletter:
Berries are low in calories, high in fiber and loaded with plant compounds that improve memory and help fight cancer.
Nut-eaters have lower rates of heart disease.
Beans are notorious for their high fiber content and are a part of the diet of people-from almost every corner of the globe-who live long and well.
Protein is a feature of every healthy diet ever studied. The word "protein" comes from a Greek word meaning "of prime importance."
Meat can be a health food if the meat comes from animals that have been raised on pasture land, have never seen the inside of a feedlot farm and have never been shot full of antibiotics and hormones.
Countless devotees believe raw milk to be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
Wild salmon, whose omega-3 content is consistently higher than its less-fortunate farm-raised brethren, gets its red color from a powerful antioxidant called astaxathin. The combination of protein, omega-3s and antioxidants makes wild salmon a contender for anyone's list of great foods.
Another great food: eggs-one of nature's most perfect creations, especially if you don't throw out the all-important yolk. (Remember "whole" foods means exactly that-foods in their original form. Our robust ancestors did not eat "low-fat" caribou; we don't need to eat "egg-white" omelets.)
There are no "bad" vegetables, but some of them are superstars. Any vegetable from the Brassica genus-broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale-is loaded with plant chemicals called indoles, which help reduce the risk of cancer.
Apples deserve their reputation as doctor-repellants: they're loaded with fiber, minerals (like bone-building boron) and phytochemicals (like quercetin, which is known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and to have anti-cancer properties). Some exciting new research suggests that pomegranate juice slows the progression of certain cancers. Other research shows it lowers blood pressure.
Jonny Bowden said tea deserves special mention. It is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world (after water). All forms of tea are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
Onions, Garlic and Shallots
Garlic has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties; hundreds of published studies support its antimicrobial effects as well as its ability to lower the risk of heart disease. A number of studies have shown an inverse relationship between onion consumption and certain types of cancer.
A healthy diet doesn't have to contain every one of the "healthiest foods on earth," but you can't go wrong putting as many of the above mentioned foods in heavy rotation on your personal eating plan.