What is a healthy diet? This is a question that has about a billion different answers. But that’s probably to do with the fact there are billions of people, who all have different genetics and environments affecting what they can and can’t eat.
But there are some teachings that we can adopt, based on looking at healthy nations.
When I talk to people they usually tell me they know how to eat healthily. To most this means eating salads and avoiding carbohydrates. Doesn’t sound very appetising to me.
Unfortunately this misconception has been brought about by the media hypes that often accompany such diet fads. This hype infiltrates our minds and causes us to believe many of the false claims to be true.
The biggest issue I have is with the belief that carbohydrate is bad. That it should be avoided or reduced to lose weight. First of all a quick lesson on the number of calories per gram of carbohydrate, protein, fat (and alcohol, if you’re interested).
- Carbohydrate: 4kcal per gram
- Protein: 4kcal per gram
- Fat: 9kcal per gram
- Alcohol: 7kcal per gram
Carbohydrate is the easiest fuel for your body to turn into energy, fat is the second choice and protein is only burned as a last resort.
So, why are carbs the ‘bad guy’?
You tell me, but what I hear a lot is that if you eat too much of them you get fat. My response to that – wouldn’t that be the same for anything? Why are carbs the cause?
The great thing about carbs is you can eat much more of them and at the same time know you’re giving your body more of what it needs i.e. fiber, vitamins, minerals and a low acid diet.
Some might also say carbs are bad because of the sugar. My response to that – it depends on the ‘carb’ you are eating. There are two types humans can digest: sugar (simple carbohydrates) and starch (complex carbohydrates).
The complex ones take longer for our body to break down and tend to keep us fuller for longer – they are also packed with fiber; something you won’t get from animal foods. It also doesn’t cause such a spike in blood sugar. Here are some examples of complex carbohydrates.
What convinced me: The Starch Solution
This book, along with some recent documentaries has convinced me that we are best suited to a starch-heavy diet. Things like rice, corn, potato and grains have proven essential to our well-being for thousands of years.
The more I read about nutrition, the more evidence I find to support a diet which is mostly plant based, maybe even completely.
I’ve been meat free since July 2017, but I still consume fish, cheese and milk. I have the intention to eat some turkey at Christmas (I pre-ordered from an organic farm in Devon), but I intend to go back to no meat for the remainder of 2018.
I think I’d find it hard to give up all animal foods completely, but I am conscious of the ratio I eat. The majority of my diet is plant-based and loaded with starch!
The video below is long, but tells the true story (in my opinion) about healthy eating and how starch is an essential part of this.