If you type the phrase “healthiest way to eat” into any internet search engine, you’re going to be rewarded with more information about the topic than you probably thought was possible.
With information flowing so freely that we don’t even have to work to find it, it can be harder than ever to know what is accurate and what is “fake news”.
And when it comes to deciding how you want to eat and how you want to feed your family, it can seem more confusing than ever! It seems that everyone has their own theory of what is the healthiest way to eat.
And if there’s one thing I know about information overload, it’s that it doesn’t help you move forward. Taking action is what helps you move forward.
In this blog post I want to offer a perspective you may not have thought about before when it comes to the healthiest way to eat.
What perspective am I talking about?
Many believe there is one (and only one) PERFECT WAY to eat healthy.
I say there actually MANY styles of eating that can be healthy and rather than seek out the Holy Grail of healthy eating, it’s more important to figure out a style of healthy eating that you can stick with and enjoy for the long term.
Of course, I have my own recommendations for the healthiest way to eat, and I’m sharing those down below, but I really want to give you permission to carve out your own path of healthy eating rather than jumping on every new healthy eating trend that comes along.
This might mean you follow one specific style of healthy eating or that you take bits and pieces from several healthy eating styles and put them together to create your own unique style.
What’s in this for you?
So, why the heck am I writing this post and what’s in it for you?
- I want to give you permission to stop the scroll when it comes to searching for the healthiest way to eat. You don’t have to switch up your diet every time a new healthy eating trend comes along. Just find what works for you and stick with it.
- To give you permission to choose whether my message and recommendations about the healthiest way to eat resonates with you. If so, join my email list so that you will always get the newest posts and offerings I have. If my message doesn’t resonate with you, that’s fine too, I promise I won’t be offended!
Why don’t nutrition experts agree?
Ask ten different registered dietitians (who are the nutrition experts) about the healthiest way to eat, and you’ll likely get ten different answers.
Even though all dietitians were taught basically the same concepts about health and nutrition in our schooling, why do we all have slightly different opinions about the best way to eat?
My theory is that because the field of nutrition and health is so broad, and because there are so many different paths of work a dietitian can take after our schooling is over, that we are all influenced in unique ways based on the work we do and the people we work with.
And besides all of that, each dietitian is on his or her own health journey, which greatly influences the way we interpret nutrition and the recommendations we give to other people.
Dietitians are constantly learning and growing in our own understanding of nutrition based on new research that comes out.
It would be almost impossible to read and review every nutrition research study that is published, so it’s not a stretch to assume most dietitians focus on the areas of research that they are most interested in.
This means that if you’re more into a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you’re more likely to focus on the research that confirms and backs up that way of eating. Same with dietitians who are more into the Mediterranean style of eating or those who are more into the paleo type of eating and any other type of eating there is!
It’s not exactly that one way of eating is WAY better than another for optimal health.
I truly believe that you can be healthy (or unhealthy) by following any number of styles of eating.
For example, take the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle…many people would say that this way of eating is one of the healthiest ways a person can eat because it’s based on vegetables.
But here’s the thing, you can make healthy choices and you can make unhealthy choices following the vegetarian/vegan style of eating
If you build your meals based on more vegetables and fruits, then you’re following the healthier version of a vegetarian/vegan style.
BUT, if you’re like some people who follow a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle and you fill up on lots of grains (like pasta and rice, which aren’t all that rich in nutrients) and not so many fruits and vegetables, then you’re not following a very healthy version of the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.
See what I mean?
I could give you similar examples of how you can make healthy choices and how you can make unhealthy choices for just about any style of eating that is out there.
So, what’s the healthiest way to eat?
Despite the different recommendations you would get when you ask dietitians about the healthiest way to eat, there are a few things almost all of us can agree on:
- Eat Less Sugar
- Eat Fewer Packaged/Processed Foods (and choose the best packaged foods when you do choose packaged foods)
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Beyond that, it’s really up to you to choose whatever healthy style of eating you feel you can stick with and enjoy for the long-term.
Keep in mind, you may not fully enjoy all aspects of whatever style of healthy eating you choose right away. Any change you make to your “regular” way of eating will be hard at first and may not be as enjoyable as you’d like.
That can definitely change over time. Sometimes you just need to stick with something for a bit and then you’ll grow to love it, especially if you are feeling great!
My Recommendations for the Healthiest Way to Eat
When it comes to healthy eating, I prioritize gut health. Why?
Because the health of your gut is connected to and impacts the health of all the other organs and systems in your body.
That’s a pretty powerful statement, which is why I believe we need to do everything we can to optimize the health of our gut.
There are many factors that influence gut health:
- Eating habits (related to when and how you eat)
- What foods we eat
- How you were born (strange but true!)
- And more
Since this article is discussing the healthiest way to eat, I won’t go into the other factors that affect gut health.
Here’s how I believe we should eat to optimize gut health:
- Eat (and drink) less sugar (eliminate it all together for bonus points!)
- Eat fewer packaged/processed foods (bonus points for eliminating them all together!)
- Prioritize eating fresh whole foods
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Drink more water
- Drink less alcohol (or eliminate it all together)
- Eat fewer grains (I don’t believe most people need to eliminate them completely)
- Eliminate gluten and dairy, depending on your unique situation
While it may seem like there will be nothing left to eat, I can assure you that’s not the case!
If you don’t currently eat according to the recommendations I gave, of course it will take some time to make the changes, but once you do, you’ll see that there are many options to eat that taste great and help you feel better too!
Want to continue this conversation or discover more about healthy eating related to optimal gut health? Join my free Facebook community, where we discuss all things related to healthy eating, gut health, food and recipes.
And, finally, what’s your biggest take-away from this article? Leave a comment below and let me know!