Eat whole, real food
Eat foods as close as possible to their natural form. Limit processed foods and those that come in packages. If you do eat packaged foods, go for those with less than 5 ingredients. Diet sodas, zero and low calorie candies and baked goods, fake sweeteners like Splenda and aspartame have no role in our diets. They are engineered foods that provide our cells bad, confusing information. When you’re going to eat sugar, eat real sugar. Enjoy it. Eat it slowly. Eat it with friends in celebration. Eat it with purpose, and savor it in small portions.
Eat veggies often
Vegetables should be the primary bulk of your diet. Aim for vegetables at two meals each day. Go for leafy green vegetables first, then colorful water-filled vegetables next, eat starchy vegetables or grains the least frequently. Check the Enlightenment List for veggie inspiration.
Eat fruit sometimes
Go for water-filled fruits first. Eat starchy fruits second most. Eat dried fruits the least often.
Eat foods with protein daily
Eat small locally-caught fish the most, fresh-caught fish the second most, avoid farmed fish and large fish like shark, swordfish, tuna, marlin, tilefish and king mackerel. Eat grass-fed locally-produced meat in small quantities. Pay more for better quality animal products, and eat less than you’re used to in a sitting. We believe in eating healthy, mature, low-stress, naturally-fed animals… if you want. Eat beans, nuts, eggs, legumes, grains, and tofu depending on your taste and dietary needs. If you are an athlete, plan more protein into your diet- at least at two meals a day.
Eat good fat
Get fats in your diet mostly through eggs, avocados, fatty fish, meat, coconut, nuts, seeds, grass-fed butter, olive oil, lard, tallow, marrow and less through processed oils like olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. Avoid toxic oils from corn, soy, rapeseed, palm, canola, and engineered non-dairy butters and margarine. Avoid eating fried foods from restaurants, since they likely use these or burnt/rancid oils. Avoid baked goods when it’s likely that corn, soy, or canola oil was included (almost all boxed and packaged mixes). If you do only one thing to change your health, cutting out toxic fats is it.
Eat like you’re healing
Start with the question of abundance “how much energy-dense high-quality food can I include to fuel my day?” The answer to this question will probably change depending on your daily activity level, stressors, environment, learning requirements, hormonal fluctuations and more. Plan daily and weekly meals with this in mind. Focus first on helping yourself get access to yummy nutritious food, and fit in any empty calories later if they work in your day. Empty calories also provide important opportunities for community, personal reward, and enjoyment. Strive to provide your body with what it needs to flourish.
Plan for your splurge meals
If you know you have plans around eating– like a birthday celebration, dinner out, happy hour with friends, tailgating party, etc–make a point to plan your week and day around the event to keep your goals out front and make room for flexibility. Drink more water and eat more leafy vegetables and protein on the day of your event. Eat fewer starches and calorically-dense foods to make some space. Be mindful when you’re eating and drinking at your event, don’t get swept away by others’ habits and eating behaviors.
Eat fermented and traditional foods
Sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented salsa, chutneys, kombucha, local aged unpasteurized cheese, kefir, heavy cream, pure dark chocolate, wine and beer in small amounts (see note about alcohol later on the list). These foods strengthen your digestion and immune system. Bone broth, stocks, organ meats, foraged plants, mushrooms, grasses, ancient grains, berries, and seeds are all foods that our bodies have been thriving on since we started eating. Include these foods to provide important information to your genes and turn on your ancestral wisdom.
Be real with your relationship to alcohol
If you drink in social settings, it’s unlikely you’ll be okay cutting out drinking completely. Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink in each setting by using selzer, iced teas, or non-alcoholic drinks in between alcoholic drinks. Reduce the number of days per week you drink alcohol. Tell your friends your goals before happy hour and ask them to slow their pace with you, or to respect your decision to only have one drink. These are long-term lifestyle changes, start slowly with small intentions and build.
Eat mindfully and for a purpose
Eat mindfully, in the present, and in awe. Driving or commuting, scrolling Instagram, watching TV, reading, listening to a book, working at your computer, or being otherwise distracted from the meal and experience of eating leads to poor food choices and overeating. Eat in community, chew your food and experience the taste, texture, sound, sight, and pleasure of the nourishing meal you have afforded yourself.