Monday, March 17, 2014

The Current State of My Diet

It has been a while since I've felt I had something to say about diet. Today I have come to the conclusion that what I have been doing for the last couple of years makes reasonable sense to a reasonable person. I want to share it now because there is so much information out there and much of it conflicting, confusing, and contradictory. 

One approach is to eat mostly fruits and vegetables like our oldest ancestors the primates. Our digestive system seems to be designed for this, and fruits and veggies get assimilated with least amount of work. And, they taste great (well, fruits anyway) just as they are naturally without human interference. (The 80/10/10 diet is a prime example of this way of thinking.)

Then you have the plant based diet with more emphasis on vegetables and grains. Plenty of science out there supporting the health claims here. This diet is easier to follow than fruit only and more fun. (Dr. Joel Fuhrman's diet guidelines are best example of this approach. And I highly recommend reading anything he writes.) Just don't go off eating french fries and potato chips and think you are being healthy.

And the latest health approach that has gained a lot of popularity is the Paleo Diet which says we should be eating like cavemen. Mostly meat and vegetables. I am not crazy about this because it sounds too much like the Atkins diet which is great short term for losing weight but has serious health issues. Anyway...

Here is what I have decided. The Buddha's main advice for a good life is to follow the middle path, balance everything. So, I have been following this approach without really being aware of it in my dietary habits the past few years.

For breakfast I am pretty much follow the 80/10/10 diet, or something like it from the Fit For Life book and the Natural Hygiene people. (We should always be eating fruit on an empty stomach.) This works out perfectly. Fruit for breakfast and I'm fine. Get a little hungry before lunch have a fruit snack.

Lunch I am a plant-based diet person and let Dr. Fuhrman's guidelines guide me. I have a big salad with leafy greens and munch on lots of vegetables while I'm making it. (I make my own veggie dip and eat lots of broccoli, cucumbers, peppers, etc.) I do have small bowl of organic whole grain cereal after the salad and that really does the trick for filling me up.

And for dinner I'm a small-time paleo man. Probably something starchy (comfort food) and a small amount of meat. I keep it small because I really don't believe in the Paleo Diet but I think of it as insurance and there may be some benefit to eating a little bit of meat here and there. Plus, I think I'd go crazy if I couldn't have a hamburger once in a while.

So, there you have it. While I do not believe this is in any way perfect, it is kind of a balance between all of the different approaches. I know we need fruit, I know we need vegetables, I know we need less of grains and animal products. And this is my way of surviving. Who knows? I don't know, but it is a middle way and can't be all that bad. For me, it's something I can do without spending all my time thinking about food. There are other things in life you know that need our attention.