I agree with Mark Bittman that if someone consistently follows the two principles outlined below, they will, with hardly noticing, start dropping pounds and gaining vitality. I know this is true because I’ve seen it firsthand with the people I health coach. Not the ones who look to me for a quick fix, and when I haven’t helped them drop fifteen pounds in two sessions, move onto the next diet fad. Rather, those who are ready to change their lifestyles, and to do the work of learning how to eat in the toxic food environment we all now inhabit. You know, the one where home cooking is seen as too time consuming (with no thought paid to the high long-term price of eating crap), where every single thing we do at any single place we go requires processed food being pedaled and pushed at us, and where those who refuse to embrace health snicker at those who have made a commitment to themselves and their children to try harder and do better.
The two principles?
1. Eat real food.
2. Eat lots of plants.
The second principle is, of course, the answer to the first. What is real food? Food that has not been chemicalized with sugars, bad fats, and additives, and thus radically transformed from its natural state. A few examples? Here are some real-food lunches I often make.
1. A crunchy salad topped with colorful vegetables, some nuts and/or seeds, chickpeas, dried cranberries, and topped with a simple vinaigrette you made from blending 1 part olive oil with 1 part any good vinegar, maybe with a squeeze of Dijon mustard and a crushed garlic clove tossed in with salt and pepper to taste.
2. A vegetable soup you put together in 15 minutes with loads of chopped veggies, a can of organic beans, garlic powder, salt and pepper, some dried herbs, and a few generous splashes of Mirin, the delicious Japanese rice wine that makes any soup taste its best.
3. A whole wheat or brown rice soft tortilla, wrapped up with hummus, lettuce, carrot shreds, tomatoes, bits of cucumber, a few chopped olives. (My lunch yesterday. See photo above.)
4. That same tortilla smeared with organic peanut or almond butter, banana slices, and a drizzle of honey.
5. Two free-range eggs scrambled into some onion, spinach, and mushroom that has been lightly sautéed in a teaspoon of olive oil.
You get the idea. More from plants, less from packages. Rather than waiting for January 1st, and committing to some fad diet for a New Year’s resolution that will promptly be mourned and forgotten, why not embrace these lifestyle principles today, for both yourself and your family, and see how you look and feel this New Year’s Eve? Let me know how it’s going, and how you’re feeling. I’m betting you’ll weigh less and have a lot more energy than you’re used to.