1. Be wary of restrictive diets that eliminate entire food categories, such as starches and carbs or fats or proteins. Often all you accomplish is the creation of a nutritional imbalance and cravings, cravings, cravings.
2. The basis of proper nutrition is whole, natural foods that are as fresh as possible. Whether or not you eat any animal products, it’s a good idea to try to add some new species, and not just new foods, to your diet - that is, new kinds of plants, animals, and fungi. The greater the diversity of species you eat, the more likely you are to cover all your nutritional bases.
3. Eat a diverse and balanced diet such as soups, meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts. Coke, hamburger and fries are not a meal. They contain chemical additives with which the human body has not been long acquainted. "Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food"
4. Do not over snack. Have half a sandwich or two hard boiled eggs over a sugar loaded "health" bar.
5. Avoid products with word endings “lite”, “low-fat”, or ‘nonfat” in their names: removing the fat from foods doesn’t necessarily make them nonfattening. Carbs can also increase unwanted weight gain, specifically with many low and nonfat foods manufacturers add extra sugars to make up for the loss of flavor. You are better off eating the real thing in moderation than bingeing on “lite” food products packed with sugars and salt.
6. Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not: Imitation butter or nonfat cream cheese that contains neither cream nor cheese requires an extreme degree of processing, such products should be avoided. The same goes to soy-based mock meats & artificial sweeteners.
7. Balance hot and cold foods. Hot and cold refer not only to the temperature of a food, but to an intrinsic energy that the food itself contains. Hot natured foods like lamb, ginger, cinnamon are warming and stimulating (how do you feel after a very spicy meal?). Cold foods like raw vegetables, salads, iced drinks act to cool, calm, sedate and relax but in excess they will slow down your digestion (think of a frozen river in winter) and are harder to digest. They are high in nutrients, however if you are experiencing digestive issues you may want to consider how much you are consuming (i.e. salads or iced coffee).
8. Nutritional supplements: We know that people who take supplements are generally healthier than the rest of us, and we also know that in controlled studies most of the supplements they take don’t appear to be effective. How can this be? Supplement takers are healthy for reasons that have nothing to do with the pills. They’re typically more health conscious, better educated, and more affluent. They are also more likely to exercise and eat whole grains. So to the extent you can, be the kind of person who would take supplements, and then save your money.
The best way to get enough vitamins and minerals is through eating a wide variety of whole foods. However, extra nutrition can be particularly important for individuals taking certain medications, are injured or engaged in activities or are older than fifty.
If you do take vitamins, make sure you take them in reasonable dosages and don't take excessive amounts. Some vitamins and minerals cannot be excreted easily. There is evidence that excess intake of calcium can lead to hypertension, kidney stones and calcifications throughout the body and that too much zinc can contribute to high levels of cholesterol, while excessive amounts of iron in adults may contribute to heart disease. Since even the experts cannot agree on dosage levels beyond the minimum daily requirements, it is safer to take lower dosages of vitamins and minerals. Remember, they are supplements, not replacements for proper nutrition. Also, make sure your vitamins and minerals are derived from natural rather than synthetic sources.
9. Do not overfast: In general, Chinese Medicine does not advocate fasting or frequent detoxification regimes because these practices tend to deplete the body’s vital energy. Fasting stresses the body, forcing it to operate on stored nutrients. Just eat healthy and exercise and you won't ever have to detox.
10. Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored. Don’t eat out of boredom, for entertainment, to comfort or reward yourself. Try to be aware of why you are eating, and ask yourself if you are really hungry. “If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you are not hungry”. Food is a costly antidepressant.
11. Eat slowly: not just so you’ll be more likely to know when to stop. Eat slowly enough to savor your food, you’ll need less of it to feel satisfied. And remember, it can take twenty minutes before your brain gets the word that your belly is full.
12. Buy smaller portions, plates and glasses: the bigger the portion, the more you will eat.
What is a proper portion? One adage says you should never eat a portion of animal protein bigger than your fist. Another says that you should eat no more food at a meal than would fit into the bowl formed by your hands when cupped together.
13. Do all your eating at a table. No, a desk is not a table. If you eat while you are working or while watching TV or driving you will eat mindlessly - and as a result eat a lot more than you would if you were eating at a table, paying attention to what you are doing.
14. Don't obsess about what you eat. Eat a variety of foods and enjoy them as much as possible. It is not always possible to eat perfectly all the time, but try whenever you can.