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While everyone has their opinion about what and how we should be eating today, it is true that the standard American diet leaves a whole lot to be desired.  We eat too much sugar, salt, fat, over- processed, man-made, and nutrient free foods.  But what is a body to eat?  And are you struggling with food, eating, and body weight?  Does it feel like whatever diet you try, works for a bit and then fails you?  It is time to begin treating the body with respect and supplying healthy foods that meet the body’s needs.

But what are healthy foods for you to eat?  Here are five guidelines for people who want to eat healthy, and make the body lean and strong and well nourished.  Remember that a food plan without a lifetime recovery program will become another failed diet. Choose items and programs that fit your needs and work well for you over the long run.

1. The body needs fluids!

 Dehydration is the only illness that can reliably kill us within three days.  There are different recommendations about the amount of fluid we need to drink.  One is eight – 8-ounce cups a day.  A more accurate way is to take your body weight in pounds, divide it by two and drink that many fluid ounces each day.  This works well even though it seems like a lot.  Do not use coffee, diet soda or other sweetened beverages for this fluid allowance, choose water, seltzer, herbal tea, or hot or iced tea instead.

2. Make sure to provide the calories at the time of day the body needs them.

In general, the body needs to be fed within two hours of rising and every three to five hours while you are awake. You may need to change your daily eating schedule to allow this, but it is so very important!!  If you let yourself go longer than five hours without eating, you may find yourself ravenous at the next meal or snack, and eat much more than you intended.

 Starving all day and then eating a lot before bedtime just gives the body more work and less time to rest. Eating all your calories at one time only prolongs the hunger and the body’s “I must save calories” response. Allowing the body to think it is starving tells the body to conserve calories and may lead you to a weight gain at the end of the starvation period. Your body has probably had enough of that.

3. Focus on meeting the body’s nutrient needs. Listen to your body and treat the body with respect.

 What are the body’s nutrient needs?  Partly, they depend on your body height, weight and size, your activity level and your medical and nutrition status. But the body is given to the mind and spirit as a gift for learning and growth; learn the lessons of the healthy body.  Speak kindly to the body. Focus on co-operating with the body’s needs.

Again, opinions vary, but here is a general list:

Fruits:  2 to 4 servings a day (a serving is a single piece of fruit, about six ounces)

Vegetables, raw, cooked or a mixture:  3 to 5 cups a day

Protein from meat, cheese, beans, fish or other sources:  6 to 12 ounces a day

Fats, no trans-fat and using mostly unsaturated fats:  2 to 6 Tablespoons a day

Cereals, Starches, and Grains, preferably whole grains:  3 to 12 servings a day, the ones you can tolerate only, and without added sugars

Milk and Milk Products:  2 to 3 servings a day (or some other calcium source)

4. Take out your refined, processed, and manmade foods!

Eat appropriate foods you enjoy. Let go of all the high calorie, nutrient free foods that set off your cravings to eat more and more, or that trigger other addictions. You do not need to eat boring diet food all day. Find new foods you like; try new recipes and new spices and seasonings, and begin to enjoy your meals.

The most common foods which cause trouble for all people are refined, processed, and man-made foods. Most often, they contain large amounts of sugars and other chemicals. Avoid anything that makes you crave more food, and any foods that set off other addictions. Most commonly, these are:

sugars and sugar analogs

refined and processed foods

white flour foods and all its varieties

sugar substitutes, diet foods, and processed foods

excess fats, salty snack foods, fried and fat laden foods

caffeine, artificial colors and flavors, calorie free sweeteners

5. Read the labels on every food you eat.

If you are unwilling or unable to read the label, do not eat the food. If you do not understand most of the ingredients, that is, you don’t know what they are, or don’t know what they look like, do not buy the product. Ingredients are listed in order by weight. If there are parentheses, the items within the parentheses are considered one item.

See this ingredient list:

Oats are the first ingredient.

The product named “cluster” is the second ingredient. It contains fifteen ingredients, eight of which are sugars or sugar analogs.

After “cluster”, there are five more sugars on this ingredient list, and three flour like starch substances that function like sugars in the body. That means there are thirteen different sugars and sugar analogs in this product.

This is definitely a high sugar food, but the label may not show it because only those sugars which cause dental cavities are listed in the sugars column; the rest are in the total Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates include some of the refined starches that act like sugars in the body, but do not cause dental cavities. Some of these may be healthy parts of grains, but there is no way to know for sure.

Now let’s look at the Nutrition Facts.

The first thing to know is that the serving size is adjusted by the manufacturer to his choices. You may actually eat several servings, or less than one. So, compare the serving size to the amount you normally eat, and make the appropriate adjustments. I’d be really annoyed to measure only 1 ¼ cups of cereal in the morning!  See that there are 20 gm sugar listed? That’s five teaspoons. (4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon).  Now there is a total of 41 gm of carbohydrate. That means 1 ¼ cups of the product contains between five and eleven teaspoons of sugar.  I would not want that much sugar in my morning coffee, or on my cereal, or in my lunch sandwich, would you?

Thank you for joining us.  For more information on label reading, please check out our website at