What is the healthiest food we can eat?

There are more theories and diet programs than the number of foods available for humanity to eat. I mean, really, you cannot talk to any random two people, especially those that think they know about the matter and get something similar when it’s about what we should eat. So I do not even know why I am answering this, as, perhaps, will be another opinion lost in the sea of opinions about food.

 


 

However, let’s see if I can make any sense at all, at least to a part of people who will have the patience to read what follows.

First of all, before making any claims, I have to state the fact that every person is different. And also there are different groups, geographically, or culturally different among us humans. There are areas on the planet who did not consume protein for thousands of years and perhaps their hormonal system got, somehow, adjusted to that kind of food. There are also people in different areas, who consumed diary products for millenia and they are also adjusted to those foods very well. For as much I want to give a general solution, like a ‘one size fits all’, I cannot. And if anyone makes the claim, they are lying, or they did not take all factors into consideration, some mentioned above.

In that spirit, I have to say one certain thing: genetics play quite an important part in the effects the foods we ingest will have to our body and our health. People from different backgrounds adjusted to different types of foods, even if those are maybe not quite perfect for other groups of people.

Then what to eat? And how to eat? As I researched for almost 20 years this topic, I can only tell what made sense to me. Of course I took my personal and my family feedback into consideration, as well.

Logically and historically thinking, we, as species, are omnivorous. We are neither carnivores, not vegetarians (or vegans). Our species developed, progressed and reached this point, being omnivorous, meaning we were used to eat both meats and vegetables.

It was several thousands years ago when agriculture was invented, I think in the Fertile Crescent of Middle East, then on the Nile river meadows and ancient China and India. Those times it was very easy to die of starvation and this invention started to help against it. People in those more advanced areas started to cultivate the land with cereals on an important scale beginning with 5000 BC to 3000 BC. Grains were eaten before that, but not as a main food, just like a diversity together with meats they could hunt and other vegetables they could find and pick. The hormonal system and metabolism would not adjust to a change in diet in less than 10,000 years. We are eating grains consistently, only for 7000 to 5000 years. Some of us much less. Europeans did not have grains in their diets earlier that 4–5000 years ago. That being a reason not to jump too fast to the conclusion that cereals and grains, or breads, should be the basis of our diet. What would be then, vegetables, or meats, fruits, or fat (of any sort, animal, or vegetarian)? None of them in special, but all together combined.

Research that goes back to 1960’s led to discoveries of the superhormones, called eicosanoids. They are part of the hormonal system. Example of regular hormones are insulin, testosterone, growth hormone, peptin and hundreds of others, each responsible with certain functions in the body. Our health, is in fact influenced, on a quite an important scale, by hormones. The eicosanoids are “super-hormones” as they are extremely important for the functionality of every single cell in our body and have different functions than regular hormones. If a cell needs a substance, such as protein, carbs, fat, or vitamin, mineral, it sends a message through an eicosanoid with the request. If there are not enough eicosanoids available, the cells request is unanswered and the cell may die before its time. So eicosanoids are important for the delivery of the necessary substance to every cell in our body. We have to insure two things: have the necessary macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbs) in the blood stream and the eicosanoids that send them where they are needed.

To make all this science simple, we need to know how we insure the optimal functionality of the body. There is an optimal area, where we feel full of energy, throughout the whole day and, also, do not crave certain foods (remember the sweets?). It can simply be resumed to the normal proportion of the macronutrient we ingest with every meal, proper to our own species. Caws eat grass and wolves eat meat. We do not have the digestive system of the herbivores, so we cannot extract protein from vegetables (as sparse as it is anyway). We do not have the digestive system of the carnivores to extract the carbohydrates and vitamins from only meats. We have to consume both. And the best way to consume those is with every time we eat. Being a full meal, or a snack, the best for our hormonal system (including eicosanoids) is to have a balanced proportion of carbs, proteins and fats.

Ok, but how much? Considering everybody is different and with a different physical activity on a weekly basis, I would say an average person should eat 4–5 times a day, about 1300–1400 calories, for an average woman and 1500–1800, or even 2000 calories, for an average man. Of course it depends on the structure, frame (height), body index (muscle and bones compared to fat) and physical activity of each individual.

Let’s give here some indicatives, related to everybody, some sort of aproximation. If we take 1500 calories a day, and we split that in 3 meals and 2 snacks. Let’s consider every 100 calories a food bloc. It means the individual eats 15 blocks of balanced foods every meal or snack a day. Breakfast (early morning) would be 4 blocs, lunch (noon) would be 4 blocks, early afternoon would be a snack of 1 block, then dinner of 5 blocks and later a snack of one block, 1–2 hours before sleep. Each food block should contain 30% protein (7g), 40% carbs (9g) and 30% fat (3g).

That brings the reality into: one egg (protein and some fat), 3 almonds (fat) and a tangerine (carbs). That is a perfect food block that has everything the body needs. Perfect snack.

A 4 block meal would be a 120 g (4 ounces) of lean boiled meat (turkey breast- 4 blocks of protein), with two tomatoes, onion, greenpepper garden salad (2 blocks of carbs), with a tablespoon of olive oil (9g) and an apple (2 blocks of carbs).

A simpe method to “measure” the food is: meat as the palm of your hand (area and thickness) for protein source like meat, double volume of vegetables such as tomatoes, greenpeppers, etc. (could be much more for leafy veggies, such as lettuce, or spinach, or cruciferous) as carbohydrates (also could be completed with a fruit, which has higher glicemic index than veggies). Fat is best from vegetal source, mostly sunflower, olive oil, but also fish oil, as it has Omega 3 excellent for eicosanoid production (especially with 1:2 proportion of EPA:DHA - read the labels).

Realistic boundaries are: do not eat fruits, without protein, as they are rich in sugars and go fast into the bloodstream producing spikes to the insulin levels. Do not eat meats without vegetables, as they have the same effect as fruits alone. Avoid cereals, breads, starches and complex carbohydrates, such as cakes and candy bars. They have enormous quantities of sugars (complex carbs) and enter the bloodstream super fast, leading to huge spikes of insulin. If you really feel like having a piece of cake, read the labels, measure it and eat the equivalent of protein before. It will reduce the bad effects to some degree, but try to avoid it. Eat the “forbiden” foods once every two weeks, in a Sunday.

In fact, eating balanced on every meal and snack during the day, it will make the craving disappear for any sweets, in maximum three weeks. After that, the body recovered to a normal hormonal balance and it will function at maximum efficiency, also losing the extra fat, gradually (getting in shape).

About extra fat (as I mentioned already). Starving your body of necessary ingredients (proteins, carbs-veggies and fats) will lead to accumulating every nutrient it can gather with every future occasion. So, the muscles will be lost (from lack of protein) and fat will grow, as reserves are built to avoid starvation. Everybody who reduced the needed calories (especially protein), can lose muscle and gain fat in the process. Do not do it, don’t starve yourself. Just eat balanced meals every time and avoid high glicemic index carbs.

Another word of advice. Try to eat organic for as much as possible, as it is totally scary what they feed to animals and spread on the fields for crops, if not certified. Animals are filled up with antibiotics, plants are covered in pesticides and insecticides. GMO “improved” products are also a complete danger, as they destabilize the DNA structure of our cells. The imune system does not know what to do with those and cancer cells develop easily. Do some reading and be aware.

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