HEALTHY PEOPLE DON'T DIET.
Eating saturated and mono-unsaturated fats with unlimited starches and/or unrefined sugars is totally healthy - even occasional burgers, pizza, tacos, burritos, pasta, hot dogs, etc. Refined sugar can be healthy, as long as you don't eat it often. Comfort foods can be more healing than "high quality" foods. The greatest dietary villains in fast food are refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, PUFA oils, and trans fats, i.e. sodas, fries, ketchup, mayo, and desserts. The best way to maintain a healthy body is not by restricting calories or foods or macro-nutrients, but rather by eating all you want and sometimes much more than you want - emphasizing nutritious foods, not refined sugars and processed vegetable oils.
Forget About Diets (FAD).
Eat a High-Everything Diet (HED).
No Limitation of Carbs, Fats, or Calories.
Eat all the fat you want, esp saturated fat - coconut oil, butter, cream, whole milk, half and half, cheese, beef, lamb, goat, buffalo, etc. Other good fats - pork leaf fat, macadamia oil, foie gras, occasional olive oil, and avocados. Poly Unsaturated Fats (PUFAs) and Trans Fats are best avoided - they are present in most commercial mayonnaise, salad dressing, chicken fat, turkey fat, fried food, hydrogenated oil, etc. Use normal pork, lard, duck, and goose fats in moderation. Have fish occasionally, but don't eat just fatty fish - salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna. Eat a variety - cod, haddock, pollock, etc. Eating too much PUFAs from fatty fish (or fish oils) can deplete Vitamin E. Beware of mercury content in certain fish, like albacore tuna and swordfish. If you can't digest fat well, eat less fat for a while and build up. Beware of low-fat foods which are high in protein, like lean meat, egg whites, cottage cheese, and protein powders. Eat plenty of fat so you stay full and satisfied.
Eat all the starch you want. If you eat refined starches, unbleached and unenriched would be best - sprouted breads, good sourdough, rice, potatoes, beans, pasta, corn, vegetables, etc. Consider soaking grains and beans in water over-night to reduce their cooking time and improve digestion. Don't fear starches, whether refined or unrefined. They can help you to heal. There is no reason to avoid starches. Do try to avoid any bread or starch with the wrong kind of oils in it - like corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, canola, rapeseed, or hydrogenated oils. Eat all the vegetables you like, preferably cooked, esp when you are healing. Raw veggies can be hard on digestion. Vegetable juices can be used, either raw or cooked. A person with a good metabolism can handle natural fiber and starch without gas, bloating, or other problems. Many people don't have a good metabolism, so they may need to limit fiber (whole grains, beans, fruit peels, nuts, and seeds).
Eliminate refined sugars from your daily diet. Preferably avoid food with HFCS in general, like most packaged foods in the USA. A small amount of sugar in breads may be OK, but don't eat food high in refined sugar (like more than 10% of its calories or with sugar in the first few ingredients). Beware of refined sugars hiding in many foods. The less of that you eat, the better. Eat unrefined sugars if you can tolerate them - fruits, 100% juices (preferably "not from concentrate" or fresh), as well as some maple syrup or honey (possibly "unheated" honey). Starches can be better for healing, but you should try to improve your health to where you can eat natural sugars. Avoid sugars if they cause hypo-glycemia (low energy) or food cravings. In time, you may be able to eat them without a reaction. Don't use artificial sweeteners or diet sodas.
Eat modest amounts of protein, animal or vegetable. The three legs of the HED tripod will spare protein (namely high-carbs, high-fat, and high-calories). The more fat on meat, the better, so that protein is not excessive. Egg yolks would be better if you eat a lot of eggs. Cottage cheese is high in protein, even full-fat. Ricotta might be safer. Don't use protein powders, protein shakes, or protein bars. Excess protein can damage your metabolism. Protein should come from natural foods. Listen to your body. Find the right amount of protein. Avoid soy protein and vegan diets. Fermented soy can be used in moderation - natto, tempeh, miso, tamari, shoyu, etc.
Don't count calories or restrict them. Eat all you want and occasionally much more than you want to keep your metabolism high, reduce weight loss plateaus, and minimize potential weight gain. Aim for at least 3 meals a day with a mix of natural carbs, fats, and proteins. Once you have healed some, you can have desserts occasionally - but only if you can eat them infrequently without cravings. It is best to stick with natural foods, like fruit, fruit juice, honey, or maple syrup (on pancakes with lots of butter). If you choose to expand your diet with occasional desserts (once or twice a week), it would be best to choose desserts with the most saturated fat and the least "junk" fat. Good dessert choices might be cheesecake, tiramisu, butter cookies, high-cream ice cream, premium chocolate, organic cream pies, macaroons, etc. High fat is better, so look for ice cream with cream as the first ingredient. Don't eat food if it makes you feel bad or causes any cravings. If you can't eat junk sporadically, do not eat it at all.
Don't believe in quick fixes. A healthy person loses weight by following the HED, if they have weight to lose. The unhealthy person might gain weight temporarily, because of previous dieting and starvation. Dr. Diana Schwarzbein says: "You have to get healthy to lose weight - not the other way around." So, give your body a chance to heal. Another good quote from Dr. Schwarzbein: "If eating well (high-everything) causes you to gain weight, then you have a damaged metabolism." If you have a damaged metabolism, you need to heal. Don't let anything (or anybody) discourage you. Things can get worse before they get better. Remain patient and optimistic. You did not damage your metabolism in a day and you may not repair it overnight. Also, you should exercise when you feel like it, not in an attempt to lose weight. Excessive exercise is a form of starvation. Make it fun and spontaneous, like playing and short intense bursts of activity. Lift weights to build muscle and strength, but allow yourself several days to recover between work-outs. Just walking is fine to begin. Remember, you're nourishing yourself, rather than starving. Work with your body, not against it.
These guidelines are simply a frame-work for getting started. In the long run, you should try to become more flexible. The goal is a total freedom from diet dogma, including any dogma that you think the HED may contain. Experiment with varying the amount of carbs and fats in your meals over an extreme range. Experiment with mixing large amounts of foods together in meals. Eventually try to eat foods that you were previously allergic or intolerant to, like wheat, whole grains, beans, fiber, starches, sugars, dairy, fruits, juices, vegetables, fish, nuts, etc. The goal is to be able to eat natural foods freely, not restrict yourself to a few foods. The HED encourages you to overcome all dietary rules, dogma, fears, and limitations. You must find your own way. By starting with a high degree of dietary freedom, you may eventually attain more.
STOP DIETING, EAT WELL, FEEL GOOD.
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