For many people, making healthy food choices can be easier said than done. But, with the right knowledge and the desire to become a better, healthier version of yourself, helping to improve your eating habits – and your health– can happen in no time.
If you’re interested in establishing a healthier eating pattern, the first step is educating yourself on smart food choices, essential vitamins and nutrients, and maintaining a nutritious diet.
Continue reading for more on making smart food choices and helping your body operate optimally every single day.
What Is A Healthy Diet? What Are Whole Foods?
Getting started with a healthy diet is the most challenging part of making healthy food shifts. But change can be a good thing. Your body just doesn’t need sugars, processed cheese, lectin-filled grains, and white breads, or fruit juices. But if you’re used to relying on such foods for meals or snacks, you may find it tough to cut them out. The problem is, the food industry can lead you to believe that certain foods you rely on are “healthy” when really, they’re anything but.
One of the best rules to follow when it comes to a healthy diet is to eat whole foods. Generally speaking, whole foods have not been processed in any way. They’ve not been refined or had extra ingredients added to them. They are the single-ingredient foods that come straight from the earth, like lectin-free vegetables, Gundry-approved nuts, lean meats, wild-caught fish, or pasture-raised omega-3 eggs.
Making healthier food choices doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself of all your favorite foods. But if you can incorporate some of the foods on the list below as foundational foods of your new healthy diet, you’ll be on your way to eating healthy for the long haul:
- Leafy greens
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Omega-3 eggs
- Millet or sorghum (lectin-free grains)
- Wild-caught fish
- Gundry-approved nuts
And so much more.
In some cases, you may just need to know what to replace your old favorite foods with. For instance, if you love brown rice, try replacing it with millet. Food substitutions are not only invaluable tools for healthy eating, but they can also be a great way to switch things up and avoid feeling deprived of your favorite foods.
Healthy Eating And Avoiding Lectins
Priority number one for eliminating foods from your diet should be steering clear of lectins.
What are lectins, exactly? Lectins are toxic plant proteins. They’re carbohydrate-binding proteins that occur naturally in many different plant foods. Sometimes, they can wreak gastrointestinal havoc on your body, mostly if they’re not cooked properly.1
If you bombard your system with lectins, several could/may/will find their way through your gut’s protective barriers and can cause some serious damage to your health. That’s why it’s essential to limit your lectin intake.2
If your gut wall is compromised, though, the lectins in plant foods, like grains and legumes, may try and rip apart the tight junctions and cells that protect your mucosal barrier. Since your gut lining is only one cell thick, it needs all the protection it can get. Your intestine’s mucosal barrier covers a surface area as big as a tennis court.3
That’s why the choices you make when you decide what to eat or drink matter so much. You want to consume a well-balanced, nutritious diet, but you also want to limit your lectin intake.
How To Make Healthy Food Choices: Give Sugar The Boot
Like lectins, sugar is a major offender. Not only does sugar contribute to weight gain and a multitude of serious illnesses, but when you eat or drink sugar, your immune system can kick into high gear and cause swelling throughout your body.
The immune response may happen because your immune system secretes these small proteins called cytokines. Cytokines send important messages to the other cells in your body. But too much sugar can interrupt cytokine production. Therefore, the cytokines can’t do their job in managing swelling throughout the body. In some cases, the reaction can cause real health concerns.4
For these reasons, it’s best to avoid sugar altogether. Unfortunately, this includes limiting your fruit intake since most fruit is high in simple sugar.5 If you find it difficult to give up fruit completely, allow yourself berries in moderation and only when in season.
Additionally, if you crave something sweet, snack on a square of 72% (or higher) dark chocolate.
Setting Yourself Up For Success
Making healthy food choices doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself of your favorite foods, or cutting out everything at once. It’s best to set yourself up for success by educating yourself, making gradual changes towards a healthier diet, and swapping out unhealthy ingredients with a better safe substitute.
Another great way to set yourself up for success is to talk to your doctor about the food changes you intend to make. Not only will mentioning your diet changes allow your healthcare professional to advise you on proper foods for you specifically, but they may also help keep you accountable. Plus, they can recommend the best ways for you to initiate preventative food consumption.
Put another way, your nutritionist or doctor can look at your health profile and decide if there are foods that will raise your risk of specific health issues. Preventative food care means you avoid foods that may harm your health over the long run.
Finally, you can employ smart habits and use moderation to set yourself up for success. For example, you don’t have to push yourself to the edge when it comes to exercise — a half-hour walk or bike ride should do the trick. If you enjoy alcohol, you should feel free to enjoy a single glass of red wine in the evenings.
In the end, switching to a healthy lifestyle can be fun. And if you enlist your friends and family to help you by joining you in cooking healthy meals with you or exercising with you, you may inspire them to do something good for themselves, too.
Tip For Making The Switch To A Healthy Diet
If you need a bit of support along the way, Gundry MD might be able to help. Check out the many foods that are not only compliant when it comes to the Gundry-approved diet but are also delicious.
What Does A Healthy, Balanced Diet Look Like?
Answer: A healthy, balanced diet can include means lots of lectin-free vegetables, lean wild-caught proteins, and the good fibers and fats. For a detailed look at Gundry MD’s take on a healthy diet, check out the Yes/No List. Or you can read up on Gundry MD’s favorite foods here.
How To Make Vegetables Tasty?
Answer: If you don’t love the taste of fresh vegetables, there are so many ways to enhance the flavor. You can drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over them and roast them. Add pinches of salt or pepper (or any other seasoning, for that matter). For a bright, light flavor, squeeze lemon or lime over your greens.