There is actually such a thing as the perfect diet. One that will let you lose extra body fat effortlessly, and let you stay at your ideal weight for life.
But, “perfect” very often implies something impractical. So, does that
mean that you shouldn’t bother learning about perfect nutrition?
Well … you should, for one obvious reason …
If you know what “perfection” looks like, you can strive to get as close to it as possible. If you don’t, you won’t know which way to aim, will you?
Simple enough so far. But there’s a problem …
The definition of a perfect diet differs from “expert” to “expert”. For example, one will say that calorie counting is the solution. Another will argue it’s not. One will say red meat is good for you. Somewhere along the line, somebody will be arguing her butt off about how we should cut out red meat altogether.
That’s the biggest problem. When people start to look into changing their diet, they’re bombarded with all this contradictory information.
Some end up going the completely wrong way before they realize something is not working. Then they follow another diet. They make mistakes. They may repeat this cycle a few times before they find the most suitable diet for them. At least in the end, they’ve found a way that works.
But there are many more who just simply throw in the towel and go back to their old ways. This conflicting information thoroughly confuses them. And so they end up not changing anything. That’s very sad.
When I first started changing my nutrition, I was overwhelmed with all this contrasting advice. In my search for answers, I’ve read countless nutrition books. I’ve tried things out, experimented.
My nutrition is still a work in progress. But every month, it gets better as I gain more and more knowledge and experience.
I love studying nutrition. I love experimenting with it. Some would even say I’m obsessed with it.
What if you don’t have a nerdy interest in nutrition? How about if you just want to shape up quickly? You want to just dive into a diet that’s sure to work. Is it possible to do that, given all this contradictory advice?
Is there a perfect diet where, if you follow it, you have little chance of failure?
I think the most likely candidate for the perfect diet is one that mimics that of our ancestor hunter-gatherers.
After all, we’re told that hunter-gatherers didn’t live very long, right? It’s probably true that they didn’t live all that long. But numerous studies show that they died mainly from natural accidents such as an encounter with a fierce creature, or falling off a cliff.
Unlike the modern population, riddled with illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and arthritis, these hunter-gatherers were very fit and strong. If they had the luxury of comfort and safety that we now have, they would had lived a very long life while staying healthy and fit into their old age. You’d be hard-pressed to find an out of shape hunter-gatherer as well.
OK. You might be wondering, “all this about the hunter-gatherer lifestyle is only guess-work. None of us was around millions of years ago. We couldn’t possibly know what these hunter-gatherers ate.” That’s what I was thinking too when I picked up Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint nutrition book.
But even if his well supported claims are all wrong, I believe the diet touted in the book makes perfect sense.
Basically, the core of the message about diet is as follows:
The main source of your calorie intake should come from animals and plants. In other words, meat, poultry, fish, eggs and vegetables should form the bulk of your meal.
Yes, even red meat with all that “nasty” saturated fat! (I’ll let you into a little secret: Saturated fats are not necessarily bad for you. In fact, they’re essential for some major bodily functions. And they make you feel full. Therefore, you’ll tend to eat fewer calories in the long run.)
One caveat though … the meat sources should be mainly from pasture-raised or organic animals. Avoid conventionally raised meats which are likely to be packed full of hormones and pesticides.
The next food group you should have is healthy fats. Things like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut products and even animal fats and butter.
Next, you should have the following foods in moderation: seasonal fruits, nuts and seeds, full fat dairy (don’t bother with low fat varieties). One thing is that the dairy should preferably be raw. For example, raw milk, cheese made from raw milk etc.
Until now, I haven’t been able to find raw milk near where I live. So, I only buy organic full fat milk. That’s because I love milk. And I don’t have any bad reaction to milk like some people do.
But you can go without milk and other dairy if you want to be really strict. You won’t be missing out any nutrients if you do.
That’s basically the core diet message from Mark’s book.
Notice there’s no grains? No wheat, no rice, not even oats or quinoa.
Astonished that there’s no mention of beans and other legumes?
Yes, that’s right. The primal way of eating means your diet shouldn’t consist of grains and legumes. They didn’t exist back then in the hunter-gatherers’ day.
Not only that, vegetables provide far superior nutrients and fibers than grains and legumes. And that’s for a lot fewer calories too.
Can you see how you would effortlessly lose fat and stay in shape on this sort of diet?
Fewer calories, more nutrients and still feeling full. The winning combination for getting in shape.
If you could eat that way most of the time, your diet would be as close to perfect as it could be.
Mark’s book is over 300 pages long. Of course, he goes into all this in much more detail in his book. He talks about things like what sort of meat labels to look out for. What sorts of vegetables are superior. What sorts of nuts are better. Even what sorts of supplements to take. And so on and so forth.
He also discusses exercise. I’m glad to see that strength training is highly recommended.
Since I read that book, I’ve drastically reduced my grain and legume consumption. I thought: What the heck? There’s nothing to lose in trying the primal way of eating. And I must say I feel a lot better.
The slight lethargy I used to feel in the afternoon is gone.
One downside: My grocery bill is a bit higher now. That means I’ll have to keep using my old very cheap mobile phone rather than upgrading to an iPhone. But then it’s my health. What could be more important than that?
When I encourage people to buy the highest quality food, the most common objection is that it’s too expensive. But these same people wouldn’t flinch at spending a lot of money on alcohol on a Friday night out or buying clothes and shoes that they don’t really need. Or buying a new smartphone whenever the latest model comes out.
Is your health more important than those things? Or, if you’re more motivated by shiny objects, is getting in great shape more important than those things?
Think about it. ;-)
It’s only your life. You choose what you want and what is the most important for you.
Here are more resources if you want to dig further into this topic of the perfect diet. And you should be digging if you’re serious about your health and about getting a great looking body for life.
1. Mark Sisson’s Ground-Breaking Nutrition Book Called “The Primal Blueprint”
2. Robb Wolf’s Very Entertaining And Enlightening Book Called “The Paleo Solution” (I like the author’s sense of humour. I laughed out loud more than a few times when I was reading that book.)
At least grab one of these books and read it. Things will make a lot more sense when you’ve done that.