I’m not a fan of restrictions or numbers when it’s time to eat. People often email me to ask why I don’t include nutrition facts with the recipes on No Meat Athlete, and I always answer that I simply don’t believe they’re good, except perhaps in cases where extreme weight loss is required.
Food, and the time we spend eating it, should be enjoyed — it’s one of the great pleasures of life, and to constrain it with complicated rules and numbers is completely unnatural.
Simple is good
Simplicity is the reason Michael Pollan’s three-sentence manifesto from In Defense of Food resonated so well (“Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”). And the stickiness of that phrase is probably what led Pollan to write Food Rules, another goodie full of short, memorable rules-of-thumb like “Eat only what your great-grandmother would recognize as food.”
And so here I list the simple food rules I live by. They’re not meant to be as catchy or easy to remember as Pollan’s, but they’re an honest distillation of what I believe is the healthiest way to eat. Not just this month, or until you lose those last 15 pounds, but for life.
1. Avoid processed foods and choose whole, unrefined foods instead.
This one should come as a no surprise. It’s listed first because if you were to throw out every other message you’ve heard about healthy food and retain only the three words “eat whole foods,” you would dramatically improve the way you eat if you’re currently doing something different.
But this single guideline flies in the face of the way people eat in the Western world today, so you’ll have to reject the shiny pseudo-food that food manufacturers want you to buy.
Some specific examples of what this rule implies:
- Brown rice instead of white.
- Fruits instead of fruit juice.
- Whole wheat flour instead of white (more on wheat in a bit though)
2. Get most of your food from plants.
I’m not asking you to become vegetarian or vegan if you’re not already…
Read more: Matt Frazier, No Meat Athlete