One of the biggest flaws in the current American perception and education of diet is the food guide pyramid situation. The old food pyramid from the 80s is almost opposite from what research and current understanding of metabolic physiology tells us is optimal. Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity have not been helped by the high grain based pyramid. Below is what we believe the food pyramid should look like. We don’t necessarily prescribe blanket diets, but if we had to, we would say to follow this pyramid. With a base of vegetables you can’t go wrong! Eat as many as you would like. One can only benefit from a diet following this pyramid. Unlike other pyramids we don’t recommend a specific number of servings because people generally don’t measure their food (unless they are being extremely precise… which we don’t recommend anyhow). We want to pass along an understanding of the concepts, so study the pyramid, follow its guidance, and continue reading the detailed sections we have for a deeper understanding of why this pyramid is optimal.
2. Fruit, specifically berries and melon are the next source of carbohydrate, are the essential source for powerful antioxidants, but are more calorically dense than vegetables so are not completely unlimited.
4. Maybe the most misunderstood is fat, which should be a balanced consumption of the different types of fat while avoiding the overproduced poly-unsaturated and partially hydrogenated (trans) fat used in the mass produced refined foods that are over-indulged upon in this day and age. Eating healthy fats can actually help with losing fat as well as preventing diseases (Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, etc) Click here to read more about fat intake.
5. The high fiber products available now should be used when starch is desired; they have similar macronutrient profiles to vegetables including high fiber to total carbohydrate ratios. They do not, in general, have the other important phytochemicals and vitamins provided by vegetables so should not replace them. These are “pseudo” starches and are not essential for a Leaner Living diet, however they can definitely help create some tasty meals.
6. Meal replacement powders are often hard to live without if leading a busy life (like a young physician) because they can provide a very basic and balanced healthful quick and easy “meal.” Unfortunately none of the commercially available protein shakes or powders have lived up to our standards, so we developed our own meal replacement named LEAN ‘n Complete and hope it will help everyone desiring a quick and easy snack while on the go while staying in line with the Leaner Living principles.
7. Finally at the top of the pyramid, we have starches. Starches are a product of human civilization and only consumed over the past 10,000 years. Nowadays they are even more refined and an excellent source of absolutely worthless calories and we believe they have contributed to the Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity epidemic. We suggest avoiding them at all cost unless you need the high caloric intake (e.g. a young athlete involved in an intense training regimen). In which case, low glycemic and TRUE wholegrain sources such as whole oats, quinoa, wild/brown rice, etc can be consumed according to goals/activity/body composition.
8. Treats are not on the pyramid. We feel that treats should not be off limits because we are human, and a treat is just a treat. Sometimes a treat can be very beneficial in many ways and might actually be a worthwhile source of calories once in a while. That is the key though, once in a while. A treat is only a treat if it is special and consumed infrequently. If it is consumed daily or even every other day, it is not a treat anymore but a solidified component of the diet. Once you get in the swing of things you will find ways to make Leaner Living compliant healthy desserts!