What to eat guideline:
Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid
Where to learn more:
Dr. Weil's youtube account:
I don't follow the servings but this is how I am always trying to eat. The main goal is no processed, refined, or manufactured foods, limit dairy as best you could and eat a better variety of vegetables... Like most people, I am terrible at it but this is by far the healthiest way to eat for the most people and there is a ton of variety on the pyramid.
How/ when to eat:
Where to learn more:
I really do think time-restricted eating is a very healthy schedule to follow. Eating within a 7-12 hour window each day, I go for a 10 hour window. Start eating at 11am, finish your last snack or drink that isn't water by 9pm at the latest. The beauty of this is while it probably is best to be consistent with when you start and end, if one day you eat earlier you can adjust the window to still stay within a 12 hour window. Doesn't matter if you follow 6am-4pm, or 1pm-10pm or whatever you want.
Your eating window starts whenever you eat or drink anything other than water.
The research is really exciting but still very vague as it's only been well researched with animals and all human benefits are still very subjectively documented. But I notice a difference, feel better when I do this, improves my digestion, and based on what I have learned in my life about health and the human body it makes sense that we would benefit from this style of eating.
Moving to eat better:
Here is the deal with eating better. It's like anything else.. it is a constant, endless pursuit and constant tinkering process to find what works for you.
It's hard to notice effects of anything without trying it out for several weeks, better to be a month or more so don't expect any drastic changes with a couple weeks.
The best part, the body is crazyyy and adapts to how we live. Still, when I eat less healthy for a week or so I find my taste buds adapt quickly and gets used to high sugar, high salt foods which does two things: Makes me prone to continue taking in more sugar and more salt to satisfy my taste buds, and second makes healthy food taste so bland like fruits and vegetables.
I promise you, fruits are very sweet and vegetables if prepared well taste great but your taste buds will need to adapt before you will actually start enjoying these foods often so again, be patient and let your body adapt as you reduce sugar and reduce processed foods which are loaded with sweeteners and sodium.
My favorite people for all things health:
These are the only two people I have found who I truly agree with about 95% or more of what they say on everything related to health, for that reason I am constantly reliant on their knowledge and resources online if I ever have questions or want to look into something a bit.
Dr. Andrew Weil
(All things health, he is an MD, you can research questions on his site and dig into his youtube channel, some of my favorite books from him are Eating Well for Optimum Health, spontaneous happiness, and spontaneous healing.)
Dr. Rhonda Patrick
(Dr. Patrick is more focused on research because she is not an MD. It's best to learn from here through her podcast she publishes on her site, on youtube, and via her social media. I don't have twitter but I check hers regularly because she constantly posts new studies and research that she finds interesting)
The secret ingredient:
Everyone talks about fad diets, protein, and the latest super food/ micro-nutrient. I really think the secret superhero of health is fiber. If you can focus on removing unhealthy foods, increasing fruits and vegetables, increasing fiber intake slowly and consistently I think everyone's health would drastically improve.
Fiber does a lot of great stuff for digestion and the metabolizing of nutrients in our body. If you eat too much, too quickly it could upset your stomach but it's a temporary issue. If you increase fiber intake slowly you won't have any trouble.
As far as reducing meat in general, the big misconception is you will be starved of protein but this isn't the case. The bigger concern of a vegan who never eats any animal products is vitamins and nutrients specific to meats that are extremely difficult to find elsewhere. For this reason being vegan is better than the american diet generally, but it is a very difficult approach to eating for optimum health. Most people function best with eating a little meat regularly. The point is, we just don't need as much meat as you might think. A little meat 1-2 times each week or every other week is plenty in order to make sure we are getting the healthy B vitamins and others we need from meat. If you are specifically concerned, start eating less meat, go to the doctor after about a month of eating this way, get your blood tested, and then if they are concerned I would suggest supplementing to make up the difference or slowly increase select meats back into your diet as needed.
Another misconception is our bodies will be starved if we avoid eating meat or move towards healthier approaches. The truth is most people consuming the standard american high sugar, high carb, high processed foods diet are actually starved. You wouldn't know it because they might be gaining weight, but their bodies are actually starved of nutrients, and being bombarded with calories from unhealthy sugars and fats which the body is storing because it is constantly searching for healthy nutrients and trying to deal with the excess fats and sugars as best it could.
Other than that, I wish there was a short-cut but I constantly struggle with eating well consistently, and eating more vegetables specifically. It is a consistent effort to buy new vegetables, make new foods, find what you like, and most importantly find a way of eating that is relatively low-maintenance and healthy. I love to cook but if every time I wanted to eat healthy I needed to prepare a 2 hour meal this obviously isn't a way of eating I or anyone will follow long-term.
My go to snack throughout the day is green apples, walnuts or mixed nuts, and a quest bar. I wish I wasn't eating the quest bar but I like them, it's the healthiest bar I have found and it helps me take in fiber consistently throughout the day. A better option would be to always take some sort of vegetable (instead of a quest bar) with me like a bell pepper, broccoli, asparagus, or salads. These are all very simple options which can all be eaten raw.
I try not to drink anything but water, green tea, or coffee and I try very hard not to use half and half in my coffee because dairy dries out my skin and increases inflammation in general. I am more likely to get a crash if I have dairy, and I feel more achey but that is just for me.
Last but not least...
Long podcast: https://youtu.be/pwaWilO_Pig
A bigger factor than people think is how sleep affects not only your general health, but directly effects our diet. If we don't get the hours our body needs we wake up craving more sugars, carbs and unhealthy fats all day. This has been proven and I subjectively notice every singly time I don't sleep enough I find it very hard to eat time-restricted the next day and I wake up wanting something bready and high fat in the morning.
This podcast summed it up very well and I really liked listening to it. As far as how to improve your sleep, my suggestions are greatly reduce or eliminate caffeine intake (temporarily) so you can find out how it affects you and your sleep. Avoid light exposure after sunset as best you could (specifically screen time, tv, phone, computer) and create a good wind down routine. Could be a warm shower, or meditating before bed, reading a book, stop eating 2 hours before bed, a glass of warm water with some magnesium.. whatever you find works. Mess around with different routines/ tactics until you find a good wind-down routine but ideally get one that takes an hour or more as it takes time to truly wind-down.
Hope this helps!