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Four Natural & Healthy Sweeteners

By Diet, Quick Tips No Comments
  • Coconut Sugar – from the blossom sap of coconut trees; lower fructose than table sugar; caramel hint to the taste (no coconut flavor at all). High in zinc, potassium, vitamin B, and iron.

 

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  • Stevia – a little goes a long way; too much of this concentrate of the South American plant leaves a bitter, licorice after taste. Perfect sweetener with no calories, no carbs, and no increase in blood insulin.

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  • Maple Syrup – pure, straight from the trees syrup has 54+ antioxidant compounds for healing. Known as a preventive to diabetes and cancer.

 

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  • Raw Honey – Again a little goes a long way; stronger than regular honeys. Make sure it says raw (heated no higher than 116 degrees). Full of antioxidants that kill colds, sooths sore throats, heal lung infections.Extra Tip: use local raw honey neatly on the skin for cuts, burns, abrasions, and infections for amazing results.

Mark Joyner: The Real Truth About Water

By body mind spirit, Conscious Living, Diet, Health & Wellbeing 4 Comments

Mark Joyner: Body-hack tip for super energy

There are some things I’m about to tell you about water that will not only blow your mind, but will also have an almost immediate impact on your energy.

First – most of the advice you get about drinking water is dangerously wrong.

No one really knows for sure exactly how much water you should drink, and the blanket advice we get is pure hogwash.

For example …

“Drink 8 glasses a day.”

Now, that may look like sound advice, but further analysis shows it’s an overly simplified “wives tail.”

To be more blunt: “8 glasses a day” is actually a well established urban legend.

As recently revealed by the American Journal of Physiology, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the popular 8-glasses-a-day theory.

Now, none of these scientists at AJP are saying we don’t need water (that would be silly). It’s just that these overly simplified platitudes are not helping anyone’s health.

What’s needed is real scientific information and not half-truths.

What we do know is that “8 glasses a day” by itself is not good advice.

First, you need to drink water regularly throughout the day. Drinking 8 glasses in the morning and thinking you’re “golden” for the day is actually dangerous.

You should, in fact, hydrate every single hour.

Drink a glass, or even 1/2 glass of water, every hour

Many people who simply take up the habit of drinking a glass (or even half a glass – more about that in a minute) every hour notice their energy levels skyrocket.

Why?

Because most of us are chronically dehydrated.

If you don’t think you are, try what I’m advising here for 48 hours and see what happens.

Again, this is a statistically valid “safe bet.”

Another safe bet: you’re tired all the time and you can’t figure out why.

Dehydration making you tired?

You bet.

Dizziness
Chronic fatigue
Impotence
Hair loss
Headaches
Low back pain
Constipation

And more …

Dehydration has been shown quite clearly to be linked to all of these. (Merck Manual of Health)

OK, so you want to fix this …

What next?

Before you start gulping down, you need to know that “how much” depends on a lot of factors.

It depends on your body size, how much you exercise, the climate in which you live, and more …

Obviously if you live in a hot climate where you’re sweating all the time (a lot of the sweat is invisible – you don’t have to be dripping to be rapidly losing water all day long), you need more – a lot more.

If you exercise even mildly – same thing.

But there’s something important here.

You may think drinking more water by itself is enough, but if you drink too much you can actually “overdose” on water.

It sounds crazy, but there was even a widely publicized case where people were “holding their wee for Nintendo Wii” for a radio contest.

The contestants were ordered to drink a high volume of water and hold their “wee” for as long as they could.

One of the contestants died as a result.

True story.

Too much water can harm you by either “water intoxication” (as the above Wii casulty, may she rest in peace) or by “electrolyte” imbalance.

Ah, electrolytes …

Listen to this:

See, the more water you drink, the more you need to replace your electrolytes.

But before you go thinking you’re going to need to purchase some expensive fancy “electrolyte replacement” sports drinks, here’s the real deal:

add a pinch of salt to every gallon of filtered water

All you have to do is add a tiny pinch of sea salt to every gallon of filtered drinking water you drink and – voila! – you have all the electrolytes you need.

Of course, the sports drink peddlers won’t tell you that. They’d have to sell you a whole lot of sea salt to make the same profit off your back!

Not bad, huh?

If you were simply to apply what we have shown you so far my “safe bet” is that you’d see a pretty significant bump in your energy.

But will you actually do it?

It’s a damn good question.

The thing about this kind of information is that hearing it is one thing.

Applying it to your life is a whole ‘nother animal.

My wish is not just to inform you, but to transform you.

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I use Fluer de Sel, harvested from the Atlantic coast of France for it’s high mineral content.

Note from Alan Davidson: As Mark Joyner colorfully says above, there are many wife’s tales about how much water you should drink. I live in the hot and humid south, and exercise outside regularly. So here’s my calculation…

I take my body weight, divide by two = how many ounces of water I drink a day.

So if you weigh 200 lbs, divided by 2 = 100 ozs of water per day. I do space my drinks of water throughout the day. And I’m adding a pinch of gourmet salt called Fleur de Sel, which literally translated means “Flower of Salt.” It is harvested from the very top of the salt ponds in the traditional Celtic methods. It is high in trace minerals from the ocean.

Top 12 Delicious (and Heart-Healthy) Foods

By body mind spirit, Conscious Living, Diet, Health & Wellbeing 2 Comments

~The Top 12 Foods to Eat for a Healthier Ticker~

By Becky Hand, MS, Licensed and Registered Dietitian
Start adding more of these healthful and delicious foods to your meals. Eating for a healthier heart never tasted so good!

Salmon and Other Fatty Fish

These coldwater fish are one of the richest sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats can decrease your risk of arrhythmias, reduce your triglyceride levels, decrease blood pressure and slow the formation of plaque in your blood vessels. Enjoy at least two servings of fish weekly, preferably fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, and lake trout.

Serving Tip: Grill salmon and glaze lightly with your favorite BBQ sauce during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Flaxseed

These tiny seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, too, as well as fiber and phytoestrogens called lignans—all which can benefit your heart. Make sure you use ground flaxseed and store the package in your refrigerator to prevent those healthy fats from going bad. A little goes a long way and you only need about 1-2 teaspoons daily.

Serving Tip: Sprinkle ground flaxseed on hot breakfast cereal, add it to smoothies, or mix it into casseroles and meatloaf.

Oats

The soluble fiber found in oats is especially good at binding with cholesterol and reducing its absorption in your body. It therefore helps to lower your total cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in beans, barley, lentils, apples, citrus fruit and squash.

Serving Tip: To beat the morning rush, try Crockpot oatmeal! And if your oatmeal is starting to feel a little bland, try one of these 20 stir-in ideas to revitalize your breakfast!

Beans

This “musical fruit” is magical for your heart thanks to its soluble fiber content. A 1/2-cup serving contains 6-7 grams of total fiber (1-3 grams of which is soluble fiber). One USDA Agricultural Research study found that consuming just 1/2 cup of beans daily could help lower total cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol in healthy people and individuals with an increased risk of heart disease. So enjoy 3-5 servings each week.

Serving Tip: No time to cook up a batch, don’t worry. Use your favorite canned variety, just drain and rinse for 1 minute under tap water to remove up to 40% of the sodium. Then add them to your favorite soup or casserole; or top of your lunch-time salad.

Nuts

Go nuts! Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts–all nuts contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce your unhealthy LDL cholesterol level. Nuts have also been shown to promote the feeling of fullness when trying to lose weight. However, portion size is the key. Enjoy a 1-ounce portion (a small handful about the size of a golf ball) 3-5 times a week.

Serving Tip: Choose unsalted nuts whenever possible. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top of your yogurt, breakfast cereal or salad, or coat baked fish or chicken with a layer of coarsely ground nuts.

Soy

Soy protein has been shown to be effective in decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Enjoy up to 2 servings daily to obtain the recommended 25 grams of soy protein from soymilk, tofu, edamame, roasted soy nuts or tempeh.

Serving Tip: There are so many ways to enjoy soy, there everyone is bound to find a soy food he or she finds delicious! Tofu doesn’t have to be scary, either.

Dark Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, bok choy and other dark, leafy greens are filled with the antioxidant lutein. Preliminary research indicates this carotenoid may protect against plaque buildup and prevent clogging of the arteries. Plus, these leafy greens also provide the body with fiber, folate, potassium and calcium, which all promote heart health.

Serving Tip: Go green! Try a green smoothie for breakfast or afternoon snack.

Green Tea

Research indicates that green tea may help to reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol levels, while increasing your HDL “good” cholesterol. The catechins found in tea appear to hamper the body’s inflammatory response as well. Can you say, tea time? Enjoy up to 4-5 cups daily.

Serving Tip: To receive the benefit of green tea, brew your own. Bottled varieties contain very little antioxidants.

Dark Chocolate

Next time you need a chocolate fix, reach for dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa. Researchers have discovered that the flavonoids in cocoa may help to thin your blood and benefit your cardiovascular health, as well as reduce inflammation. As always, moderation is the key. Enjoy about 3/4 ounce of dark chocolate, 3 times a week and balance your intake to avoid excess calories and weight gain.

Serving Tip: Mix up a batch of trail mix using a whole grain cereal, raisins, nuts and dark chocolate chips. Portion it into small containers for a convenient and inexpensive snack on the go!

Tomatoes

Considerable evidence suggests that lycopene, the bright-red carotenoid found in red foods (tomatoes, carrots, watermelons, red grapefruits, and papayas), may play an active role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Tomatoes and tomato products, including ketchup, tomato juice, and tomato sauce are the richest sources of lycopene; these concentrated tomato products also provide vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium, all of which benefit the heart.

Serving Tip: For a quick and healthy dinner, try this Tomato, Spinach and Feta Pizza. Now that’s pizza with pizzazz!

Low-Fat Dairy Products

Numerous studies are showing that dairy products, when consumed appropriately, can benefit the heart. It appears that dairy products and fermented dairy products like yogurt can help lower blood pressure and improve your lipid profile. But the key is to select varieties that are lower in saturated fat: skim or 1% milk, nonfat yogurt, and low-fat cheeses. These foods are packed with calcium, protein and much-needed vitamin D. Aim for 2-3 servings daily.

Serving Tip: Whip up a delicious smoothie using 6 oz of nonfat yogurt, 3/4 cup skim milk, 10 frozen strawberries, and 1 banana. Enjoy for breakfast or as a snack. Leftovers can be frozen into pops for a great frozen treat!

Olive Oil

It’s a common misconception that all fat is bad for your heart. In fact, the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and olives can help your heart by lowering your bad cholesterol level. Still, keep your total fat intake to 25-35% of your calories each day.

Serving Tip: Sauté those colorful vegetables in 1 teaspoon of olive oil OR mix up your favorite salad dressing using olive oil and a flavored vinegar.

from SparkPeople.com

The 29 Healthiest Foods on the Planet

By Diet, Emotional Intelligence 2 Comments

The following is a “healthy food hot list” consisting of the 29 food that will give you the biggest nutritional bang for you caloric buck, as well as decrease your risk for deadly illnesses like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Along with each description is a suggestion as to how to incorporate these power-foods into your diet. If you’re searching for more tips on healthier living, take a direct approach to your health and wellness by customizing your individual health insurance needs.

Fruits

Apricots are loaded with Beta-carotene

01. Apricots

The Power:  Beta-carotene, which helps prevent free-radical damage and protect the eyes. The body also turns beta-carotene into vitamin A, which may help ward off some cancers, especially of the skin. One apricot has 17 calories, 0 fat, 1 gram of fiber. Snacks on them dried, or if you prefer fresh, buy when still firm; once they soften, they lose nutrients.

02. Avocados
The Power:  Oleic acid, an unsaturated fat that helps lower overall cholesterol and raise levels of HDL, plus a good dose of fiber. One slice has 81 calories, 8 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber. Try a few slices instead of mayonnaise to dress up your next burger.

03. Raspberries
The Power:  Ellagic acid, which helps stall cancer-cell growth. These berries are also packed with vitamin C and are high in fiber, which helps prevent high cholesterol and heart disease. A cup has only 60 calories, 1 gram of fat and 8 grams of fiber. Top plain low-fat yogurt or oatmeal (another high fiber food) with fresh berries.

05. Cantaloupe
The Power:  Vitamin C (117mg in half a melon, almost twice the recommended daily dose) and beta-carotene – both powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from free-radical damage. Plus, half a melon has 853mg of potassium – almost twice as much as a banana, which helps lower blood pressure. Half a melon has 97 calories, 1 gram of fat and 2 grams of fiber. Cut into cubes and freeze, then blend into an icy smoothie.

06. Cranberry Juice
The Power:  Helps fight bladder infections by preventing harmful bacteria from growing. A cup has 144 calories, 0 grams of fat and 0 fiber. Buy 100 percent juice concentrate and use it to spice up your daily H20 without adding sugar.

07. Tomato
The Power:  Lycopene, one of the strongest carotenoids, acts as an antioxidant. Research shows that tomatoes may cut the risk of bladder, stomach and colon cancers in half if eaten daily. A tomato has 26 calories, 0 fat and 1 gram of fiber. Drizzle fresh slices with olive oil, because lycopene is best absorbed when eaten with a little fat.

08. Raisins
The Power:  These little gems are a great source of iron, which helps the blood transport oxygen and which many women are short on. A half-cup has 218 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Sprinkle raisins on your morning oatmeal or bran cereal – women, consider this especially during your period.

A good source of potassium, fiber and vitamin B6

09. Figs
The Power:  A good source of potassium and fiber, figs also contain vitamin B6, which is responsible for producing mood-boosting serotonin, lowering cholesterol and preventing water retention. The Pill depletes B6, so if you use this method of birth control, make sure to get extra B6 in your diet. One fig has 37 to 48 calories, 0 fat and 2 grams of fiber. (Cookie lovers – fig bars have around 56 calories, 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of fiber per cookie). Fresh figs are delicious simmered alongside a pork tenderloin and the dried variety make a great portable gym snack.

10. Lemons and Limes
The Power:  Limonene, furocoumarins and vitamin C, all of which help prevent cancer. A wedge has 2 calories, 0 fat and 0 fiber. Buy a few of each and squeeze over salads, fish, beans and vegetables for fat free flavor. See also: Beneficial Bytes: Lemons and Limes.

Vegetables

11. Onions
The Power:  Quercetin is one of the most powerful flavonoids (natural plant antioxidants). Studies show it helps protect against cancer. A cup (chopped) has 61 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Chop onions for the maximum phytonutrient boost, or if you hate to cry, roast them with a little olive oil and serve with rice or other vegetables.

12. Artichokes
The Power:  These odd-looking vegetables contain silymarin, an antioxidant that helps prevent skin cancer, plus fiber to help control cholesterol. One medium artichoke has 60 calories, 0 fat and 7 grams of fiber. Steam over boiling water for 30 to 40 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice on top, then pluck the leaves off with your fingers and use your teeth to scrape off the rich-tasting skin. When you get to the heart, you have found the best part!

Ginger is a natural inflammatory

13. Ginger
The Power:  Gingerols may help reduce queasiness; other compounds may help ward off migraines and arthritis pain by blocking inflammation-causing prostaglandins. A teaspoon of fresh gingerroot has only 1 calorie, 0 fat and 0 fiber. Peel the tough brown skin and slice or grate into a stir-fry.

14. Broccoli
The Power:  Indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane, which help protect against breast cancer. Broccoli also has lots of vitamin C and beta-carotene. One cup (chopped) has 25 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Don’t overcook broccoli – instead, microwave or steam lightly to preserve phytonutrients. Squeeze fresh lemon on top for a zesty and taste, added nutrients and some vitamin C.

15. Spinach
The Power:  Lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that help fend off macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness in older people. Plus, studies show this green fountain of youth may help reverse some signs of aging. One cup has 7 calories, 0 fat and 1 gram of fiber. Add raw leaves to a salad or saute with a little olive oil and garlic.

16. Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage)
The Power:  Brassinin, which some research suggests may help prevent breast tumors, plus indoles and isothiocyanates, which lower levels of estrogen, make this vegetable a double-barreled weapon against breast cancer. A cup will also give you 158mg of calcium (16 percent of your daily recommended requirement) to help beat osteoporosis. A cup (cooked) has 20 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Find it in your grocer’s produce section or an Asian market. Slice the greens and juicy white stalks, then saute like spinach or toss into a stir-fry just before serving.

Winter squash has huge amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene

17. Squash (Butternut, Pumpkin, Acorn)
The Power:  Winter squash has huge amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which may help protect against endometrial cancer. One cup (cooked) has 80 calories, 1 gram of fat and 6 grams of fiber. Cut on in half, scoop out the seeds and bake or microwave until soft, then dust with cinnamon.

18. Watercress and Arugula
The Power:  Phenethyl isothiocyanate, which, along with beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, may help keep cancer cells at bay. One cup has around 4 calories, 0 fat and 1 gram of fiber. Do not cook these leafy greens; instead, use them to garnish a sandwich or add a pungent, peppery taste to salad.

19. Garlic
The Power:  The sulfur compounds that give garlic its pungent flavor can also lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, lower blood pressure and even reduce your risk of stomach and colon cancer. A clove has 4 calories, 0 fat and 0 fiber. Bake a whole head for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft and sweet and spread on bread instead of butter.

Grains, Beans, Dairy and Nuts

Quinoa is as versatile as rice, but has a protien

20. Quinoa
The Power:  A half cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of protein, more than any other grain, plus iron, riboflavin and magnesium. A half-cup has 318 calories, 5 grams of fat and 5 grams of fiber. Add to soup for a protein boost. Rinse first, or it will taste bitter.

21. Wheat Germ
The Power:  A tablespoon gives you about 7 percent of your daily magnesium, which helps prevent muscle cramps; it is also a good source of vitamin E. One tablespoon has 27 calories, 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of fiber. Sprinkle some over yogurt, fruit or cereal.

22. Lentils
The Power:  Isoflavones, which may inhibit estrogen-promoted breast cancers, plus fiber for heart health and an impressive 9 grams of protein per half cup. A half-cup (cooked) has 115 calories, 0 fat and 8 grams of fiber. Isoflavones hold up through processing, so buy lentils canned, dried or already in soup. Take them to work, and you will have a protein packed lunch.

23. Peanuts
The Power:  Studies show that peanuts or other nuts (which contain mostly unsaturated “good” fat) can lower your heart-disease risk by over 20 percent. One ounce has 166 calories, 14 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber. Keep a packet in your briefcase, gym bag or purse for a protein-packed post-workout nosh or an afternoon pick me up that will satisfy you until supper, or chop a few into a stir-fry for a Thai accent. See also: The Nut Case

24. Pinto Beans
The Power:  A half cup has more than 25 percent of your daily requirement of folate, which helps protect against heart disease and reduces the risk of birth defects. A half-cup (canned) has 103 calories, 1 gram of fat and 6 grams of fiber. Drain a can, rinse and toss into a pot of vegetarian chili.

Greek Yogurt has fewer calories than regular yogurt

25. Yogurt
The Power:  Bacteria in active-culture yogurt helps prevent yeast infections; calcium strengthens bones. A cup has 155 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 grams of fiber. Get the plain kind and mix in your own fruit to keep calories and sugar down. If you are lactose intolerant, never fear — yogurt should not bother your tummy.

26. Skim Milk
The Power:  Riboflavin (a.k.a. vitamin B2) is important for good vision and along with vitamin A might help improve eczema and allergies. Plus, you get calcium and vitamin D, too. One cup has 86 calories, 0 fat and 0 fiber. If you are used to high fat milk, don’t go cold turkey; instead, mix the two together at first. Trust this fact: In a week or two you won’t miss it!

Seafood

27. Shellfish (Clams, Mussels)
The Power:  Vitamin B12 to support nerve and brain function, plus iron and hard-to-get minerals like magnesium and potassium. Three ounces has 126 to 146 calories, 2 to 4 grams of fat and 0 fiber. Try a bowl of tomato-based (and low fat) Manhattan clam chowder.

Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids

28. Salmon
The Power:  Cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce the risk of cardiac disease. A 3-ounce portion (cooked) has 127 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 fiber. Brush fillets with ginger-soy marinade and grill or broil until fish flakes easily with a fork.

29. Crab
The Power:  A great source of vitamin B12 and immunity-boosting zinc. A 3-ounce portion has 84 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 fiber. The “crab” in sushi is usually made from fish; buy it canned instead and make your own crab cakes.

via www.BellyBytes.com

Michael Pollan: Food, Four Myths, and Seven Rules

By body brilliance, body mind spirit, Conscious Living, Diet, Health & Wellbeing No Comments

Michael Pollan: simple & elegant rules for "what to eat"

Michael Pollan’s message on “what to eat” is elegant and simple, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Those of us who read about food have, in the last few years, been swamped by the language of nutrition. Antioxidants. Polyphenols. Probiotics. Omega-3 fatty acids. But you can know all about this stuff and still not be able to answer the basic question: Yeah, but what should I eat?

Michael Pollan says that where we’ve gone wrong is by focusing on the invisible nutrients in foods instead of on foods themselves. He calls this “nutritionism” — an ideology that’s lost track of the science on which it was based.

Michael says it’s good for scientists to look at why carrots are good for us, and to explore the possible benefits of, say, substance X found in a carrot. What happens next is well-meaning experts tell us we should eat more foods with substance X.

But the next thing you know, the food industry is selling us a food enriched with substance X. We may not know whether substance X, when not in a carrot, is good or bad for us. And we may be so impressed with the new substance-X-filled product that we buy it and eat it — even though it may have unhealthy ingredients, such as high-fructose corn syrup and salt.

Pollan identifies four myths “nutritional food:”

"Nutritionalism" took the food out of food-science

Myth #1: Food is a delivery vehicle for nutrients. What really matters isn’t broccoli but its fiber and antioxidants. If we get that right, we get our diet right. Foods kind of get in the way.

Myth #2: We need experts to tell us how to eat. Nutrients are invisible and mysterious. “It is a little like religion,” Pollan said. “If a powerful entity is invisible, you need a priesthood to mediate your relation with food.”

Myth #3: The whole point of eating is to maintain and promote bodily health. “You are either improving or ruining your health when you eat — that is a very American idea,” Pollan says. “But there are many other reasons to eat food: pleasure, social community, identity, and ritual. Health is not the only thing going on on our plates.”

Myth #4: There are evil foods and good foods. “At any given time there is an evil nutrient we try to drive like Satan from the food supply — first it was saturated fats, then it was trans fat,” Pollan says. “Then there is the evil nutrient’s doppelganger, the blessed nutrient. If we get enough of that we, will be healthy and maybe live forever. It’s funny through history how the good and bad guys keep changing.”

Pollan remembers that when fats were declared to be evil, his mother switched the family to stick margarine. His grandmother predicted that some day stick margarine would be the evil food.

Michael Pollan says everything he’s learned about food and health can be summed up in the above mentioned seven words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Probably the first two words are most important. “Eat food” means to eat real food — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and, yes, fish and meat — and to avoid what Pollan calls “edible food-like substances.”

Here’s how:

"Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

1. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. “When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?” Pollan says.

2. Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients; or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.

4. “Twinkies aren’t food.” Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. “There are exceptions — honey — but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad are not food,” Pollan says.

5. “Always leave the table a little hungry,” Pollan says. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. “Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, ‘Tie off the sack before it’s full.'”

6. “Eat meals together, at regular meal times.” Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It’s a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. “Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?” Pollan asks.

7, Don’t buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.

Eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. In this age of ever-more elaborate diets and conflicting health advice, Food Rules brings a welcome simplicity to our daily decisions about food. Whether at the supermarket or an all-you-can-eat buffet, this is the perfect guide for anyone who ever wondered, “What should I eat?”

Michael Pollan is professor of science and environmental journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, and Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.