Eating food is one of the most basic activities of life. Animals do it. Humans do it. Insects do it. Eating is all the rage! But, something very interesting has happened over the last 100 years. People stopped eating food. Let me explain…

If you observe the eating habits of animals in the wild, you are going to see a pattern. What they eat is based almost exclusively on their environment. If a particular type of food isn’t naturally available in the area in which they are located, they don’t eat it. If a bird that is native to Japan would really enjoy some Brazilian nuts…sorry birdie. No nuts for you! It’s as simple as that.

Historically, the eating habits of humans were exactly the same. People ate the foods that were readily available to them in their local area. Essentially, everything was locally grown. It would be a rare treat to eat something that was from a different part of the country, let alone the world.

Now, I’m not trying to glorify the past. There have been significant problems with famine that have occurred off and on during most of human history, so to suggest that we would all be better off going back to the way things were would be silly. With that said, I do think it’s important to look back at where we came from so we can discover where we went wrong.

Make no mistake. We have gone horribly wrong, especially in America. Most Americans are chronically sick and overweight. Do you know what the primary reason is? No…it’s not genetics. It’s the consumption of poor quality food.

Remember when I said that there have been problems with famine throughout most of human history? Well, people decided to solve that problem, and that’s exactly what they did. They started playing around with food to get it to grow more abundantly, grow faster and stay fresh longer.

In fact, they did such a good job that for the first time in human history much of the world has more to eat than they even know what to do with. But here’s the problem. Most of it is NOT real food. It’s Frankenfood.

Especially in America, most of the stuff that makes up the typical diet has more or less been created in a lab. It is loaded up with chemicals and processed to the max. Most of these foods have low or no nutritional value. They’re loaded with high levels of sugar, saturated fat and salt to ensure that you keep coming back for more.

So what do you do? Often this conversation is like opening up a can of worms. People start looking into the quality of food and how it reacts to their body and come to the conclusion that they can’t eat ANYTHING. It’s overwhelming and frustrating. So much so that a lot of people don’t do anything at all and just fall back into their old eating habits.

But, I don’t want you to do that, so I’m going to give you a few food/eating guidelines to keep in mind going forward. The important thing to remember here is that these are guidelines, NOT RULES. You don’t get voted off the island if you have some ice-cream. Just don’t make it a habit. Here we go…

Keep it simple: I always say the further your food is the way God made it, the worse it is for you. For example, apples are better for you than apple pie. Typically, the less altered or processed your food is, the healthier and more nutrient-rich it is.

Stay to the outside: As a general rule, the fresh food is in the outer isles of the grocery store. That’s where you should do the bulk of your shopping. The inside aisles of most grocery stores are usually where you will find the unhealthy stuff…the Frankenfoods.

Read labels: Start reading labels. I realize that it may be hard at first, but it’s a skill worth learning. At times, you will be surprised how much difference there is between comparable products. Always buy the lesser of two evils.

Minimize sugar: Sugar is not your friend. It makes you fat and reeks havoc on your health. Eliminate or minimize sugar whenever possible. If you want something sweet, eat something that is naturally sweet instead of something that has added sugar. Also, you should NEVER EVER drink sugary drinks. There is NO benefit.

Cook more: Cooking is a lost art. Most people would see a drastic change in their weight and health if they simply made all of their own meals. You will eat healthier by default because you will never add as much salt, fat or sugar as a food manufacturer will. Also, when you cook things like french fries and pies they are labor intensive. You aren’t going to take the time to make them every day. So when you do make them, they will be an infrequent treat instead of a regular part of your diet.

Problem foods: Although there are some general dietary guidelines that most people should follow, everyone is different. Many people have food allergies or sensitivities that cause weight gain and health problems. In some cases, the problem foods only need to be reduced. In other cases, they need to be completely eliminated from the diet. Dairy, grains, wheat, and gluten are some of the most common problem foods.   

No Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners are the perfect example of a Frankenfood. They have been linked to a number of health problems and should be avoided. If you still aren’t convinced, I would encourage you to do your own research. There is an abundance of information available documenting the dangers of artificial sweeteners. They are bad news.

Keep a journal: If you really want to know what you are eating, write it down. Many people miss the value of this one exercise. Not only will it help you be accountable for what you are actually eating, but it can also help you discover food sensitivities if the need would ever arise.