There are so many conflicting diets on the market that often do help people that it can get very confusing trying to determine what you should and should not eat. There are some common denominators that run through the best ones.
The McDougall program is vegetarian and consists of no more than 5% fat, 7-15% protein (none from meat) and 75-90% carbohydrates. In the Schwarzbein Principle, the author recommends eating a balance of the four food groups in every meal. Then there's the ketogenic diet, which has a target of 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
The amazing thing is that people's health improves on each of these diets! How can that be? Well, below is my suggestion, which has been reviewed and perfected by Marcia Upson, a close friend and creator of the program "Eat Like A Slim" which has helped vast multitudes lose weight and improve their health.
7 Common Health-Promoting Denominators Great Diets Agree On
- Drop sugar, replacing it with stevia and monk fruit.
- Drop processed foods, replacing them with organic whole foods.
- Supplement with food-based vitamins, as food no longer contains sufficient nutrition.
- Drink six to eight glasses of filtered water a day.
- Get eight hours of sound sleep each night.
- Replace calorie counting with eating slowly, taking at least 20 minutes to eat a meal and stopping when comfortably full.
- Replace stress/inflammation with prayer and meditation.
In addition, I have chosen to also honor the following health promoting principles
- I don't feel I need to be committed to four food groups, as the U.S. government sure isn't, nor is God. America didn't always have four food groups. There have been 12 food groups, then seven, then four and currently, there are five. God initially promoted a vegetarian diet (Gen. 1:29, 2:9) and after the flood, He added meat (Gen. 9:1-4). (Note that in the Law, He limited animal consumption to only "clean" animals.) Butter, cheese and goat milk also appear to have been eaten (Deut. 32:14).
- Avoid risky behaviors (adultery and fornication) and replace with faithfulness to your marriage partner (Prov. 20:14).
- Avoid smoking, alcohol and other unhealthy drinks and replace with healthy teas and green drinks with lots of vegetables as well as fruit.
- Smile and laugh—"a merry heart does good like a medicine" (Prov. 17:22).
- Fasting (anything from one meal to three days, five days, 10 days, 21 days or up to 40 days). Fast, and your health will spring forth speedily (see Isa. 58:8). One form of fasting is eating in an eight-hour window each day. This is excellent for health. Marcia Upson says, "This is excellent for health and can greatly reduce metabolic syndrome."
- Celebrate relationships, love and companionship (Eph. 4:3)
- Listen to your body; eat only when you are hungry. For most people, this will be two meals a day (Marcia Upson). Stop eating when you are no longer hungry. Drink two glasses of water when you get up. This could probably replace breakfast.
- My body needs to consume healthy fats, which include more monounsaturated fats than polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats in moderation. Avoid man-made and modified fats such as hydrogenated oils. Cook with saturated fats and monounsaturated fats, as they are more resistant to heat damage. Do not use "fat-free" products, as the fat is usually replaced with sugars.
- Pray and believe for miracles and gifts of healings (1 Cor. 12:28).
Marcia Upson (MS, APRN, Family Nurse Practitioner-Certified)
Marcia has devoted her life to holistic health care, and she adds the following valuable insights:
I like to say that your body knows how to be a body. We just haven't listened to it in years! Is it saying I am full, but you still have to loosen your belt to eat more? Are you drinking sugared soda or foodm and then your body feels sluggish afterwards? Do you fall asleep in seconds at night because you haven't been resting properly?
God designed our bodies to heal themselves but we have to tune into them.
Mark has made listening to your body very easy by giving you the guidelines above. A healthier lifestyle takes time and diligence. You will fail, eat something you wish you hadn't and eat way too much of it. Just wait until you get hungry again to eat your next meal and practice the principles Mark has given you.
Ask God to reveal to you what areas you need to work on and then go for it. It takes planning, and it takes practice; it won't just happen. So, plan your meals, get the junk food out of your home and ask your family or a buddy to work the guidelines above with you. Set a date, like your next birthday, and decide what changes you want to have made. You are worth it!
Mark Virkler, Ph.D., has authored more than 50 books in the areas of hearing God's voice and spiritual growth. He is the founder of Communion With God Ministries (cwgministries.org) and Christian Leadership University (cluonline.com), where the voice of God is at the center of every learning experience. Mark has taught on developing intimacy with God and spiritual healing for 30-plus years on six continents. The message has been translated into over 50 languages, and he has helped to establish more than 250 church-centered Bible schools around the world.
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