Dr. Mark Hyman is an internationally renowned physician, writer and speaker on functional medicine and the power of healing through food and lifestyle. In his latest book, What the Heck Should I Eat?, Dr. Hyman addresses the confused messages from the medical world and the media on the type of diet that will help prevent chronic illness and promote wellness. Here, he explains the power of simple, real food in healing and gives 5 takeaways on what to consider when you are deciding what to eat.
The Power of Food
I’ve dedicated myself to searching for the root causes of disease and helping us all achieve a life of vitality and good health. Through my medical training, research and experience, I’ve come to strongly believe in the power of food to heal. Food can energize, heal, repair, and uplift us. Each bite you take creates a powerful opportunity to either create good health or promote disease.
Having said that, the question of what to eat to promote well being often comes up. Unfortunately, my patients and readers often find nutrition information in the news and even from their doctors to be confusing and misleading While many things play into that confusion, such as misinformation, poor reporting, and personal biases, the answer on what to eat is really quite simple – just eat whole, real foods, period!
You know what I’m talking about when I say the information is confusing and contentious. One day experts warn against eating eggs, and then suddenly eggs are a miracle food. We were advised to only eat egg whites until we discovered that cholesterol in food actually minimally impacts blood cholesterol, so now we can eat the whole egg!
Then there’s the issue of fat. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines told us 35 years ago that eating dietary fat would lead to heart disease and lots more. They recommended we eat fat “only sparingly.” But in 2015, those same guidelines told us research shows no connection between obesity or heart disease and dietary fat. In fact, today I recommend healthy fats like as olive oil, avocados, coconut oil and grass fed butter as an important part of our daily diets.
If our government can’t get it right, is it any wonder that the public and even many experts are so confused?
And to top it all off, we’ve got a $1 trillion food industry that only adds to this confusion. Food companies provide us with all sorts of “healthy” options like low-fat, high-fiber, whole-grain, and gluten-free, most of which are the opposite of healthy. All of this is enough to make you want to just give up and eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and in whatever quantities you want.
Simple Solution To Reclaiming Your Health
But I’ve got a much better solution. And it’s quite simple. Let’s get back to eating real food, the kind that comes from the earth and fuels and sustains us, not the industrialized, hyper-processed, junk that degrades us and makes us sick. That is not real food!
Most of the food we should eat lies in the periphery of our grocery stores. They don’t have barcodes or ingredient lists. There are no claims such as “fat-free” on the front of these foods. And they don’t have preservatives to lengthen shelf life. Real foods come nature-packaged with real nutrients, not made in labs using inferior versions of vitamins and minerals.
In my new book Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?, I address this confusion on what to eat by looking at the latest science and talking about the best foods to eat (and which ones to avoid).
In learning about what you should, you might be surprised to learn that some foods you thought were healthy actually contain added sugars or food sensitivities. And there are other foods that experts have deemed “unhealthy” but they actually have contain health-providing nutrients.
My ultimate aim with this book is to empower you and end the confusion and miscommunication about what to eat. I truly believe real food has the power to heal and to change your health and your life.
To give you a taste of what you’ll find in my book, here are 5 takeaways on what to eat:
- Don’t believe the health claims on labels: If there are health claims on the label, what’s inside is probably unhealthy. Most real food is naturally gluten free and free of other food sensitivities like corn and dairy. And when you eat a variety of real foods – including a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, wild-caught fish, nuts and seeds – you are naturally getting the right amount of protein, fiber, and other health-sustaining nutrients.
- There is no perfect diet: In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all diet. In the landscape of eating, there are so many beliefs and dogmas, including vegan, Paleo, vegetarian, Mediterranean, raw food, ketogenic, high-fat, low-fat, and omnivore. Followers of these diets can get pretty dogmatic about their approach, dismissing others in the bargain. While there are benefits to each of these diets, an all-in approach to one or another may not be the all-in answer for all of us. In my book, I combine the best principles from many of these diet plans to provide a sustainable, simple-to-implement way of eating that keeps you lean and healthy, for the long-term.
- Most of what we eat isn’t really food. So much of our food has been adulterated and processed that we shouldn’t even call it food. It’s more of a food-like substance. Check out the label of any processed food and you’ll find dozens of ingredients, many of which don’t sound like food to me! The front label might have some bold health claims, but its ingredients show otherwise. As a result, most of us are confused, baffled, and frustrated, not knowing whom to believe or what to eat.
- Cultivating and consuming real, whole food is the answer to many of our world’s problems. How we grow food, produce it, and eat it affects almost every aspect of our lives and our society. We need to vote with our fork and take back our kitchens by cooking with real, whole food! In doing so, we will be making a powerful positive impact on our families and future generations and at the same time, sending a message to the food industry that focuses on profit and not your health as the bottom line.
- Food is more than fuel. Food is medicine. It’s information. What you put in your body is the most important thing you do every single day that affects your health. It influences your capacity to live a rich, energetic, connected, soulful life—a life in which you can care for yourself, love your friends and family, help your neighbor, fully show up for your work in the world, and ultimately live your dreams. Once you start enjoying real, whole, fresh foods that you cook using real ingredients, you will be taking a huge step to improving your health and positively affecting everything around you.
I’ve designed my book to be a road map based on the best and latest science of what to eat. You will get all the information you need to take back your health, and become lean and vibrant and free from disease, one meal at a time. Never underestimate the power of food to change your life.
Learn more about science-backed, hands-on strategies to figure out what to eat change your life through what you eat in Dr. Mark Hyman’s new book Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?
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