This may seem counterproductive to healthy eating, especially if you're trying to lose weight. Why would you eat more fat if you're trying to lose fat?
The answer is, some fats are good for you and some are bad for you.
The difference between good and bad fats are easier to recognize that you'd think. Unsaturated fats, good fats, do not stack on themselves in your blood stream. They lubricate your system, and help your body process food more quickly. Unsaturated fats, such as olive oil and coconut oil, will also help lower your blood pressure when they replace saturated fats in your diet.
Trans fats and saturated fats, bad fats, stick to themselves like magnets and stack up in your blood stream, clogging your arteries and causing heart disease among other things. Examples of these fats would be vegetable oil, canola oil, margarine, and lard. Most fried foods are fried in one of these bad fats. Even if it started as a good food, once it was submerged in that hot saturated fat, it instantly became heart disease on a plate.
Healthy fats however, such as avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, are helpful for your body. Not only do they help make you feel full more quickly and for longer, but eating healthy fats help your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients found in other foods.
Simply replacing bad fat with good fat in your every day diet will lower your blood pressure, lower your chances of heart disease, and give you more energy. Making that simple switch will change the way you feel in your every day life, and will help your body shed excess weight.
Like fats, there are good and bad sugars. Unprocessed sugar from plants (fruits, vegetables, and berries) nourish your body and give you extra energy during the day. These sugars are easy for your body to process and have nutritional value, because your body has to work to get the sugar out of the plant. It comes with fiber, which also helps your digestive system work better.
When your body has to do the work of separating all of the components of the plant to get to the sugar, it is taking in a small amount of sugar and using it as fuel to get to the other nutrients. You burn that sugar off almost as quickly as you eat it.
Processed sugar (straight sugar like table sugar and syrups) have already been processed, as the name would imply. The process that your body does to derive the sugar from the plant has already been done, so you are dumping a bunch of straight sugar into your system with nothing to accompany it. Your body can't burn off the large amount of sugar fast enough, so it has no choice but to store it in your fat cells.
Apart from the artificial high and crash that comes with ingesting processed sugar (which contains absolutely no nutritional value, digestive enzymes, or useful properties), it wildly increases your chances of obesity, and stresses out your liver that has to process all of the excess.
Processed sugar like this thickens your blood and restricts its flow to smaller capillaries like the ones in your gums, which causes gum disease and rotting teeth. It causes insulin resistance, potentially leading to diabetes. It causes hypoglycemia, gallstones, and it is an addictive substance, so when you try to quit it, your body craves it and makes you think about and even dream about it (I know this one from experience).
In short, processed sugar has no place in a healthy diet. I'd recommend trying to exclusively take in sugar from plants into your daily diet, and only eat processed sugar (like in dessert) once or twice a year.
Some people react very strongly to gluten, so grains like rice and quinoa don't affect them, and some people react to all grains and can't stomach them.
Wheat is a commercially grown commodity that the majority of the population relies on for their diets. Commercial farmers can't allow their crops to be destroyed with such a high demand for it, so they use pesticides and other toxins that the human body simply can't tolerate. Furthermore, it's been hybridized and genetically modified to make it bigger. It's no longer the grain we used to eat, and our bodies don't recognize it as an actual food. Our body simply doesn't produce an enzyme to break down that type of gluten. This is true of everyone, but some people are less sensitive to it than others. They may notice some mild discomfort or indigestion instead of the severe pain, bloating, fevers, or other symptoms that celiacs (people who are hypersensitive to gluten) get.
However, like sugars, unprocessed grains are a good source of nutrients for some people. It's more expensive, but you can get whole grains that are NON-GMO and they can be helpful. Some grains are better for your body than others. Wheat is something that should be greatly reduced in most American's diets. Things like rice (rices that have not been stripped of their nutrients) and quinoa and good sources of fiber and protein. White rice has no nutritional value. Quinoa and good rices are naturally hardier grains that make your body work to break them down. Your digestive system is made for processing food, so when you eat foods that are pre-processed (like white rice), your body doesn't have to do anything with them and it makes your digestive system lazy and slow.
All of the nutrients available in grains can be gained through other food sources. Even though they are delicious, they aren't a necessary source of nutrition, and they can be easily replaced if you have an allergy or prefer not to take them in.
Dairy, like grains, are a common allergen. Many people react to casein, a protein found in dairy. According to some studies, it has a strong link to cancer and diabetes. Pasteurized milk also creates an acidic environment in your body, which leeches calcium from your bones to neutralize the acid. This doesn't make immediate sense, considering that milk is supposed to be high in calcium. This causes joint pain and disrupts muscle recovery. Raw, unpasteurized milk is high in calcium and has many enzymes and nutrients that are good for infants and children, but it still contains the proteins people react to.
Cow milk is not something humans were naturally meant to drink. Cow milk is made to sustain a cow through it's infancy. Since most lactose from all mammals, including humans, contains a lot of the same properties, raw milk can be beneficial for infants and young children. However, once processed the milk is stripped of a great deal of it's nutrients and the good properties change. Again, once you process something, it takes away from the process your body is meant to do.
Older children and adults do not need to be taking in any dairy at all. Our bodies have already matured past the point that milk is beneficial. Dairy makes older kids and adults gassy. This is a form of lactose intolerance. For some people, their lactose intolerance is greater and taking it in causes headaches, severe stomach pains, bloating, and severe diarrhea. Those people would be diagnosed with lactose intolerance, however in a small way all older children and adults do not tolerate lactose well, that's why cheese makes everyone gassy.
Furthermore, when cows are fed hormone and pesticide-laced grain, those hormones and toxins end up in the milk as well. This has been known to cause severe mood swings and hormone imbalance.
The best way to take in dairy is from a local farmer, where you can get the milk unprocessed and know what the cow has been fed. As for adults, there is no need for dairy in your diet.
I hate to say "use portion control" because the image that brings to mind is counting calories and weighing every meal. However, I am not suggesting you eat less, just eat differently. Be honest with yourself about how much you move around in your daily life, and eat accordingly.
If you exercise a lot, you'll need more fats and proteins, but do not skimp on your plant in take. Regardless of your body type, you should always be taking in a higher quantity of fruits and vegetables than anything else. You have 26 teeth, only 4 of those teeth are for meat, that should tell you something about portions right there.
If you don't live a highly active lifestyle, you do not need to be taking in a ton of protein and fat from meat. It's probably better to be getting your fat from nuts, vegetables and oil, and protein from plants.
Most importantly, pay attention to what your body is telling you it needs.
If you're actually hungry, not just bored or thirsty, you should eat. And when you're full, you should stop. This seems like common sense, but actually because a lot of foods are so changed from their natural state and pumped full of sugar, our bodies sometimes have a hard time recognizing if we are full or not.
The brain doesn't send the signal that your hunger is satiated because it hasn't received the adequate nutrition it needs. If you consume empty calories, which give only temporary energy, it will leave the body still hungry and tired because it is malnourished, in spite of being fed all day long.
Also, a lot of the time when you feel hungry, you're actually thirsty. The signal to your brain for hunger and thirst are the same. That's why a lot of the time when you start to feel hungry or peckish in your belly, you're actually just thirsty. By the time you feel thirst in your mouth and your tongue starts to get dry, you a dehydrated and your body is begging for water. Increasing your water in-take to an adequate amount, will help you feel hungry only when you are actually hungry. Very few Americans hydrate properly, which is a big part of the reason America over eats.
Many people over eat simply because their bodies are starving for water and real nutrition, and they don't know. Even though the number of calories taken in is far more than necessary to fuel daily actions, they are not useful to the body, so it stores those calories away for later in the form of fat cells, and continues to send a signal asking for food. This cycle is making us fat, sick and tired with all kinds of weird symptoms we can't seem to attribute to anything.
The best part about this is that when you change the type of food you are ingesting, your body begins to recognize that it's actually real food and it regulates your portions for you. Your digestive system knows what to do with real food; what to store for later, what to burn off now, and what to discard.
Your body tells you when it's satiated and has had enough, and you will find you just can't overeat because you will feel properly full. Being full of good food, makes you feel good. It doesn't produce the same type of full feeling as being filled with bad things. You'll find yourself feeling less bloated, more positive toward life, and thinking more clearly.
This page is about healthy eating, but eating is only one facet of healthy living. It's the most important part, but it's still only one part. Once you've begun eating healthy, you'll find you have more energy, your mood and outlook will improve, and you'll find yourself wanting to get out and start moving.
A big part of the reason people do not enjoy exercise is because their bodies are not properly nourished enough to give them the adequate energy supply. It's not fun to start exercising when your blood can't move around properly due to clogged arteries and lack of blood cells.
When you start eating the right way and hydrating the right way, your body starts to regenerate and will give you the supplies you need to move around more and feel positive about it.
Once you've mastered one healthy habit, it's impossible not to notice the other ones you could incorporate into your life.
For me, eliminating the toxins in my food made me recognize the toxins in my body products. Then I started noticing the toxins in my house-cleaning products, and the emotional toxins in bad my relationships. It's a huge change, but if you take it one step at a time, healthy living is a very doable and worthwhile lifestyle.
Everything healthy starts with your fuel, and your fuel is your food.