What The Heck Am I Supposed To Eat? by Marcus Antebi
Putting a healthy diet into place and embracing it as a lifestyle pattern entails efforts that go beyond selecting the particular items that are in that diet. The diet that you will eventually find will be one that is tailored to your own needs, practices and disciplines. It should be one that includes a great deal of fruits, nuts, sprouts, and seeds, and little or no animal protein.
When I write about dietary issues, I usually focus more on telling people what not to eat and what not to do rather than specifically what to do. The ‘diet world’ for too long has been focused on things such as calorie consumption and amounts of processed sugar in particular products. What’s more important is how much nutritional value is in the products you are consuming, calorie for calorie.
The “early days of eating” should be considered by anyone seeking to put a healthy diet into place. Many generations ago, smart human beings lived close to the land and honored all aspects of its giving. They weren’t tearing things out of packages, and they weren’t eating foods laden with harmful chemicals.
Throughout history, mankind’s circumstances have differed from continent to continent, from climate to climate. In much colder climates, people had to rely on animal protein because they didn’t have UPS and Federal Express to ship superfood powders from Columbia to New York. They didn’t have refrigerated trucks to drive cucumbers from Mexico to Washington, DC. So people ate in accordance with the seasons and what the soil would bear.
People ate what the forests or the jungles would put into their paths. Sometimes that would be the flesh of an animal or an insect. Those same people were always breathing clean air and pure water, both free from chemical compounds that would harm their bodies. They were extremely active as individuals, they collectively had a great sense of daily purpose, and they had rich spiritual and metaphysical world views.
These things generally resulted in positive attitudes and respect for the present moments being experienced by these early ancestors of ours. It’s very unfortunate that most of us in the modern world have lost those things to various degrees. We have lost those things because of our bad habits and our belief in lifestyle misinformation that our modern society has presented us with.
For a number of reasons I will not prescribe a specific diet in my website content and other writings—more on those reasons later in this article. But I will give a little bit of information about the diet I keep for myself, as follows:
I drink at least 16 ounces of fresh raw green juice every day. If such juice is not available, I have a very pure USDA organic superfood powder that I mix into water. I like how it makes me feel—very strong and healthy. I can’t vouch for the scientific data behind this, but I very much like the effect.
My diet is 100% plant-based. I love fruits, vegetables, nuts, and produce. I drink a very small amount of espresso coffee in the morning. (I’ve unsuccessfully tried to quit many times. I find this to be my own personal Kryptonite (the substance that weakened Superman).)
I love every single vegetable on planet earth that is edible to humans. I like to eat them raw, and I like to eat them cooked.
I recommend that if you’re starting a diet that you commit yourself to 30 days of 100% uncooked vegetables and fruit. Go through the experience. It may make you gaseous or tired at first, but I advise ‘gutting it out’ just to prove to yourself that you can subsist on nothing more than fruit and vegetables. They don’t have to be fried, baked, sautéed, or microwaved; they can just be eaten whole.
Some people might ask, “What about my thyroid problem or my diabetes?” By all means seek competent medical advice under such circumstances. I can’t give you any advice because that would create liability for me. But I will say do not be fearful of uncooked fruits and vegetables.
Do not drink alcohol during the 30 day period, and eat 100% raw food from plants only.
You must rid yourself of your faulty thinking that you will die without processed food and/or animals and animal products.
After your 30 days, you can begin to add things back into your diet and see how you feel. Of course if you were addicted to Hostess Twinkies before, and after 30 days you had a Hostess Twinkie, I’d guess that you’d feel a lot better for pandering to the sugar craving. But that feeling of goodness would be deceptive.
This would be similar to the situation of a person injecting heroin in their arms. They feel psychologically better but with no regard to the harmful effects of the drug. Although most of us are not drug addicts, it takes us a long time to detox from coffee, refined sugar, and other products that made us feel safe even though they were unhealthy.
The human body can heal itself miraculously. If you have a good diet, you will experience changes in body chemistry. Given time, your chemistry will change to cause you to be at the exact weight that you should be. Your chemistry will be different from the body chemistry of an overweight person. The chemistry will affect your mood and your thinking.
You may be considering dietary changes with weight loss in mind. If you lost all the weight you desired, you would likely feel anxiety at some point. It’s absolutely the case that if you were suppressing the anxiety by overeating you may start to feel that suppressed anxiety feeling again. If that trouble occurs, just be prepared to feel again. Sit with your feelings and have mechanisms and processes to deal with them. These mechanisms and processes include things such as prayer, calling friends, writing and working on your journal. You should write to document the times of the day that you feel like overeating or eating junk food, times of day that you feel anxious, and times of day that you feel numb. Observe the patterns.
Among the greatest tools for your journey are good talk therapy sessions, especially group therapy. Group therapy is less expensive, sometimes even free, and there are no “bad” groups. I say this because any group that you go to is just a collection of people who you can talk with about anything that pertains to your feelings.
Having said that, I don’t recommend that you go to a Ku Klux Klan meeting and start talking about loneliness and your cravings for albacore tuna. In this information age you can browse the Internet to find online groups, brick and mortar real people groups, all different types of groups that allow you to talk to and listen to live people discussing feelings. This is how we make positive progress with our emotions; this is where we begin to develop the tools to arrest the dysfunctional behaviors that we wish to get rid of.
Once you enter into your process of changing your diet, realize that you’re also simultaneously in a healing process. There are many ways to make this healing more effective.
A very crucial thing that you must do is alleviate the emotional traumas that you carry. You must repattern your brain to make sure that what you’re doing is not just another way of hiding from your pain and trauma. Sometimes even constructive things can be done as if they were/are addictions. Examples include consuming yourself with work (being a so-called workaholic), or exercising 18 hours a day.
Although at times, and keep in mind that this is the exception rather than the rule, swapping addictions for the short term is the lesser of two evils. Workaholism or fanaticism in exercising is far better than being caught up in dangerous addictions such as hard drugs, street racing, or violence. But the long-term goal is to be free of all addictive behaviors.
In this day and age we spend enormous amounts of emotional energy and time trying to liberate ourselves from the past difficulties of our lives. Of course there have been beautiful experiences in the lives of most everyone; marriages, children, business success, etc. But it’s a problem that these things have been conditions that brought us happiness. Rather, the feeling of being happy for just being alive should be our only condition for happiness.
Most of us had it when we were children, but we lost it. Now we have to set out to recover it. Most of us think of recovery (e.g., 12 step recovery) in terms of recovering from the damage that our addictions have caused us. But recovery should be thought of not only in terms of recovering from something negative or damaging. Recovery should also be thought of as the attempt to regain something positive.
This is usually something different for everyone. As an example, the desperate drunk is trying to recover the ability to live happily and productively when sober. Speaking for myself, I’m trying to recover the tremendous joy I had from just being a child, being able to feel and express my feelings, desiring to explore the world, experience things, and find laughter.
The simple joys of childhood are what a great many people are trying to recover. In addition to that, I’m trying to recover the ability to just live in the moment and not drift into unproductive thought processes or obsessions. I don’t want to constantly be lost in the past or be thinking anxiously about the future. I want to be here with my feet on the ground, looking at the trees, taking in deep breaths, feeling the pleasant sensations of the moment.
Yet in childhood we experienced uncomfortable and traumatic things. We learned to drift away from present moments of that time because the present was uncomfortable. When we live in the past we focus on moments of sadness and feelings of loss and desperation. Even if the past was beautiful, if we compare it to the present moment we may be disappointed that the present moment is not as beautiful.
Thinking too much of the future can also be problematic. Thinking about the future may cause stress, worry, and negative predictions. And even if you’re thinking about the future in terms of something pleasant, there’s a danger of becoming dissatisfied with the present moment because of being in a place of yearning and craving.
Consider all these things in order to get your mind on the right track. Getting your mind on the right track is absolutely essential in putting positive dietary changes into place in your life. You must change your thinking processes as well as your behavior if you want to live a healthy lifestyle moving forward.
Many won’t be receptive to this process and mindset.
I have written something that will not have mainstream appeal. I don’t have tables, guides or indications of how much protein you need as determined by your body mass index. I’m not sharing specific recipes, decorating them on a plate and taking pictures of them to make the food look appetizing. Such things can sometimes be helpful and encouraging, but in my opinion for the most part they are harmful.
Regarding weight loss in particular, I look at my own life and the lives of others for evidence of the effectiveness of dietary techniques. I look at how many people I’ve met in my life who have not succeeded in their diet goals. I look at the number of people who achieved their diet goals and lost weight but still had other problems and switched to other addictions; in such cases the only things that changed were their getting a little healthier and looking better in a bikini.
‘The ultimate weight loss diet’ is a myth. Food and happiness are inextricably linked. We all have to come to individual understandings of intelligent measures to take to ensure our survival. We have to make the changes that are necessary, and we often have to try many different things. In my opinion, the only people that need extremely focused help from outside sources are children with eating disorders. Very young people may not have the strength to take some of the measures that I’m recommended, and they need help to get to a place of healthy dietary change.
The rule of thumb with animal protein is three days maximum per week (every other day) and always with a large leafy green salad. This is the knowledge that’s been passed on from generation to generation by people who understood what animal protein did to the digestive system and to body chemistry.
Somewhere in our history the great teaching of salad with protein got lost and people instead ate protein with starchy vegetables. Or even worse, they ate protein with refined starchy carbohydrates like bread—another mistake. The sandwich was invented by a chef, not by a chemist. It’s completely antithetical to human chemistry, as it causes fermentation and indigestion.
What I just stated may be difficult for many to hear and accept. It’s one of a great many things I must say to speak the truth about the unhealthy dietary practices we engage in. I will not sugarcoat the truth to make it easier for others to handle. I don’t intend to be insensitive, but I do want to help people face up to their mistakes.
Many who begin dieting want to be told exactly what to do to lose weight; they want someone to rescue them. To some degree this equates to emotional immaturity. To use a little hyperbole, it’s as if they’re one-year-olds sitting in high chairs waiting for someone to feed them. That’s not a good solution for grownups. Those with unhealthy lifestyles in general and weight problems in particular must take ownership of their issues.
To those who require dieting books that go into extreme detail regarding precise portions of precise foods, there are many such books, and get some of them if you wish to. But I say again (and again and again), the most important thing people need to learn about their diets is what to eliminate and what to reduce.
Eliminate processed food and reduce your intake of animal protein. Reduce your intake of protein in general. Too much protein is a problem in the diet, not a solution. Reduce the amount of stimulating compounds that you ingest, such as coffee, chocolate, and foods with caffeine and other substances that keep you awake.
When intake of food is a problem, it’s a systemic problem. We usually eat the wrong things because there’s something going on in our emotions that makes us feel out of control or in pain. A good weight loss program or guide is one that teaches how to deal with emotions and compulsions..
In the process of weight loss, one must develop a thoughtful and prayerful way of living to be able to rise to the challenge of dealing with addictive behavior cycles. It’s necessary to learn how to deal with difficult emotions and psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of perspective, lack of motivation, and a great many other things. The next most important thing is to break bad habits that disrupt body chemistry—for example, eating late at night.
Calorie counting schemes and various diets fail because people don’t learn new lifestyle practices and thinking habits from them. But the long battle many people have had with food their entire life can come to an end fairly easily if they choose to live one day at a time trying to make the right dietary choices. In fact all aspects of our life should be lived in that way. When we wake up it’s a reset, when we go to sleep, it’s game over. When we go to sleep, the previous day is gone. We will emerge tomorrow into a new life—not quite the same one as the previous day.
And so you must treat yourself to only think about the day you’re in. That doesn’t mean you can’t do a certain amount of planning for the future. But you must always keep in mind that you’re planning for something that may never happen, or may happen completely differently than how you planned. If you’re not careful, you can become too attached to the idea of the future, causing you fear instead of comfort.
Once you have the strength to not overeat and to disengage from your food addiction(s), you have taken a massive step forward in your life. Believe that at the moment you decide to stop overeating or stop eating toxic foods that your entire body forgives you for anything that you’ve done to it in the past.
On Day One, make sure that you drink plenty of water. The brain does not know the difference between solid and liquid. So when you fill your body with water, you will satiate some of that hunger. Also, water is actually a nutrient that is both good for you and essential to your being.
So, think of the act of drinking water as Kindergarten. The next thing is to decide on an emergency favorite fruit that you will always go to first if you feel yourself having a compulsion to eat something unhealthy. But the piece of fruit should be something within reason—it would of course be very foolish for a person to eat an entire watermelon or a whole pineapple in a moment of weakness.
Regarding the fruit choice and the amount, a person should take into account their own unique health issues. If a person was a diabetic or had other health problems, there might be limits on the type and amount of fruit to eat. Having said that, fruit is incredibly nutritious and highly recommended for relief of unexpected hunger pangs.
No matter what a person’s physical condition, fruit should never be regarded as a bad food source. Even for a person lying in a hospital bed. Much hospital food is not very healthy. Many of the meals are heavily processed and devoid of nutrients except calories, likely from carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The critical components for wellness such as vitamins and minerals are extremely limited commensurate with the amount of calories being consumed.
To me, this is the gospel: Consuming a very simple fruit should be a golden moment for you. That the earth provides such an abundance of delicious fruit truly is a miracle. It shows how compatible we are with this planet. The flora of this planet creates food for humans. No other planet does so.
Warning: the consumption of fruit will lead to the consumption of vegetables. (LOL).
You’re not supposed to eat a mountain of fruit all day long—you should stay within a total calorie range for each day. Not all fruits have to be very, very sweet ones. For example, avocados and tomatoes are magnificent fruits. The tomato has things like lycopene—Google that to learn of its benefits. If fact, use Google for information about many fruits and vegetables to learn of great health benefits that labels of bags and boxes won’t make you aware of.
Fruit has enormous amounts of a compound group called antioxidants. As their name describes, they are beneficial for going against the substance oxygen, which in excess slowly damages cells. So antioxidants, in effect, slow down the aging of cells. This is certainly a critical mechanical process for a creature made up entirely of cells.
It is never unsafe for you to eat a salad that’s made with big leafy greens. Chop it up and even eat it without dressing the first few times just to taste it’s goodness. Later you can add dressing in moderation. If you don’t have a taste for greens, start off with iceberg lettuce. You can work your way through Romaine, and then get to the really bitter stuff.
The rule of thumb is to avoid processed food. This bears repeating, and I will say it again and again and again.
In the beginning, be very mindful of what processed foods are. If you look on the back of a food package to see the ingredients, if you don’t see just fruits and vegetables and maybe a small amount of spices and perhaps an all natural sweetener like maple syrup, keep looking. If you then see lots of names that look like the names of pharmaceutical medicines, you’re probably eating processed food. Most boxes I’ve seen that had pictures of animal figures or drawings of fruits and vegetables on them have usually been very heavily processed. Such artwork is often a deceptive advertising ploy.
For breakfast one should consider eating fresh fruit. For lunch one might consider eating lots of leafy green salads, and you don’t need to add animal protein. But if you choose to eat animal protein, don’t do so more than three times a week.
It’s very important that you understand that I do not believe in prescribing a particular diet. There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” diet; there are a lot of considerations. The general rule is that you probably can afford to eat somewhere between 1820 and 2500 calories per day depending on your activity level, your age, your size, and what particular food items are in your diet. A person who is eating a plant-based diet could probably consume more calories than a person on a high-protein diet. A person who abstained from processed foods could also probably eat more calories.
Also, be aware that all calories are not the same. Just as all fuels for a car are not the same; dirty fuel will lower the performance of the engine. Gallon for gallon, the fuel that is the cleanest will require a lesser amount to accomplish the same motion.
Eating late at night should be a taboo. As the sunset sets, your chemistry changes, and so does your mindset. The important thing to do at night is to get yourself into a resting and healing mode, calming yourself down from major activities.
The evening time is a good time for family, rest, relaxation, reading, showering, organizing, journaling, family time, etc. The daytime is a good time for action, movement, exercise, business endeavors, and dealing with difficult struggles. And of course consuming. It takes a rather long time to comprehend this because it’s not what we’ve been taught. In modern times, and particularly in the west, we have been taught incorrectly about activity cycles in accordance with times of day and night.
If you look at yourself metaphorically as a vampire but in reverse, the daytime is the time for you to be outdoors doing things. The night time is the time for you to hide inside and become more inwardly focused. This is how human body chemistry works.
Ideally, right before sunset should be the last time you eat food. People make excuses for themselves if they can’t do this. They say their lives are too busy, and that they have too many things going on that prevent them from living in accordance with natural body cycles.This is a fundamental problem and a big deterrent to living the way we’ve been designed to live.
I’m not preaching. I’m not saying there’s only one way to be. I’m certain that there are many people in the world who can live very long, healthy, and prosperous lives and their first meal might be at midnight. But they are exceptions to the norm.
Human chemistry has a very specific pattern that it is looking to follow. A person can adapt to something different, but this is not optimal. We want to try to create optimal conditions for us to combat all of the different ways we can break down and fall ill. And this is not only relating to times of day that we do things, but to the particular things that we do. Things such as reducing stress, writing, being creative, laughing, eating good foods, getting plenty of exercise and rest, having good hobbies, and having good relationships are all integral parts of what will make a diet successful.
So, if you are on a new health- and diet-related journey right now, it’s crucial to realize that there should be no skipping over any of the steps of the holistic process. You must be engaged. You must take interest in your life, and then in your health, and you must proactively do certain things. The first thing to do at that point is to educate yourself on many topics pertaining to food. Food is the most important aspect of your survival, with the possible exceptions of breathing and not being eaten by dinosaurs.
A word of caution. If you want to learn something and you just hit Google and type in words, you have to pay attention to the source. Be hesitant to believe things that you read in commercial magazines; they may not have your best interests in mind. Also, be hesitant to accept everything you read on government websites. Both sources generally contain a mix of truth and error.
Learning about nutrition requires you to actively go out in the world and try things for yourself—slowly but surely, you’ll be able to differentiate between false information and the truth. But even the experiences of your body will not be enough to find out the truth about what’s going on, because you might feel fantastic in the short term on a new diet while you’re actually doing harm to yourself.
When it comes to designing your own particular appropriate diet, no one can do this for you. You must have a spiritual awakening of your own. This is where you should sit quietly with nature, read the right books, have good mentors, and participate in meditation. Certainly prayer will be in order.
That’s truth, brother and sisters.
What are the fundamental things people struggle with in terms of contemplating just being a plant eater? Is it changing the entire way of thinking we’ve had since we were young children?
The flesh foods are totally ubiquitous. The vast majority of people never see a captured animal, the conditions it lives in, the look of terror as it marches to its final slaughter, the cries and screams, or even the way a beautiful free animal would run away from a hunter. They just see something in a package.
Consider that one of our first and only instincts in the wild would be to be deathly afraid of hungry people. What people need to understand is that their hunger can be satiated perfectly on a plant-based diet. Certainly a person can have animal protein in their diet and still be healthy. But it’s not necessary. Every single compound and nutrient that is needed to support the biological function of a human being is available in fruits, vegetables, nuts, sprouts, and seeds.
The three core issues that should determine the type of diet we choose to keep should be the following things; our health, the suffering of animals, and the impact our diet will have on the planet.
Food for thought.