10 Key Components of a Healthy Diet

When I first started Holistic Nutrition College the very first book we studied was Staying Healthy with Nutrition By Elson M.Haas, M.D. The text is easy to read with the Holistic Nutrition philosophy clearly written in its pages. Natural, Alive, Good quality.
In so many ways the human body is a mystery. Its complexity will keep scientists questioning the Whys and How’s for centuries to come. One of my jobs as a Holistic Nutritionist is to empower my clients to take ownership of their bodies and use their mysterious machines to its fullest potential all while keeping the process as simple and enjoyable as possible.
When first meeting with a client my goal is to clean up their current dietary intake taking into account the Holistic Nutrition philosophy. Natural, Alive, Good quality.
For the past 5 years I have used Haas’ 10 Keys Components of a Healthy Diet as a foundation for my Nutrition counseling.  You could say these are my 10 Commandments.

1)     Natural foods – Choose foods which are in their natural state or closet to natural state. The closer to nature our foods are the more nutrients, energy and vitality they contain. Plant foods (fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains) should constitute 80-90% of your dietary intake. Animal proteins make up no more than 10-15% of the diet and good fats 5-10%.

2)     Seasonal foods –Buying local ensures you are buying foods from the season which you are currently in. Hass says, Eating seasonally is important first for providing the right type of fuel to protect us from the climate as our environment provides the best foods to support our health and keep us in balance. When international foods ride in trucks for a few days they lose some of their nutritional quality and taste. You should also keep in mind that local produce for instance is harvested at its peak whereas non-local is picked when it’s not even fully ripe. This ensures the produce will not rot on its way to the supermarket.

3)     Fresh foods– Means foods which are raw or as close to freshly picked as possible. Most nutritious to least nutritious:  Raw (includes dehydrated), Steamed, Frozen, Dried, Canned.

4)     Nutritious foods– Choose foods that are dense in their nutrients (example: orange for its Vitamin C) and go for more nutritious food (example: romaine lettuce over iceberg lettuce)

5)     Clean foods– Choose Certified Organic when possible. The term organic simple means foods that have not been exposed to pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones, fertilizers and other harmful chemicals during their growing stages. More organic food in the diet means fewer toxins in our soil, air and water and less toxic material entering the body, therefore less work your body has to do to get rid of it and less damage to your body. If organic is not possible wash food thoroughly with a natural produce cleaner.  My favourite:  Nature Clean http://www.naturecleanliving.com/produce_wash

6)     Tasty and appealing foods– Taste comes from mineral content. The higher the mineral content in the soil the better the food tastes. Make your food appealing by thinking of your plate as a blank canvas and your food as the paint. Make beautiful art with your food. 
      For inspiration visit here: http://mywholesomehome.blogspot.com/p/in-kitchen.html

7)    Variety and rotation - A good rule of thumb is to buy brightly coloured fruits and vegetables to ensure you are getting a variety of different vitamins and minerals in your diet. (similar colours=similar nutrients). Make sure to rotate your foods every day. Eating the same foods day after day can result to food intolerance's. (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-allergy/AN01109

8)     Food combining –  

      Eat fruit alone - Fruit contains simple sugars that require no digestion therefore will stay in the stomach for a short period of time. If you eat fruit directly after a meal, the fruit sugar will stay in the stomach and ferment on top of the other type of food you just finished eating. Eat fruits 30 minutes before a meal or 2 to 3 hours after a meal. 

      Do not mix animal proteins (chicken, fish, red meat, pork) with concentrated starches (pasta, rice, potatoes) at a meal 

      Eat animal proteins with green leafy vegetables

      Eat plant proteins (legumes, soy) with any vegetable

Eat nuts and seeds alone

9)     Moderation – Smaller more frequent meals. Adopting a pattern of eating smaller, more frequent meals provides a number of benefits to both your health and weight loss goals. You're less likely to overeat, and you'll have a longer lasting flow of energy to help keep you active and your mood balanced. Three main meals plus two snacks daily is generally recommended.

10)     Balance – Find a diet that is realistic and complements your lifestyle that way it becomes a part of your life and not just another ‘fad.’ Balance in nutrients (macro and micro nutrients), food groups, flavours, colours and acid-alkaline, prevents boredom and nutritional imbalances.

What are your 10 Key Components of a Healthy Diet?

Source- Staying Healthy with Nutrition Elson M.Haas, M.D.