There are several principals I’ve adopted over the years, from the ancient philosophies of macrobiotics and Ayurveda, which have helped me to maintain a disease-free body with a healthy blood pH, better moods, and great digestion. These principals revolve around the ratio of 80:20. I encourage you to try some of them on for size, and see if you experience any pleasant surprises like your weight normalizing, or chronic symptoms disappearing for good!
The first 80/20 principal is this; if you’re feeling well and healthy and in balance, let 80% of your diet be whole foods, and the other 20% be an emotionally soothing deviation. Food has strong emotional effects, and also serves as a wonderful social bonding medium. In a stressful time, we may need to just go out to eat or have a sweet treat at a party, for the sake of preserving our sanity. When you do deviate from your whole foods diet, see it as an experience that feeds your soul, not as an unhealthy mistake. This is important to remember because the emotions you experience while eating are almost as important as what you’re eating. Just say to yourself, “everything I eat turns to health and beauty”, and if you truly believe it, it’ll be way more likely to be so…I love quantum physics!
The vitality-building bulk of a whole foods diet (the 80%) looks like this: seasonal, regional vegetables as 40-60% of the diet with at least 1 bunch of dark leafy greens per day, low glycemic whole grains (brown rice, millet, amaranth, buckwheat or quinoa), soaked & simmered beans of all kinds, fresh raw nuts & seeds, seasonal fruit (avocado has completely replaced my desire for dairy!), moderate amounts of whole sea salts, extra virgin or “unrefined” natural fats & oils, and consciously raised (preferably organic) animal proteins in moderate amounts when needed for building strength and warmth like during hard physical work, pregnancy, weakness, coldness, deficiency-type illnesses, underweight, or if you have meat-eating ancestry (usually type O blood).
Right in-line with the principal above, is the idea of eating 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods to maintain an optimal blood pH. Disease cannot take root in an alkaline environment. So, if you can limit acid-forming foods to less than 20% of the diet (coffee, all forms of sugar, alcohol, meat, refined salt, white flour products, pasteurized dairy, and packaged & restaurant foods in general), you’re on your way to staying disease free! If you’re wondering how to counter balance your morning coffee (or other regularly-ingested acid-makers), here’s the list of foods foods known to be particularly alkaline-forming; leafy green vegetables and non-starchy vegetables, whole sea salts like Himalayan Pink & Celtic, Ume plum vinegar, raw apple cider vinegar, lemon & lime juice, sea vegetables like dulse and kombu, soaked & simmered whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, buckwheat & quinoa, and certain beans like adzuki, mung, and lentils.
I’ve found that, the more I cook my whole food, one-pot meals once (or twice) a week, which I can easily scoop into a jar to take with me (along with an avocado and a lemon wedge!) when I’m away from home, the more I notice how heavy & tired & sick I feel when I DON’T take the time to cook well & have these foods on hand. At this point, I’m not even attracted to chips or sweets, and, if I do enjoy restaurant food once a week or so, I crave my greens & cultured veggies & re-mineralized water when I get home…Now, I’m even remembering to also get these good foods in BEFORE I swing the pendulum toward refined foods.
Eating & cooking like our ancestors is a slippery slope which makes me feel more and more vital over time. I’ve noticed that many people, once they make whole food cooking part of their routine, they’re motivated toward an actual 80/20 good food/bad food balance (or sometimes even 95/5!), as chronic symptoms disappear, and deeper wellness sets in, on all levels…It’s like our body, mind & spirit begin to point us toward better and better diet & lifestyle choices, so that these choices become almost involuntary, so we can maintain our new level of health & happiness.
Another 80/20 principal is this: eat til’ you’re only 80% full. Not overeating is a huge factor in the longevity of indigenous peoples. They tend to stop eating as soon as the feeling of being hungry has subsided. This allows room for digestive juices and the churning action of the stomach to more thoroughly break foods down, enabling easy digestion all the way through the intestines. This practice contributes greatly to vitality because when we have efficient, enzymatic digestion, our bodily energy is free to work to balance and repair all the other bodily systems, instead of having to work so hard on digesting food. So, eat til’ you’re just 80% full, as healthy natives do, and “plant a seed of hunger for your next meal”.
Lastly, while I’m on this digestion note, it’s best to not eat a heavy, fatty meal at dinnertime, and always allow at least 2 hrs after eating before going to bed. This promotes health because our liver and gallbladder generally flush between 11PM – 1AM, so, heavy meals with lots of fat lingering in the stomach at bedtime, block this natural, body-balancing routine. Both ancient philosophies of macrobiotics and Ayurveda suggest eating lightly at dinnertime. Try luscious seasonal salads for dinner with brown rice and avocado on the side, or maybe a light bean soup with lots of seasonal veggies. Bon Appetit! And, may your taste buds easily adjust to this new and delightfully healing dance!