Diet list – should be simple, right?

June 7, 2010

I’ve been getting lots of encouraging comments from friends and acquaintances recently now that I’ve committed to posting more often. One of the comments I’ve been getting though is to have a simple, one-pager that lists the ‘foods to seek out’ and ‘foods to avoid’ and includes a few general meal selections as well.

Seems like a simple thing, huh? Well, I do think it’s pretty simple to avoid food that quickly raises your blood glucose or otherwise results in the creation of fat (recent post on fructose is highlights that heretofore not-well-understood phenomenon). But every time I tell someone that I get quizzical stares and incredulous furrows in the brow. “There’s got to be more to it than that!” is the general thinking.

Then I go to a few of my favorite sites and find they don’t really have a simple one-pager suitable for posting on the ‘fridge either.

Seems like some white space I can fill in.

Well, not exactly me … it’s not like I’m creating this material out of whole cloth, it’s a compilation of lots of points of view, with my own little twist in there for good measure.

So, here’s my first stab at such a list – suitable for framing (or lining the bird cage as the case may be). Once I get it refined, I’ll post it as a .pdf in a more visually pleasing form.

While you already know these are my personal views and I’m not credentialed in any way. You should also know that if you’re allergic or have any other negative reaction to any of these foods, you should use your better judgment and avoid them.

Foods to seek out:

Food item Why? Notes
Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, fish, shellfish Best source of protein containing a full spectrum of amino acids. Fat in animal proteins (saturated and mono-unsaturated,typically) are your metabolic friends. Don’t cut out the fat. Enjoy the nutritious and satiating food you were meant to eat.
Dairy products Other good sources of calories and good fats. While they do contain sugars (lactose), they only moderately raise blood glucose. Milk, cheese, butter, mayonnaise etc. Do not choose low fat products or sugar-added products.
Ham, sausage and other processed meats Protein is good. While there are some concerns with some processed meats, if you choose them carefully, they can be enjoyed in good health. Avoid processed meats with carbohydrate content exceeding 5g per 100g.
Eggs The perfect protein. Better to choose organically grown eggs. Typical practices result in eggs that are too high in pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fats.
The ‘dangers’ of dietary cholesterol are wildly exaggerated.
Seasonings Enjoy your foods. Herbs, spices, stock, salt and pepper according to taste.
The ‘dangers’ of salt are also exaggerated. Not wildly so (like cholesterol) but moderate salt intake when it’s conscious is not a danger. The bigger danger is when you take in all the salt unconsciously by eating lots of processed foods.
Sauces Enjoy your foods. Be sure these sauces have low carbohydrate content. Avoid sweet sauces (sugars) and heavy gravies (flour).
Vegetables Loads of vitamins, minerals. Beneficial dietary fiber. Be sure to gravitate to the deeply pigmented (dark, bright), fibrous vegetables and you can’t go wrong.
Dressings More food enjoyment. Oil and vinegar or mayonnaise.
Oils Beneficial fats. Make sure they’re cold pressed oils (olive, linseed and coconut oil).
Supplements Vitamin D and Omega-3.

Unless your diet contains a good supply of fish with a high fat content you may need a supplement of the essential polyunsaturated fatty acid omega-3, e.g. in fish oil.

Practically all people living typical modern lives (no matter your latitude) need to supplement with vitamin D. Seek to get your circulating vitamin D (25(OH) Vit D) up to 50 ng/ml.

 Foods to avoid:

Food item Why? Notes
Potato based products High glycemic load (raises blood glucose). This includes mashed, roasted and baked potato. Also includes any kinds of potato-based chips.
Corn High glycemic load (raises blood glucose). Most people have no idea how ubiquitous corn is in the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Rice High glycemic load (raises blood glucose). Includes ‘milk.’ And, no, brown rice is not appreciably better.
Annual Grasses High glycemic load (raises blood glucose). Many are adversely affected by gluten and other proteins in grasses. Wheat, barley, etc. Which means avoiding breads, pasta, bread, crackers, breakfast cereals, etc.
My experience is this is the hardest thing for most people to give up.
What do we call it when people just keep doing things they know are bad for them because of some uncontrollable compulsion?
Sugar High glycemic load (raises blood glucose). Stimulates liver to produce fat. Sweets, cakes, pastries, soft drinks, juice.
See the ‘addiction’ reference above.
Chemically- processed vegetable and nut oils They contribute to an increased risk for heart and artery problems, diabetes, overweight, cancer, allergies etc. Include margarine, poly-unsaturated fatty acids (corn oil, sunflower oil, etc.). When chemically processed (as opposed to cold-pressed), these oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids which are inflammatory and detrimental to your health.
Soy Enhances estrogen dominance, impairs thyroid function, blocks mineral absorption. Take a moment to read an eye-opening post on the dangers of soy.

This seems like a hefty-enough post for now. Will follow up soon with some some of the specific choices I make on a day to day bases and begin to address some of the biggest stumbling blocks for most people (sugars, breads, grains).

Much of this list of recommendations was sources from:

Dr. Annika Dahlqvist: Low-Carb/High-Fat physician advocate in Sweden
Mark’s Daily Apple: The Primal Blueprint
New Atkins for a New You


8 Responses to “Diet list – should be simple, right?”

  1. qualia Says:

    i’m gluten sensitive, and i found that i tolerate whole grain *rye sourdough* bread very well (make sure it doesn’t contain any wheat). and it’s even naturally low-carb (like 180kcal/100g) if you chose the right brand. might be worth a try for peeps who have a problem with the usual breads.


    • KMT Says:

      Good tip, Aualia. Thanks. Seems like it would be a worthwhile choice for those who want to continue eating breads regularly.

      Thought I wonder if it might not be better to just give up grains alltogether. I know it seems odd given the ubiquity of breads and grains in general, but it’s worth a look given all we’re learning about about the suitability of grains to the human metabolism.


  2. Vaibhav Says:

    I’m a vegetarian, and I usually substitute meat with beans, soy and tofu.

    Arguably soy is not that great. I have been looking for more meat protein substitutes.. hmm.


    • KMT Says:

      Hi Vaibhav,

      Take a look at the “New Atkins” book. Offers an approach for carbohydrate restriction on a veg*an diets.

      Not sure if I’ve loaned out my copy yet. If I haven’t, I’ll bring it in so you can take a peek.


  3. Lowell Meyer Says:

    Great post– keep up the good work, Keith!

    Perhaps my favorite one-pager is over on Dr. Harris’ site, in his “Get Started” section: I have some of my own one-pager attempts on my site too, but I think Dr. Harris gets top honors in this area from everything I’ve seen.


  4. Jon Tremonte Says:


    Been reading your posts on Lowell’s suggestion. I agree with him about Dr. Harris’s as that was my initial guidance for starting the whole paleo kick.

    It’s great to see someone who hasn’t seen that list have such similar opinions on specific foods to seek out or avoid. Gives affirmation to how I’ve started living my life out here in DC.

    Keep up the great work 🙂


    • KMT Says:

      Thanks, Jon.

      All the best to you as going ‘paleo/primal’ in DC will probably put you at the very far end of the probability distribution.


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