A Simple RX For Good Nutrition, Good Health, and a Good Life

Jared Koch is the author of Clean Plates NYC.

Eating and living healthier don’t have to be complicated or confusing, and they certainly don’t have to result in a boring, tasteless sacrifice. The following tips will provide you with a simple way of thinking about nutrition that will make it easy and even – more importantly – enjoyable.

At the foundation of my philosophy is the recognition that there is no single diet that will work for everyone. Instead, you just have to find which foods and eating habits are best for you. The following guidelines will put you on the right path to finding the perfect foods for you and your body. Remember, progress is more important than perfection. Shoot for eating well 80% of the time, and don’t beat yourself up about the other 20%.

Eat mostly VEGETABLES. Lots of green leafy ones (kale and swiss chard are two of my favorites!) and include a variety of different colors (carrots, squashes, broccoli, etc). Combine raw and cooked vegetables, shoot for local and organic, and don’t forget the ones from the sea! Seaweeds like kelp and nori are loaded with minerals.

Then have some NUTS AND SEEDS. Stick mostly to raw and unsalted ones for the most benefit.

Of course, remember to have FRUIT. Berries are best, and if possible, be sure to buy local and/or organic.

Depending on your body’s needs and preferences, eat an appropriate amount of GRAINS (mostly whole, low or no gluten – sprouted and sourdough breads are best), BEANS (soak ‘em first, low amounts or no processed soy) and ANIMAL PRODUCTS (look for pasture-raised, grass-fed, free-range, organic, antibiotic and hormone-free, wild seafood, and little or no dairy).

Use high-quality OILS (coconut for cooking and raw olive and/or flax for dressings), SALTS (preferably from the sea or pink Himalayan crystal) and lots of HERBS and SPICES. Not only do they stimulate your taste buds, but many, like garlic, ginger, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon and rosemary are touted for their healing properties.

Reduce your intake of sugar, alcohol, caffeine and processed, chemicalized, artificially-flavored or preserved foods.

Drink mostly pure WATER and TEA (especially green).

Satisfy your sweet tooth. If fruit isn’t enough, use natural sweeteners (in moderation) such as raw honey, palm sugar – you’ll be hearing more about it – maple syrup, or agave nectar.

Nutrition is more than food. EVERYTHING YOU CONSUME MATTERS.

Be mindful of the relationships you keep, the books, magazines and internet sites you read, the movies and TV you watch, and the music you listen to.

EXERCISE and move your body often. Be exposed often to FRESH AIR and the SUN —even in the winter.

SLEEP well. Going to bed and getting up at the same time consistently is best. And shoot for between 6-8 hours, not more and not less. This could be the most important factor for good health.

MEDITATE! You’ll be surprised by the results. Make a difference. Laugh and smile, often. And most importantly: ENJOY your relationships. ENJOY your work. ENJOY and appreciate life.

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