How to Avoid Illness or Declining Health with Better Diet and Nutrition

Whatsoever was the father of a disease, an ill diet was the mother... ~ Chinese proverb

The modern day world has largely been programmed to believe that declining health, sickness, prescriptions, and hospital visits are an expected in life, yet there is empirical evidence to suggest that health can generally be improved and maintained into old age. America is currently suffering from several health challenges, most self-inflicted in ignorance.

Luckily, the internet has led to the rise of more informed choices -- and education in this area is now easier than ever; while no one diet works for everyone, an attempt has been made here to provide reasonable dietary information.


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    Understand that healthy eating includes seeking a "balanced diet". The human body is pretty flexible, even in diet, for most people; if your basic diet is correct, then occasional "cheat meals" should have little effect.
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    Avoid junk food -- instead, eat nutrient-dense foods.
    • If you are currently eating a typical American diet, you're likely eating way too much empty carbohydrate and saturated fat, and not nearly enough quality vegetables, protein or Omega-3 fat, in proportion to the rest of your diet. Understand that if you are chronically vitamin D and Omega 3 deficient, with accompanying low/high/fluctuating blood sugar, fighting "cravings" with willpower alone will be difficult.
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    Get quality sources of protein. Find a "natural" food store or buy "1/4 beefs" or other proteins from a local, trusted source -- there are ads in your local paper. Look for grass-fed, no growth hormone, etc.
    • See that a little label~reading will lead you to quality protein, even in a grocery store... How many ingredients are there in your peanut butter? Understand that "natural" peanut butter only needs one ingredient, and no added fats, or sugar, just roasted peanuts! By the bottom of one jar of the real thing, your taste buds will have adjusted (to natural), and you will realize that "choosy moms" sold you out for profit.
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    Consider supplementation of Omega 3 or Omega 3~6~9. You may wish to ask your doctor, especially if you are in poor health, and consider making supplementation a permanent part of your diet. The typical American diet has unfortunately lowered the natural intake of Omega3 (the non-inflammatory) in ratio to Omega6 (the inflammatory) from 1:1, to more like 1:10 or 20, or even higher. Your future protein meal used to eat grass, loaded with omega 3 and vitamin D that your body has to have; this is no longer the case if your meat and eggs come from a 'CAFO'.
    • Although the whole food vitamin will contain Omega~3 in a "maintenance" dose, you have almost surely been neglecting this important food for...all your life; good sources like fatty fish, quality proteins (grass fed), eggs (from, yup, grass/range fed chickens), and others, have been degraded by the way in which they are raised -- farmed fish in ponds (force-fed corn), market cattle and chickens (force-fed corn), and loaded with growth hormone, antibiotics, etc. The corn is broken, too; GMOed, mono-cultured, fertilized, pesticided, and processed; then slathered over the entire BigAgro food chain.
      This is broken food.

      Even a generation ago, this article would have been unnecessary, as our grocery store food still contained more whole-nutrition than is the case today.

      Broken food is no way to eat, and most in U.S. eat this way.
      RA, diabetes, obesity, colitis, Crohn's disease, poor calcium and cholesterol metabolism, Alzheimer's, formerly 'exotic' cancers and other diseases, and...the list goes on, can be largely or wholly avoided.
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    Understand the importance of Vitamin D. It is now being recognized that many people in the U.S. are chronically vitamin D deficient (2/3 of the country, even in southern California; the same % that are overweight), due to poor uptake or lack of dietary vitamin D; and, like Omega 3~6~9, the response here was so large, that that information is now here.

    Vitamin D acts like a hormone in your body! Like Omega~3, insufficient levels in certain organs (not serum levels in your blood, which is all the Dr. can see) affects cholesterol and other metabolisms. A blood test for vitamin D serum levels is now being touted as a better indicator for breast cancer than a mammogram![1]
    • The best source of Vitamin D is the sun! A fair-skinned woman gets approximately 10,000 i.u. of Vitamin D at about 20 minutes of afternoon exposure (without sunscreen); ruddier or darker skinned people may need a few times that. Supplementation of anything is always a poor second.
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    Get calcium from dark-green plants. These are your best source of calcium, the most bio-available for humans--well absorbed in a gradual (slow and steady) release. There is much evidence that quality calcium is vital for life -- but also, some calcium forms plaque along with cholesterol on your blood vessel walls. "Homogenized" milk and other dairy products are faster released, not slow and steady, and are probably not the best sources of calcium for adults.
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    Find a good "whole food" vitamin. These are a bit more expensive, and the better they are for you, in general, the worse they taste; the payoff is that they will cover a multitude of food sins, allowing for more cheat days and less or no artificial supplements.
    • Don't worry about the taste of the best quality, powdered "whole food" vitamins; shortly after starting on one, your body will crave it, and your taste buds won't be far behind. The best ones aren't necessarily marketed as "vitamins" -- they are powdered "formulas", or "compounds" of multiple plants. For a second tier, less expensive whole food vitamin, choose the tablets.

      Even organic food, which many people rely on as being more nutrient-dense, is increasingly being taken over by Big Agri-business, leading to "beyond organic"... Depleted soil from intensive farming and over-fertilization makes it impossible to get the nutrients your body requires solely from the food grown there.
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    Look into a food co-op in your area. These are increasing in number right now as customers come to realize the deficiencies in the food chain, and are a great way to eat more produce grown locally, and organically. The way the food comes (you kind of take what you get, blems, dirt and all) takes a little getting used to -- but this works well for many.
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    Take steps to aid the digestion of anything that tends to cause constipation. Milk products, for instance; combine them with lactase (the enzyme that digests milk, which babies normally have in their systems; sold as Lactaid), and avoid entirely, if at all possible, anything labeled "may cause constipation," or lessen the damage of irregularity by adding more roughage.
    • There is some evidence that "gluten", basically "wheat-glue" (protein), can cause digestive problems for some; for many, even non-celiacs, there is evidence that it causes a low-level inflammation. You may want to look into this more, especially if you're a bread freak.
    • An apple a day keeps the Doctor away. These adages don't persist by themselves; the roughage in an apple will keep your digestive tract "moving". The accepted wisdom is that you should be moving 3 times daily, at a minimum. If you are only going once daily, you are basically functioning at about 1/3 capacity. Adequate roughage, fruits and veggies with skins, etc., especially eaten with proteins and fats (which alone tend to be "clogging"), is of great benefit for regularity.
    • The rise of Crohn's disease, colitis, and other bowel complaints, at younger and younger ages, attests to a lack of roughage in a diet. Eat high fiber foods.
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    Determine your blood chemistry. Get a full printout of this vital information. This can aid you in pinpointing specific foods and supplements that you can benefit from using -- or should be avoided. See 'Discuss' for additional information.
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    Get a basic handle on the "Glycemic Index"; it should take about a half-hour on the web. Understand how processing a carbohydrate can raise it's G.I. precipitously, and how combining carbs healthfully can reduce a meal's overall G.I.- diabetes is an epidemic, often self-inflicted in ignorance.
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    Examine why you, personally, are eating. You shouldn't be eating for "comfort". You may be paying a high price for a very small endorphin release; explore the other ways to release endorphins healthfully, mainly through exercise. Those people jogging by are not masochists- they have just discovered the body's internal "cocaine". Note that jogging is pretty high-impact, and high impact exercises are not recommended for everyone, and especially not for the overweight. You should be eating to maintain your foundation (protein and fats) or to provide fuel for your cells (carbs). You should be able to tell which you are hungry for.
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    Listen to your body. To the extent that you are unhealthy, it is often because you ignore what your body needs for the sake of convenience or cost. Learning to follow the cues your body gives you, as opposed to the cues your appetite gives you, can result in improved health. Follow other, good for you, best advice about avoiding declining health in your body. This article ignores much for the sake of brevity concerning sleep, exercise, etc.
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    Consider fasting occasionally. Many healthy people fast one day a week, or month. The time chosen here is arbitrary. This is a great way to develop discernment between mind and body cues, as you will be doing something that is good for your body, but your mind will want to fight.
    • Once your body enters ketosis (fat burning) mode, most of the discomfort will subside -- and, by the way, you can eat protein, and still remain in ketosis, and lose weight. Overweight people (with plenty of fat to burn for fuel) trying this usually report that eating only protein quickly becomes dissatisfying; yet they have plenty of fuel to burn, obviously. This is because your "habit" is crying to be fed, and that is all you will be feeding by giving in, and eating a carb. Willpower, along with some Omega 3 and vitamin D, or another fasting regimen, is all that is needed here, but that can be tough at first- redirecting your mind to anything else, and not fixating mentally on your appetite, will help get you through it.
    • Be aware of the dangers of over-fasting (as if), outlined in the above references.
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    Don't get overwhelmed. You didn't get unhealthy in a day; fortunately, even small steps will yield big results, over time. Progress as you are able, and if possible, enlist a like-minded friend to aid each other's progress. Getting healthy is going to be a journey; and, while you may be groaning at this right now, with just a little positive reinforcement, it will be a largely pleasant one.
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    Recognize that any change is initially unpleasant. When making diet or lifestyle changes (or any change for the better, for that matter), you are usually altering a comfortable habit of years. Commit to at least two weeks of the new thing before reassessing (it hardly ever takes that long).
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    Avoid stress, unless it is good stress (eustress): joy, being happy and laughing may make your belly and face ache, and cause smile lines and crows-feet -- but your soul, brain and heart should feel wonderful! While this may sound trite, your attitude is a choice, and to have a healthy body, you should have a healthy mind without excessive anxiety, anger, depression or mania -- and you need good fuel!
    • A little premeditated joy in the morning goes a long way. Understand that while in withdrawal from something, your attitude can be harder to control, forcing you to consciously choose a better attitude (joy) more often during the day than will be needed later. Eventually it will become an unconscious behavior; jumping out of bed with the unfeigned, enthusiastic attitude of a child is attainable at virtually any age!


  • When you're hungry, it's really easy to grab some junk-carbohydrate; this may be a big cause of lack of health. Consider that any protein is probably better, and more satisfying, than the best carbohydrate here; another way to put it is that if you reach for a protein half of the time, you will be restoring a balance.
  • Following the advice above should largely free you from the need for more expensive supplementation; however, consider supplementation in the case of a chronic deficiency, or as an aid to address imbalances in your diet, like, for instance, if you tend to eat a lot of eggs (cholesterol rich food) as a source of cheap protein, you may want to consider supplementing with antioxidants including resveratrol and red grapes/juice (found in wine) and blueberries.


  • Consider corn a carbohydrate (starch/sugar) grain, not a vegetable. Consider avoiding sugary-carbs wherever possible. Unless you're growing your own food, or getting it from a trusted source, this will be difficult or impossible, as corn is heavily subsidized (taxpayers partially pay for it's inclusion in your diet), and exists in some form in virtually everything on the grocery shelf. Now you have to "pay" to get it out. The avoidance of corn entirely, though not practically possible, if shopping at a grocery store, may at least offer potential.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners. These are problematic as some believe; in trace amounts there is probably no great cause for alarm, but, similar to corn, they are in virtually everything labeled "lo-cal" or "diet".
    • Stevia is a natural sweetener that is now legal, at last. Understand that artificial sweeteners were approved, while stevia was not, in order to study its safety and usefulness. Due to overwhelming public desire for safe, low-carb sweeteners, stevia has begun appearing in some products, and may enter the mainstream. "May" meaning you can now buy it by the pound.

Sources and Citations

  • "The Metabolic Typing Diet" by William Wolcott, Trish Fahey
  • "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan
  • "Eat Right 4 Your Type" by Peter J. D'Adamo
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Categories: Alternative Health | Diet & Lifestyle