8 Easiest Ways to Eat Healthy

What does a healthy diet really look like? Turns out, they all have a few things in common.

Photo Credit: J.Emanuel

These diets were designed to prevent chronic and degenerative diseases. They all claim to lead you to a healthier life rather than promising weight loss. When we stacked them up side by side, we found that they mostly say the same thing: Cut out processed foods, industrial chemicals, and added sugar. Load up on fresh, organic vegetables and fruit.

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Every one of these diets specifically calls for dark, leafy greens like kale. Their differences mostly center on ideal percentages of lean meats and whole-grain carbs.

1. Vegan

The idea: Concern for animals and environment as well as physical health.

How to do it: Eat plant-based foods that do not involve animals.

What to eat: Beans, tofu, peanuts, quinoa, kale.

2. Traditional Asian

The idea: Studies show that Asians live longer with less degenerative disease.

How to do it: Meats in moderation, no dairy.

What to eat: Oily fish, miso, fresh and fermented vegetables, seaweed.

3. National Institutes of Health (TLC) Diet

The idea: Cut high cholesterol for a healthy heart.

How to do it: Very low saturated fat and high soluble fiber.

What to eat: Skinless poultry, low-fat dairy, kale, apples, oats.

4. Raw

The idea: Preserves vitamins and immune-boosting enzymes.

How to do it: Eat 80 percent organic plants never heated above 115 degrees.

What to eat: Apples, beets, kale, almonds, raw-milk cheeses.

5. Mediterranean Diet

The idea: Decrease the risk of heart disease.

How to do it: Limit meat, added sugar, and saturated fats. Get 50 percent of calories from carbs.

What to eat: Fish, whole grain bread, kale, tomatoes, olive oil.

6. Ancestral Diet

The idea: Switch from carb burning to fat burning.

How to do it: Choose nutrient-dense calories: no grains, no added sugars, and no processed foods.

What to eat: Grass-fed meat, kale, fermented foods, avocados, coconut oil.

7. Glycemic Index Diet

The idea: Control blood sugar to cut risk of diabetes.

How to do it: No added sugar. Swap good carbs for bad carbs.

What to eat: Lean meat, whole-grain bread, kale, carrots, cabbage.

8. Anti-inflammatory

The idea: Chronic diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer are linked to inflammation.

How to do it: Limit processed foods and aim for 30 percent fats heavy in Omega 3s.

What to eat: Wild salmon, kale, olive oil, yogurt, avocados.


This article was written for How To Eat Like Our Lives Depend On It, the Winter 2014 issue of YES! Magazine.