Everybody is trying to tell you how to eat. Atkins, South Beach, even frickin' OPRAH has her two cents to chip into the pile. Most of them are trying to make money off you.
With the right knowledge, you can gain all the benefits of good eating with hardly any monetary cost or headache.
Crucial question you should be asking: What qualifies this asshole to give me nutritional advice? I'll be honest with you from the get-go: I don't have a degree in biology and I'm not a nutritionist. I do, however, have specific experience that is valuable:
-I was a personal trainer; I've seen people make body changes as a result of specific dietary changes.
-I've eaten well on $60/week. I'm not saying that's optimal ;) but hey, it was college.
-I spent four months of my life counting calories. Every single meal I ate, I jotted it down and input it into diet software. For Four. Months. It was a very enlightening experience! For me, it was a paradigm shift, permanently and irreversibly changing the way I think about food.
Fact 1: Eating correctly is simple!
Those very same people who want to make money ALSO want you to think that eating well is complicated. They bust out complicated words like "antioxidants," "macronutrient ratios," and "isoflavones." All of this is designed to DISCOURAGE you from taking personal responsibility for your eating!! "Offload your nutritional decision making to us and we'll guarantee your weight loss! Now, we just need $200 per month." Given all the conflicting information that is thrown at your average dumbass American, there's no surprise that Jenny Craig is a multi-million dollar business.
Even if the chemistry and biology of eating well is complicated, the rules that govern what you should eat are simple and few.
Fact 2: Eating correctly is NOT EXPENSIVE!
Another great travesty of the health food industry is you have to pay more to get the good stuff.
Caveat: it takes some minimum amount of money to eat well. I'm assuming you can afford to drop about $5 per meal (home-prepared). For college students, people on welfare, or people who have an abnormally large number of kids, this might be an issue. That being said, you will still derive value from my recommendations because they are universally applicable. (If you really wanted to, you could assemble a decently health meal at McDonald's. It would taste horribly though.)
That being said, on issues of health, rich people tend to be no better informed than poor people. They are just as susceptible to marketing, and many of the pricier "health" foods are just that: clever marketing. For example, some juice could say, "fortified with extra whatever!" But that "whatever" is found abundantly in a piece of broccoli, which (unlike juice) cannot be dressed up into another price category.
Fact 3: Eating Well Tastes Great!!
Disclaimer: I will ask you to give up/reduce some of the tastier crap you're used to: the fatty, the sugary, and the salty. But in exchange I will give YOU recommendations on how you can make your healthy eating experience delicious.
The exciting reality is it doesn't require very much ambition, knowledge, or preparation to make delicious AND nutritious meals. Even the vegetables, the part we typically enjoy least, can be spruced up in tasty and easy ways.
Fact 4: Eating Well is Rewarding!!
Depending on how poorly you are currently eating, when you switch to eating well you may experience the following awesome effects:
-Favorable body mass changes
-More and more consistent energy throughout the day
-Better sex life (men: better erections, women: better/longer orgasms. No I'm not kidding.)
-Digestive issues will disappear
How can I possibly promise all this? The phrase "you are what you eat" has become so cliched as to be almost meaningless. Nevertheless, it's 100% true. Every cell in your body is comprised of atoms and molecules derived from the food you consumed at some point in your past. What you put into you is so fundamentally important to your body's well-being. McDonald's, lick my nutsack.
Up next: I realized recently the legacy of all my uptight information-gathering on the subject of eating: a few simple but profound rules to follow that will revolutionize your eating and possibly your life. Stay tuned.