OK, so you have looked at the blog pages and The 12 Core Principles page and decided you don’t have time to read all that!!! OK, yes, fair enough, there is a lot to get through!
No problem, let’s make this quick and easy for you.
Just do this -
If you want just a little more detail than that, below is a summary of the 12 Core Principles, for those who don’t have time to read them properly, just do this stuff and you should quite quickly see and feel benefits in weight loss and improved energy levels.
Group 1: Things you should quit in order to be healthier.
Core Principle 1: Eat fewer processed grains and starches
- For the vast majority of people, unless you are an athlete, then you just don’t need lots of bulky starchy carbs in your diet. The truth for most people is that eating lots of these starches provides a lot of calories they don’t need, and that can lead to a gain in excess body fat
- Grains cannot be digested unless they are processed or fermented, and in the natural order of things, way back in evolution, these foods would not have formed a major component of our diet
- Most of these foods (grains) naturally contain compounds that are not good for a lot of people. These foods contain gluten, phytates and other chemical substances that can cause digestive problems for a lot of people
- Grains and starchy carbs – the way they are consumed in the typical Western diet – tend to supply lots of bulk and lots of calories, without supplying much in the way of micronutrients – vitamins and minerals. In terms of eating foods that fill your plate, there are much better choices
- Modern large-scale industrialised agriculture, particularly grain (and maize, rice and soya) agriculture, is a major source of topsoil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions
Core Principle 2: Eliminate refined sugar. Limit natural sugars
Sugar is largely responsible for a great deal of the poor health prevalent in modern western society today. Sugar is a leading contributory factor in the obesity epidemic and the rise of type-2 diabetes.
- Eating refined sugar actually does you more harm than good
- Sugar consumptions is a major driver of the current obesity and type-2 diabetes epidemics
- Refined sugar offers only empty calories, no vitamins and minerals. It costs your body small amounts of micro-nutrients to digest it
- If you tried to live on just refined sugar, you would almost certainly become very sick in surprisingly little time, and eventually die
- Sugar is an addictive, fattening, poison
- Many people think healthy fresh whole foods are boring, because they say they taste bland – but only to their palate which has been familiarised to desire sweet tastes by refined sugar and processed salt
- Sugar is in almost every processed food these days – study labels and wise up!
- Alcoholic drinks are also full of sugar
Core Principle 3: Minimise processed foods, eat only organic raw or grass-fed dairy
- If it comes with a label and a list of ingredients, it’s probably not 100% fresh natural whole food
- Many (arguably most) processed foods are made from the same staples, often the grains we talked about in Core Principle 1, plus corn and soy
- Most packaged foods have sugar in them – beware!
- Long shelf life = preservatives, additives, artificial flavours
- Processed foods are nutritionally inferior to fresh whole foods, scoring low on vitamins and minerals
- Processed, packaged, convenience foods represent much of what is worng with our modern, industrialised food system - this is not good for human health and not good for environment
Core Principle 4: Don’t smoke; drink less alcohol; avoid drugs. Cut the chemicals
- Don’t smoke, it’s just the stupidest to do - it even says on every pack “this will kill you”
- Don’t drink alcohol, it’s full of sugar and chemicals, and it’s highly addictive
- If you can’t quit alcohol, keep your consumption to a minimum, just a couple of drinks. Less is more and all that
- Don’t take recreational drugs, not at all
- Reduce the overall burden of artificial chemicals in your life - that’s industrial chemicals, household chemicals, cosmetics, cleaning products and more
- We should all look to keep our use of man-made chemicals to a minimum, most of them have never even been fully tested for safety
Group 2: Things you should consume to nourish your body and boost your health.
Core Principle 5: Breathe! Use your lungs fully. Get plenty of fresh air, every day
Weight loss tip #1: Try to take your focus off food!
It is worth remembering:
- We can live for about 3 months without food.
- We can live for about 3 days without any water.
- We can live for about 3 minutes without any air.
Consume these vital nutrients in appropriate order! Often, what we interpret as hunger pangs are just our bodies calls for air and water. Get a few gulps of fresh air, wait a minute. Take a drink of water, wait a few more minutes. Only if you are still hungry after 10 or 15 minutes, then maybe you need some food.
- Nutrition is about more than just food
- Any ‘diet program’ that only talks about food is far from holistic. Air, water, sleep, exercise and sunlight are all important factors in any ‘healthy diet’
- Breathe deeply, let your tummy out, fill your lungs and move your body
- Get outside, get fresh air and sunshine, exert yourself with a brisk walk and breathe deeply
- Try to exercise at maximal effort at least once per week. Cycle up a big hill, sprint around your local park or do something that makes you really fill your lungs deeply, down into every little alveoli
- Country air is much cleaner than city air, so get out and enjoy the countryside whenever you can
Core Principle 6: Good hydration – drink plenty of clean water
- Simple: don’t over-think this one, just drink plenty of water
- Roughly 60% of a human body is made up of water
- Water is vital to life, essential for all our bodily functions, and we die after just a few days if we stop drinking water
- Tea and coffee, cola and fruit juice, these are NOT water
- If you have a headache, drink - the #1 cause of minor headaches is usually dehydration
- If it’s hot, or you are sweating, drink more
- Aim for about 2 litres per day, but then add more for hot weather or hard exercise, if you are sweating a lot
Core Principle 7: Eat only plants and animals
- Eat only plants and animals - that’s vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and fruit. Fresh, natural, whole foods
- The ideal diet is roughly half plants, half animal products (measured by calories)
- Eating lots of veggies and fruits means lots of micronutrients – vitamins and minerals – which are good for you in a great many ways
- Eating a ton of veggies displaces most of the processed starchy ‘beige bloat food’ from your dinner plate
- Replacing the grains and starchy carbs in your meals for more vegetables exchanges those calories we talked about in Core Principle 1, for more nutritious high-fibre foods
- Try to buy local and seasonal produce
- Nuts and dried fruit are OK, in moderation
- Vitamin A, most of the B complex vitamins, and iron, are all much more bioavailable from meat than from non-animal sources
- Vitamin D is not found in plants at all, it is only found in animal foods
- EPA and DHA (fatty acids, these are health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids) are only found in animal foods, mostly in oily fish
- Eat a good variety of meat, organ meats, fish, green vegetables and brightly coloured vegetables
Core Principle 8: Eat only natural, organic, free range, outdoor-reared, grass-fed, wild caught
- Whenever practical, buy free ranged, pasture fed, outdoor reared meat
- Always buy free range eggs - there is no excuse for battery eggs
- Buy organic as often as your budget allows
- We should be looking to eat plants and animals that have themselves been raised on a healthy natural diet
- While humans are supposed to eat other animals, that does not give humans any right to shut those animals in a cage or mistreat those animals while they are alive. Support good animal husbandry, abolish animal mistreatment, but pasture-fed meat
- For better animal welfare
- For better environmental management
- For sustainability in farming
- And for your health, we need to consume animal products that have come from animals which have lived as naturally as possible
- We also want our plant foods free from man-made chemicals, many of which are toxic and may bio-accumulate inside our bodies
- Ocean trawling is horrendously destructive, support MSC approved fishing standards
- Buy wild-caught, pole-and-line caught, sustainably caught fish
If you are interested in learning more about the environmental aspects of farming, please read these three blog posts.
How intensive farming is causing greenhouse gas emissions
Why the answer is not just ‘stop eating meat’
How grass-fed free-range ruminants can be the solution
Group 3: Exercise and lifestyle factors.
Core Principle 9: Exercise, daily. Move naturally. Variety, moderation, consistency and structure
Move your body, exercise every day. It’s pretty simple really!
- Your body is the most amazing thing you will ever own
- Your strength and fitness - use it or lose it!
- Keep busy, keep active - see if you can move your body doing things like working, having sex, playing sport and digging the garden
- Add purposeful as a ‘supplement’ to an active, busy lifestyle
- Working out too hard, all the time, is almost certainly counter-productive to your health objectives
- Regular long brisk (and hilly) walks are the best fat burning exercise we can do
- Cardiovascular exercise is essential for a healthy heart and helps us to live longer
- Strength training is essential! Maintaining our muscular strength as we age helps us remain youthful and is a proven anti-ageing strategy
- The longest-living population on Earth, the famous Okinawans, who live an average of 12 years longer than the general population, report that they rarely do any purposeful structured exercise at all…just daily walking and gardening!
- Stretch often; keep your body supple and mobile. Avoid injuries, look after your physical body and maintain good posture
- Look after your spine, and your knees
Core Principle 10: Reduce stress. Enjoy your life. Love more, don’t hate. Sleep, relax, smile, pray
- Constant, low-level stress is more of a burden than many of us appreciate
- Stress drains your energy, it makes your body hold on to fat, and it kills your libido
- If you eat a good diet and exercise but you still can’t lose that excess 20 pounds, it might be that stress is a big part of the problem
- If you are healthy, active and successful in life but you wonder where your sex life has gone, it might be that stress is the problem
- Many experts agree that stress is a major contributor to lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease and cancer
- Enjoy your work. If you don’t, change your job
- Stop borrowing, stop over-spending
- Laugh more often, relax, smile, cheer up, make time to play, enjoy comedy and have more fun
- Love more, don’t hate
- Sleep more
- Pray. Make no judgement of others for their faith – it’s their business, not yours. Whatever your faith is, follow it, practice it, celebrate it
Core Principle 11: Enjoy nature, spend time outdoors every day, get some sunshine
- Please do not under-estimate the importance of spending time outside in natural places
- Trees suck up carbon dioxide and put out oxygen, so they reduce air pollution
- Studies show that spending time walking among trees every day has delivered improvements to asthma, heart disease, cancer, stroke, better moods, positive stress reduction, and reduced depression
- A Stanford University study showed just 90 minutes daily walking in nature showed an appreciable effect on symptoms of depression. How much better would it be to treat depression with a daily walk in the woods, rather than a lifetime of medication?
- Walking every day is great for your fitness, and for weight loss
- Disconnect for day, get offline, it’s so good for you
- Time outdoors will help you get sunlight (good for vitamin D production)
- Time in natural environments has been shown to improve vitality, mood and libido
- Get ‘back to nature’, go hiking in National Parks, go camping, ride a bike, get a dog, walk in the forest, climb a tree!
- Take a day off from the TV
Core Principle 12: Apply the 90/10 rule
- Mother Nature’s Diet is a healthy lifestyle. It’s not a fad diet, it’s not torture, it’s not punishment, it’s not meant to be hard and it’s most definitely not a ‘bandwagon’!
- Get Core Principles 1 through to 11 right 90% of the time, then relax over the last little bit
- There is no need to go getting stressed out about your food choices. Core Principle 12 allows you to get it right 90% of the time, and chill out over the last 10%
- If you can’t afford organic all the time, then buy organic for the so-called ‘dirty dozen’ which use the most pesticides (includes apples, peaches, spinach, tomatoes and bell peppers – you can look this up online any time)
- If you want to have an ice cream while you’re on the beach with your kids on summer holiday, then chill out and enjoy. Just make sure it’s only a couple of ice creams per holiday, not one every day!
- If you are in a restaurant and can’t find pasture-fed meat, no stress this one time
- If you dine out and eat dessert, don’t beat yourself up about it, just don’t do it every day
- See, it’s no so hard. Core Principle 12 is there as a safety valve to help you live this healthy lifestyle without feeling like you are living under some strict dietary regime, and without your friends thinking you have joined some crazy cult!
- It’s not what you do once in a while that counts, it’s what you do 90% of the time that determines your results
- Core Principle 12 is not an excuse to binge on garbage!
That’s it! It’s easier than you might think, just try this out for a few weeks and you will feel a difference.
Want more detail? Read the longer version on this page.
Would you like to really dig deep into the 12 Core Principles, learn everything and understand all the details? Please check out my book Mother Nature’s Diet which offers greater depth and answers all your questions.