Choosing the Right Foods

As cross training is important for body balance, remember to purchase and try different foods for the broad range of nutrition value it provides.  Don’t single out or focus on foods that state organic, antioxidant, phytochemical, functional, or supplements that claim to provide a similar nutritional benefit.  Instead, choose a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, lean meat, poultry, fish, and meat alternatives. 

Of course everyone reacts to and absorbs foods differently due to enzyme deficiencies. When your GI tract/ intestines lack enzymes to metabolize specific food products, the food remains undigested this creates bacterial fanfare in your GI tract.  This translates into various degrees of stimulation or distension of the bowel.  Lack of specific food enzymes for example represent the inability to metabolize dairy products, grains or beans which release bacteria in charge of metabolizing the foods your body can not deal with which in exchange creates enough gas to run your car.  These GI problems are referred to as food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and food aversions/psychological response to specific food, infections, and parasites.

Pay attention to “how” your body reacts to foods when consumed.  Once you recognize that the food does not agree with your intestinal tract, eliminate, minimize, or try something else. 

Advice concerning a Balanced Diet

Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and drinks among the basic food groups. Choose foods that restrict your intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.

Follow a balanced eating pattern, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Guide or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan.

Recommendations for a Balanced Diet

Consume an adequate amount of fruit and vegetables but stay within the correct calorie level for a healthy weight.

On a 2000-calorie diet, eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 and half cups of vegetables per day. Eat more or less according to your calorie needs.Eat a variety of fruit and vegetables each day. Choose from all five vegetable sub-groups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.

Consume 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain foods each day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. At least half your grains should come from whole grains. Eating at least 3 ounce-equivalents of whole grains per day can reduce the risk of heart disease, may help with weight maintenance, and will lower your health risk for other chronic diseases.

Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. Adults and children can consume milk and milk products without worrying that these foods lead to weight gain. There are many fat-free and low-fat choices without added sugars that are available and consistent with an overall healthy dietary plan. If a person has difficulty drinking milk choose alternatives within the milk food group, such as yogurt or lactose-free milk.

Consume the enzyme lactase prior to the consumption of milk products. For people who must avoid all milk products (e.g. individuals with lactose intolerance, vegans), non-dairy calcium-containing alternatives may be chosen to help meet calcium needs.

1 Hug the Perimeter

Typically the fresh produce like breads, meat, poultry, fish, and dairy are available on the perimeter. When you opt for the fresh and organic items, you tend to avoid most chemicals used in the manufacturing process and packaging which add to our landfills.  When choosing foods check the nutritional fact panel and the ingredients list; choosing food products with minimal ingredients. For example, choose a plain vanilla yogurt or fiber rich cereal and add fresh fruit.

2 Fruits and Vegetables

Organic labels ensure your fruit and vegetables haven’t been dosed with pesticides and tend to be of superior nutritional quality.  Or you can choose to buy the regular fruit and veggies with the thicker protective skin, which can be peeled away. Buy a variety, and go for color and freshness.  The more colorful the produce, the more phytochemicals the food contains. Now a day you can get a variety of convenient fruit and vegetable items in ready-to-eat bags or pre cleaned and cut which makes preparation easy.

When buying fresh, frozen, or canned purchase:      





Bok Choy                   



Sweet Potatoes

Purple Potatoes          

Sweet Pepper             






Purple Onion  

White Onion


Leafy Greens









Carbohydrate in a Balanced Diet

Eat fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as often as possible.

Consume foods and drinks with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners. Follow the recommendations in the USDA Food Guide and the DASH Eating Plan.

Tidbits on Produce

Potassium, a mineral abundant in fruits and vegetables, help your kidneys to excrete excess sodium, which in turn contributes to healthy blood pressure.

Dietary Fiber found in fruits and vegetables improves glucose control and cholesterol levels.

Vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (such as lycopene) found in fruits and vegetables seem to protect the blood vessels leading to the heart from damage by free radicals. 

Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytonutrients. 

Tomatoes have an abundance of bio available LYCOPENE yet to derive the benefit of lycopene, you must apply heat for higher absorption.

3 Eat what is in Season

Choose fruits and vegetables that are in season and grown in the area. Less travel time means reducing the carbon footprint, which means travel time and expense. If you need more information regarding what is considered seasonal go to

4 Select Baked Breads from Local Bakers in the Area

Look for organic, 100 percent whole grain, fiber rich or sprouted breads and waffles.  You will find these items in the frozen food organic area of a store.

5 Purchase the Right Dairy

The skim, 1%, or 2% organic variety of milk, low fat yogurt with the least amount of sugar, part skim-low fat or reduced fat cheese, trans fat free margarine fortified with omega-3 fats, eggs fortified with no hormones or steroids.

6 Seafood, Poultry and Meat

Look for food items that have minimal saturated fat and omega-3 fats. Purchase fish fresh or frozen and wild caught for superior nutritional value. Buy skinless poultry fresh or frozen, organic, without hormone or steroids, or artificial ingredients. When selecting, beef, pork, lamb, or other meat food products, go for the lean low fat cuts. When choosing bacon substitute turkey bacon or Canadian bacon. In the case of ground beef purchase low fat beef or substitute with ground chicken or turkey.

Dietary Protein in a Balanced Diet

The Dietary Guidelines did not directly address the issue of protein. They state:

“While protein is an important macronutrient in the diet, most Americans are already currently consuming enough and do not need to increase their intake. As such, protein consumption, while important for nutrient adequacy, is not a focus of this document.”

However, they do recommend you to choose foods that contain lean protein. They state:

Eat lean meats and poultry. Bake, broil, or grill food.
Eat a variety of protein rich foods, with more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.

7 Know your Cereals

Purchase 100 percent whole grain without hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, 5g or more of fiber per serving and 10g or less of sugar.

8 Discriminate when it comes to fat

Look for monounsaturated oils, minimize or avoid polyunsaturated, saturated oils, Trans fat (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated) and shortenings.

Dietary Fat in a Balanced Diet

Eat less than ten percent of calories from saturated fats and less than 300 mg/day of cholesterol, and eat as few trans-fats (hydrogenated fat) as possible.

Maintain your total intake of fats/oils at between 20-35 percent of calories, with most fat coming from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, such as oily fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.

Regarding meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products, choose lean, low-fat, or fat-free options.

9 Rice, Grain, and Pasta

Purchase whole 100% whole grain products and protein enriched

Packaged Foods to have in your pantry:

Basmati/Brown or Wild Rice

Whole Wheat Flour

Whole Wheat Pasta

Polenta in the tube



10 Beans and Legumes fresh, dried, or canned

Black, Small Red, Kidney, Northern Beans and Chickpeas

This 10 step shopping strategy represents the foundation of good eating habits.  Yet when it comes to actually losing the weight, one size fits all is not an option.  Success depends on your readiness to customize an eating strategy that works with your food preferences, limitations, and life style! 

Regardless of whether you are prepared to knock out a meal made from fresh produce, wild caught fish, and organic whole grains, I strongly suggest that you stockpile some basic ingredients in your pantry.  Make sure you have some of the following items in your kitchen:

11 Pantry Items

Canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and shredded dried tomatoes

Whole-wheat dried pasta

Basmati rice


Original couscous

Dried barley

Canned organic black beans, small red beans, chickpeas

Refried black beans, refried vegetarian beans, refried original beans with sausage

Wolfgang Puck organic vegetable broth and chicken broth

Imagine or Pacific organic soups like Black Bean and Sweet Pepper

Peanut Butter by Naturally More fortified with Flaxseed and Flaxseed oil or maybe   some nut butter like Cashew or Walnut butter

Breading and crumbs like Panko, Tempura, and Italian Herb

Oils like Canola oil, Olive oil, Sesame oil, Grapeseed oil, and Peanut oil

Standard seasonings like Crazy Salt, Garlic Pepper, Lemon Pepper, Cumin, Turmeric, and Taco Seasoning

Dried onion and shallots

Basil Tomato Sauce

Dietary Sodium and Potassium

Eat less than 2,300 mg (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt) of sodium per day.

Choose low-sodium foods, and do not add salt when cooking. Also, eat potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

12 Refrigerator Items

Squeeze Seasoning blends like Gourmet Garden Herb Blends in Cilantro, Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Ginger, Dill, and Chili Pepper

Organic Eggs fortified with Omega-3s

Berries, bananas, kiwi

Spaghetti Squash, cucumbers, sweet orange, yellow, and red Peppers, Pablano peppers, purple and white onion

Unsalted sweet butter and lightly salted butter

Plain Greek Yogurt, low-fat vanilla yogurt, low-fat Ricotta Cheese

2% or 1% Organic Milk

2% Cheese or reduced fat cheese like Gorgonzola, Feta, Swiss, and Cheddar then of course don’t forget mozzarella, provolone, gruyere, blue cheese, asiago, and parmesan

Get some prepackaged Melissa products like their Baby Beet (, Wholly Guacamole (, Hormel natural choice carved chicken breast or easier yet a roast chicken. 

Lemon and lime for dressings instead of vinegar

Dijon and wasabi mustard, lite soy sauce, chopped or minced garlic

Salad dressings like Makoto Ginger dressing, Caesar, or Blue Cheese

V8 juice (great for gazpacho)

Apricot, Wild Blueberry, and Cherry jam

Mixed Greens, Romaine, Arugula, Napa, and Spring Mix

Canadian bacon, Precooked Bacon or Turkey Bacon

Boboli 100% Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Bestlife Garden Spinach Light Flat-out Wraps

13 Freezer Items

Chicken Tenders (sauté for salads, in olive oil and mustard, dip in butter milk and Panko then fry, sauté in tomato basil sauce then bake with cheese on top)

Wild caught fish

Jumbo frozen tiger shrimp peeled and cleaned

Ice Milk and Sorbet

14 Alcohols


Makers Mark




Dry to Semi Dry white and red wine

Cassis, Green Apple, Blue Curacao, Cocoa D’oro

Sweet and Dry Vermouth


Soda, Diet Tonic, Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice