Eat the Edible Rainbow

The Edible Rainbow is the multitude of natural colours found in whole foods. When we paint our plates naturally at each meal, with a wide assortment of organic colours, we ensure our bodies are receiving a good range of different nutrients. Challenge yourself to make your plates a rainbow of healthy foods as vibrant as our spiral plate examples in the margins.

Many new food pyramids can be found all over the internet. Few look anything like the North American Food Guides. My favorite has a wide expanse of water at its' base. Water is, without doubt, the most important nourishment for our human body. Humans are born with our bodies' near 80% water. Most die with a water content closer to 60%. Wrinkles really are dehydration, just like a prune!

Next comes fresh fruit and vegetables. My focus is more than 12 servings daily - many raw foodist who do a lot of juicing may ingest 20 or 30. As chimpanzees are genetically 98.5% human, and the majority of their natural diet is  fruits and vegetables. This seems a reasonable place to begin.

Moving from a basic North American eating pattern to a more natural whole food diet can be a slow transition. These changes do not have to happen overnight. Praise yourself each and every time you choose to drink more water or eat some raw fruit or veggies. No guilt is every necessary in any stage of personal growth. Enjoy each step of your journey and be thankful for your new gifts of learning.

Choose whole foods, close to their natural states, guided by moderation and a focus on diversity. Natural whole foods energize our bodies and enhance immune function. Raw and wild foods, sea veggies, cold pressed oils and foods that contain beneficial oils, (like nuts, seeds, avocados, fish ) are valuable additions to any diet.

Choose breads or cereals made from organic sprouted grains or whole ground grain flours and natural sourdough cultures often, moving away from a wheat rich diet to include rices, quinoa, spelt, rye, kamut,corn, barley, millet, oats and other diverse grains.

Opt for locally grown free-range and organic meats and produce when feasible, serving fresh vegetables and fruit in every meal with emphasis on a wide selection of colours. This focus varies intake of different minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients as well as a plethora of other potential benefits that continuously evolving scientific research has yet to discover.

Fads, based on isolated scientific studies, about what is or is not healthy in this moment, come and go. Dietary patterns from ancient civilizations show traditional foods within the staple diets of healthy cultures, which have stood the test of time. Variety is indeed the spice of life;  if we incorporate moderation, by following local seasonal harvests or by eating each food only a few times a week, we can ensure a wide range of nutrients.

Ancient hunter gatherer civilizations eat as many as 120 plant foods in an annual cycle. Many modern humans are hard pressed to name a dozen. In our modern world, there are many different groups, with very different diets who all have fairly healthy eating patterns and very strong opinions as to which way is best for the human body - vegan, vegetarian, raw food, macrobiotic, paleolithic or omnivorous is to me a personal choice.

My basic focus below is to have no more than 3 grain and 3 protein servings daily. As an O blood type, I personally incorporate grains far less and make fruit and veggies my main food focus. As a wild human hunter gatherer, grain and protein are harder to come by and difficult to prepare so it seems reasonable to make more than half your plate fruit and veggie.

Choose a grain and protein combination at each meal, served with 3 to 5+ choices of vegetables and fruit, i.e.
Day 1) Rye and nuts for breakfast: (rye toast and almond butter, fruit spread and a green smoothie). Rice and fish for lunch: (tuna, rice penne and veggie salad). Wheat and beans for dinner: (Minestrone soup and salad). 
Day 2) Corn and eggs, spelt and dairy, wheat and beef.

Most of the modern North American diet has been developed within the last century, during which time, we have come to face a genuine human health crisis. Avoid these modern processed, refined or packaged foods with long lists of ingredients. Additives, preservatives, artificial flavours, colours, refined sugars or flours, hydrogenated oils, trans fats & synthetic vitamins indicate high processing and a lack of natural nutrients. Read the ingredients: real food is made from real food. If you can't read it, don't eat it!

Alexandra Proctor

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