Food – The Optimal Diet

In order to know what are the best foods, we must study God’s original plan for man’s diet. He who created man and who understands his needs appointed Adam his food. ‘Behold,’ He said, ‘I have given you every herb yielding seed, … and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.’ Genesis 1:29, A.R.V. Upon leaving Eden to gain his livelihood by tilling the earth under the curse of sin, man received permission to eat also ‘the herb of the field.’ Genesis 3:18.

“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.

“In order to maintain health, a sufficient supply of good, nourishing food is needed.

“If we plan wisely, that which is most conducive to health can be secured in almost every land. The various preparations of rice, wheat, corn, and oats are sent abroad everywhere, also beans, peas, and lentils. These, with native or imported fruits, and the variety of vegetables that grow in each locality, give an opportunity to select a dietary that is complete without the use of flesh meats.” Counsels for the Church, 221, 222.

When eating healthy is mentioned, many ideas come to mind. Some people think eating healthy involves foods that resemble twigs and taste like sawdust. Others think it is limited to just vegetables and fruits. You may be surprised to discover that the optimal diet is full of foods that taste good and are good for you.

The optimal diet has many reasonable benefits, including a longer life span and greater quality of health. The key to optimal diet is optimal nutrition. Consider the following slogans to help you know how to improve your nutrition.

Welcome whole grains—They are a good source of insoluble fiber, B vitamins, and complex carbohydrates.

Vote for vegetables—Deep-green and other deeply colored vegetables offer an array of disease-fighting nutrients and water-soluble vitamins.

Focus on fruit—Color-dense fruits contain impressive amounts of plant chemicals, vitamins, and minerals.

Load up on legumes—Legumes provide soluble fiber, protein, and B vitamins.

Power up with nuts and seeds—Nuts and seeds contain fat-soluble health fats such as omega-3, omega-6, vitamin E, and protein.

Eliminate meat and dairy—Simply put, meat-based diets are not as healthy as plant-based. In addition to soy milk, a variety of plant equivalents, from almond milk to rice cheese, are available.

For your optimal diet, each day choose a variety of foods from these food groups. For example, each week eat something from each food group: dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables. Also, instead of white rice, breads, and cereals that rob nutrients from the diet, choose from several of the whole grains, including whole-wheat, oatmeal, yellow cornmeal, brown or red rice, barley, whole rye, millet, quinoa, or teff.