Cracking the pyramid
The food pyramid is designed so that its geometric shape coincides to the amount of that food you should include in your diet. For example, water and vegetables are placed at the bottom of the pyramid with the most space filled because these should be a very high source of your diet. In the same sense, grains are placed at the very top of the pyramid with little space filled because you should limit your consumption of them. The following list of Food Categories is organized from the highest source of your diet on top, to the lowest source of your diet on the bottom.
Making up more than half of your body weight, water is essential to proper nutrition and health. In the body, water is important for digestion, temperature control, excretion of waste products, and the transportation of blood. It is also an essential element of your tissues health and the process that creates energy in the body. We recommend you drink 2000mL of water a day! Most containers contain 1000mL, so carry your water with you and try to drink 2 containers full a day.
There is a reason our parents crammed these odd-looking foods into our mouths. Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals. They also contain a lot of dietary fiber that will help with your digestion and make you feel full for a longer amount of time. As a rule of thumb, "The greener the vegetable, the better it is for you." The best vegetables for you are: cucumbers, brocoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, squash, bell peppers, and spinach. It's also important to try to find local vegetables to avoid pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
Fruits aren't only pleasing to the eye. They are also full of flavor and good for your body. Fruits are packed full of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. They also contain a lot of dietary fiber to keep your colon healthy and keep you full for a longer amount of time. One of the more unique features of these foods is there involvement in the protection and rejuvenation of cells, keeping you young and healthy. The best fruits are blueberries, grapes, black berries, strawberries, rasberries, avocados, and oranges. Remember to try to get locally grown fruits.
A specific type of vegetable, legumes include beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts. Like other veggies, these foods have a lot of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that is essential to your health. What makes them unique is there low-fat, high-protein content. Beans are often used as a meat substitute because of the high amounts of protein they have. These foods are easily combined in soups, stews, and salads to make a more complete and healthy meal. Some good legumes are black beans, kidney beans, peas, lentil, and edamame.
Finally, we get to feed our carnivorous souls. Meat and fish are complete sources of protein, meaning they contain all nine amino acids that our body can't make for itself. The protein and iron found in these foods are essential to muscle growth and recovery. The problem is that meats are also high in fats and cholesterol so limit yourself to 3 oz. per serving. This is about the size of your fist. The best meat to eat is fish because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to their protein and iron content. Omega-3's are important for brain and neural development. But, limit yourself to fish only twice a week because of the mercury content.
You know what they say, "Happy cows come from California." As we heard as kids, dairy products are a huge source of calcium and calcium is good for your bones. Beyond that, these products also are a good source of vitamin D and protein. Some of the best dairy products are yogurts. Yogurts contain probiotics that are good for you digestion and can have high amounts protein. Some greek yogurts are low in sugar and can have up to 20 grams of protein in them. The issue is most dairy products contain a lot of fat, so stick to find low-fat dairy products that you enjoy.
This is where things get complicated. Grains from the stalk are full of fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. The problem is that no one eats grains from the stalk anymore. All grains these days are processed into flour and have lost all their nutritional value. Refined grains are also easily digested in your body, pouring huge loads of sugar into your blood (Click Here for More on This). For these reasons, we try to limit our consumption of grains and, when we do eat them, we try to eat whole grain products. Stay away from refined pastas, white rice, and white bread. Try to eat wheat products or brown rice instead.