Eat from a Plate, Not a Pyramid

by Dr. Karissa Walton, Founder & Medical Director, The Mobile Health Doc

Do you eat from a plate or a pyramid? This seems like a ridiculous question, doesn’t it? 

Yet, for decades we were indoctrinated with the Food Pyramid until the Superfood Plate diagram came along. 

The diagram gives a graphical representation of how our meals should look when we eat. This is a great tool, especially for those who are visual learners. 

There are several different versions, but minimal grain content is generally recommended because of the tendency to increase inflammation and blood sugar levels.

In most cases, the largest portion on your plate should be vegetables. Vegetables provide valuable nutrients our bodies need to keep all of our systems functioning properly. They also provide an abundance of fiber that helps keep the digestive system moving while increasing satiety to prevent overeating.

When choosing protein, focus on grass-fed meats and wild-caught fish such as salmon, cod and tuna. Baking or grilling are the best cooking options to preserve nutrition without adding unhealthy fat content and toxins.

Healthy fats are critical for the body’s processes to optimally function. Choose fats such as extra-virgin olive or coconut oil, avocados and raw nuts. These fats are higher in omega-3 content that help decrease inflammation and maintain healthy skin, joint and brain function.

For drinks, opt for water with citrus slices for flavoring. Drinking a minimum of 50% of your body weight in ounces helps flush out the waste and nourishes cells. Try to minimize or eliminate sugary drinks, including those with “zero sugar” labeling. These do not provide any nutritional value and can sometimes artificially increase your insulin without directly spiking your blood sugar level.

Do your best to purchase organic. Don’t be fooled into thinking organic is always more expensive; organic foods can be found at an equal or lesser cost than non-organic. Even if you spend more money upfront, this likely will save you money in the long run due to the higher nutrient and lower contaminant content.

A key reminder for your nutritional health is whatever you put into your mouth travels throughout the entire body affecting every cell. Food label reading is paramount so you know what you are actually eating. Consult a physician trained in optimizing nutrition to ensure a dietary plan that is customized to your needs.