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  • Writer's pictureParker Hewes

The Only Thing You Need to Know About Diet

Keto, Pescatarian, Vegan, Paleo, Vegetarian. I've tried them all. I've liked them all. And I've given them all up for something better. Why? Well isn't it obvious? I found something better.

After studying health, diets, and the big business of food for over 10 years, I learned that the health industry is ridiculously messy. So I tried to clean it up a bit. I put together all of the best qualities from those diet plans, research studies, books, advertisements, and marketing schemes, and I cooked it up with a healthy dollop of skepticism. Then, I chewed on it for a while. What came out the other side was a steaming pile of poorly digested cardboard...Because if I seriously took the advice of all those diet plans (which primarily deal with taking foods OUT of your diet), then the only thing I'd be able to eat would be the packaging we use to house our food.


As I said at the top, I don't entirely dislike these diets. I've tried many of them and enjoyed most of them. Diets may be helpful for some people because it gets them interested in health and gives them a sense of identity around the foods they consume. The problem with diets is that people rarely stick to them, and that's predominately because almost every diet emphasizes restricting foods, rather than focusing on the abundance of healthy foods you have at your disposal.


If you've heard of the laws of attention and attraction, you know that what you focus on expands. Where you spend most of your attention will inevitably be what you get.

So, if you focus your attention on restricting foods and making sacrifices in your life, you will begin to lead a restricted, limited life.

But I want abundance in your life, and hopefully you want that, too. If you don't, then frankly you are destined to live a mediocre life. What you focus on is what you get. So focus on abundance, on good food, and on living your healthiest life.

What you focus on is what you get. So focus on abundance, on good food, and on living your healthiest life.

If you find yourself thinking about avoiding disease, making sacrifices, or taking things out of your diet, its time to reframe your approach. That's why diets don't work, the minute we start thinking about all the foods we're supposed to avoid is the same minute that those little cravings start to grow inside us. What we focus on is what we get, so the more we focus on the bowl of ice cream we aren't supposed to eat, the more we lean towards it. And when we finally breakdown and demolish an entire tub of Breyer's in one sitting, we hate ourselves as a result.

And thus begins a pattern of self-loathing and negative self-talk that is detrimental to our lives in many other ways. Knock it off with that crap. Focus on what you want, not what you're trying to avoid. Do you want health? Then focus on things that make you healthier, not on things that make you unhealthy. Do you want confidence and positivity and strong mental health? Then focus on your strengths and showing gratitude. Of course you're going to have some negative thoughts. But I know you can counteract every negative thought with at least two positive ones. If your thoughts of 'what you want' win every battle against your thoughts of avoidance, sacrifice, and negativity, then you'll get what you want. Create your reality by bringing your attention towards your goals, not your obstacles.


Create your reality by bringing your attention towards your goals, not your obstacles.

That's why I propose a new way of eating for your rolodex. It's a diet that praises good food and wants you to eat a whole bunch of it. It's a diet in the true sense of the word, as in it is a strategy for consuming food, not just a 30-day cleanse. You literally have an endless number of options within this strategy, and you can choose the foods that taste good, make you happy, and/or get you towards your health goals faster. It's an eating strategy built around abundance, variety, and deliciousness. And it's wrapped around a framework of health. Because a long, happy life is what we want, so we are going to focus on the foods that make us happy and healthy.


It's also a very simple diet. As in it doesn't tell you that specific foods are for specific purposes. Yes, you can get down to that amount of granularity if you want, but simple is nice. So, keep it simple if you'd like.


This diet also doesn't pair foods up against each other. Good, healthy food doesn't need to be compared with other good, healthy food. I don't see much value in thinking about how a potato has more carbs than a carrot, or that an avocado has more fat than a cucumber. Where do you think the expression of comparing apples to apples comes from? You literally can't compare good food against another random good food because there's literally no basis for comparison. We are dealing with food here, people. If it's good for you and it tastes good. Eat it. Enjoy it. Yum.


I'm calling this new "diet" (I prefer the term 'food lifestyle') the Snobivore diet. Patent pending. Or trademark, or copyright, or whatever. I don't care, it's the people's word now. Yes, the snobivore diet. It has a nice ring to it doesn't it? It means you're an omnivore, but you're a snob about it.

The Snobivore Diet - It means you're an omnivore, but you're a snob about it.

Some of you might not like identifying as a snob, but I say wear that title with honor, at least when it comes to food. I want you to be a snob about what you put inside your body. I want you to turn your nose up at all of those lowly peasants they call processed food. I want you to say, "I could eat you if I wanted to, but I'm far to good for your corn-based bossom and over-sweetened rear end. Is that cardboard packaging you're wearing to cover up that plunging ingredients list? By God, I wouldn't dare to be caught dead with you. You're just mascarading around trying to act like something you're not. But I won't believe your lies about being "heart healthy" or how you "lower cholesterol." You're nothing but a handmaid trying to get into the royal ball. I won't stand for it, not for a second." (Apparently, my idea of a snob takes place in 18th Century England. Oh well).


Food should go bad faster than a handbag goes out of style. And as a snob about food, you'll only want the freshest brands. Foods with a year-long shelf-life are like your dad's 10-year-old white Reeboks. They may have their moment once or twice a decade, but you're way too popular to put those atrocities on, in, or anywhere near your body. You're a snob now, sweetie, let's start acting like it. The only thing refined about your diet should be your palate. The other foods aren't even worth your attention. Sometimes you'll go slumming with the candy aisle every now and then, and you might have a great time for a night or two. But you've got a taste of the good life. Not even a divorce from your old diet will keep you from living your snobbiest, healthiest existence. Because you've grown accustomed to a "certain way of living," and you'll accept nothing less than the payout you were promised in the prenup. So, keep fighting for that Maserati, honey. You deserve it. No matter how hard those lawyers (aka food marketers) try to take it away from you and make you live a lower quality life, don't back down. You deserve the mansion in Beverly Hills and the designer dog-rat-thing that fits inside your clutch. You're a snob, the best of the best. And the best of the best is what you'll get.


Okay, I've had my fun with the snob thing. Now let's get into the real meat of it, without all the pomp and circumstance.


*Please note that my stereotypes towards snobs come from movies and TV shows. If you are a real life snob and have taken offense to my distasteful remarks, kindly leave a comment so that I may have the opportunity to salvage your snobby reputation.

My simplest definition of the snobivore diet is this:

Eat food that is only one or two steps away from what it looked like when it was alive. And when you eat animal products, be very particular about the quality of the animals that those products came from.


Honestly, it doesn't need to be more complex than that. When you eat food that looks like it could have been alive a few hours ago, you can pretty much guarantee it's healthy for you. You don't need to worry about counting calories or reading nutrition facts because "living" foods work well with your body's natural hunger hormones. You'll have a tough time overeating on things like fruits and vegetables because your stomach will quickly tell you when it has had enough of those fiber-rich foods. When's the last time you ate an entire bag of carrots? Now compare that to a bag of chips.

Living foods are designed to give you slow calories, so you can eat them to your heart's content without worrying about getting fat, sick, or sad. Processed Frankenfoods, on the other had, are designed to make you want more, eat more, and consequently buy more. They are made with ingredients that make the calories literally vanish on your tongue (think of the way Puff Cheetos will dissolve in your mouth without even having to chew it). These calories don't literally vanish, but your body treats it as if they were never really there. The calories enter your body so quickly that there isn't enough time for your stomach to send the satiety signals that tell you it's time to stop eating. That's how you can end up at the bottom of a Doritos bag or crush an entire sleeve of Oreos without even thinking about it. In terms of calories, you would have eaten many more calories via Doritos and Oreos than through carrots and broccoli, and yet you'd still feel ready to eat an entire meal after your sugar splurge.

Likewise, you don't need to check the nutrition facts on living foods simply because there are none. We don't put labels on slabs of salmon, heads of lettuce, or ears of corn. In fact, a pretty good rule of thumb is that if you buy it at the store and it doesn't have a nutrition label, it's probably a living food (as in it will probably be just a few steps away from its living counterpart). Honestly, I'm not really sure why living foods don't get labels, but I like to think it's because living foods are too cool for labels. They don't need to tell you how great they are, you just know it instinctively. Meanwhile, processed foods try to make up for their totally uncool nutrition label as they prance around bragging about things like how they are "fiber-rich" and "keto-friendly." If your food has colorful packaging and a bunch of words on it trying to convince you that it's healthy, it's probably not. Those words come from a team of marketers behind the scenes who are trying to lure you away from your real friends. Stick with the nutritional jocks over at the cool kids table, they know they've got the goods, but they don't need to brag about it.


I've mostly been mentioning plant products thus far, but the term 'snobivore' originally came from my opinions about eating animals and animal products. You can be pretty snobby about buying really fresh, organic plants from local farmers markets, but the world of animal products is where you can really flex your upturned nose muscles. My belief is that you can eat all the animals and animal products you want, but those animals must have lived a life that is true to their biology. They must have eaten food that they naturally evolved to eat and lived in a way that they would have lived if they were wild. That's why I like eating wild animals. Not only does the process of catching and butchering an animal make you more respectful of the food you're eating, but you're less likely to waste and overeat it because it took a lot of work to get that meat on your plate. Buying meat at a grocery store is so easy that we can quickly forget that a living thing had to die before it's body slapped it's way onto your grill. However, death is pretty hard to forget when you're the one that slit the thing's throat (sorry for the goriness but that's the reality you have to live with if you choose to eat meat or fish).

But even if your options are limited to grocery store animal products, the meat and dairy aisles are where I want you to raise your snobby flag and start a Snobivore revolution. It's just not worth it to eat the products from animals that are fed an improper diet (meant to fatten them up for slaughter rather than for quality) and left to wander around in a space so small that they can't even lie down without soaking in their own piss and shit. That's why we end up pumping these animals with antibiotics and medication. We basically have them on life support until they are fat enough to be worth their weight. Why would you want to put that in your body? You don't, and that's why you're being a snob about it. The animals deserve more, and your body deserves better. Again, it's simply not worth it to eat anything less than the best when it comes to animal products. All those benefitial proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals are pretty much negated by the harmful chemicals, inflamatory markers, and anitbiotic residuals that all get transferred to your body when you eat a product from a fat, sick, and sad animal. Healthy people eat healthy animals, and you can help change the way we raise livestock by being a snob about your food choices.


Healthy people eat healthy animals.

Some of these beliefs may apply to plant products, too. After all, many agricultural products are sprayed with chemicals to make them grow abnormally gigantic (have you seen the size of strawberries these days?) and environmentally resistant. And after they are picked, they are sprayed with more chemicals to make them look more alive then they actually are. But you may be surprised to hear that I'm not as concerned about this as I am about the contamination of animal products. There's a relatively easy fix for dealing with chemically treated plants, it's called washing your food before you eat it. But you can't wash the chemicals off your animal products. Those chemicals are engrained deep within the animal's physiology; it's in their bloodstream, their organs, and in all of their tissue (plus, I don't know how you might propose washing off milk but let me know if you're the genius who figures it out). Therefore, I'd like you to spend most of your energy being a snob about animals rather than plants. There are definitely concerns about the use of so many chemicals in our farming practices, but I'm not entirely convinced that these chemicals are embedding into the fibers of plants and causing problems in your body.


And even if these chemicals were, in fact, causing some problems, you'd still see me buying chemically-treated products. I think the benefits of having access to a variety of nutrients from different plant sources far outweighs the potential negative side-effects.


"Excuse me. Is this rain organic? I don't put anything on my body that's not organic..."

In other words, having a grocery store filled with fruits and vegetables from all over the world has its advantages. I still try to buy as many local foods as I can get my hands on (as a good snob should), but I will also cherish the ability to get the nutrients from a ripe red pepper even when it's the middle of winter. If that pepper is sprayed with chemicals to make it last an extra ten days as it survives a trip across the country, it's better than the alternative of buying food in a box (which could sit in your cupboard for ten years and still look the same). Most of that stuff isn't food, it's plastic. So I'm okay with living in a world that preserves some of my plant foods. Again, It's not like I'm going to accept a Guatemalan strawberry where there's a perfectly good wild (or homegrown) strawberry out my backdoor, but I'll take full advantage of buying fruits and vegetable that may be out of season where I live. As someone who grew up in a Midwestern climate, I understand how boring my diet would be if I had to survive on squash and potatoes all winter long.

Through the use of preservatives and spray-on chemicals, my diet is more exciting (which means I won't turn to those plastic alternatives as often), and it's more nutritionally well-rounded. I think those benefits are worth the drawbacks. I just wash my plants like a snob and choose to give big Ag a break sometimes.



 

To conclude, let's summarize our new food lifestyle:

1. You can eat whatever you want. There is no such thing as "good" food or "bad" food. It only gets a label once you have a goal in mind for how you want to live.

2. Eat for your goals. If your goal is to be healthier, happier, and thriving, then there are plenty of foods that can be considered good (helpful) or bad (unhelpful) at achieving that goal.

3. You get what you focus on. If you want to be healthy, put all of your attention into eating good, healthy food. In fact, be a snob about it. Treat other foods like they are not even worth your attention because "you are far to superior to be seen with such filth." Spending your time and energy on avoiding bad food will be a recipe for cravings, burnout, and failure. Spend that time on finding good food, instead.

4. Good, healthy food can be defined as food that is only one or two steps away from what it looked like when it was alive. For animal products, good and healthy means the product came from animals that lived a life as close to the life of a wild animal as possible (in other words, they had a diet and a lifestyle that is biologically appropriate for their species).

5. You have access to so many good, healthy foods. You could literally make a unique and healthy meal every single day for the rest of your life and I doubt you would ever get bored. The Snobivore diet works because you have an abundance of good food at your fingertips. Eat it.


And if you need some help finding the most "gooderest", healthiest, snob-worthy food, here are some tips & resources:

  • Look at the food. Does it look like a plant? Does it look like it was alive a little while ago? Is it edible? Then eat it. Yes, you can cook it first.

  • You'll find most of the good, healthy plants and animals in the perimeter of the grocery store. Center aisles are for boxes filled with loser foods.

  • If good food shares the same fridge as not-so-good food, the least you can do is make the good food obvious and visible in your fridge. Any snob worth their salt wouldn't dream of having bad food on the same fridge level as good food. So, tuck that bad food in a drawer or shove it way in the back. That way, you have to be extra motivated if you decide to eat like a peasant one night.

  • In many grocery stores, it's still really hard to find high-quality animal. To help you determine if an animal was raised humanely, look for the labels “Animal welfare approved,” “American grass-fed association,” or “Organic.” You can also check out these resources to find products outside your grocery store: localharvest.org; eatwild.com; firsthandfoods.org; americangrassfed.org; thrivemarket.com

  • Look for the labels “Aquaculture Stewardship Council” or “Antibiotic-free” when buying fish. These labels ensure that proper fishery practices were met.

  • If you don't know whether an animal product came from a well-raised, healthy animal, opt for the vegetarian or plant-based option instead. At most, choose an egg option. Unless you are splurging, it’s just not worth it if the animal isn’t healthy.

  • Smaller fish are best due to their low toxicity and high nutritional density. Mercury, for example, is a toxin that accumulates in fish as you go higher up in the food chain. Big fish like tuna have a high risk of mercury toxicity. Use the NRDC Smart Seafood Buying Guide to help you choose healthy fish with few toxins or pollutants.

  • It's okay to buy frozen fish. Flash-frozen fish may even preserve nutrients better than fresh fish because they freeze the fish immediately after catching it.

  • Check out imperfectproduce.com or misfitsmarket.com to get fresh and cheap produce delivered to your door. The fruits and veggies may be ugly, but that’s why you get such a good deal!

  • The Environmental Working Group has some great resources to help you choose organic foods. Some plant foods are more susceptible to pesticide accumulation than others, so the EWG puts these in the “Dirty Dozen” list. If you buy foods from the dirty dozen list, you might want to buy the organic version. Meanwhile, other plants are relatively resilient to pesticide accumulation, so you don’t need to worry so much about buying the organic version; these are called the “Clean Fifteen.” Check them out or visit the EWG Shopping Guide. And remember, wash your fruits and veggies, even if they are organic.


*CAVEAT ALERT*

I know that many of you have already started making clarifications and justifications to this snobivore diet. You've probably picked apart my definition of "good, healthy food" from 50 different angles already. "But wait, what about spices, and oils, and sourdough bread, and kombucha, and that fancy 5-star dish where the chef turned an octopus inside out and stuffed it with fermented tempeh? None of those things 'look' like they were alive." You're right. It's not a perfect definition. It's hard to make generalizations when there are so many options for things to put in our faces. And humans tend to be very protective about the way we eat. I get it, food is embedded into the fabric of your culture. You have every right to be protective. But I promise I'm not trying to destroy your worldview. I'm just giving you an option that is based around abundance instead of restriction. My definitions are intentionally generalized because I don't believe it's worth it to get too specific. The more we compare foods at an intricate level, the messier and more confusing it gets. Maybe a better definition would involve choosing food based on feel and intuition rather than sight. When you pick it up and hold it, does it "feel" like it was once alive? Does it have that sort of energy and vibrational frequency of something that had life, or maybe even a soul? I know, we are entering a whole new dimension with a comment like that, but you get the point. Trust your instincts. Once upon a time, the only thing your ancestors had available to them was living food and it's the only thing they would recognize as food in today's grocery store. Some of those same instincts about food are inside you, too. Listen.


 

Written by Parker Hewes, a chiropractor, author, American Ninja Warrior, and serial adventurer living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Parker believes learning and growing are the keys to living a full life. He started Getting Gooder to help others learn and grow, so they can create the happiest, healthiest, and wealthiest lives imaginable.

Parker also knows that our ideal life gets even better when we have others to share it with. So, keep following Parker and the Getting Gooder community as we build our ideal, together.

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