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Guidelines For Healthy Nutrition

People ask me all the time, “Dr. Englund, what is a healthy diet” and “What do you think about such-and-such diet”? All to often I hear about or read about another trendy diet: The Atkin’s Diet, The Paleo Diet, The Dukan Diet, The Raw Food Diet, etc… The list goes on and on. No wonder people have questions! There are nutritional pros and cons to all of these ideas. However, I don’t think there is mention enough about the basic components of a plain and simple healthy diet, period, no bells and whistles. So, let’s resist spinning off into trendy-land and start with the foundation. That is, what are the components of a “healthy” diet? Here are some guidelines for healthy nutrition:

A Health Promoting Diet

  • Eat a plant-based, predominantly vegetarian diet.
  • Reduce fat intake to 15-20% of total calories. Choose health-promoting fats (essential fatty acids) and avoid saturated and hydrogenated (trans-) fats.
  • Eat adequate protein (0.8 g/kg body weight daily) from lean sources, including low-mercury and wild fish from cold, deep-water, organic poultry and eggs, legumes, low-fat fermented dairy products, nuts and seeds. Emphasize plant-based protein sources and fish.
  • Eat adequate vegetables, fruits and whole grains. These foods contain invaluable micronutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants and fiber. Minimum daily fiber intake should be 30 grams.
  • Eliminate the intake of refined sugar and refined carbohydrates, processed foods, alcohol and caffeine.
  • Reduce exposure to pesticides and herbicides. Buy organic whenever possible. Fresh food is always preferable to frozen food and frozen food is always preferable to canned food.
  • Eliminate the intake of artificial food additives, colors and preservatives.
  • Keep salt intake low and potassium-rich food intake high.
  • Drink adequate water—generally 64 ounces daily.
  • Identify and eliminate food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities.
  • Modify your dietary choices as needed to meet your personal dietary needs (as they relate to your medical condition, etc.). Consult your physician/clinician for information and guidance.
  • Determine caloric needs to achieve or maintain ideal body weight.
  • Use the healthy exchange system to construct your health-promoting diet. (This is explained at the end… Keep reading…)


Inadequate water intake puts significant stress on the body. Think of water as the solvent that it is—it goes in clean and comes out dirty, carrying toxins out of the body. Each day our body requires an intake of over two quarts of water, in order to function optimally. Part of that water comes from your fruit and vegetable intake. The more produce you eat, the less water you’ll need to consume in addition to diet. Coffee, tea, sodas, fruit juices, etc. actually add to the dehydration problem through their diuretic effects from caffeine and sugars. Fresh fruit juice should be diluted with water (1:1) before consuming it, in order to glean its health benefits while offsetting its diuretic effect. As a general rule, consume 64 ounces of water daily, in addition to diet. Add another 8 ounces of water for each cup of coffee, tea, soda or fruit juice consumed. Add another 8 ounces for each half hour of exercise daily. (Heavier people need more water daily. The rule-of-thumb for water requirements for heavier individuals is one-third of the body weight in ounces, plus 8 ounces for each diuretic beverage and half hour of exercise, as described above.) Choose filtered water that is free of chlorine, microorganisms, solvents, heavy metals, etc.

How Much Is A Serving?

Vegetables: Raw-1 cup, Cooked/Steamed-1/2 cup, Juice-3/4 cup

Fruits: Raw-1 medium fruit or 1 cup, Cooked-1/2 cup, Juice-1/2 cup

Fermented Dairy Products: Yogurt, kefir-1 cup, Cheese-1 oz.

Whole Grains, Starch: Cooked-1/2 cup, Bread-1 slice, Bagel-1/2, Pasta (cooked)-1/2 cup (includes corn, potatoes, winter squash)

Fish/Poultry/Eggs: Fish, poultry-3 oz., Eggs-1 whole or 2 whites or ¼ cup egg substitute Legumes: Beans (cooked)-1/2 cup

Oils/Fats: Oil-1 teaspoon, Nut butter/nuts/seeds-2 Tablespoons or 1 oz.
Visual Portion Control

Here are some visual clues to help you keep servings to the proper size:

3 oz. of fish, poultry = deck of playing cards or a computer mouse

1 cup yogurt or raw fruits or vegetables = a hand holding a tennis ball or a large ice cream scoop

½ cup cooked grain or vegetables or fruit juice = small fist

1 oz. cheese = thumb

1 oz. nuts = a golf ball

1 medium fruit = baseball

1 Tablespoon nut butter, nuts = a silver dollar, a walnut

1 teaspoon oil = a quarter
And what do you know! All of these suggestions for an all-inclusive healthy diet are all included under a fancy diet name. So if you want a name, here you have it: The OMNIVORE EXCHANGE DIET.

Here are some examples of recommended serving amounts for different calorie-size diets (if you don’t know how many calories you should be eating, Dr. Englund can help you set up a diet based on your weight and lifestyle):

1,500-Calorie Omnivore Diet

2,000-Calorie Omnivore Diet
Vegetables 5 servings Vegetables 5 servings
Fruits 2.5 servings Fruits 2.5 servings
Whole Grains/Starch 6 servings Whole Grains/Starch 13 servings
Legumes 1 serving Legumes 2 servings
Oils/Fats/Nuts 5 servings Oils/Fats/Nuts 7 servings
Fermented Dairy 1 serving Fermented Dairy 1 serving
Fish/Poultry/Eggs 2 servings Fish/Poultry/Eggs 2 servings

*(Total carbohydrate calories: 66-67%, Total fat calories: 18-19%, Total protein calories: 15%, Protein content: 61 g in 1,500-calorie diet and 78 g in 2,000-calorie diet, Fiber: 20-88%)

2,500-Calorie Omnivore Diet

3,000-Calorie Omnivore Diet
Vegetables 8 servings Vegetables 10 servings
Fruits 3.5 servings Fruits 3 servings
Whole Grains/Starch 17 servings Whole Grains/Starch 20 servings
Legumes 2 servings Legumes 2 servings
Oils/Fats/Nuts 8 servings Oils/Fats/Nuts 10 servings
Fermented Dairy 1 serving Fermented Dairy 1 serving
Fish/Poultry/Eggs 3 servings Fish/Poultry/Eggs 3 servings

*(Total carbohydrate calories: 66-67%, Total fat calories: 18%, Total protein calories: 15-16%, Protein content: 102 grams in 2,500-calorie diet and 116 g in 3,000-calorie diet, Fiber: 40-133 g)

  • Contact Info

    East West Natural Medicine Center
    1415 Higuera St
    San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
    Phone: (805)543-8958


1415 Higuera Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Phone: 805.543.8958


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