A vegetarian diet is often more ideal since all the chemicals, hormones and anti-biotics that are in meat and dairy products can make us sick. Even in eating a vegetarian diet it is best to abstain from " the whites" flour, pasta, rice and sugar, as well since these products have been severely denourished with plenty of dangerous chemicals added in the production process.
The most basic advice one could give you is when reading a package of ingredients and you don't recognize the things inside them, then it most likely means that they are damaging chemicals that can only cause disease and sickness to the body. The more unrecognizable ingredients, the worse it must is for you. As far as diet goes, eating raw (uncooked and dehydrated) is even more energizing and I endeavor to have a few meals a week this way. I find that when I prepare food for myself with whole ingredients, instead of buying pre-made and prepackaged foods, I tend to feel the most alive. I endeavor to purchase organic foods from local sources in order to respect our earth as well by not patronizing companies that fly and ship food from large distances which only adds more traffic and pollution.
The more I learn about the toxic (and often inhumane to animals) methods that the worldwide food industry practices, the more disciplined I become about what I buy in the supermarket. I have read dozens of books about food production, animal husbandry, eating for health, diet, etc. Each book I read, I endeavor to incorporate a few key principles into my diet.
I recently read a book where I learned the distinction between different production methods of olive oil which make a tremendous difference in how one assimilates this very popular and often used ingredient. I was fairly surprised to learn that the way that olive oil is pressed makes a huge difference in the health benefits we will receive (or not receive). Now, I buy cold-pressed or expeller pressed, first press extra virgin olive oil. Self-reliance and a determination to find out the healthiest ways to feed oneself are paramount in a time where we depend on others to grow, prepare and regulate the stuff we put in our bodies.
We attach so much emotion to food and mealtime since that is often how we first interpreted love. When our Mother stopped what she was doing and fed us from her own body, we felt cared for. Some scientists attribute the popularity of the flavor, vanilla, to its milky scent and (artificial) color to milk. We are often rewarded with treats, most often, in the unhealthy form of candy and dessert as a child. We are often forced to eat healthier items on our plates such as green vegetables which does not create a later motivation to eat them as adults. We are also often coerced to eat everything on our plates, which can lead to a later habit of overeating.
Obesity could be handled better if people understood how toxic and fattening common foods like white bread, white sugar, processed foods and and sodas can be. The FDA does not do it's job in protecting us from ingredients that diabetes, heart disease and other health impediments. We need to monitor our own food consumption and push for an objective government agency that can produce independent food research. If you don't understand what an ingredient is in a food, then it's probably not nourishing for you. If you don't know what disodium sulfate is, then it's best to limit or avoid.
Eating foods with unprocessed and whole ingredients is a smart start. After you eat something, do you feel full of vitality or do you feel sluggish and yucky? One you start to notice the effects food has, you have begin on the path to making more nourishing food choices. Try eating only chips and soda for two days straight and you will realize how devitilizing these mainstays of the American snackfood diet are. Yoga helps us become aware of how we respond to and process stimulation in our environment and helps us on the path to vitality and calm, in our bones and in our brains.