Patience has become a dinosaur of human qualities. Today, we want—and get—everything instantly. Our coffee. Our news. Our mail. That efficiency has changed the world, yes, but it has also helped create an environment where we cannot even tolerate waiting 30 seconds for a red light to turn green. This systematic impatience has extended to all areas of our lives.
And from where we sit, that message is loud and clear when it comes to your health. Maybe you’ve spent a year, a decade, or your whole life in a sort of a health malaise—not giving your body, your diet, or your habits a lot of thought or attention. But when something snaps (seeing a number on a scale, getting a cholesterol scare, or living life with general malaise), you’re ready. Like right now.
All you want is to flip a switch or swallow a pill—and get your desired health outcome instantly. The body, however, cannot microwave your new desires in a matter of seconds. It needs a little time to let new habits take effect. It needs you to coax it in the right direction.
But here’s the good news: Eating better, eating smarter, and eating the When Way doesn’t have to take an entire ice age to take effect. In fact, in just one month, you can adjust your habits and eating approach so that your new normal becomes your new healthy. And you’ll reap all the benefits we have outlined—with a healthier weight, healthier organs, lower stress, lower risk of disease, and better energy.
To shift your eating habits you need to achieve two things: consume better foods, and maximize your chrononutrition by syncing your food intake with how your body wants to operate.
The GOAL is :To Eat Better Foods At Better Times
First, you should strive to avoid processed foods and all simple sugars (including table sugar, brown sugar, and syrups, as well as white flours). Processed foods are designed with salt, fat, and sugar to make them palatable and delicious—but as the term “processed” implies, you can think of these as partially digested and addictive. Processed foods are typically low or completely lacking in fiber and/or the binding of sugar to the fiber.
Your body quickly accepts all the calories in these so-called “foods,” which can cause your blood sugar to spike and mess with your appetite hormones. Every once in a while won’t hurt you. Even our friend Dr. Oz enjoys a dessert from time to time. But long-term chronic eating of processed foods is a health hazard.
Shift gradually to the When Way lifestyle, eating whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and plant- and sea-based proteins. Specifically, your diet will morph to emphasize the following:
- Non-starchy vegetables
Like broccoli, onions, and asparagus in unlimited quantities. Starchy vegetables like hot white potatoes are essentially a long chain of sugar molecules that can spike your blood sugar. But a resistant starch like cooled sweet potatoes (cooled potatoes have less problematic effects on blood sugar) acts more like fiber, helping you feel full and improving the health of bacteria in your gut.
- Whole grains:
Whole grains are also made up of carbohydrates, but because they usually have a low glycemic index and contain resistant starch, they take a long time for the body to break down. Look for quinoa or whole farro, as well as 100 percent whole grains, as the only grain ingredients in pasta or bread.
- Healthy fats :
Healthy fats are derived from plant sources such as olives (omega-9 is the healthiest fat here), avocados, and nuts, especially walnuts.
There are also healthy fats in fish like wild salmon, which is a great source of DHA omega-3 and omega-7 fat. (Walnuts and avocados also have healthy ALA omega-3 fats.
derived from plant foods and fish. You can eat lean animal proteins like chicken and turkey as well.
Especially berries, which come with a great reservoir of phytonutrients, as well as elements that are euphemistically called antioxidants.
Fruit contains sugar, but also a lot of fiber, which the sugar is often bound to. It’s best to eat fruit whole, rather than in juice form, so that you always receive the benefits of the fiber (which we often refer to as pulp) along with the sugar. This slows your body’s ability to get the sugar into your blood, which (no magic here) helps keep your blood sugar in line.
Yes Foods: Non-Starchy Vegetables
At the right time of day, you can eat unlimited quantities of non-starchy vegetables, including the following:
- Beans (green, wax, Italian)
- Brussels sprouts
- Greens (like collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
- Hearts of palm
- Salad greens (like arugula, chicory, endive, escarole, lettuces, radicchio, spinach, watercress)
- Squash (crookneck, spaghetti, summer, zucchini)
- Sugar snap peas
- Swiss chard
Yes Foods: Resistant Starch Vegetables
- Cooked—but not fried!—and cooled (so they are cold) sweet or white potatoes
- Green (not fully ripened) bananas
Yes Foods: Healthy Fats
- Extra-virgin olive oil (not for frying); you can use avocado oil or a combination of avocado and olive oil for higher temperature cooking. But this doesn’t mean you should drink it—a good rule of thumb is around 4 tablespoons a day.
- 1 ounce of raw or dry-roasted nuts (make sure no oil or salt is added) and seeds a day
- Avocado (don’t go nuts; half an avocado a day is fine)
Yes Foods: Whole Grains
You should plan to eat four servings of 100 percent whole grains a day—about four ounces if you’re into weighing things, or four slices of bread, or two cups of cooked grains.
- Buckwheat flour
- Wild rice
- Whole farro
- Whole grain barley
- 100 percent whole grain bread
- Whole grain corn/cornmeal
- Whole grain pasta
- Whole oats/oatmeal
- 100 percent whole wheat flour
- Animal protein: red meat (less than four ounces a week) and pork (less than six ounces a week). Be sure to avoid egg yolks, cheese, or other red or processed meats in the same week.
- Egg yolks (at most once a week and without cheese or red meat that week). Egg whites are OK.
- Dairy (limit most, but OK to go for plain, no-sugar-added, strained yogurt like Greek or Turkish yogurts, which have probiotic benefits). Alternative nut milk like almond or walnut are OK, but check labels and avoid added sugars or other food ingredients that will age you.
- Cheese (less than four ounces a week)
- Starchy vegetables (including parsnip, plantains, hot or warm potatoes, pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash, green peas)
- White and brown rice
- Alcohol (limit to one drink for women and two for men a day; men and women tend to metabolize alcohol differently because they have different levels of alcohol dehydrogenase in their stomach’s lining).
Except on special occasions (see this page), never consume the following:
- Sugar (especially in drinks and desserts)
- Added syrups (including maple, honey, agave, and so on)
- White flour
- Processed foods
- Fried foods
- Coconut and palm oil