I was getting my hair cut (a long overdue event) after work from a new stylist (with whom I am quite pleased), and naturally the conversation turned to nutrition once I mentioned my future studies.

We discussed everything from fish oil to agave nectar to gluten to kombucha to saturated fat. But the most interesting question I got was this: What is the one thing that we should eat less of, and the one thing that we should eat more of?

I thought for a moment, and came up with this:

  1. We should eat less sugar and refined white flour.
  2. We should eat more vegetables and fruits, emphasis on vegetables, and be sure to eat a variety (not just keep going back to the same few favorites)

This was cheating a little, because I didn’t technically name one single solitary item for each part of the question. But I consider each part to be a single category. I thought more about my answers later, and stand by my choices. If we seriously limit how much sugar and white flour we eat, that will have the side effect of reducing our intake of processed foods. If we eat lots of a variety of vegetables and fruits, then our bodies will benefit from an influx of vitamins, minerals, other nutrients like phytochemicals and flavonoids, as well as a healthy dose of fiber.

These two things are at the core of every healthy diet, whether it be the diet of a meat-eater, a vegetarian or a vegan. Seriously committing to those two dietary actions would go a long way toward building optimal health. I know in my experience, when I’ve focused on those two things, the rest of my diet sort of seems to fall naturally into a healthy place. Try it, and see how it works for you.