When we start thinking about our health and start looking at ways to improve our condition, inevitably, we come across the incredibly divisive topic of nutrition.

It seems that just about every other day, a new article or study is published, touting this or that diet plan. Of course, each new diet conflicts with the last, yet each one is considered THE answer to every health issue under the sun.

And everyone is so passionate about how their answer is so much better than everyone else’s.

Sometimes its a matter of selling their books and diet plans, but often it really is a sincere feeling that they do have the solution to everybody’s problems. Perhaps they solved their own health issues by following the plan, or lost weight when no other approach worked for them. I could certainly see how that would make them want to shout from the rooftops about it.

There are plenty of those success stories from just about every diet plan out there, and many of them are quite impressive.

So what should you believe?

Disclaimer to Avoid a Dietary Holy War

The author in his natural habitat

The author in his natural habitat

Before I go any further, I should be honest with you about something: This post does not contain the optimal, most effective diet known to man.

And that’s on purpose.

At GMB we don’t believe in a universally optimal approach to anything, and nutrition is no exception.

Nutrition is a complicated subject, and we don’t have all the answers. Nobody does. We’ve just spent a lot of time studying and testing various nutritional approaches on our clients and ourselves, and we’ve discovered patterns.

Those patterns are the basis for our recommendations.

The recommendations below might not suit your preferences. That’s OK. What works for you might not work for everybody else.

You’re welcome to be vegan, paleo, breatharian, or whatever else floats your boat. We’re not going to recommend those things, because we don’t feel they are the best way to eat for most of the people we work with.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at what does tend to work as a generally balanced diet for most people.

You’ll see that we won’t be talking about specific techniques for fat loss or muscle building in this article. Right now we are more concerned about the basics for a healthy and sustainable nutrition plan.

If body composition changes are a primary goal, we recommend seeking out good people to help you plan and structure your diet for that goal. For a good source of information on that, see our interview with Nate Miyaki.

The Foods (Pretty Much) Everyone Should Eat

Nutrition is an incredibly individual thing. You need to pay attention to what your body is telling you, and, seriously, don’t eat something if it makes you feel worse.

There’s a lot of talk now about gluten sensitivities, the horrors of fructose and how no human should consume cow’s milk. And I’m not even exaggerating, some people really do feel this way.

Again it may be from personal experience, and I certainly can’t argue against that. If you’ve found yourself having consistent problems from consuming this, that, or the other, then it would seem that food is off-limits to you. Maybe not for me, but it’s giving you a bad time and that’s your truth.

With that said, there are certain things everyone needs to eat, no matter who you are.

Now that's what I call a balanced meal!

Now that’s what I call a balanced meal!

First off, most of your calories should come from meat and vegetables.*

These contain more nutrients than other foods—yes, even more than that “apple a day” your mom always nagged you about.

*Fruit is OK, but has more sugar and fewer nutrients than most vegetables.

Here’s a breakdown of the foods you should be eating daily:

Vegetables

Veggies come in all shapes, sizes and colors for a reason. Eat them all, and don’t discriminate.

While it can be important how you eat your vegetables (some are more nutritious in their raw state; some grilled; some baked), it’s much more important that you eat them. Period.

Experiment with different ways to get those veggies in, and do what you like with them. If you find that soaking every vegetable in butter sauce makes you happiest, then do that. Just get as many into your diet as possible.

Focus less on calories, and more on nutrients. Plant foods are packed with nutrients, so work on increasing your vegetable intake.

One word of warning: With increased vegetable intake, comes increased amounts of fiber, which is good! But if you aren’t used to it, it can cause some digestive distress while you adapt to it. So work on a gradual increase based on how your guts react.

Meat

Most people need to eat meat. Some people disagree, and a small percentage of those people manage to remain strong and healthy for many years.

But most people thrive on meat.

How much and how often is a much more personal thing. Do you feel better when you have just one serving of meat every day? Then do that. Do you feel better when you have meat at every meal? Go crazy.

Figure out what works best for you and do it.

  • Meats that are closest to their natural states are best. Chicken breast beats McChicken sandwiches.
  • Fish is meat. Eat it.

Fats

One big diet myth out there is that fat makes you fat.

The grossly oversimplified reality is, there are good fats and bad fats. Eat plenty of the good ones. Stay away from the bad ones, like trans fats (beware of food labels that list “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils in the ingredients list).

Healthy fats are essential for balanced nutrition.

  • When cooking with fats and oils, try to keep the temperature closer to medium than high.
  • Try to get your fats from a variety of sources too. Animal fats, vegetable fats (avocados are great), and seed or nut oils are all fine. Find different ways to get various fats into your diet and enjoy them.

Pizza, Beer & Ice Cream

No, we are not recommending that you eat these daily, unless your idea of getting “in shape” means making your belly rounder. But, in addition to eating a balanced diet of proteins, fats, and vegetables, you should also eat some not-so-good stuff sometimes as well.

But that’s crazy talk!

We don’t think so.

We were all raised on the not-so-good stuff, and our bodies are wired via longstanding habit to enjoy the feelings we have when we eat things like ice cream and pizza (or whatever). There’s also something to be said for not eating so “clean” that you body overreacts with the slightest deviation from your strict diet. How can that be considered healthy?

Life should be enjoyed, so eat what you love sometimes, even if it’s not so good for you. Just be careful–sometimes does not mean often. Once or twice a week is fine.

Get Your Drink On

Water should be your main source of hydration.

Personally, I drink very little water. But I get plenty of hydration from my daily coffee and all the veggies I eat.

And drinking water is especially important if you choose to restrict your calories or do a bit of fasting. We tend to forget that a lot of our fluid intake comes from our food. Decrease that amount and you automatically decrease the amount of water you’re getting.

Some people have caffeine sensitivities that can cause problems, so it’s a good idea to stop drinking coffee and tea for a couple of weeks from time to time. If you start drinking them again and notice changes in your mood or digestion, you should cut them out long-term.

Foods to Generally Avoid

If we ate and drank like this everyday we probably wouldn't feel too great...

If we ate and drank like this everyday we probably wouldn’t feel too great…

I’m not a big fan of prohibition, but there are some things that really shouldn’t be consumed more than every once in a while.

If any of these foods falls under your list of “can’t live withouts” then go ahead and indulge from time to time. But make that indulgence as infrequent as possible.

Some of the foods you should generally avoid include:

Sugary (not-so-) Goodness

Candy. Cola. Doughnuts. Cake. Sugary cereals. Fast food. Anything with artificial sweeteners.

None of these are very good for you.

Sure, some people can get away with consuming them regularly, but staying healthy while eating a daily doughnut (or two) is an advanced move. You probably cannot pull it off without practicing the basics for a long time.

Saucy Sauces

Be careful with sauces and condiments. They usually contain a lot of crap you don’t want inside you. Learn to use herbs and spices and buy higher quality ingredients with more flavor.

Libations in Excess

Okay, we told you it’s okay to have beer and ice cream (or whatever fits your fancy) from time to time. But, alcohol should be limited if you are in any way unsatisfied with your body composition.

OMG, Starchy Carbs!

Of all the nutritional disagreements that exist, none is as heated as the discussion about carbs. Is rice making you fat or is it an essential part of our diets? Maybe the answer doesn’t have to be so dogmatic. 

Depending on your activity level, you may need to modulate your carb intake accordingly: 

  • If you are training hard and putting in more than an hour or two of exercise in your day, then having some rice and potatoes at dinner is not a bad idea.
  • If, on the other hand, you barely got out of your office chair to go to the bathroom today, you should probably skip the baked potatoes at the Outback Steakhouse.

You don’t need to “commit” to one way or the other, and it really doesn’t have to be complicated. Just keep a mental tally of how much activity you’ve gotten on a particular day, and shift your carb intake up or down to match your activity level.

Some Extra Nutritional Considerations

What I’ve described above are the very basics of a plan that will fit most people’s nutritional needs. If you just follow those, you’ll do just fine.

There are, however, some other things to consider.

Timing is Important

  • If you are happy with your body composition, eat whenever you like, but try to keep to a fairly regular meal schedule. There’s no need to plan every meal to the minute, but the body does like consistency, so try to provide that for yourself.
  • If you are dissatisfied with your body composition, you should “backload” your carbohydrates. You do that by eating primarily protein and fat during the first part of the day. Then have most of your carbohydrates later, after you’ve worked out. Training days should also be the days you have things like potatoes or pasta. Your body can make better use of those foods when recovering from training than it can on rest days.
  • Avoid snacking. If you get hungry between meals (and you’re not purposefully fasting), it means that you did not eat enough in the previous meal. This is difficult for some people to grasp, but snacks do more harm than good for most people.
  • When you eat a meal, eat the hell out of that meal. Eat until you are satisfied. Do not “leave room in the tank.” Don’t stuff yourself either, but do your best to give your body as much nutrient-rich fuel as you can.
  • Try doing a short fast periodically. That can mean just skipping breakfast or lunch one or two days a week. Or it can mean not eating for an entire day once a week. The important thing when you fast is to act as if you didn’t fast. That means no gluttony before or after fasting. Learn to appreciate hunger, and then break your fast with something full of nutrition.

Fill in the Blanks – Supplements

SupplementsMost people should supplement.

It’s nearly impossible to get enough nutrients from food, so you should take a quality multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement. You do get what you pay for with these, so try to find vitamins from whole food sources.

  • You might try a greens supplement like Greens+ if that’s more appealing than taking pills.
  • Most women should probably take iron. Most men should take zinc. Almost everyone can benefit from additional magnesium (best taken before bed).
  • Unless you live in the tropics, you should take vitamin D.
  • Unless you eat a lot of fish, you should take fish oil (focus on DHA content when choosing a fish oil supplement).

Remember, the best source of nutrients is quality food. If you get enough high quality protein and vegetables, these vitamins should be all you need to supplement with, unless you have a specific deficit.

Examine.com is a spectacular resource for looking up information about supplements and how they may help you. Their reference guide offers assistance if you have a “health goal” but their site is also a great place to search for information if you have a particular supplement in mind.

Nutrition in the Simplest Terms

Nutrition doesn’t have to be so complicated. If you follow these tips, you’ll go a long way:

  • Eat plenty of meat, vegetables, and fats.
  • Loosen up your diet once or twice a week at most.
  • Try a short fast periodically.
  • Get to know your body’s signals, and stay away from harmful foods.
  • Supplement as needed, but make quality food your primary source of nutrients.

Don’t forget that the eating plan you follow absolutely must be based on what works for you. The tips in this post are a great foundation for most people, but you should experiment and find the specifics that you need to follow.

You’ll notice that GMB doesn’t recommend other people’s products willy-nilly. When we do recommend other people’s products and services, it’s because we know and respect them, and have found their approach fits well with our knowledge and experience. And in the case of Nate Miyaki, we’ve actually been helped by him personally.

Nate’s newest program, Feast Your Fat Away, describes in detail what he does to help regular folks as well as pro bodybuilders get lean without wanting to kill themselves. It’s simply the sanest and most effective approach to body composition change we’ve ever seen, and we recommend it to our clients without reservation.

The basics of his program hew closely to what we’ve outlined above and he provides more detailed assistance based on an individual’s particular needs.

*We get a small commission if you buy Nate’s book through the link below, which helps us cover the insurance on our Ferraris. We’d recommend it even if that weren’t the case.

Achieve Your Physique Goals with Feast Your Fat Away

Photos via Carmen Eisbär, meg

Discussion

  1. This is so refreshing compared to the raft of extreme Paleo people out there. Yes, eliminate sugar, minimize starch, eat protein and veggies, etc. But people have gone too far and demonized anything not 100% Paleo. As you said, there isn’t 1 single diet that works for everyone, that we should all be forced into. It took me years to accept that for myself and stop suffering to be Paleo.

    Thank you!

    • Thanks, Khaled! I’m really glad this resonated with you.

      Ryan, Jarlo, and I have also experimented with varying degrees of paleo, and it does have it’s strengths (it’s great as a temporary routine for people who aren’t used to watching what they eat). However, the religiosity with which many adhere to paleo dogma is entirely over the top.

      I’m glad you saw the light!

      • Dude, you are so right about the extreme dogmatism in that camp. It reminds me of the bit in ‘A Christmas Story’ where the kid says “In our town, some folks were Baptists, and some folks were Lutherans, and others were Methodists. My dad was a Packard man.”

        Paleo is cool and all, but… seriously. If you aren’t a faithful Catholic at Mass, there’s no reason to worship what you’re eating.

  2. I’d love to eat tons of meat/protein but I get wickedly constipated, even though I eat giant salads everyday. What am I doing wrong?

    • Well, constipation isn’t necessarily caused by meat. It could be caused by insufficient fluids or fiber. Or it could be caused by some medicines. Or it could be caused by other medical conditions that affect hormone regulation.

      If you’ve been chronically constipated despite what you think is a healthy diet, you need to talk to your doctor. Or you may just need to take some Metamucil.

    • Hi Chris,

      I had the same issue with severe and sometimes painful constipation. What got me regular again was having natural yogurt (approx 200g) once a day. I have it as a mid morning or afternoon snack and i haven’t had any issues in months.

  3. Predominantly Paleo using the 80/20 principle, feeding a family of 5.
    Your advice is pretty much how we do it, and I’ve lost 4 stone ;)
    It’s not dogma and it’s not rocket science so good job on the post

    • Congrats on the weight-loss. If you’re getting healthier and feeling good, then you’re obviously doing something right.

      Keep it up.

  4. Jihad! lol

  5. Hello,
    Thank you for the update. I would like to ask about protein and PH levels.
    I have read that protein and phosphorous reduce the PH levels, cause inflammation inside the body, thus leading to chronic fatigue and aging. So, I am trying to avoid meat and dairy (once per week) and I eat mostly nuts and vegetable juices. I have to admit however, that I do not enjoy it. What is your opinion on that?
    Thank you

    • Well, that’s just the problem. Too many radical diets based on one or two data points.

      I think protein is necessary, and avoiding it is going to cause you FAR more problems than it solves. To the best of my knowledge, the studies that showed potential for problems with excessive protein consumption were performed on people who had already suffered kidney failure of some sort.

      In other words, a healthy person eating a normal amount of protein should not have problems with fatigue or premature aging.

      Are these symptoms you’ve personally experienced, or are you simply trying to live longer by avoiding protein?

      A LOT of the research on life extension has proven inapplicable to humans in the real world. For example: caloric restriction, which extended lifespan in lab rats has not proven to be effective for humans, In fact, it just seems to make us weak and grouchy.

      By avoiding protein, you’re probably going to cause more problems than you solve.

      Personally, I feel that trying to get into PH levels of foods and glycemic index, etc. is a waste of mental energy for the average, basically-healthy person.

      • Thank you for your prompt response!!!
        I had some issues with fatique due to excessive training and I was trying to find ways to overcome it, in order to get through the training. I started to think it happened due to me growing older, so the second thing I was trying to beat is aging. That’s how I stumbled across raw diet (enzymes etc). I try to apply its rules and in fact I feel an energy surge after drinking vegetable juices, but I am still puzzled whether it helps devoiding myself of animal foods. Are you suggesting that that this kind of diet is just theory and has not been proved to help humans?
        Another opinion I have heard of is that meat, poultry and dairy are helthy if they come from free ranged animals fed on grass and they are not pasteurized. But I do not think someone can find this kind of food nowadays.
        Your response surely caused me to consider other options. Unfortunately, I am one of those who waste mental energy on that issue (not a good thing)
        Sorry for troubling you with my thoughts.

        • Hey Yannis, I’m not troubled. Just trying to help.

          Some people love eating raw foods. Good for them. I’ve never met anyone who could keep that up for more than a few months without side effects (though, since they want to avoid appearing foolish, many people will deny the side effects of their diets vehemently, but this is a topic for another day…).

          When eat a ton of fruit, of course, you’re going to feel energetic. For up to three or four hours at a time. Then you’ll need more fruit. That’s not enzymes or life force – it’s sugar.

          Enzymes are great, but all they do is break down the foods you eat. So if you don’t eat the nutrients you need, enzymes can’t help you. They don’t have nutritive value of their own.

          Your body needs sleep, nutrients, air, water, and sunlight to be healthy. Many of the required nutrients are FAR more efficiently derived from animal flesh.

          The modern meat industry is disgusting. There are many things I don’t like about it. But my body still requires meat, so I eat it. Sometimes, I can find ethically raised meats. Sometimes, I can’t. Either way, I eat meat, because I need to eat meat.

          The mental energy is only a waste if you think yourself in circles and still don’t make improvements.

          • Thank you for response. You;ve clearly helped to reconsider some things over my diet!!!!

        • rhoneyman says:

          Yannis,

          I’ve been veggie (well, pesce) for 25 years. I don’t think about it. I have a dozen or so main dishes that i make well plus a half dozen soups that I really enjoy. I’ll make a salad every couple of weeks, throw some blackened fish on top and consume it over three or four meals. The only thing I think about is making sure its kosher (religious reasons).

          This time of year, I’m into making fruit pies since fresh fruit is so plentiful and cheap. I take a multi, fish oil, and metamucil – genetic predisposition to hard stools. oh well. I also eat a protein bar and drink a whey mix to add to what for years had been a diet lacking in protein. But when I started doing serious body work, I decided I need to supplement. Plus, I needed to add a few pounds if I wanted to get stronger. The protein supplements helped with that. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

          On days when I hit it really hard and feel great about my workout, I take a couple of naps to let the body recover. There’s nothing wrong with being whipped if you’ve driven your body hard. The solution is sleep. If you work out regularly and you’re not getting your seven or eight hours at night, your body is probably going to protest. Mine does all the time. :7) Fortunately, I’m able to go with it and nod off midday. When I wake up, it’s better than a full night’s sleep.

          • Thank you for your help. Information on protein was what I needed. Also, I think I was misled by the raw hype, because they advertise that you can live an energetic life with only 5 hours of sleep per day. So, your update on sleep solution is appreciated.

  6. Youthser Guerrero says:

    I started the paleo diet in 09 and at first I went pretty strict and I think it’s exactly what I needed to do. As of the past year though I’ve relaxed a LOT. I felt like I learned so much about food that I was starting to fear some of it, but then I realized that the problem comes with ABUSE not just use. So, without writing a novel, I know eat mostly paleo but don’t make much of a fuss when those aren’t available and sometimes I eat something downright “awful” for the psychological/emotional aspect of it (like cultural foods, etc) and feel pretty good about it all. That’s my long way of saying I like your guide a lot.

  7. Thanks, Youthser! It’s great that you’ve found what works for you.

  8. great article guys, I´m also mostly a paleo guy and agree 100% with what you say, in an ideal world you wouldn´t eat those foods with such nasty ingredients, but then again, they also wouldn´t be that delicious :)

  9. Thanks, Manuel. I’ve (Andy) said many times before that I’d rather enjoy my ice cream than live longer without it.

  10. That pretty much corresponds with my own experience. I stopped eating sugar, chocolate, cakes, etc. about 10 months ago, switched to a diet similar to what you described, without fanaticism. Lost about 40 pounds and so far keep it that way (required a lot of exercises too.)

  11. Yes, it definitely still takes exercise. Congrats on that, Vladimir – that’s a great result.

  12. Thanks for the article, it is the same conclusion i got after 20+ years of diet experimentation. Having carbs at night after exercising makes more sense to me now, it will probably stop the insane sugar cravings i get and usually reach for fruit if chocolate is not available.

    One thing i have found about chocolate – it makes no difference to me if its 85% dark or milk variety, in my own mind it is the same and triggers the same emotional response. Best way to deal with it is not have any inside the house.

  13. Crystal Lasnier says:

    I appreciate this more sane approach to nutrition. In general I consider my diet to be 75 to 85% paleo since I do realize a difference in my energy level and output in my workouts when eating this way (and well I’m lactose intolerant so it’s easy to avoid excess dairy anyway). However, with that said I do agree one can take it to an entirely new level and if that’s your thing more power to you. I do think though if you are really worried about the occasional piece of pizza or slice of cake on your birthday then you should probably also be worried about living inside a house with carpet and other finish material (VOCs everywhere!) or for that matter driving in a car especially in traffic, or wearing dyed clothing, or using deodorant, I could go on and on. I just think the worry we can create by trying to avoid everything that we are told is bad can just create added stress and more health problems than the occasional “cheat” meal. Then again you could just live naked on a deserted island which hopefully has some wild chickens and fresh veggies, that might be fun!

    • Really great point, Crystal!

      There are so many things we should be more worried about. Obviously, if you have an acute allergic reaction to gluten or something, you should avoid that, but most people have no reason to freak out over a piece of pizza.

      Thanks for chiming in.

  14. I lost 13kgs/28.6lbs and got a LOT stronger doing something very similar to this. Only a couple of things were different.
    1) I logged everything I ate and counted calories, so I was able to have cheesecake (my weakness) often, and it wouldn’t count as a “cheat meal”. That meant I ate less throughout the day to stay under my caloric limit, but I was happy.
    2) Intermittent fasting! I’ve seen this mentioned on GMB before, and honestly expected to see it mentioned in this article. I know it’s not for everyone, but from my experience, it works like magic, and makes life so much more convenient once you get used to it.

    • Congrats, Farid. That’s a great result.

      I’ve used fasting off and on for years. If you follow the timing recommendations above, you’ll be doing pretty much the same thing as intermittent fasting – you just won’t be calling it the cool name everyone likes.

      I encourage everyone to learn to log their food and count their calories and macronutrient intake at some point – those are valuable skills that can teach us a lot about ourselves – but this is just a generalized guide to nutrition.

      This article is not meant as a tutorial for weight loss.

  15. We don’t make a lot of product recommendations, but earlier today, Ryan reminded me of one that’s actually worth mentioning – and fits very closely to the general guidelines I wrote above.

    Check out the note at the end of the post for details.

  16. chris,

    regarding the “wicked constipation” – i had the same issues. let me guess, are you on a low carb paleo diet? i had really bad constipation when i ate just meat, vegetables, and nuts (paleo diet). this is actually no carb, as vegetables become short chain fats during digestion.

    eating carbs and probiotics (from kefir and yogurt, as opposed to probiotic pills) has helped. i quit paleo altogether, as i felt like crap on it. (i stayed onthe diet for a year). i’m still recovering, so i’m not feeling perfect. i think you definitely need lots of carbs for your body type. i think some people respond well to low carb, but some people don’t.

  17. chris,

    you mentioned that you had wicked constipation. i’m assuming you’re on a low carb paleo diet. i had the same problem when i was on paleo. i ditched the paleo diet 2.5 months ago and feel better, but am still not fully recovered. i think some people need carbs, like you and me. my suggestion is to get off paleo and eat grains and some type of food probiotic (not pills), like kefir (it’s better than yogurt).

    • Yeah, this is really common when people switch to a diet based primarily on meat. Especially in the beginning.

      Fermented foods can help – as well as just eating more veggies overall.

      Thanks, Fred.

  18. Hahaha Andy you´re totally right, I have a question for you though if you could answer it, when I was a kid I used to eat french fries and chips every day, and my body developed like a nutral need for that which I can´t seem to make go, I once went 8 months without eating anything like that to see if it would stop but the need kept being there, any advice? (PS, when I eat that, I eat like10 pounds of that in one sitting, not kidding)

  19. Do you mean starches or fried stuff?

  20. both, but fried potato chips that come in a package are like a need for me, literally, and keeping away from them has been really tough,

    • It may also have to do with wanting more and more salt once you taste it. Another thing about chips is that they are super-convenient to open up and eat.

      One thing that many people find beneficial when trying to break bad dietary habits is transference: replace the bad habit with a better one. Every time you are about to chow on chips, drink glass of water (or something else).

      Ultimately, I’d just recommend making an iron-clad rule against ever buying them or having them in your house.

  21. because I do tacfit with prasara, once evry 90 days I have 5 rest days and eat those things like a pig, but I know that isn´t good at all

  22. Hi Andy, all brilliant clues as usual. I would like to add only from me: We have to allow us time to eat. Fast life, fast food is mostly the motto of our lifes. Already Sigmund Freud had said; “Each piece of food should be chewed 21 times”. Maybe does not have to be so many but 15 at least. Greetings!

  23. Hi! I’m new to the community but was recently enchanted by the handstand tutorial (handstands are a goal of mine). I was browsing the blog and came across this post. I’ve been experimenting with diet modification and trying to alter my body composition for about nine months now, with pretty good results. I lost about 6 lbs and, at a guess, 3-5% body fat, and I feel stronger and faster. I’m now struggling with the “last five pounds” (or whatever I guess the body-composition and overall fitness equivalent would be). I like the ideas listed here, but I’m intimidated by the meat suggestions, since I’m a vegetarian (my stomach is very sensitive to meat – it makes me really ill, and I had to give it up). I can eat some fish and seafood (shrimp, tuna, etc.) and eggs, and I try to eat a good amount of dairy protein from Greek yogurt, firm tofu, and beans or legumes. Other thoughts on how some of these diet recommendations might be modified for a vegetarian lifestyle?

  24. “Most women should probably take iron.”

    Be careful with broad statements like this – too much iron can be dangerous. Before deciding to supplement with vitamins or minerals it’s best to get a blood test to check if you are actually deficient in any vitamins or minerals. And to get follow up tests done to see if supplementation is helping, and can be stopped.

    Just buying supplements because you think you have x symptoms, hence x deficiency could lead to trouble. Lots of vegetarian women are tired & need iron supplements, by often it’s a lack of B12 interfering with iron uptake.

    • Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the US. Menstruation is one of the most common causes. It’s not a stretch to say that responsible supplementation, given the caveats in the article, would “probably” be a good idea for “most” women.

      Too much of anything can be dangerous, but that’s not a good reason to avoid making recommendations.

  25. Being a fan of GMB since I got to know you one year ago, this article to me is contradictory and disappointing. Your disclaimer which says you don’t believe in a universally optimal approach to nutrition (I don’t believe there is one, either) is closely followed of some very general and arbitrary advice about what most people need to eat.

    What happened to your individual approach here? To claim most people need to eat meat ist nothing more than an unsubstantiated statement. When I say “most people need to climb trees” it would be equivalent.

    There’s absolutely no doubt in the world of science that a balanced vegetarian diet is healthy and provides our body with everything needed. Further more, questioning the unrestrictetd consumption of meat has to do with ethics, moral and social responsibility. And I am not only talking about the animals suffering and being killed. Our daily consumption of meat is part of the reason for hunger and starvation of other not so privileged parts of our world. Global, sustainable and holistic thinking leads inevitably to a very critical view on consumption of meat.

    Regarding your recommendation for supplements: People on a balanced diet which contains fruit, lots of vegetabled and sea fish once or twice a week don’t need any supplements. Most vitamine supplements have proven to be ineffective, if not hazardous for your health. The recommandations for vitamin doses are rather a question of politics than of the acutal benefit for your health. Or how would you explain guidance values for some vitamines in the US differ significantly from those in some european countries?

    • You’re welcome to be disappointed, but if you actually read the article you’ll see that all of your criticisms have been addressed. To wit:

      – Nutrition is individual
      – You’re welcome to have your own preferences about meat, but we like it
      – Supplements are not ideal but are typically necessary to fill gaps

      Take it or leave it, but save us your completely unsupported arguments about what what “the world of science” (LMAO) say about a vegetarian diet and the equally empty claims that “most” supplements have been proven ineffective.

      • Andy, what made you so upset? As a client of GMB, a “member of the posse” – and a human being – I do not wish to be treated like this and being laughed at publicly.

        In my comment I did bother as little as you in your article to deliver any arguments. So one could say I just put some “equally empty” claims against yours. To find strong arguments to support the fact you don’t need meat in a healthy diet should be fairly easy, though while it will be hard to find those which support the contrary. I admit my second statement about supplements is a by far more controversial question.

        As you might habe noticed, English is not my mother tongue. But still I can read, and as you are right with that your article allows individual preferences, it’s clearly not about the fact that you like meat.

        I quote: “Most people need to eat meat. Some people
        disagree, and a small percentage of those people manage to remain strong
        and healthy for many years.” Excuse my diction, but from my point of view this is pure nonsense.

        • If English isn’t your mother tongue, you could consider sending an email with your concerns rather than trying to start a public debate in English.

          Just a thought.

          I’ve never made any claims as to what science proves about nutrition. This article simply sums up my experience after researching for about a decade and working with thousands of clients. And even though I’ve got a pretty solid grasp of what works, I’ve written this to be a clear as possible on the point that individual needs will vary.

          If you take offense with that, you’re being silly.

          As noted in the article, you can choose not to eat meat. That’s a choice for you to make. But when people ask us for advice, we’re going to tell them the thing that’s proven effective in our experience.

          If you want to be offended by something, I’d suggest getting involved in local politics. Being angry at a dude on the internet for giving well-intentioned advice that you happen to disagree with is a terrible waste of your energy.

          • So the comment function below your article is meant for English native speakers, only? ;)

            Neither I am offended by your article, nor am I angry at you because of your advice.

            I have to admit I’m slightly offended by the way you’ve been dealing with my comment, though. But be assured I’ll get over it. :)