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What should an ideal diet be like?



When it comes to vegetables, the deeper the colours, the more the variety, the better. Dmitry/Flickr


Dr Mark Hyman is the creator of the Pegan Plan, that takes the best bits from the paleo and vegan diets. Dr Hyman s a New York Times best-selling author, and his most recent book is Eat Fat Get Thin (Rs 599, Hachette India).

In the book, Dr Hyman advocates eating more fat to stay healthy and fit. According to the book, “a growing body of research is revealing the immense health and weight-loss benefits of a high-fat diet rich in eggs, nuts, avocados, coconut oil, and other delicious super foods.”

Dr Hyman also talks about the ideal diet in the book, irrespective of whether you a vegan, vegetarian, a meat eater or just a regular eater, who eats a bit of everything. Here’s what it looks like, according to Dr Hyman:


  • Ideally organic, local, fresh, whole foods.
  • Very low glycemic load — low in sugar, flour, and refined carbohydrates.
  • Very high in vegetables and fruits — the deeper the colours, the more variety, the better.
  • Low or no pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones and no GMO foods.
  • Very few to no chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes, MSG, artificial sweeteners, and other ‘Frankenchemicals.’


Olive oil is ace. Maya83/Flickr

  • Higher in good-quality fats from olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Omega-3 fats for all! If you are a vegan and don’t want to eat anything with a mother, that’s perfectly okay. But it’s critical to get omega-3 fats, and not just ALA (alpha- linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid) found in plants. You need DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) directly from food, rather than hoping your body converts from ALA to DHA. The good news is that your body can get DHA from algae.


Photograph courtesy: reciperenovator.com

  • Low in refined, processed vegetable oils. Extra virgin olive oil is a delicious, healthy alternative.
  • Moderate protein for appetite control and muscle synthesis, especially in the elderly.
  • Animal food. While of course vegetarians and vegans don’t agree that eating animal products is okay, those who do approve are in agreement that meats should be sustainably and humanely raised, grass-fed, and antibiotic-, and hormone-free.


Look for low mercury, low toxin fish such as sardines. Alexander Brugger/Flickr

  • Fish. Ditto for fish when it comes to vegans, but if you fall into the camp that eats fish, the consensus is that you should choose low mercury and low toxin fish such as sardines, herring, anchovies, wild salmon, and other small fish and avoid tuna, swordfish, and Chilean sea bass because of the high mercury load. Fish should also either be from sustainable “organic” fisheries, or sustainably caught in ways that do not deplete natural resources.

Edited excerpts from Eat Fat, Get Thin, by Dr Mark Hyman