Creating A Healthy Diet According to
Your True Nature

A healthy diet for you may differ from my ideal diet, however there are some parameters from which to choose the best foods to support your health.  Once you understand the first two principles of our True Nature Healthy Eating Plan, you can then apply the third principle of learning how to choose the best foods for your personal needs.  

Your True Nature healthy diet will include those foods that best support you based on your constitution, current condition, past dietary history, the region you live, and what best supports your dream.  


The first principle of creating a healthy diet according to your true nature is to understand some nutritional basics, including knowing which foods are considered the least healthy by pretty much everyone in the field of nutrition and health.


Here is a list of foods that are not part of a healthy diet:

  • Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats - These fats have a hydrogen atom added chemically to allow a vegetable oil that would naturally be liquid at room temperature become solid, and therefore more shelf stable.  You can often read this on the label as "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" palm, cottonseed, or corn oil.  These fats are a synthetic alteration that the body is not designed to utilize, and can cause a host of problems.  Anything that is synthetically altered should be strictly avoided, and is not part of a healthy diet.

  • Highly synthetic sweeteners and refined sugars, including high fructose corn syrup, and synthetic or 'fake' sugars, such as saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame, neotame, and sucralose.  

    Some of these sweeteners go by the brand name of 'Equal' or 'Sweet and Low.'  Synthetic modified food substances are lower in calories, but they are intensely sweet.  They are used in diet sodas, gum, mints, and many other products.  

    Holly Strawbridge, former editor of Harvard Health interviews Dr. David Ludwig to see if he agreed with the claims made by the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) that the use of artificial sweeteners may help people consume fewer calories leading to less weight gain.  Less weight gain means lower risk for heart disease and diabetes.  Ludwig has a few concerns about this logic.  First, he is concerned that people will replace the lost calories from consuming no or low-calorie diet sodas containing artificial sweeteners with other sources, in as he says an "I'm drinking diet soda so it is okay to have cake" kind of rationale.

    He also believes the intensity of the sweetness may cause people to lose their taste for natural foods like fruits and vegetables.  He also points out that the San Antonio Heart Study found that those who drank 21 diet sodas per week were twice as likely to become overweight to obese as those who didn't drink any.  This can be due to several factors, however, many people play the deny and rationalize game, deluding themselves about their actual intake of food.  The synthetic sweeteners have also been linked to headaches or migraines, and other health issues.  Artificial foods that have been created in a lab are simply not part of the True Nature (TN) Healthy Diet.

  • Junky snack foods that are dry, salty, high in sodium, and contain other chemicals and flavoring agents, including dairy such as cheese flavored corn chips are avoided on the True Nature Healthy Diet Plan.  Substitute a baked chip, or learn to enjoy other foods to get your crunchy fix on, like crisp fresh vegetables.  Too many dry crunchy salty snacks leads to dehydration, which leads to an excessive intake of fluids which taxes the kidneys.  I also discuss this in Make Every Bite Count.

  • Foods with food colorings, and anything written on the label that you can not identify as a real food.

  • Essentially, most foods that come in a box are foods that have been overly processed are not part of the TN Healthy Diet.  That being said, some are far worse than others, but in general, eating a healthy diet involves reducing reliance on packaged foods.

  • Sodas with food coloring, and artificial sweeteners or refined sugars are avoided, as explained in the second recommendation above.  Generally speaking even healthy sodas are not ideal, but there are alternative options for those who need suggestions while transitioning to healthier beverages.

  • Refined grains and sugars, including products made with 'wheat flour', 'enriched flour' or any processed and milled grain, and refined sugar.  


A healthy diet is a balanced diet.  What constitutes a balanced diet?


In the Churchill Livingston book, Chinese Dietary Therapy, with Liu Jilin as the main editor, and Gordon Peck as the subject editor, a balanced, healthy diet is defined as follows:

"A balanced diet means that the kinds of foods we consume and the nutrients these foods contain should be comprehensive, adequate in  amount and proportion, so that the nutrients supplied by our diet will meet the needs of the body." 

This is further explained that the daily diet, consisting of various foods, requires that, "the types and amounts of foods should be present in appropriate proportions."

The Huang Di Nei Jing, translated as The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine, is an early Chinese medical text written over 2,000 years ago, compiled during the Qin (221 - 207 BC) and Han (206 BC - 210 AD) dynasties from the clinical experiences and epidemiological observations of the imperial herbalists and practitioners of the time. 

Central to the teachings of the Nei Jing was the importance of prevention of illness, with recommendations about how and what to eat to nourish both the body and the mind.  When one followed the recommendations, they could expect to live a long, healthy life.

Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland (1762-1836), son of the court physician of the grand duchess in Weimar Germany was himself an eminent physician who wrote many articles and books, and was interested in Chinese alchemy and the art of longevity.  One of his books, entitled  Makrobiotik order Die Kunst, or The Art of Prolonging LIfe, is considered the first written record of the term 'macrobiotic' which translates to 'great' or 'long life.'  


Several early macrobiotic teachers had cured themselves of debilitating illnesses, including tuberculosis, by applying the principles taught in this classic early text of Chinese medicine.  Since one of the recommendations in the Nei Jing was to eat "the five cereals"  these foods became foundational foods in macrobiotic diets.

The fundamental teachings of macrobiotics include eating and living in harmony with nature, or as George Oshawa would say, "the natural Order of the Universe."  

While many in the West continue to teach macrobiotics as a grain-based diet, we apply the principles of Chinese medicine and macrobiotics when customizing meal plans for individuals in our TYTN Health Coaching.  We use these principles as a guidance system towards choosing the best foods and lifestyle practices to live a long and healthy life, as appropriate for each person.  

Grains and beans need not be the central foundational foods for all people, however, the macrobiotic principles can still apply.

Quick Blanched (QB) Veggie Medley
Asian market produce 'gathered'
Brown rice congee w/ scallions & ume paste, and bok choy

In The Yellow Emperor's Classic Medicine, or Nei Jing, the dietary recommendations are as follows:

  1. Eat poisons - this is translated as taking herbs or substances that will help the body rid of toxins, or counter the effect of consuming toxic substances
  2. Eat the "five cereals" ~ rice, sesame seeds, soya beans, wheat, and millet - seen as the foundational foods
  3. Eat the "five fruits" which complemented nutrition missing in grains, and included 'dates, plums, apricots, chestnuts, and peach
  4. Eat the "five animals" which were said to "give advantage" and included beef, dog meat, pork, mutton, and chicken
  5. Eat the "five vegetables" which supplemented the rest of the diet, and included 'marrow, chives, bean sprouts,  onions, and shallots'

Keep in mind that the foods listed were regionally available, and considered part of a healthy diet during that time period in China.  

Each individual food can sometimes be representative of a category of foods, such as cereals also including seeds and beans.   Also, 'marrow' refers to a vegetable similar to a squash.


Bean & Vegetable Soup w/ baked potatoes & greens
Eight Treasures Congee topped w/ sesame seeds & peanuts
Tilapia baked Veracruz style w/ Squash & Onions, & apples baked w/ dates & cranberries for dessert

Creating a healthy diet requires more than just consuming foods that are supposed to be 'good for you.'  The Nei Jing taught about the nature of foods being either cooling, heating, neutral, or strengthening.  

Foods also contain  different flavors ~ sweet, salty, sour, pungent, and bitter~ with affinities to the various organs within the body, such as sour foods having an affinity for the liver, salty foods having an affinity for the kidneys, etc.

If a client at our clinic indicates a strong craving or aversion to a particular flavor, such as sweet, sour, or salty, we consider this as part of the entire pattern being presented.  For example, if someone really loves or really detests the sour flavor, and tends to often feel frustrated, or get easily irritated, we would consider the liver gall bladder paired organ system to be part of the pattern of imbalance, contingent on other symptoms, and emotions being presented.  

Over eating the sour flavor can be injurious to the liver, just as over or under eating any particular flavor over time can lead to an imbalance, hence eating a healthy diet includes striking a balance of the five flavors at each meal.  

A meal or dish with a balance of the five flavors creates an alchemical explosion of flavor, or at least a satisfaction that allows us to feel good eating less.

The energetic quality of a particular food can be enhanced, altered, or inhibited, depending on what other foods or herbs were combined together.  For example, vegetables which are very cooling can be warmed up by preparing them with some ginger, or other warming spices.

Long before there was any knowledge of the various nutrients within foods, it was observed that foods have components that work in tandem with other foods, and it was the right balance, and 'appropriate amounts' of foods and wild plants or herbs that constituted an enjoyable, healthy diet that nourished both body and mind.

Enjoyment of the aroma and taste was also important, for it indicated the freshness and quality of the food was good, and the foods were prepared with a balance of all the flavors.

Black beans w/ vegan Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon, greens & sweet potatoes
Lean center cut pork grilled w/ greens & homemade applesauce

A few examples of recommendations made a couple thousand years ago in the classic Chinese medical texts, before there was any knowledge of Vitamin A, iodine, or iron included the following:

  1. Eating pork liver (high in Vitamin A) helped prevent night blindness 
  2. Eating seaweeds (high in iodine) helped prevent goiter
  3. Eating black beans (high in iron) helped prevent anemia

This illustrates how foods that some may consider 'bad' or 'toxic' to the diet, others used therapeutically to prevent conditions common at the time, which are still used today in Chinese food therapy.  Pork nourishes the yin, especially the yin of the liver.  The liver yin is the source of liver blood, which nourishes the eyes, tendons, and supports reproductive functions in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).



The second principle of eating a healthy diet is understanding which foods are most appropriate for human health.  

The most nutritious foods are those foods which provide the greatest, and most easy to assimilate nourishment.  These foods may vary depending on your ancestry, as you are more genetically adapted to the foods that your pre-agricultural ancestors consumed.  


The third principle of our True Nature Diet Plan takes into account your intuitive, or higher knowing.  If you really could choose your favorite (natural) foods,
which would they be?  

You can read more details about our Trust Your True Nature (TYTN) Diet Plan here.



Are there any alternative perspectives on what constitutes a healthy diet that co-existed at the time the Nei Jing was put together, or even prior to this time period?  

What about the health of populations that existed prior to the agricultural revolution, when humans were hunter-gatherers?  

Does knowing what humans ate some 10,000+ years ago really help us to understand what is most optimal for modern humans to be consuming?

In fact some of the early Taoists (Daoists) did believe that the five cereals should be strictly avoided for optimal health and a longer life span.  According to Kenneth Cohen who discusses the qigong diet in his book, The Way of Qi Gong, The Art & Science of Chinese Energy Healing, many ancient Daoists emphatically warn against eating the five cereals, sometimes referred to as the five grains.  He writes,

    "According to Daoist mythology, the three dan tians, at the third eye, heart, and abdomen are infested by three worms.  These three worms live on the impure breaths (qi) created by immoral behavior, putrid food, and the "Five Cereals" which are the basis of Chinese cuisine..."  He continues, "According to a Daoist text, "The Five Cereals are scissors that cut off life, they rot the internal organs, they shorten life.  If a grain enters your mouth, do not hope for Life Eternal!  If you desire not to die, may your intestines be free of it!""

As for the third principle in TYTN Diet Plan, if you were presented with a bounty of natural foods readily found in nature and eaten as is, or by processing with minimal tools, and simply adding it to a fire or heat source, such as fresh or dried fruits, greens, vegetables, meats including fish and seafood, eggs, or whole cooked grains and beans, which foods would you be most drawn to?  (We're not talking chocolate cake or corn chips, but honey, maple syrup, and birch sap were all consumed in many traditional diets.) 

Of all those foods listed, the whole grains and beans would have been the most difficult to obtain, and would have required the most processing to render them edible, unless still in their fresh/raw vs. dried state.  Pretty much most cultures world wide consumed whatever types of fruits; greens and wild plants, vegetables, and herbs; nuts and seeds, and fish or animal flesh foods were available.  

The European Neanderthal ancestors would have eaten a diet consisting largely of all the above foods, minus the whole grains and beans.  According to the article, Did Neanderthals eat their vegetables? published in MIT News, Scientists from MIT and the University of Laguna in Spain examined human fecal remains found in El Salt in Southern Spain, an area known to have been inhabited by Neanderthals dating back 50,000 years.  

According to their examination of both the fecal samples and the soils, they concluded that, "while Neanderthals had a most meat-based diet, they may also have consumed a fairly regular portion of plants, such as tubers, berries, and nuts.  According to Ainira Sistiaga, a graduate student of the uNiversity of Laguna who led the analysis, "We believe Neanderthals probably ate what was available in different situations, seasons, and climates."  

That's a pretty macrobiotic approach to eating healthy diet ~ choosing foods according to one's constitution, the region, the season, and current condition.

Those of European and Asian descent share in DNA with Neanderthals, hence what is appropriate for these populations may differ than those of African descent, who do not share ancestry with Neanderthals.  Our European ancestors living in colder northern climates were better adapted to animal foods and a hunter-gatherer diet, rather than an agrarian, grain and bean-based diet.  Eating animal foods meant survival during cold winters.

The TYTN Healthy Diet Plan is based on macrobiotic principles and primarily centers around what could be 'hunted' and 'gathered' or foraged throughout the year, such as a variety of berries and other fruits, tubers, wild plants, greens, and herbs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, and other animal flesh foods.

Collards Stir Fried w/ Onions & Shiitake Mushrooms
Blackberries, almonds & honey
Blue Corn Crusted Tilapia

Getting back to imagining which of the above listed foods you most desired, despite whatever you have learned about what you 'should' or 'should not' eat, you may be surprised about your choices.  

Are the foods you would choose ~ if you had no idea of what was scientifically proven to be good for you or not, and you abandoned all ideologies about which foods should be eaten or avoided ~ the same foods you are actually eating?

Once you learn how to trust your true nature, and become more in tune with the right profile of foods, including the appropriate balance of the five flavors, and the three main macronutrients ~ proteins, carbohydrates, and fats ~ then your tastes will spontaneously guide you to the best choices for optimal health.  

But before you can really trust yourself to choose the healthiest diet,  there may be some faulty programing about which foods are best to eat, and which foods should be avoided that may need re-wiring.  We all have been indoctrinated with various beliefs about what is considered a healthy diet.  Sometimes we have to unlearn, or cleanse our minds and our bodies  to come to peace with our food choices, and finally have a healthy relationship with food. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower foreground, Barley Vegetable Soup w/ GF Beef Shank

In summary, the TYTN Healthy Diet Plan (click here for details) will vary from person to person, contingent upon one's condition, the season, and geographic location.  

Foundational foods ~ animal flesh foods vs. grains and beans ~ are chosen accordingly, with the remaining foods chosen to best complement the foundational foods.  The secondary food choices provide supplementary nutrition and balance to the foundational foods.

The right combination of foods and herbs, with the right balance of flavors will provide the greatest capacity for health.  Our diets should energize us, help us feel strong mentally and physically, keep us sharp and focused, and above all be enjoyable!

Each person will need to experiment to determine the right amounts, and appropriate combinations of foods.  For any healthy diet, the choices should focus on the best quality available.  Wild game that is hunted will be more nutritious than conventional beef, however, these choices will depend on budget and availability.  Always do your best, without guilt.

Animal foods should be chosen based on what will provide the greatest balance.  Beef and pork are more neutral in nature, while poultry is very warming.  Eating chicken all the time to 'avoid red meat' may create excess heat in the system.  When making choices, begin to pay attention to how you feel after eating.

As always, eating plenty of fresh vegetables, greens, and fruits is always good advice, however, here again, eating a lot of imported tropical fruits when living in a temperate climate may not be ideal.  Eating a lot of imported food is more taxing to environmental and ecological resources as well.  It's best to eat those foods that grow in your own, or a similar bioregion.  They will have cultivated the energy to withstand the very climate you live in that will be transferred to you when you consume these foods.

Learn how to trust yourself, with Trust Your True Nature (TYTN) Coaching, or TYTN Health Coaching specifically focusing on improving health and fitness, and weight loss with the TYTN Diet Plan.

When you align with your true nature, you harmonize and experience greater flow in all areas of your life.  Learning to trust your self builds confidence.  Eating the best diet for you is also a liberating and rewarding experience.

Ready to Learn To Trust YourSelf?  Coaching is available by phone/e-mail from anywhere.  Live video options may also be made available, such as Skype.  

Questions?  Contact our office at 602-954-8016.  Or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.

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