Every day I'm asked in the clinic to recommend a diet plan. We all seem to want a list, or a plan, or a system within which we feel we will be safe, without too much thinking involved. The problem with this way of living is that the health of your family is the most important thing in your life. Your health and the health of your family is far more valuable than your HD-TV, or your designer jeans, or a new car, and deserves your time, attention and money. Eating true poison will kill you quickly, eating highly-processed crap you buy in the middle-aisles of the grocery will kill you slowly and sluggishly; eating true-foods prepared properly will optimize how well you feel and perform, and how long you will live. Check out the following three ideas, pick one of the last two if you are just beginning to reclaim your health and need a guide to follow.
Keep to the Outer-Wall - This diet is for general well-being, and is a quick general guide as to what real food actually is. For some reason, grocers place their raw fruit and vegetables, raw meats, dairy and eggs along the outer-wall of their store. A grocer friend of mind told me once that you will find all of the healthy foods (real food) along the outer-wall, but he makes the most profit from the processed foods (fake food) in the middle-aisles of the store. Not every food item on the outer-wall is right for you, but the percentage of actual food is very high along the outer-wall of any grocery. Foods you will find along the outer-wall include fruits, nuts, seeds, veggies, lean meats, goat and almond milk, eggs, etc. This is real food you can eat with much better peace of mind than with food you will find in the middle-aisles of the store. See the picture below for a routine store layout, and where you might look for real food.
The South Beach Diet - If you absolutely have to have a strict list to go by. This is not perfect but is much better than most. This nice book was written by a heart doctor who found that his over-weight patients did much more poorly than the ones who lost weight and got healthier. This guide limits useless carbs and maximizes good foods. It is much easier to make the South Beach Diet a part of your long-term eating habits, than The Atkins Diet.
Primal Blueprint - has lifestyle info as well but includes enough dietary guidelines that you should feel fully informed to make food decisions. The ideas in this book make a lot of sense, and are a great way to begin to return to the way we were made (or evolved) to eat.
We often spend hours studying the manual to our new car or new flat-screen TV; I really encourage you to start spending those hours studying about the single most important possession you have, you body.