What do I eat?
There are so many competing diet strategies that it's hard to know where to begin. Vegetarians are as convinced as keto advocates that their diet is the healthiest and most optimal for humans while carnivore eaters make a fairly compelling case that vegetables are a form of mild poison and should be avoided.
Rather than focus on their differences we should extract what they have in common to find the most practical and universal truth: They all advocate either eating raw foods or preparing and cooking their meals using raw ingredients.
Choosing what, when and how much to eat depends on your end goal. If you want to look like a competitive bodybuilder or figure model I suggest 4 to 7 meals per day of mostly chicken, broccoli and brown rice. Why? Because that's what many champion bodybuilders and figure models eat so it clearly works.
It isn't so much that chicken, broccoli and brown rice are healthy because if we look at those three simple ingredients we run into a dilemma: the chicken is considered healthy by the keto and carnivore eater but not the vegetarian while the rice is fine for the vegetarian but not the others and the broccoli will put the carnivore in an early grave. So healthy is somehow subjective.
Instead the reason this diet works is that it's so much easier to control what goes into your body if you are consistent. If your end goal is lots of muscle and little body fat you need a very strict diet and it's hard to eat 5 to 7 meals a day over many weeks if you need to think about it each time you cook. They just need precise amounts of proteins, fats and carbs and if they sacrifice variety to gain accuracy then it's worth it.
So for regular folks, preparing your meals using whole, raw and real ingredients is the key. If you wake up in the morning and pour your breakfast into a bowl, then go to work and grab lunch from a vending machine or food outlet and then come home and throw some pre-packaged frozen food in the oven before cracking open a bag of potato chips while watching Bridgerton I can guarantee you will not have the body you desire.
Eating real food is most of what makes up a healthy diet; while being vegetarian, paleo, vegan or carnivore is mostly about philosophy and lifestyle choice. Even processed food that looks and sounds healthy like protein bars, jerky, rice cakes etc are only a better alternative to rubbish. The key is to ask yourself: if you ate this for every meal would it start to make you sick?
If you go to the supermarket and mainly fill your trolley with food from the outside isles where the fresh food is kept and then go home and cook it - and you do that for almost every meal - you will probably not be overweight or unhealthy.
If you want low body fat or a bodybuilder's physique you will need to focus more on the details but it will just be a stricter version of the simple yet effective: 'preparing and eating real food' diet.
Tip: Try removing one 'bad food habit' from your diet, like that evening snack or the soda you have with lunch. If nothing else changes you will have removed a few hundred empty calories from your diet and over time will look and feel better (presuming you don't replace it somewhere else in your diet). Tip 2: It will be much easier if, rather than removing a food, you actually replace it with something better, like an evening cup of herbal tea or some fresh squeezed lemon with sparkling water.