What eating plan is best for you?
I have asked myself this question for at least 20 years. The answer was never clear until now. What changed? I did. I stopped looking for a magic formula to lose weight and started paying attention to eating things that felt good. When I shifted my energy from a place of desperation and an irrational desire to lose weight to one of appreciation and love for delicious food, thats when the magic happened. A simple mind shift.
I listened to what kinds of food my body wanted and payed attention to how different foods made me feel. Instead of constantly looking to deprive myself of nutrition, I became more aware of how nutritious foods made me feel. I approach food differently now. I'm not looking to lose weight or diet, I just want to nourish my body with good food that will gratify it and keep it in top performance. When I made this discovery it made all the difference for me. I now enjoy the act of cooking my food. I take pleasure in it. I admire it.
Below I'm going to talk about a few popular fad diets that are happening right now. They are:
The Plant Paradox
The Mediterranean Diet
The Keto Diet
The Plant Paradox. "The Plant Paradox Cookbook" by Steven R. Gundry, MD is my latest discovery. He talks about living lectin-free. I don't have any food allergies and have always been able to eat whatever I want, when I want. What I never did was to pay attention to how the food made my body feel after I ate it. In her book "Eat With Intention" Cassandra Bodzak talks about, tapping into your "food mood". For the past 6 weeks, I started thinking about food in a different way. I would meditate and ask my body what kinds of food it enjoys. To my shock, leafy green vegetables, warm wholesome soups and brightly colored flavorful fruits showed up in my mind. Isn't it interesting that cupcakes, pizza, steak and other foods that I've always eaten, never appeared. When you take time to breathe, focus on your body and really tune into yourself, the answers will come. They are all inside you, you just need to take the time to listen for them. As far as the Plant Paradox, it's all about lectins and can get VERY deep. I feel like this type of eating plan is much easier if you are already vegan to begin with. I'm not going to go into what this is all about here but I will say this, it's mind blowing and makes complete sense to me. Dr. Gundry explains it beautifully in this book. I'm no scientist and can't do it justice the way he does. He has a wonderful way in which he describes lectins and the role they play in our bodies that makes sense for people like myself who aren't science minded. If you are serious about what you put into your bodies, this is the book for you! I am doing it now and really enjoying it, a lot!
On the Mediterranean diet you eat plant-based foods, like fruits and vegetables (leafy greens), whole grains, legumes and nuts on a daily basis. Butter is replaced with healthy fats like olive oil, canola oil and other plant based oils. You use herbs and spices to flavor foods in place of salt. Seafood can be eaten twice a week. Red meat is consumed only a few times a month. Eat poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation. Discouraged foods are: Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods. A daily glass of wine is allowed on this diet. It's a style of eating that keeps with a traditional diet of people near the sea in parts of the Middle East, Africa and some European countries.
I like the sound of this diet and think that it will work for a large majority of people. Out of all of the fad diets out there, this one, in my opinion, seems easiest to stick to and is the most balanced. I think there will be less failure associated with eating this type of diet vs. the other plans.
The Keto Diet is a very high fat, very low carb diet for weight loss. 70%-90% of calories come from fat and 10% or less from carbs. Essentially you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat. This puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Webmd describes ketosis as this, "Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones. If you're healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don't normally make or use ketones. But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy." I've done this type of diet more times than I can count. I'm only speaking from my personal experience here when I say, it's difficult to sustain. Do you lose weight? Absolutely. Will you gain it back once you go back to your normal eating pattern? Absolutely and then some. If you follow the guidelines and do what your told, you can avoid failure. For me, I'd rather eat in a way that feels normal to me. I don't like depriving myself of things that I desire. I'm all about gratification. Food is king and I love it! It's very difficult to grocery shop when you are depriving your body of certain foods. Everybody is different and you have to do what works best for you. If this type of plan appeals to you, go for it!
The Whole30 is a monthlong elimination diet. For 30 days you omit added sugars, dairy, baked goods, grains, legumes and alcohol from your diet. Then, after 30 days, you add them back into your diet one group at a time. By doing this you are suppose to find out what foods cause certain negative impact on your body. It's like a 30 day body reset. One of my best friends is doing this now and seems to be really enjoying it. She made the BEST brownies the other day that I devoured. I think it's fun to experiment with different things that appeal to you in the name of your health. If this is something that sparks your interest I say check it out. You may just find that it's the key you've been missing from your nutritional lock. Again, it's all about paying attention to your body and feeling how eliminating certain foods make you feel. Who knows, you may love it!
Vegan diets have no animals, including fish or any foods derived from animals, i.e., eggs, dairy and if you are super strict, honey. Protein is in the form of vegetables, beans, grains, nuts (nut butters), seeds, nutritional yeast, hemp, peas and rice protein powders.
I personally am enjoying eating this way, for now. It suits me. I'm satisfied and feel like my body is thriving from a diverse menu that excludes animals, fish and dairy.
Intermittent Fasting is forgoing calories (fasting) or eating a super low amount of calories, like 500, for all or part of a day. There are many variations and I'm seeing this new diet craze EVERYWHERE! The most common plan is the 5:2 plan where you eat a normal diet for 5 days then for 2 days you drop your calories to 500/day. Other variations are alternate fasting or eating during a short time frame during the day like between 10 and 5 or 8 and 3. If you've heard of carb cycling this is cycling but with fasting! The premise is that if you give your vital organs a "break" or time-off, then uptake of glucose (sugar) by fat cells is reduced, which could potentially lower your risk of chronic disease. The kicker is, there is very little data on humans. Most of the studies have been done on lab rats, fat ones! It's super popular now, I'm seeing this everywhere and despite the lack of human studies it's been effective on rats.
These are just a few popular diets that are out there right now. My mom always told me to eat in moderation and that always worked well. I feel like when I deprive my body of something it wants, I end up regretting it badly! At the ripe old age of 49, I'm just at the point in my life where I am actually listening to my body and that seems to be working very well for me right now.