What diet is the best? Ketogenic, Paleo, PULS, Mediterranean, low carb, Atkins, ZONE, HCG, DASH, anti-inflammatory, Vegan, Vegetarian, Raw food, Weight Watchers, MIND, Specific carbohydrate, FODMAPS, TLC, Ornish, autoimmune, Esselstyne, Candida...
There are so many I am even overwhelmed!!!
I believe what it comes down to is basics is lots of fruits and veggies and limited sugar, processed foods, and fried fats.
Also, much of it comes down to trial and error and keeping a detailed record of what you eat each day and any resulting symptoms. This will help determine foods you are reacting to immediately and should give a good deal of information. Now if your digestive symptoms, energy levels, vitality etc. is still not where you want it to be then you may be having a delayed reaction, which can occur up to 3 days after eating the offending food – this makes it super difficult to determine what food(s) to cut out. This is where I would suggest doing an elimination diet – another diet! I know ☹ However, it is a gold standard for determining what you can and cannot eat. It involves eating only one food for ~1 week until your symptoms get better then slowly introducing a new food one at a time and waiting to see if a reaction results. I find it incredibly difficult to do this so the alternative is an expensive private test called MRT, which uses a patented technique measuring your reactivity to a panel of 85-170 different foods and additives. It screens for inflammatory reactions which is different than a typical food allergy panel that looks at IgG reactions (which can be highly variable). With your results you can create a base line eating plan and then slowly introduce one new food at a time and watch for a reaction (similar to an elimination diet, but with more options to start with speeding up the process).
Is it worth it?
I would recommend this to anyone who can afford it - it is preventative medicine as well as a curative. Untreated inflammation is not good - it causes an array of problems down the road including nutrient deficiencies, arthritis, pain, and increases ones risk for cancer. The testing company has a list of conditions that they see the best results including: IBS, crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, GERD, PCOS, eczema, interstitial cystitis, chronic ear infections, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, arthritis, depression, migraines, and ADHD. It involves taking a small blood draw, sending it away and results typically come back within in a week.
Now if you don’t have any of the above listed conditions or digestive concerns then just follow the rules below and you will still be doing yourself a huge service:
Top 9 healthy eating tips:
1. Always change up the types of food you are eating…if one night/week you had chickpeas and rice then the next night/week have lentils and buckwheat. Anything you eat every single day you can develop an allergy too, especially proteins.
2. Cook on lower heats or always have water while you are cooking to ensure the temperature never gets above 100 degrees celsius
3. Plan ahead and meal prep; I like to dedicate Sundays for getting my meals all ready for the next week this helps reduce eating out as well as grabbing quick food which are typically processed
4. before eating take a few deep breaths – relax – and slow your mind down then pay attention to each bite, the flavours, textures, and most important your satiety level. It is always surprising when you do this and each bite tastes better and better and you will up so much faster. I have even found that foods I normally crave no longer interest me.
5.. Balance out your meal so all your taste buds are satisfied: sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and savory. See my mini infograph here!
6. Aim for ½ your plate to be veggies (eat more raw in the summer and spring and more cooked/lightly steamed in the fall and winter), 1/3 complex carbohydrate or starch and 1/3 protein with each meal (if you had a grain at one meal add a legume with it or have some with your next meal – the protein compliment each other), 1/6 fat at each meal (~ 1-2 tbsp unsaturated fats - liquid at room temp, ½ avocado, or 1 tsp saturated fats – hard at room temp).
See my mini infographic (I like to print these off and hang them on the fridge).
7. Eat smaller meals, have salad before meals, and again try to relax before eating - all help increase acid production needed in the stomach to absorb minerals and break down protein ( I will write an article on this in the future). Everyone loses stomach acid as they age it is inevitable.
8. Fasting ~leave 12 hours between your last meal the night prior and the next day; this is a form of intermittent fasting; so if you have to skip your breakfast I do not mind – just make sure you eat something if you plan on doing an extremely long or intense workout to prevent any hypoglycemic episodes. Also, if you need to eat something in the morning try a bulletproof coffee, ½ an avocado, or a small portion of seeds or nuts - it will keep you in ketogenesis (fat burning and repair mode, including improved insulin sensitivity). Better yet is taking an entire day to 3 days to fast!
9. Lastly., 80% of the time eat healthy and 20% enjoy - eating is one of the biggest indulgence humans share and have prided themselves on for centuries, it is seeped in tradition and culture and part of our major life events. So eat up, be indulgent, and enjoy… just not all the time!