A discussion on the most popular diets in society and how each have some merit to them. While no diet is perfect, there can be positive aspects that you can pull from various ones to shape your own dietary lifestyle with.
The perfect diet doesn’t exist.
Instead, every diet out there has some positive attributes about it. Or at least that’s what I think.
In the past I’ve done in-depth posts on various diets and nutrition trends out there. In my Focus On series, I tried to remain pretty objective and just state the facts of different eating styles so you could get an idea of what they’re all about. In other instances, I’ve been a little more critical and outright said why I don’t necessarily agree with a certain diet.
The underlying theme of all of this research and all of these different posts has been: you have to find what works best for you. It’s simply said, but much more difficult to actually discover. Especially when you’re constantly being hit with the latest diet of the stars, the next Dr. Oz fad, or the most recent craze sweeping your CrossFit box.
Today I want to offer you a new perspective on how to approach your diet. Even though it may seem in the past that I am completely against certain lifestyles….I’m not. Nothing is black and white, and I think that almost every eating approach has some redeeming qualities to it. The whole concept may not be spot on and may not fully work for you. But by incorporating the best components of different eating styles, you can craft a well-balanced, mindful approach to eating that gives you the best of the suggestions that are out there.
Today I want to highlight a few popular diets that are out there and the parts of them that I find can be incorporated healthfully into your life.
- emphasis on avoiding processed foods and refined sugars
- quality protein and healthy fats
- eat real foods, prepared well
- fermented and cultured foods — like yogurt, kefir, and homemade sauerkraut — are beneficial for gut bacteria
- eat eggs, preferably from pastured chickens
- raises awareness of the impact of meat-eating on our bodies and the environment
- overall emphasis on whole, plant-based foods: plant derived proteins, veggies, fruits, and whole grains
- eat seasonally
- opportunity to benefit from the many vitamins and minerals which a plant and nut based diet provides
- focus on produce and lean protein, especially fish
- liberal use of heart healthy oils in place of animal fats
- water is the best ‘non-alcoholic beverage’
- eat a moderate amount of dairy products, and opt for low-fat ones
- snack on fruit, dried fruit and unsalted nuts
- limit intake of highly processed ‘fast foods’ and ‘ready meals’
- focus on more filling, nutrient-dense foods
- minimally processed, whole foods: such as whole grains, veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, fatty fish and lean meats
- helps regulate your blood sugar, helping you avoid fatigue-inducing blood sugar spikes
- eat well-balanced meals every few hours and always start the day with a healthy breakfast to jumpstart your metabolism
- clean eating helps you avoid dangerous levels of trans fats and others chemicals known to harm your health
- “clean” foods are simpler and have fewer ingredients, thus foods are closer to their natural state
- allows you to incorporate ‘fun foods’ into your diet in moderation
- embraces the ‘no foods are off limits’ notion
- based on the idea that you maintain an overall nutritious diet
- allows you to eat a great variety of nutrients
- some flexibility in your diet is key to long-term success
I think if you can incorporate some attributes of a bunch of different diets, your life will be that of the ultimate Flexitarian. That’s pretty much what I would consider myself. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, my diet philosophy is as follows: eating whole foods from the earth and incorporating foods from every food group in moderation. Nothing is off-limits and my focus is on eating as close to nature as possible. Does this mean I swear off packaged foods? Nope. Do I not eat sugar? Nope. Do I eat meat? Yes, just not red. Eating this way allows me to eat what I want based on what seems good in the moment and also to eat what best nourishes my body.
Lucky for me, my tastes and preferences tend to veer towards things that are naturally good for my body! But if your palette differs, use these dietary principles as a blueprint for finding what works best for you in terms of enjoyment and health. Where those two things meet is where you’ll find ultimate satisfaction.
Do you follow a specific diet?
Do you believe that one diet is inherently better than another?
What is your ‘food philosophy’?