Healthy eating. What does that mean? Do you need to ‘go Paleo’ to see health benefits? Or should you adopt a Vegan lifestyle? With so much conflicting information available to us these days, it can be difficult to know what’s best. I’d like to share with you my 5 tips for choosing the right diet for YOU.
Over the past week, I listened to The Right Diet Summit by Marcus Pearce. The Right Diet Summit was delivered by way of 8 short podcast interviews which each focused on a different approach to healthy eating. Whilst each diet varied significantly from the next, there were some common themes presented and I just couldn’t help but gain respect for each and every guest. The passion oozed out of them as they shared their way of eating, so I’d like to start by summarising what each Right Diet Summit guest had to say and, since there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to healthy eating, I will then share my 5 tips to choosing the right diet approach for YOU.
Cyndi O’Meara – Fat Elimination
Cyndi explained how her 4 Phase Fat Elimination Protocol mimics the hunter gatherer who would eat more during the summer (when food was plentiful) and less in winter (when food was sparse). This protocol kick-starts the body’s natural ability to use stored body fat for energy and allows you to budge the stubborn kg’s. The final phase however, is arguably the most important, as you learn how YOUR body responds to foods as you reintroduce them. The knowledge that you gain from listening to your body enables you to eat in a way that best supports YOU. If you would like to learn more about how the Protocol works and how it could help you, please visit Cyindi’s website.
Jo Whitton – GAPS
Jo told her heartfelt story of how her son’s mental health led her entire family to the GAPS Protocol.
“The term GAPS, abbreviated from Gut and Psychology Syndrome was created by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, MMedSci (Neurology), MMedSci (Human Nutrition) in 2004 after working with hundreds of children and adults with neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ ADHD, schizophrenia, dyslexia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other neurological and psychiatric problems.” GAPS Australia.
With a transitional focus on repairing the gut, GAPS enabled Jo to nourish her son back to health. If you think GAPS may help you, Jo recommends buying Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book to get started. You may also enjoy her Quirky Cooking Blog.
Pete Evans – Paleo
Pete explained that Paleo is often misrepresented in the media. It is not a meat diet; it is a diet full of a variety of fresh, vibrant, nourishing foods; foods that support health and do not promote inflammation and chronic disease. Pete also shared what I believe is the best analogy for healthy eating. Paleo or not, I believe we can all appreciate this:
“Here is a story I told my kids two years ago after I picked them up from a party. They both had big lollie bags in their hands and they wanted to know whether they could eat them or not.
I asked my girls if they had a bunny and they knew that by letting the bunny only eat grass, lettuce, carrots and drink water, that the bunny would live a healthy disease free life, would you feed it only grass, lettuce, carrots and water? They both replied with an eager ‘YES dad’.
I then asked that if you had some lollies or soft drink that the bunnies wanted, because some of the other bunnies in the field were being fed lollies but the other kids…but you knew there was a chance of the bunnies getting sick or shortening their life, or being in pain, would you feed the bunny those lollies or drinks?….well you know what the answer was, it was an adamant ‘NO dad’.
Well I said you are my bunnies and I will do my best to make sure that you have a diet that consists of the types of foods and water that will help maintain their health and they understood that.” Chef Pete Evans Facebook post, April 12, 2014
If you are interested in learning about the Paleo lifestyle, you may like to check out Pete’s 10 Week Program.
Damian Kristof – Omnivore & Blood Type Diet
Damian explained that you can gain insight into which foods best support your health by looking to your blood type. Some blood types do well with more protein, others with a greater fruit and vegetable focus and others still with more fast-growing and fast-moving foods (for example, choosing sprouts and quick growing vegetables rather than root vegetables or choosing turkey over chicken). He recommends that you check out Dr. Peter J D’adamo’s book “Eat Right for your Type” for more information.
Steph Lowe – Low Carb High Fat
Steph explains that if we lower our carbohydrate intake and increase our consumption of healthy fats, we can switch our metabolism to burning fat instead of sugar. This can help us to maintain a healthy weight and reduce our risk of chronic disease. Steph adds that the CSIRO recently acknowledged that LCHF could be a beneficial approach for managing Type 2 diabetes.
Sam Gowing – Food as Medicine
Sam believes that if we eat seasonally, organically, and locally, we will find that ALL foods are superfoods. She recommends that food is medicine when we apply these guidelines. We don’t need to look for what the latest and greatest product is; we just need to ‘look in our own backyard’.
Adele McConnell – Vegan
Adele explains that a plant based diet doesn’t have to be bland, boring or complicated; it doesn’t have to mean funky faux-meat products. She never enjoyed meat as a child and her family always ate a wide variety of cuisines, so she prides herself on her ability to create delicious plant-based recipes. If you are interested in learning how vegan can be awesome, or you are just after some vegetable inspiration, check out some of her recipes.
Dr John Demartini – Summary & Integration
Dr Demartini believes that when you have purpose and determination in your life, you will instinctively eat well, to perform well.
MY 5 TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT DIET FOR YOU
- Listen to your body. This is perhaps the most important tip you could ever receive. If after eating a particular food, you feel sick, bloated, sluggish, experience headaches, brain fog, anxiety or depression or any other symptom that just doesn’t feel right, chances are it isn’t. NOTE: If you are still learning to listen to your body, you may wish to keep a food diary (to record what you eat and how you feel each day).
- You don’t have to belong. Do your own research and find what you feel comfortable with, even if that means that you don’t quite fit one mold or another. For example, if giving up dairy makes sense to you, but you want to include some grains, do that! You don’t have to follow a Paleo diet to the letter, if you don’t want to.
- Choose quality. Regardless of which approach you choose to follow, a common theme on The Right Diet Summit was that convenience and ‘sometimes’ foods have become too ingrained into our regular diet. If you choose whole foods that are grown organically, locally and seasonally (where possible), then your body will thank you.
- 8o/20 Rule. The 80/20 Rule means that if you apply your chosen dietary guidelines at least 80% of the time, you should feel free to indulge a little, ‘cheat’ if you will, without guilt. Go ahead and enjoy a beer with a mate or indulge in a few squares of chocolate. Life is too short and its all about balance! NOTE: if you have a known allergy to a particular food, I do not recommend eating it EVER. The 80/20 Rule refers to occasionally treating yourself with something that you may not consume on a regular basis, or compromising with ingredients that you do not typically consume.
- Don’t wait. Another common theme from The Right Diet Summit, was that it often takes a health crisis for people to decide to take a look at what they are eating. Why wait? Why not support your health now, BEFORE you get sick? Choose a dietary plan that nourishes you, so you can be the best version of you. You are worth it!