That is the age-old question, isn’t it? Magazine covers, Facebook ads, and TV commercials fill our minds with images of the perfect food to achieve the perfect body. We are coerced with “truths” from scientific studies and documentaries sponsored by the very people paying for the advertising and supplying the product. Is there a perfect diet for everyone? The answer is yes.
I despise the word diet because it has come to mean “a way of eating to help you lose weight”, depriving yourself of certain food groups based on the latest trend, but the word diet actually means “food that is habitually eaten within a community”. Back in the days of my great-grandparents, this food meant foods that were grown in or above the ground and meat purchased from the butcher shop or harvested themselves. It was what we consider today as whole foods or unprocessed. A diet, to my great-grandparents, was considered nutrition or fuel. It was what helped them stay healthy and live productive lives.
But I digress…So what is the perfect diet for you? In my opinion, the perfect diet for you is eating in whatever way brings you to optimal health. It also means eating foods that work for your body. For instance, my husband has celiac disease. For him to have optimal health, he must avoid anything made with wheat, rye, or barley. He also has to be a detective at the grocery story to look for hidden ingredients that may use a different name for gluten. This is the reason that we primarily eat a whole food diet. What exactly is a whole food diet, you say? Let me explain.
A whole food diet is made up of foods that are on the outermost aisles of the grocery store. I consider this a 2 tier strategy. The 1st tier is items from the produce department, the meat counter, and the dairy section (if you’re not lactose intolerance). The 2nd tier is items that have less than 3 ingredients and are only eaten a few times per week. These items could include yogurt, kefir, condiments without added sugars (fake or real), and canned veggies or frozen fruit and veggies. I do not recommend canned fruit because the majority of those contain extra sugar or syrup. If buying fresh fruits and vegetables are outside of your budget, you may add frozen veggies in place of fresh on the 1st tier.
Most clients I have worked with have had success losing weight, building lean muscle, better sleep, and more energy just by cutting out prepackaged foods and implementing the 2 tier strategy mentioned above. This isn’t to say that you can NEVER have ice cream again or your favorite double-stuffed chocolatey goodness, but once you start eating healthier and start feeling better, your body will crave those items less and less. You will begin to save these items for special occasions and not as post-meal staple.
What about eating out? Margarita night with the girls? Beers and the game with the neighbors? My thought is that if you are not doing this every single night, you should be fine. Just don’t let the weekend or girl’s night derail your hard work during the week. You would be shocked at how easy it is to let that happen. Food you can’t control + alcohol = feeling terrible, crappy sleep, and probably a higher number on the scale.
So…is the whole food diet the best diet for you? I can guarantee that it won’t be bad for you and I can promise that you will feel exponentially better. Does it take a little work to get there? Yes. Do you have to dive in head first? No. Rome wasn’t built in a day and even small changes can lead to you to your goal. If you would like more information on how to implement a whole food diet into your lifestyle, please reach out. I am happy to collaborate with you in reaching your goals. 🙂
P.S. For those that like to read more of the science-y stuff, here is an article, based on 3 individual studies, that explains how consuming a diet in processed foods vs. whole foods affects your body; two studies are from the British Medical Journal and one study is from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The studies are linked within the article so you can investigate further.