Paleo. Intermittent Fasting. Keto. Vegan. Carnivore… The list of potential diets to follow, food philosophies to embrace and nutrition camps to belong to are seemingly endless.
It can be overwhelming, confusing and frustrating. (Download the FREE Nutritional Mastery Meal Planning Success Blueprint Below to get Clarity!)
Who is right? And if one is right, then what if I’m wrong? What is the best choice?
Here’s the truth the zealots don’t want you to know: There is no one-size-fits-all diet. There is no best. The best nutritional approach for the individual is an individualized approach. Imagine that!
Millions are made on diet books, supplement pills, fad diets and extreme claims. Unfortunately, many of these “new discoveries” leave people even more confused with more questions than answers. And while there can be many arguments for or against one approach there is more overlap than not, and we can learn from the similarities of these different camps. (They have more in common than people realize.)
In the end, we are all humans and we all need food. So, what kinds of foods? In what amount? And at what times? The right ones.
Nutrition Science: Experiences and Extremes vs. Sound Science and Education
Our experiences often dictate our beliefs. Here’s a prime example of how someone gets attached to a specific diet.
If someone only eats the (S.A.D.) Standard American Diet exclusively and switches to (fill in the blank diet) they may believe it is superior and claim that it is THE WAY. That is has magical powers!
In the documentary What the Health producer Kip Andersen says that after he changed his diet, “within a few days I could feel my blood running through my veins with a new vitality.”
If you could literally feel the blood running through your veins, then people would be very weary of the (S.A.D.) Standard American Diet as it’s currently clogging arteries at unstoppable rates!
Lierre Keith, an ex-vegan and author of The Vegetarian Myth, claimed that when she ate a bite of tuna fish after many years of veganism: “I could feel every cell in my body—literally every cell—pulsing. And finally, finally being fed.”
Think about that… The human body consists of some 37.2 Trillion cells. How scary would any experience be if you could feel them all?!
Sadly, in the world of nutrition there are many outlandish claims. The extremes either try to give people a supernatural faith in food with false hopes that it can cure all diseases or they use fearmongering and overstepping what science validates in order to scare people into thinking that food is the cause of every disease. Be wary of those extremes.
There’s a lot of money to be made by manipulating people and giving them false hope. Sadly, some aren’t above reproach and will happily pollute the waters with their snake oil poison. Which is quite sad because we do need a movement and a nutritional awakening, just one based on integrity, honesty and science and not imagination, false hope and fallacy.
So, whether we are talking about overhyped diet claims that will “get you results like nothing else” or selling people false hope, you can see that the world of nutrition can be a divisive and deceptive place.
The Truth Is Out There – Or in This Case Somewhere in The Middle
I care about your health. Will you care for it?
I care about where we’re headed as a civilization…
…The invention of hyperpalatable (super normal) foods made by scientists in labs paired with the effects of our modern-day food production are making grave impacts. Both affect our health, our population’s future health and the health of our planet.
Do you want a great way to start taking care of your health TODAY? Try this simple approach that works wonders! It’s a very simplified way to distill down the diets that work.
- Eat less crap
- Don’t eat crap
That pretty much sums it up. Maybe it wasn’t the magical “THIS IS THE BEST DIET EVER” so and so did that helped them lose weight and feel better – maybe it was the pizza, Oreos and coke that got cut out that had the biggest impact! Because those foods do have the biggest impact on your waistline, health and future self!
Diet vs. Dieting – What’s the Difference?
I use the word diet to describe one’s nutritional approach and it isn’t the same as dieting.
A diet is what you eat day in and day out.
Dieting is a specific strategy used to meet specific goals.
One of the limiting factors that people face in transforming their health and body is that they don’t improve their diet before they start dieting. They jump straight into dieting and then think they can go back to eating whatever they were before on their diet.
This may be one of the reasons there is a strong push towards the “diets don’t work” mantra. I would contend that dieting is a skill that one learns, but without first having the habits of a healthy diet the dieting is likely “to fail.” Dieting can work. It has worked for many, but those that it works for also have a good understanding of how to eat healthy and maintain the progress they get from dieting once they return to their normal diet.
Build Habits Before Using Tactics
I recommend learning and practicing foundational skills, so they become habits first, instead of jumping straight into advanced strategies that you:
- don’t need to make progress
- probably won’t be able to sustain for a long time and
- may not even be necessary once your diet is dialed in and your habits improve.
Here’s to building healthy habits! Remember, habits before tactics.
Don’t skip the kiddy pool and jump straight into the deep end. You just might drown or “fail” as we say in dieting culture.
“I failed again…”
…Maybe, you just found a way that doesn’t work for you… like Thomas Edison did so many times before he invented the light bulb.
Failure is only failure if you stop moving forward. Fall forward and learn the lessons. Then get up, persevere and keep at it. At least that’s what Edison did! I hope that idea helps to give you a light bulb moment.
A Deeper Dive into What Really Makes Diets Work
Here’s what each diet that works has in common. Focus on these to start improving your health, losing fat and feeding your body to thrive and be energized!
1. Eat Whole Foods
Successful diet approaches place an emphasis on eating a wide variety of minimally processed whole foods.
Foods that come from the earth.
Foods that we have been eating since the dawn of time.
Foods that are palatable and not designed by scientist to make us eat more!
By focusing almost exclusively on eating these types of foods you’ll have more energy, feel fuller longer, and you’ll be less likely to overeat. These palatable (normal) foods allow you to get in tune with your own hunger cues which is a superpower when it comes to finding a diet approach that works for you.
2. Eat Protein and Produce
By focusing on key macronutrients, micronutrients and fiber your body will run like it’s supposed to. It’s best to get these foods in their “natural packaging” vs. processed nonsense.
Have you ever seen the list of ingredients on a fast food chain hamburger and bun? Man stripped all the nutrients away and then fortified these breads and cereals, etc. instead of leaving nature to be.
Eat your fruits and veggies and you’ll take care of the nutrients you need. They will also leave you feeling fuller longer, thanks to fiber. Satiety. Focusing on eating protein will get you full. Satiation. [i]
I’ll leave you with this powerful secret. It’s a motto I want you to remember: “Protein. Produce. Protein. Produce.” Shop the perimeter of the store when you aren’t hungry keeping this in mind and you’ll start making progress!
Eating more protein can also come from plant-based sources in the form of buckwheat, quinoa, lentils, and beans etc. In 2018 the average American ate 222 pounds of meat and 7 pounds of beans. Having that number meet in the middle would have a great impact on our environment and our own health.
Eat more of these smart carbs.
Carbs aren’t bad. No one ever got fat on minimally processed whole foods like potatoes. It was the butter, bacon, cheese, rack of ribs, bread, more butter, coke, appetizer and dessert you had with that poor potato we blame that made it a 2,000+ calorie meal. Leave that poor potato alone and look at the total portion size of everything you’re eating.
No food in isolation is bad (except trans fats). It’s more about how much, how often, and what your overall weekly intake looks like.
3. Include Healthy Omega-3 fatty Acids
The S.A.D. has a ratio of 20:1 or 16:1 of omega-6 to omega-3. Omega-6 isn’t bad per se but when it isn’t balanced with omega-3s that’s when issues arise. Omega-6s are proinflammatory and omega-3s decrease inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases. Many of these modern-day lifestyle-related diseases manifest from eating too much food and the wrong types while not moving enough in the right ways.
We are the only species that doesn’t eat, move and breathe the way we are supposed to. We overlook these essentials and wonder why we don’t look, feel and perform at our best.
In Nutrition not getting enough of the ESSENTIALS like essential amino acids (protein), essential fatty acids (EFAs: EPA, DHA) and water are just a few critical components people overlook in their diet and dieting efforts.
Supplementing with a high-quality fish oil is a great way to start covering those essentials. Here’s a great liquid fish oil that doesn’t have a fishy flavor. Here’s a great capsule product that has a few more ingredients like 5000IU of vitamin D, K2 and grapeseed extract for heart health. Use code SAVE10 for 10% off. Morphogen Nutrition’s whey protein and greens drink are also amazing and will help to cover even more nutritional bases.
Good Nutrition is built upon a solid foundation that covers the essentials and includes what’s beneficial. Pair that with meaningful activity and you’ll be building lasting health. Movement is Medicine and it’s best served in daily doses.
4. Avoid refined omega-6 heavy oils
Wheat. Soybeans. Corn. Those are three agriculture sources that drive so much of our food production. These cheap vegetable oils are found in everything. Instead of a great extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) in a salad dressing, it’s canola or soybean oil. Instead of all-natural pure peanut butter, they add partially hydrogenated oil, taking a perfectly good food and adding trans fats to it. They do this so the oil doesn’t separate. Give me the separated oil every day and keep that trans fat for yourself, food scientist!
Ditch the inflammation and start paying attention to your food labels! Go as close to natural as possible. Use macadamia nut oil and avocado oil for cooking, add EVOO on a nice salad and start including more healthy fats like fish, avocados, nuts and seeds.
Your heart health, inflammation and cell permeability will thank you! Cell permeability is one part of insulin sensitivity/resistance, so if you’re prediabetic (have metabolic syndrome) then this is one change you can make to add to your overall health! Strength training helps fight prediabetes too!
5. Limit or don’t eat processed foods
There are no good or bad foods. Just good or bad times to eat those foods. Your favorite restaurant on your birthday? Great idea. Eating it weekly on top of draining your health account by eating too many calories you don’t need and not moving enough? Probably not the best idea if longevity and maximizing your short-term and long-term health is something you want in your future.
I tell my son almost daily to “Use Real Words.” And to adults I say, “Eat Real Food.”
If you want to get real with your health, making these changes is a great place to start!
Here’s a quick recap of the five rules every successful diet includes:
- Eat whole foods
- Eat protein and produce
- Include healthy omega-3 fatty acids
- Avoid refined omega-6 heavy oils
- Limit or don’t eat processed foods
I help people build these healthy habits for life; no diet labels necessary.
I can help you create your own owner’s manual using an individualized approach, optimize your food choices and dial in your macronutrients using palm-size portions to help you reach your goals. We will focus on the key behaviors that lead you to the outcomes you desire. Let’s make lasting progress that you can keep for life!
Send “Personalized Nutrition Report” to the CONNECT page if you’d like a blueprint to help you start building these habits. Send “Success Session” to CONNECT and we can schedule a SUCCESS SESSION to learn more about you and your goals. There are many ways that I can help you achieve your goals.
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Nutritional Mastery Coaching can help you:
- Learn to eat better, without dieting or feeling deprived.
- Get active and moving no matter what shape you’re in.
- Produce lifelong change inside and out for a brighter healthier future.
You can choose health and I can help navigate and coach you on your unique journey.
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[i] Bellisle, France et al. “Sweetness, satiation, and satiety.” The Journal of nutrition vol. 142,6 (2012): 1149S-54S. doi:10.3945/jn.111.149583