This can become a charged discussion and topic. I am going to handle this with care and truth. Up front, I do not believe Modern Western Medicine is everything as I tend to follow eastern dietary guidelines such as Ayurveda. I do not believe in total food group eliminations or eating mostly from one group on an extended basis. You can disagree with me respectfully and your opinion has value. It’s important to address the misconceptions surrounding what we should eat or not eat, especially fad diets. Hang with me till the end.
AKA as fad diets or diet trends. This isn’t completely unique to the United States but runs rampant with damage. The damage of diet trends can be your health, weight management, and body perceptions. Your health and weight management may take a toll with eliminating necessary food groups in your daily food connections and yo yo weight loss and gain. Constant weight loss and weight gain can cause stress on your heart and psyche. The reason that yo yo weight happens is extreme changes are successful for a time period and cannot be maintained. Thus completely eliminating carbs, going total protein, or high amounts of fat may be too challenging. This also puts your body function and flow into over drive or dysfunction. You need the right carbs to fuel. Too much protein can tax your kidneys and adrenal systems to the point of creating kidney stones plus more. High amounts of fat over time can create acid reflux/heart burn and heart problems. The true issue with many diets and fads are the extremes which impact you and your ability to believe in making sustaining healthy choices.
These trends are not wholly bad. Low carb diets have brought to light that much of our American carb consumption has been unhealthy and too much grain carb as opposed to needing fruit and veggie carbs. So yes, you need to reduce or eliminate white, bleached wheat products and aim for whole grains. The right carbs in the right amount is what is needed. Other diets have highlighted our over involvement with sugar and needing to lower sugar consumption. Some diets push more whole food and less process foods. There are times where you may need more of a certain group of food more than another. When my iron was low, I ate mostly lean proteins and vegetables. When my reflux acted up, it was half whole grains. Right now I am balanced and my food relationship reflects that. Temporarily doing a food more over another can be necessary but rarely beneficial in being permanent. Following diets of extremes are harmful. Take changes with a grain of salt and keep balance of proteins, fats, grains, and veggie/fruit.
Your Diet Choices
You need to keep balance in mind. I have been watching so many people and health professionals in these trends. Those who find balance and keep that “rainbow” vegetable and fruit food relationship are maintaining success and health with some of these diet trends. It is possible but balance is the key. They do not take extremes. A while ago, for kicks, I took a nutrition course from an Australian university. It was enlightening with global student involvement and instruction. From this and researching other countries dietary guidelines, I learned our government guidelines compares well in understanding (USA dietary link below). It is important to keep an eye on what changes in guidelines. Old enough to remember the food pyramind? Chuck that out the window. It’s more about the lean protein and veggies, while lowering (not eliminating) grains. Plus variety. And balance. Am I repeating myself? It’s that important. If you want more specific guidelines thus choosing a diet or point plan, know this needs to be a long term or permanent change. It’s not going to work long term if you go back to what you were doing before. Take note of why something is working. More often than not, its due to removing foods that were never met to be in your daily relationship to begin with and more of the good stuff. Take note when it’s not working. It could be your body needs something different. Something medically is going on. Or mental health and/or stress needs more attention. You are not a set of systems, you are a person with a soul. Your mental care affects your body’s function and ability. Your habits for your physical lifestyle affect your mental state. It’s all connected and needs to be viewed with equal importance.
I do whole heartedly believe, within reason, it’s okay to splurge every once and while. Self participation a couple of weeks ago. Certainly, semi splurge on a once a week basis (as in one meal). The reason for once a week, one meal has little to do with weight but more with it affects in how you feel afterwards. It sucks, trust me. Going to far in splurges impacts your over all emotional and mental health quicker than physical health.
Guidelines in You Daily Food Relationship
There are health professionals who can guide and help create specific plans if you find that route enhances your success. These things you need to keep in mind when making choices
- Am I eliminating a necessary food group? Am I eating too much of a food group? Carbs (grains & veggies & fruits), Proteins (nuts, beans, meat, and some veggies), or Fats (unsaturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated)- You need some kind of presence of these in your diet (also known as macros). Then as you go along, is it impacting your health negatively? I must watch my fat levels and keep it low but for others the recommended or slightly higher levels of fats are fine. Raw diets are not for everyone. It could impact your digestion. Too much protein and side pain? Get that checked out. Lower proteins or opt for more veggie based proteins.
- Is there appropriate portion control or can I achieve appropriate portion control? More than likely, Americans eat too much in a sitting but some diets call for too little and don’t accommodate for stepping down into appropriate portions. It’s okay to work into a life style change and it not happen immediately. Most likely small changes will lead to better success.
- How is my mental health? If you feel defeated and deal with self doubt then there is some soul/mental work to be done along side your diet changes. A counselor, wellness coach, life coach, spiritual coach, or trusted friend needs to be a part of your plan. Success in your food relationship is not wholly dependent on what you put or don’t put in your mouth. Its part mind set too. I love Louise Hay books and Mirror work she describes. EFT tapping is amazing (Tapping Solution, Donna Eden). These are two things you can invest in easily and right now. Additionally, don’t compare yourself to others. The steps you make are yours and they count. Baby steps are still steps. Concentrate on you then celebrate with others.
This is all to inform and caution you for your health and best success. No judgement on what you decided to do. With the exception, DO NOT go to the extreme unless a medical professional states it is necessary for you and you are being monitored. I cannot understate how important balance is.
Namaste in Your Food Relationship
Here is the current link for American Government Health Agency guidelines (2015-2020) https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/.