Here we are at the end of 2017. If you're anything like me it still feels like the year just started - what a whirlwind year this has been! I'm excited for 2018 and the new adventures it has in store. For many, with every new year comes some resolutions or promises to get healthier. It is at this time when I am frequently asked "Hey Jill, I want to start a new diet in the New Year. Which is the best one to help me lose weight?", (or reduce inflammation or improve digestion...you get the picture). Well, my friends, the answer I always give is probably not the answer you'd expect.
There are a number of proclaimed "best" diets that are particularly pervasive in our culture these days:
It's hard for anyone without an education in nutrition to make sense of it all and know what is truly best for the goals they want to achieve. There is a continual cycle of ever-changing diet trends, most of which put all of the emphasis on, or eliminate completely, specific nutrients and food groups which only serves to create a mire of confusion and doubt. It's no wonder that so many throw their hands in the air out of frustration and confusion and stick with eating in the patterns that are making them sick, inflamed and overweight!
With the exception of the Mediterranean Diet, there have been no rigorous, long-term studies on any of the diets I have mentioned to show that any of them are deserving of the "Best Diet " laurels. At least none that are free of bias or confounding evidence that is. That said, there are benefits to each and every one of the diets listed above and it all comes down to what is the right way of eating for each individual person at a specific time. What does that mean? It means that our bodies are constantly evolving and passing through different phases, whether it's because of the natural aging process, stress, environmental exposures, metabolic/hormonal imbalances or specific illnesses. Latching onto one way of eating because it is the latest trend, and staying with it for the long-haul, isn't always practical or healthy. That's not to say it can't be done, but it depends on all of the holistic factors that determine our state of a person's overall health.
Starting a new and healthier way of eating doesn't have to be overwhelming or feel like a prison sentence. Food should satisfy not only our body's nutritional requirements, but it should also delight our senses, please our taste buds and be something that we want to share because food is life: it's social, it's pleasure, and all of that is also part of the big picture of health. However, if you're currently eating in accordance with the standard North American way of eating which is rich in refined sugars, saturated fats, processed "food-like substances", your taste buds have become accustomed to an artificially-flavoured, high-sodium, high-sugar sensory overload, and the first place to start is with the tips I am about to share.
My Advice for the "Best Diet"
Eating well doesn't have to break the bank. It doesn't require $15 juices, thousands of dollars a month in supplements, mysterious food ingredients, or expensive kitchen equipment. If you can afford all of that and want to invest, go for it! All the power to you. But if you can't, that's perfectly okay. The ultimate goal in moving into healthy 2018 and beyond is to eat simply and eat deliciously fresh foods as they are found in nature. If you're currently eating the majority of your food from a box/can/bag/drive-thru, then you will certainly notice an increase in your food expenses as you transition into these tips for healthier eating. But remember this: the cost of disease is high. If you don't pay now, you will pay later. If diving into the following recommendations scares you, just keep in mind how much you will save on your healthcare in the future, and how much you will immediately save on eating out - which can be thousands of dollars a year if you do the math!
Now, keep in mind these are general recommendations. If you have an ongoing chronic health issue such as an autoimmune disease, adrenal or other hormonal imbalances, specific organ pathology, or even a history of cancer, there will be certain tweaks to these guidelines that will need to be made based on your own personal needs and biochemistry. This can be done with the help of a qualified nutritionist (like yours truly...wink wink).
I understand that reading this long list of recommendations may seem a little overwhelming and "unstructured", but once you get into the groove of getting out of the "DIET" mindset, things will just flow so much easier.
Need a little help getting on track? Check out my free Quick 'n' Easy Meal Plan , complete with recipes, shopping list and prep guide to get you started on your journey to a healthy and balanced 2018!
Ditching the "diet" mindset is one of the best things you can do in order to make real and lasting changes to your health. It's all about creating manageable and sustainable nutrition and lifestyle changes. That's where you will really see progress and create the transformation you desire!
If you would like to explore how working with a holistic nutritionist can help you achieve your best and most vibrant health, please feel free contact me at email@example.com or by phone at 519.404.9919 to schedule your FREE 30 minute discovery session to discuss how I can help you reach your wellness goals.
Jill Taylor is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. She is the mom of two pretty awesome teenagers, s very dramatic dog, a hedgehog and a snake (yikes!). Jill assists her clients in achieving true wellness through thoughtful and compassionate dietary and lifestyle coaching. Feel free to visit the "Contact" page to get in touch. Jill would love to hear from you!