Maybe it takes a little more than an apple a day. There are obviously so many choices out there as far as diets go. Rather than listing all the options and going through pros and cons of each, I thought I’d give some suggestions and guidelines to follow when making your decisions about what to eat. This way, even if you don’t want to choose some fixed plan, you can at least make a more informed decision about what to consider “healthy”.
So if you have a desire to eat healthy and see some conflicting info swirling around out there, this post is for you!
I just want to add a little disclaimer that all anyone can do when offering advice is suggest what worked for them and what they have learned in their own research. I noticed that changing my diet on the basis of the following guidelines led to my improved health and beauty and I only wish the best for everyone else 🙂
1. Choose your diet based on HEALTH- not quick fix promises
Everyone wants to lose weight and lose it like, yesterday. I totally get it. However, diets or eating hacks that promise this type of result are most definitely not aimed at protecting and supporting your health at the same time. You could do a number of crazy things to lose weight quickly, but you would undoubtedly sacrifice some aspects of your physical and mental health along the way.
One of the ways you can focus on your health is by not looking at it as a “diet!” It’s much more beneficial to inform yourself about which foods are truly healthy a why, rather than follow some strict regimen without asking questions and just focusing on losing weight. When you focus on the health aspect first, the losing weight happens naturally– along with a number of other beauty benefits!
Following a particular rigid meal plan can be stressful and feel like a chore. When you discover and start eating wonderful, healthy foods that support your beauty and energy, you won’t feel obligated to keep going. You’ll start feeling so good that you’ll want to continue naturally! Also, when you cut certain things out of your diet like sugars and processed foods, your body starts to crave them less and less- so you’ll feel less tempted by the bad stuff anyways. 🙂
2. Focus on eating whole foods rather than processed foods
Whole foods- foods that come from the ground: fruits, vegetables, good grains-these provide all the nutrition we could ever need, and in the purest form possible! To your body, it’s very different to take in vitamins and minerals from a vegetable versus vitamins and minerals from a processed, sugared-up protein bar. Our body expends so much energy to digest that unnatural stuff, that we become depleted of energy and throw off the balance of our digestive tract. Remember: an unhappy digestive system= overall depletion of physical health and beauty.
Nature made those foods for us to get energy from! How could a processed, frozen dinner provide the same nutrition? This is why the diets out there that limit fruit, vegetable or (healthy) carb and fat intake do not have our best interest at heart. They are thinking of ways that you can lose weight fast- not support your health. I am sad to hear friends of mine talk about how they “can’t” have fruit on their diet- fruit is the most natural, and cleansing food out there and serves an important purpose for our bodies.
The Atkins diet, for example, can allow you to eat bacon and cheese all day, but no fruit. That may biologically lead to fat decrease, but that would be about all it accomplishes. You are most definitely not getting any valuable nutrition from that volume of animal protein or dairy, and your digestion is working in overdrive to process it all-as animal protein is the hardest thing to digest. Not to mention the numerous other side effects that kind of diet can lead to: hair thinning and loss, lack of energy, constipation due to the lack of fiber, and so on.
3. The “no carb” diets
Good, healthy sources of carbohydrates- farro, buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice- are all whole foods and offer so many great vitamins and minerals. For those that eat exclusively plant-based or are looking for plant sources of protein, quinoa is a complete protein. It’s 10x easier to digest, and feels much lighter than animal protein.
White, refined carbs are processed and have any and all nutrition stripped from them in their production. These do not digest easily, and don’t even really fill you up as much as one of the hearty grains listed above.
But, again, diets that are so restrictive as to cut out natural, whole food sources, are focused on weight loss- not health.
4. The famous counting calories diets
Counting calories has got to be one of the best ways to lose your freaking mind while trying to lose weight. I did it once upon a time and was completely miserable measuring out 12 crackers every time I wanted a snack.
The truth is, the closer we get to eating more whole foods, the less we even have to even consider calories. Foods loaded with fiber, for example, fill us up and are very low in calories. Whereas, small portions of processed foods can be very high in calories, lack any fiber, and leave you feeling restricted and craving more.
Not to mention the psychological side of things. To view your diet- a huge part of your everyday- in such stressful, technical terms is very mentally taxing. It is not healthy for your body or mind.
If you guys are interested in a great book to get you going on a great “diet” plan (I hate to even call it that because it’s more of just a presentation of health information) The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder is a great place to start.
Remember that your health comes first, and everything else follows. 🙂