D is for Diet – specifically debunking common diet “rules” that continue to circulate in healthcare spheres.Diet advice changes from year to year, but a few pieces of well-intentioned advice tend to stick around longer than others.The word “diet” has become synonymous with ideas of …
Diet advice changes from year to year, but a few pieces of well-intentioned advice tend to stick around longer than others. The word “diet” has become synonymous with ideas of starvation, suffering, restriction, a temporary fix, no longer being able to enjoy certain foods … often all for the sake of vanity or shedding unwanted weight.
Advertisements on TV scream the promises of ‘losing 30 pounds in 30 days’ or ‘losing all unwanted fat with a magic pill or concoction’ without ever having to give up any beloved food.
Diet literally means what a person eats. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines diet as “food and drink regularly provided or consumed”.
We have been brainwashed to think diet is a negative word that brings sorrow and pain to most people.
I’ve got good news! We HAVE a diet. We do not GO ON a diet.
Have you heard any of these rules of thumb for staying hydrated?
Eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day
Drink 1/2 of your weight in ounces of water every day
Drink a gallon of water every day
None of the above well-known are backed by science. ZERO. NADA. ZILCH.
There is no denying drinking water instead of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages will help your overall health, but the amount is individual. Some people require 1-2 glasses of water each day, while others may benefit from 2 liters. There are many factors involved when determining your ideal amount of water. Each day that amount can change – even if you are doing the exact same amount and type of activities.
Environment, stress, food, and sleep can all play a role. Please stop chugging water for the sake of chugging water. You can do harm to your body if you overhydrate. Hyponatremia is when your body’s delicate balance of multiple electrolytes is diluted. It can be life-threatening. Including proper electrolytes will allow you to hydrate adequately.
I cringe whenever I see someone proudly showcasing themselves drinking a nasty green sludge. Not once have I seen someone actually enjoy it. Have you ever wondered why they taste so awful? The plants that are being pulverized or juiced have defense chemicals that cause them to taste so bad. It’s nature’s warning. We are not supposed to be eating it. The more bitter it is, the higher concentration of plant defenses are often present.
PLUS, anything that has been blended, juiced, or turned into a drink from a powder should be considered ‘pre-digested’ food. When your body doesn’t have to chew, you are missing a vital step in digestion.
Counting Calories and/or Macros
So many believe counting calories and macros is the gold standard for losing weight or fat. With the popularity of fitness tracking and calorie tracking apps available, you would think it works flawlessly.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tool to learn about what you are eating – in terms of quantity, but it is rarely accurate to plug in your height and weight and get an ‘ideal’ number of calories you should be consuming.
Calorie counting has a high tendency to produce psychological cravings and obsessive eating patterns. Possibly even accentuate already present eating disorders.
Relying on a calorie tracker does not teach you how to listen to your body properly and learn what your body really wants. Did you know calorie and macro contents are allowed to be up to 20% off? This equates to inaccuracy. Quality is not accounted for either. Carbs in a Twinkie are counted as the same carbs in veggies.
An example that I share frequently is that of me and my oldest son. When he was about 17 years old and I was 46 years old, we were roughly the same height and the same weight. Yet he ate at least 1,000 MORE calories per day than I do. We both are very physically active, so any adjustments in that area are virtually non-existent. If calories in – calories out actually worked, he would weigh significantly more than I do. Those that preach this method need to understand the law of thermodynamics doesn’t happen in a vacuum in humans. Hormones, genetics, along with multiple other factors are involved.
Quit counting calories and macros, and learn what your body actually needs.
This may be one of the toughest habits to get my clients and patients to break. Oatmeal (or any other cereal – protein fortified or not) is not an ideal breakfast for everyone. Fortification or enrichment generally means the product went through so much processing; nutrients need to be replaced. Yes, this counts for the whole grain family of foods, too. I dare to say, oatmeal is not ideal for anyone. Breakfast literally means ‘to break your fast’. Protein has been repeatedly shown to be best for reducing blood sugar spikes (and eventual drops) caused by higher carbohydrate options. Animal protein will satiate the best and has a higher absorption rate than plant protein.
More Veggies are Always Better
I lived in the belief for many years that I needed to eat something green at every meal. Little did I know, I was exacerbating my unhealthy gut. Consuming copious amounts of vegetables is not a full-proof recipe for fat or weight loss. Animal protein is superior to ALL plant proteins. Those with digestive disorders and GI problems will not process plant matter well and may cause increased inflammation. Just because a plant has a reported amount of protein, does not mean your body can access it. With grains and other plant foods, the plant defense systems/chemicals will prevent your body from absorbing calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Yep! Those very nutrients we are trying to absorb and may even be listed as being present are not absorbed by your body.
I am not anti-plants at all! Plants do provide many minerals and vitamins our bodies need, but not in the copious amounts recommended by the mass media or government. A great solution to getting a variety of nutrients from plants (in addition to animal products) is to eat seasonally.
Milk Does a Body Good
Do you remember the widely spread commercials advertising “Got Milk?” This campaign was initiated to help recover the loss in milk sales. And guess what? It worked.
Dairy is another dietary component I encourage many of my clients and patients to remove – at least temporarily. Dairy is often very inflammatory in many people, but this wasn’t always the case in history.
While researching for my book Pain Proof Your Diet, I uncovered the real reason pasteurization was invented – to remedy the milk sick cows were producing. Why were these cows sick? Farmers began feeding the dairy cows the by-products of producing alcohol. Yes, the reason pasteurization was developed was because dairy farmers were no longer feeding the cows what their bodies were meant to consume. They were poisoning them! Thankfully, many dairy farmers today do not practice this.
Regardless if the cows are fed on pristine pastures or not, many people do not digest lactose or casein after the age of two. Some may have a dysbiotic gut microbiome that needs to be healed in order to tolerate dairy. Try eliminating dairy for 30-60 days as see if your allergies, asthma, aches, and bloating are reduced. If so, you may want to remove it from your daily diet for now.
Are you healthy because of your diet? Or are you healthy despite your diet?