Which diet/foods are right for me?
As a nutritionist, I often get questions like what is the best diet or what should I eat?
Those are always great conversations.
Looking at what we currently eat and what foods are best for us, based on how we feel and symptoms we may have, is a great start to understanding how our personal eating needs affect us, and can change, even as the seasons change.
As an example, in the cancer world, there are some people who have changed their way of eating to be Ketogenic (Keto) and report success. Others have changed to Vegan, totally plant based, all carbs with moderate fats and plant protein, but no animal meat or products, and also have reported success. Two totally different diets helping different people, based on their own personal diet needs. Neither diet is perfect for every one.
Additionally, there are others who are in the middle of these 2 diets and have changed to a whole foods diet, inclusive of both animal and plant based foods with moderate amounts of each fats, protein, and carbs, and have reported improvements in their health and how they feel. How can these radically different diets help people’s health? It is based on what works best for those individual people.
The desire to find the perfect diet is natural, but it is important to understand that our own personal diets are going to be somewhat different for each of us. Our own personal diet is the best one for us.
We do best when we pay attention to how food makes us feel. This includes looking at our energy levels, our mood, our sleep, our digestion, our skin, and our symptoms in general. When we listen to our body by noticing if we have certain symptoms when we eat certain foods, that gives us some direction for each of us individually.
It may seem overwhelming on where to start, so start where you are. Keep a food log of what you eat now, and include over the course of the day how you feel in your body, including your mood, your energy, your sleep, and your bowel movements. Those areas all contribute to your quality of life. If your quality of life isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, then start to make some changes, and diet is a great place to work on.
Maybe you eat a breakfast of toast and jam. If you make a change to have an egg with whole grain toast and a cup of fresh berries, see if that changes how your energy is in a few hours. Is it better, or worse? Maybe as good as those whole foods are, the combination of them is not right for you. Have the berries or fruit first, then wait 30 minutes to have the eggs and toast. Maybe the whole grain wheat is not working for you, if so you can try a healthy gluten free bread, or try an egg on a baked yam slice, in place of bread. It is delicious and so filling! See how that feels.
Find a few options for breakfast that help you feel energized. Again, it can be the combination of a few foods, even healthy ones, that do or do not work for you. It can take some time and creativity to get this right, but it is so worth the time, when you can address nagging symptoms and feel your best with more energy and a better mood and clear thinking.
Once you have breakfast down, tackle lunch, then dinner. Find your best options and combinations.
How do you know if a food or combination of foods are not working for you? Some examples include energy that drops right after a meal, pain in your digestive tract, dark circles under the eyes (allergic shiners), foggy thinking, pain in joints and different areas of the body, constant stuffy nose or clearing of throat, etc. These symptoms can be caused by other reasons as well, but they are certainly areas that food can affect.
Quality Greens is full of whole food options in their stores. With the large assortment of fresh and local produce and foods, finding inspiration and ideas to make healthy food changes can be so much easier!
Enjoy your week!