How you could be approaching your diet plan the wrong way round
A shift has occurred in the world of diet and nutrition recently that is moving us away from the low fat, calorie counting, slave to the scales diet plan culture of the previous decades.
With the emphasis now being placed on wholefood diets that are either largely or completely plant-based. And with diets such as the Paleo diet, which draws its inspiration from the simpler culinary times of the Hunter gathers. It’s clear to see that the restrict, reduce and replace diet dogmas that we’ve long been sold by the food industry, are no longer ringing true.
Now is a time to view the various components of our diets integrally and holistically, not autonomously. Time to see the food we eat as the provider of a magnificently intelligent network of inter-supporting and codependent nutrients. The driving life force that creates a vast system of chemical reactions to travel between our gut, our brain and the organs and tissues of our body.
Forget reducing food down to the mere calorie and fat content, or even homing in on individual vitamins and minerals. Now is a time where varied rainbow diets rule over-restrictive diets, and individualised response to your lifestyle’s dietary needs is favoured over a blanket approach for all.
Here are 3 old beliefs with regards to diet and nutrition that may be holding you back from realising your full potential for a happy and healthy body and mind.
Try adding things to your diet as opposed to taking them away
For too long now an exaggerated emphasis has been placed on the need to restrict elements of your diet. Fat-free, sugar-free, low carb, gluten-free, low GI, no dairy, you name it! There’s been so much scaremongering around certain food groups that it’s hard to know what should be included in our weekly shop or not. Instead of focusing on what not to eat, why not focus on adding foods by diversifying your diet with as many whole foods as possible.
The importance of the role of a healthy gut biome is currently stepping forward to centre stage in nutritional research. The role gut health plays in reducing inflammation and supporting immunity, as well as our mental wellbeing, is being ever more understood as pivotal to our wellbeing. And one of the best ways to support this vast community of living organisms that call our gut call their home is by feeding them with as diverse a range of plant-based foods as possible. Studies cite that trying to include around 30 varieties of wholefood in your weekly meals is the best way to optimise the gut flora.
For more information about the importance of a healthy gut micro-biome click here.
How to eat a gut-supporting rainbow diet
Does eating 30 varieties of wholefood sound challenging? Try foraging in your local greengrocers for some fruit and veg that you’ve never cooked with before, it’s surprising how much we reach for the same items for our trolley when at the supermarket. Then use internet recipe searches to shake up your stagnant recipe repertoire with these new ingredients. Remember that often overlooked wholegrains such as bulgar, barley, oats and quinoa; and legumes such as lentils, beans and peas; can help you to hit the higher end of your wholefood variety spectrum.
Different colours represent a whole wealth of different nutrients. Therefore, the more vibrancy and variety of colours in the food we eat, the more chances we have of covering all bases to nurture every aspect of your being. And as you begin to fill yourself up on unprocessed rainbow foods, you’ll find that the need to reach for foods high in refined fats and sugar will diminish.
For some healthy healing recipe ideas click here.
The 80/20 diet plan rule
A little bit of what you fancy does you good! And turning any food into forbidden fruit will only encourage an unhealthy relationship with food and cycles of craving and binging, with all the negative emotional connotations that come with that. Eat varied, eat vibrantly and eat fresh. But don’t fret if you occasionally reach for the biscuit tin or a bacon butty. Try to keep it at the 80/20 ratio for wholefood to processed and you’ll see how no harm is done with the odd convenience treat.
For more advice on how to get more fresh food into your diet click here.
Make sure you include plenty of good fats in your diet plan
Fats are essential to the health of our skin, for our inflammation pathways, and for helping us to absorb the nutrients we need from our food to support our immune system. We just need to make sure it’s the right type of fats that we’re consuming.
Try to include natural fats such as extra virgin olive oil, chia and sunflower seeds, avocado and nuts like walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts, in your shopping basket.
Omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish, seafood, seaweed and flaxseeds, are said to play a significant role in improving our mental as well as physical wellbeing.
If you choose to include animal fat from meat in your diet, try to pitch for high quality over quantity. Aim to eat good quality meat once or twice a week, and then rely on oily fish and wholefood fat sources on the days in between. And don’t disregard important yet overlooked cuts of meat such as liver, which pack a powerful punch in their nutritional value as well as being gentler on the pocket.
Ignore the scales and trust your intuition
Do any of us actually have a healthy relationship with the scales?
I know from my own experience that I tend to lose weight, not gain it when I have extended periods away from weighing myself. Maybe this is because I rely much more on my intuition when I don’t look at the scales. Feeling what foods leave me feeling bloated and sluggish and which ones leave my stomach feeling satiated but calm and my clothes feeling comfortable.
It’s far better to develop a daily relationship with your intuition, over one with your bathroom scales. Learn how to fuel and nourish your body in a way that’s right for you and your lifestyle and it will respond with the gift of energy, health and vitality.
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