We are officially in the third week of the new year and many people are still looking for their “fresh start”. It’s at this point when resolutions that have been made may not be panning out as you thought, so rather than give up, let’s talk about something we can easily change… nutritional goals!
There are a ton of different lifestyle diets out there and it can get confusing as to which are the “best” or how to properly follow one of these specialty diet plans. Getting the correct information is key to not only successful results but also to truly make your nutrition a LIFESTYLE change!
Here are some quick guidelines on lifestyle diets, I specialize in, to help you decide which may be right for you.
Hot topic here… GLUTEN. I get the most questions about going gluten free. What is gluten? Is it bad? Isn’t it just a buzz word? The simple fact is this… gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains that are typically ground into meal. Gluten is not “bad” so much so as it is not tolerated well by most people’s digestive systems. These people are gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant, which means their bodies produce an abnormal immune response when breaking down gluten during digestion. This immune response can create bloating, weight gain, excessive inflammation, skin issues, pain, brain fog and overall fatigue. Choosing to live a gluten free lifestyle would include eliminating wheat, rye and barley products like bread, crackers, pasta, certain spices and seasonings. So, if you are someone who struggles with some of these symptoms, you may be gluten-intolerant and starting a gluten free diet or being tested for gluten intolerance may be a great fit. At Whole Family Healthcare we offer two different Food Sensitivities Test that will tell us what you specifically are sensitive or allergic to. Click here to learn more: http://www.wholefamilyhealthcare.com/food-sensitivity-testing/
As I am sure most people know, a Paleo lifestyle follows the inspiration of Paleolithic humans, eating only what a hunter/gather would have had access to in that time period. The focus is on protein rich meat, fish, fruits and vegetables while eliminating grains, dairy, processed foods and any sugar. A major rule of the paleo lifestyle that is often overlooked is the emphasis on wild caught, grass-fed, naturally sourced food. Processed food, even if it is grain/gluten/dairy free, is not a good match for a paleo diet and should instead be replaced with fresh and naturally derived options to ensure the pure benefits of the Paleo lifestyle. There are many blogs and websites that boast recipes or diet plans that are “Paleo” but they don’t meet the true requirements, so check the source of the ingredients!
A true ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, very low carbohydrate nutritional structure. Contrary to popular belief, a diet high in healthy fats found in nuts, fish, avocado, and coconut oil can reverse serious illnesses like diabetes, insulin resistance, seizures as well as aid in weight loss. By removing carbohydrates from your diet and replacing them with quality fats, your body begins to reverse its energy process, breaking its reliance on sugar and carbohydrates. Glucose (or sugar) is typically what the body uses as a primary energy source, thus storing fats because they are not needed for energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body begins to utilize fat as its primary energy source rather than storing it. Overtime the body adapts and can reverse serious illness by running on good fat based energy sources.
Another lifestyle diet that can be misunderstood. A true vegan diet is one that eliminates all animal products including meat, dairy, fish, honey and all other animal by-products. Although most vegans practice this lifestyle for either religious or personal reasons, there are great health benefits to being either completely or predominantly plant based. Commonly people struggle with going plant based because of a lack of creative recipes but there are so many ways to make delicious vegan food with amazing vegan substitutes for typical ingredients like cheese, mayonnaise, sauces, meat and eggs. Visit here to read some of my favorite vegan recipes: http://www.wholefamilyhealthcare.com/clean-14-program/
From the book The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, the Whole 30 diet plan is one that encompasses a few different lifestyle diets to make a very comprehensive approach to improving the body through diet. To truly follow the Whole 30 program, it is important to eat meals that are free of grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol, and sugar for 30 days. After the strict 30-day time period, you begin reincorporating food groups back in to see which ones induce inflammation and negative reactions. I typically recommend my own version of the Whole 30 plan for anyone looking to learn about food allergies or intolerances. While you begin the 30 day “cleanse” so to speak, we conduct a food intolerance test via blood work and when the 30 days are complete, we have results to know exactly which foods may be safe to reincorporate without harming the progress you’ve made during the initial phase.
To get more help in starting a resolution you can truly commit to, customized to your needs, contact Whole Family Healthcare at 407-644-2990 and schedule an appointment for a Nutritional Consult today!
Alexa Schmidt, MS, BCN
Nutritionist & Neurotherapist
Whole Family Healthcare