The Right Diet for YOU...

The newest most controversial topic seems to be diet. Having reached a status on par with politics and religion, it almost seems that any conversation that turns to what you eat now requires  an apologetic tone to your voice, a pair of boxing gloves, or a quick exit. With all that's going on in the world, it's hard to believe that people can get downright nasty about what someone chooses to eat and even go so low as to resort to name calling and belittling. Whether it be Juicing, Vegan, Paleo, or Ketogenic, proponents seem to feel strongly that their way is the ONLY way simply because it works for them. The truth, however, is that the only GOOD diet is the diet that works for you... Let's start out by defining what we mean by "Diet." For our purposes here, we are speaking about "the kinds of foods a person or community habitually eat." The second definition of diet- "a special course of food to which one restricts himself for a period of time"- is not, in my opinion, even worth discussing in depth because dieting in this manner has proven time and time again to be unsuccessful over the long haul for weight management. The very statement "I am going on a diet" indicates that it is something to be gotten on and off at the whim of the participant, just like the roller coaster that is likely their weight. In the conversation of what diet is right for you, it's important to take a broader view of the foods consumed that includes rituals, holidays, vacations, customs, culture and day to day fare. This all encompassing view of diet takes a long term look at the ups and downs of calories and the seasonal shifts of the actual foods that show up on your plate.

As we look back over time and across the globe, we can find populations that have survived and thrived on all sorts of diets with none of the medical issues that we see prevalent in the American Diet. The Massai, a semi-nomadic tribe in Africa who have traditionally consumed raw meat, raw milk, and blood from the cattle they herd with little or no vegetation whatsoever. This amazing tribe, existing on protein and saturated fat, have consistently shown little to no existence of dental caries and an average cholesterol that is half the American average. The Inuit people, a native people of the Arctic, exist most of the year on raw meat and blubber from whales, seals, bear, and caribou. During the warmer months, these people are able to forage a bit of roughage from berries, grasses, and other vegetation. This traditional diet consists of about 50% fat, 35% protein and 15% carbohydrates. By contrast, the traditional Japanese diet consists of a much higher carbohydrate ratio coming from large consumption of rice. Though on average, the Japanese consumed in surplus of one half pound of fish per day, the remainder of their caloric intake came from properly prepared beans, rice, and soy (all items shunned by some current diets).

Examples abound of traditional diets that seem to go against everything touted in the at least some of the millions of diet books sold last year, all of which are quick to give you the perfect meal plan with another catchy name and a list of No-No foods for you to avoid. What none of these books takes into consideration is the truth: "There's actually a lot of 'diets' that work just fine and a lot more that do more harm than good for many." Have Hypothyroidism? Better beware the juicing craze! Adrenal Fatigue? Intermittent Fasting is a hormone hurricane waiting to destroy you! No Gallbladder? Watch out for the latest love, Coconut. Diabetes or High Cholesterol? A vegan diet just might not be a good choice. Heart Disease a real risk factor? Low Fat, High Carbohydrate diets an make things WORSE! But no one tells you any of that....

And no one tells you the simple fact that the best diet is always an N-1 experiment. Yep, it's always trial and error in a scientific research project of you, just you! So, before you go do a "Juice Detox" (yeah, um, your body detoxes naturally ya know.... there's a bunch of checks and balances for that) or drop your calories to 1200 per day or load up on everything coconut or gluten free or green, let's consider for a moment the diet that's going to work. Unfortunately, I don't have a fancy name for it. And it doesn't come with a clean little No No list or a meal plan that records your intake down to the minutiae. It's actually quite boring in its simplicity but spectacular in its freedom. Just Eat Real Food. That's it. I'm sorry you read all of this and that's all I have to give you but, that's it. Eat food as close to how it occurs to nature as possible. Avoid packages. Learn traditional preparation of foods. Come back to the kitchen and to the Dinner Table. Sit. Enjoy. Make Conversation. Try New recipes. Maybe even grow a vegetable plant. Invite your children to cook with you. Try new veggies. Experiment with herbs and spices. Read the book Nourishing Traditions. CHEAT, sometimes. Start slow and add one thing at a time. Notice how you feel, and change it if it's not working.

I know that's so broad. But it's the only diet that works.