No One-Size-Fits-All Diet
THERE IS NO ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL-DIET
Because I am such a fan of Green Smoothies, and I work as a Vitamix sales demonstrator, a lot of people assume that I am a Vegan – and I WAS for MANY years! But if you read my chronic fatigue story, you will see that I was getting sicker and sicker on a Vegan diet. Because I am passionate about helping others, and my own health problems were turned around by dietary changes, I am always eager to share what I know with others. When I am at a show, there often isn’t enough time to cover everything I want to mention, so I created this page. I hope that it is helpful!
Many people buy a Vitamix machine to improve their health by improving their diet. I am not talking about a “diet” to lose weight, I’m talking about “diet” as a way to describe how one eats the majority of the time. But the question, “what is the best diet to improve my health” is not an easy one to answer. Is it Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Primal, the GAPS Diet, Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Fruitarian, the 80/10/10 Diet, Raw Vegan, Raw Paleo, Low-Fat, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, the Grapefruit Diet? The list goes on and on. A person’s diet can have a profound effect on their health. Diabetes, Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, and Obesity can be reversed through diet. Many people have beaten Cancer through dietary changes. This is serious stuff! And because it can be so important, so very life-changing, people often take their opinions of what is the “best” diet to the extreme. If a diet greatly improves someone’s health, it is only natural to want to “share the good news” with others, but problems can arise if we don’t understand that the kind of diet that works for one person, may not work for another. I hope that my story will help illustrate this point.
When I first went to see my naturopathic doctor, she handed me a diet plan that was very similar to a Paleo / Primal / GAPS-type. I rebelled. For the first six months, I simply could not bring myself to eat meat. Not for moral or taste reasons, but for health reasons. I was CONVINCED that meat was acidifying and health destroying. I had been (for all practical purposes) a Vegetarian for about 4 years, and just before my second “chronic fatigue crash”, I had been on the very restrictive 80/10/10 diet for over six months. My naturopathic doctor was getting frustrated with me (adding protein and healthy fats to my diet was essential in her view). Lucky for me (or is it just that I am constantly BLESSED?) I ran across the concept of Metabolic Typing. The book, “Biochemical Individuality” in particular helped me to see that a food that can be acidifying to one body type, can be alkalizing to another – Meat Included! The concept that meat could be alkalizing was simply revolutionary to me (and thank God it freed me to try the diet my naturopath was pushing on me)!
Metabolic Typing is a field of study that attempts to determine the diet that fits best with individual body types. “The Metabolic Typing Diet” is a good book on this topic. “The Nutrition Solution” is another good book about Metabolic Typing. “Eat Right 4 Your Type” (aka The Blood Type Diet) is similar, but not exactly the same as the concept of Metabolic Typing. I personally don’t find the food lists presented in, “Eat Right 4 Your Type” to be accurate for me, but this diet DOES help get a lot of people headed in the right direction. When I am at a show I often ask people, “what is your blood type”? If you are a blood type “O” it is LIKELY (but not set in stone) that a a Paleo / Primal / GAPS-type diet will work well for you. If you are NOT a blood type “O”, it increases the odds that a Vegan or Vegetarian diet may be best for YOUR individual biochemistry.
My naturopath also wanted me to increase the Healthy Fats in my diet. It wasn’t until I read, “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” and I increased the coconut oil in my diet that I began to improve my hypothyroid issues (cold hands and feet, low energy, inability to lose weight, etc.). Reading “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” and adding Coconut Oil to my diet was a huge turning point in my health. I began to sleep better (not great, but it did help a LOT with the hypoglycemia induced 3-4 am insomnia). Understanding the difference between Healthy and Unhealthy Fats is critical to good health. “Know Your Fats” is an EXCELLENT book for the more scientific minded on this topic. For people concerned about saturated fats causing “high cholesterol”, I highly recommend, the many books exposing the pharmaceutical-industry-promoted “Cholesterol Myths”
I buy my Virgin Coconut Oil by the gallon from Tropical Traditions. If you are a first time customer with Tropical Traditions, and purchase through one of these links, you will get a FREE copy of this book: “Virgin Coconut Oil – How it has changed people’s lives, and how it can change yours!” *
I can’t make a page about “Diets” without mentioning my favorite “Healthy Diet Cookbook”, “Nourishing Traditions“. It is an Amazing combination of informative “textbook” and “cookbook”. If I could only have one cookbook, there is absolutely no question, it would be “Nourishing Traditions“.
The goal of any “diet” (or way of eating) is to provide maximum energy, a sense of well-being, and good health. A very good way to “customize” a way of eating that works best for YOU and YOUR body is to follow the plan outlined in the book, “Diet Wise” – the subtitle says it all: “Let Your Body Choose The Food That’s Right For You”! The plan will help you identify the foods that don’t work well with YOUR body. These foods are not necessarily True food Allergies – they can simply be Food Intolerances. In my case, Wheat turned out to be a MASSIVE problem for me, yet I am not celiac (someone who has a true wheat allergy). Again, this book supports my assertion that there is no ONE right diet for everybody. We all have different genetics, and different biochemistries.
While I am on the topic of food intolerances… I think that Wheat Intolerance is nearly epidemic, and that any diet that eliminates wheat is OFTEN successful PRIMARILY because wheat was eliminated! Although I have yet to read it, the book, “Wheat Belly” seems to be the most popular book on this topic. I have the books, “Dangerous Grains“, and “Going Against The Grain” in my personal library. Because I’ve found that a Paleo / Primal / GAPS-type diet works best for me, I am not only “wheat free”, but am also mostly “grain-free”. At minimum, I think that everyone should go wheat free for at LEAST a month. After a month, you will know if this simple (yet potentially profound) dietary change will benefit you. Many people feel SO GOOD after eliminating wheat from their diet, that they never go back (that is what happened to me)!
And now that I’m talking about “eliminating” things, I have to mention getting off of sugar (because getting off of sugar and wheat + drinking a Green Smoothie each day is what turned my health around initially). I assume that everyone knows how bad refined sugar is for you, but just in case you don’t, here are some books that will open your eyes! Stevia is my favorite sugar substitute. I plan to update my page on “Sweeteners and Smoothie Additives“, with more information on Stevia, but in the meantime, here is my FAVORITE kind of Stevia (NuNaturals Liquid, Alcohol Free Vanilla) from iHerb, or from Amazon (check to see which company has the best price).
A word about RAW vs. COOKED FOODS Diets. I fully support everyone in their efforts to improve their health, and sometimes people have to try something in order to know if it will help them. I personally eat a lot of raw foods, but I’ve never believed that it is necessary (or even desirable) to have the goal of being 100% raw. I believe that a lot of the benefits of “going raw” can be attributed to getting off of grains (kind of hard to eat “raw” grains). Since the Raw Food Diet automatically eliminates grains, and since eliminating grains is so beneficial to so many people, the “miraculous” benefits of “going raw” are often attributed to the “rawness” of the food, when it was really something else. That being said, if you are eating a raw food diet and you feel great – then I say keep it up! But if you are stressing in any way about being “100% raw”, or if you don’t feel “100%”, I recommend that you consider this extensive, scientific, and balanced analysis of cooked vs. raw foods. NOT to persuade you to abandon your raw food lifestyle, but to help you feel OK about modifying it, and feeling less guilty about eating cooked foods (if you aren’t experiencing vibrant health, or are facing unbearable cravings for cooked foods). I find “unbearable cravings, to often be your body telling you something very important!
For those who would like to increase the raw food in their diet, I love Rene Oswald’s book, “Transitioning to Living Cuisine“. As I said, I eat a LOT of raw food (compared to the S.A.D. way of eating), and I find this book FULL of GREAT recipes, tips, methods, etc. She is great at making you feel 100% ok with whatever level of “rawness” you want to achieve! And WOW, what a workout your Vitamix will get with many of her recipes!
I want to give a quick explanation of why many people feel GREAT on a Vegetarian or Raw Diet (INITIALLY), but may in the long term start to feel run down and tired. Our bodies are always in the process of two different activities: “tearing down” (catabolic) and “building up” (anabolic). Some foods are better suited to assisting with each of these functions. Initially I felt fantastic on the 80/10/10 diet (a crazy diet of ONLY greens and fruit!), but over time my health really started to deteriorate. It turns out that FOR MY BODY, the 80/10/10 diet was almost 100% catabolic, and there was almost no anabolic (or “building up”) process going on. At first, my body was very thankful that lots of bad stuff and toxins were clearing out, but over time, there was nothing of substance to nourish my body. My adrenals and thyroid took the worst hit. I started to get REALLY sick. (This is when I sought out my naturopathic doctor). When I finally got on her Paleo / Primal / GAPS bandwagon, I started out with a VERY low carb version of the diet (very anabolic / “building up”). My body was so grateful that I was putting nutrients and the building blocks for cell-regrowth in that it wanted to stay VERY low carb for a long time. Then after several months, my body started craving healthy carbs in the form of increased (cleansing/catabolic) fruits. This is just another way to say, that we all have to learn to LISTEN to our Bodies!
I’m almost done, but wanted to share with you two ways to “Learn To Listen” to your body… First is the concept of “Mindful Eating“, this is almost a spiritual / meditative practice. Since our mental/emotional/physical/and spiritual aspects are completely intertwined, this is a great book to address the mental/emotional/and spiritual aspects. Another angle is a “Food Diary/Food Elimination” program. This one is more limited to the “mental” angle as it is more mechanical, but for many – this is exactly what is needed to learn to discern exactly what your body is telling you about the foods you eat!
The topic of “Diets” is so huge that one could fill a Library with books on the topic. I can’t cover everything I want to share with you, but I do hope that in some small way, this page helps you form a more balanced view of “diets”, and especially that you find something that helps YOU to feel better, sleep better, and have more energy! As always, Please Feel Free to Contact Me, if you would like to pick my brain. I am not a trained nutritionist, but my health has improved in a large part because of changes to my diet, and I am passionate about helping others (you) experience the same positive changes!
*The “Gubernment” requires me to inform you that if you become a First Time customer of Tropical Traditions during your visit through one of my links, I earn a gift certificate. I can only use my gift certificates for products on the Tropical Traditions website. Please rest assured that if you ever purchase from any of my affiliate links (some of which can be found all over this page and here: http://blenderlady.com/donate/), all referral rewards that I earn in Cash are used to either: 1) pay my web designer, 2) build my kid’s college fund, or 3) to buy Quality Dark Chocolate.
By Lea Ann Savage Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved.
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