Is it just me or is the number of diet books out there completely staggering? I could easily get lost and overwhelmed in the diet section of a book store, Barnes and Noble or Amazon.
According to TheExaminer.com, thousands of diet books are published each year! With all of this supposed healthy eating information available, shouldn’t this generation be the healthiest?
Even though thousands of “experts” publish their opinions and findings regarding healthy eating, we’re not any healthier. In fact, for the most part, each generation is getting fatter and sicker.
Never before have parents had to worry about outliving their children because of obesity or “adult” diseases and conditions like Type 2 Diabetes, stroke or heart attack. If you’re anything like me, the latest statistics about kids and disease freaks me out.
When it comes to healthy eating, is one diet better than the rest? With so many options, how do we know which diet to choose?
The Top 5 Most Popular Diets
I thought it would be a good idea to start with a brief overview of 5 of the most popular diets. Seeing the differences and similarities will give us an idea of why it’s so hard to figure out the best course when it comes to healthy eating.
1. The Atkins Diet. The idea: carbs are bad, protein is a wonder food. In 2002, the diet underwent some adjustments so that people didn’t get the impression that they could healthfully exist on a diet of bacon and eggs. https://www.atkins.ca/
2. The Mediterranean Diet. The idea: low fat proteins, especially those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, lots of veggies, fruit, whole grains and some red wine. This has been considered one of the more balanced and heart-healthy diets. http://dietamediterranea.com/en/
3. The South Beach Diet. The idea: cut out carbs at first, while eating low fat proteins and dairy. Eventually, whole grain carbs are allowed into the diet. This diet was created by a cardiologist as a heart friendly option to the Atkins diet. http://www.southbeachdiet.com/diet/
4. The Zone Diet. The idea: 40-30-30. The goal was a balance of protein, carbs and fat. Forty percent carbs, and thirty percent each of fat and protein. http://www.zonediet.com/
5. The Paleo Diet. The idea: eat what our ancient ancestors ate. If our ancestors could thrive while being chased by lions and dinosaurs, diet must be the reason. This diet consists of lean meats, fish, fruits, veggies and nuts. Everything else is out. http://thepaleodiet.com/
My Issue With Many Of The Diets On The Market
The crazy thing about the thousands of diets out there is that people who try them claim they get fantastic results. And most of them do.
I have an issue with this, though. Like I said before – if these diets are so effective, why are we dealing with more obesity and disease, especially in the younger generations?
Don’t get me wrong – I think some of these diets do have merit and I’m stoked for the people who have lost weight or seen improved health. Good for them!
But, there are a lot of fad diets out there that promise big results. What they fail to tell people is that the results will be temporary because the diet is so restrictive that people can’t stick with it.
Our bodies need fats, carbs and protein, as well as vitamins and minerals. Severely restricting one or more of these will only wreck havoc on it in the long run. And, in the short term, people get incredibly discouraged because they “lack the willpower” to stick to their severely restrictive diet.
If adults feel that way, imagine how hopeless kids must feel when they can’t lose weight or get their blood sugar levels in check. Kids don’t have a clue—they think that they’re weak.
Let me tell you this, my friends—it’s NOT your fault! Believe me – you don’t need to beat yourself up.
I know it seems overwhelming and sometimes it's just easier to not give a crap. Trust me, I have been there. We have all been there at some time or another when it comes to changing out habits with anything. Whether it is food, finances, fitness, and so on.
The biggest thing is to just start, don't wait.
You don't have to go from A to Z or from eating Cheetos to Seaweed. But, maybe you can go from A to F?
What you need is to come up with a personalized approach to healthy eating.
“The You Diet”—Why A Personalized Approach To Healthy Eating Is Best
So, how do you create your personalized “You Diet”? Here are some simple steps.
It’s ok to tweak a diet. If you find a diet that seems balanced (aka: not too restrictive) then go with it. There is no harm in tweaking some of the principles so that it’s a better fit for you and your family. For example, my family tends to lean towards a vegetarian diet, but we’re not opposed to eating meat occasionally. We also try to limit our dairy and simple, processed carbs.
Like anything in life, it's ok to find something we really like that is already out there, but tailor it to our needs. For example, when building a home, you might find a plan online you really like, but you make a few tweaks to the design so it works better for your family.
Eating is no different!
Do your homework. Learning how to read ingredient labels is one of the most important steps you can take when it comes to cutting out highly processed foods. And that’s because reading the ingredients is the number one way to know what’s in your food.
Don't be duped by the claims on the front. Focus on the ingredient list.
Ingredients are listed by quantity, from highest to lowest. Try looking for products that list whole foods as the first three ingredients, and be skeptical of foods with long lists of ingredients.
We typically by organic to protect ourselves against GMO's. Yes, I know you can eat something that is organic and it not be healthy, but at least you are protecting yourself from the GMO's.
Make sure you brush up on your label reading and learn about hidden GMO's.
Find healthy recipes. We are so lucky to have "The Google". There are a ton of resources available to find healthy recipes that taste incredible. Even TV chefs are recreating recipes to offer healthier versions. Google any ingredients and add recipe to your search and you will be well on your way.
For example, Jodi and Cade were away for the day. It was just Cali and I. I didn't want to go to the grocery store, so I searched up a healthy rice recipe and found a lemon, parsley, parmesan recipe. I replaced the rice with a TrueRoots Accent Blend.
Bam! Just call me Emeril Nadeau.
Balance. Above all else, remember that balance is key. Even if asparagus was the healthiest food on the planet, but you detest it, trying to base a diet around it would make you quit ASAP.
Find nutrient-dense, healthy foods that you actually like and find healthy recipes so you can thoroughly enjoy them.
What’s Most Important To Us
You’re probably familiar with why I’m so passionate about finding healthy foods and healthy recipes for my family. Probably the most important part of this is that we know exactly what we’re putting into our bodies. Every single thing that passes our lips – we know what it is and how it’s going to benefit us.
We’ve gotten really good at not only reading nutrition labels, but also in choosing nutrient-dense, fresh foods, especially our greens. Come on now, you knew I was going to say it: Greens rock!
In all seriousness, though, when it comes to dieting, focus on health not on fads. Think about how a food item is going to affect your health now and in the future. That is the key to healthy eating and long-lasting healthy results.
Are you ready to start the “You Diet” movement? Can you think of an even more awesome name for that diet? I’d love your feedback. Comment below or join the conversation on social media.