Should I be doing Keto, Intermittent Fasting, Whole30, Veganism, Vegetarianism etc?
I often get asked how and what should I be eating. Heck, I’ve even asked myself this very same question at various times in my life. Why the confusion you might ask? Well, for starters, there’s a lot of conflicting information flying around these days. One day egg yolks and coconut oil are BAD for you, the next day they’re GOOD. (BTW - I just made 2 eggs fried up in coconut oil and weather good or bad, it tasted amazing and serves me well!) The short answer is, “You need to figure out what works for you.”
We’ve all heard the advice there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to the eating protocol you choose. It’s not easy figuring out what works for you, but the sooner you start on your own personal health journey the easier it becomes. There is no “magic pill”, no “quick-fix” and no “universal diet” that works for everyone and for everything. You have to equip yourself with the correct knowledge (see image for a list of books you can trust) and start experimenting. It’s not easy, it’s not quick and it definitely won’t work on everyone. It requires a lifetime dedication. And what may work for you at one time in your life, may not work for you when your microbiome or hormones change.
Here are a few things to think about:
- Know your why and your context. Are you trying to heal an autoimmune disease, decrease or eliminate chronic inflammation, increase stamina and energy, lose weight, balance your hormones, become fat-adapted or fix a broken metabolism from years of chronic dieting. Are you an athlete, a crossfitter, a non-exerciser, or are you trying to build muscle? Each outcome and each context has a different dietary prescription.
- Change and test one thing at a time, otherwise you won’t be able to know what to blame or where to give credit. Changing to many things at once is a sure fire way to get confused and not interpret your bodies messages accurately. To help with this, keep a food journal. Not for the calories you’re consuming but for the reactions and messages your body is giving you. You’ll know and feel when something is or is not working. There are side-effects if you swing the pendulum to fast and to far. Listen to your body!
Commit for at least 30 days and give it your all. No 80/20 here. Commit to a change 100% for at least a month and document the results. It’s a simple scientific method but it’s the only way to test accuracy. Change one thing at a time and measure results over a specific time period. If you do Paleo one week, Keto the next, IF in between, and decide you’ll try a vegetarian diet all in one month, your hormones never settle in, your body doesn’t adapt and you are sending mixed messages to your hunger receptors and your taste buds. Embarking on a Paleo or even a Keto diet consisting of real foods will change your pallet and that takes a while to get used to. Believe me...all of a sudden a strawberry will taste sweet again and you’ll be able to bear 70% dark chocolate.
- Give it time. Rome wasn’t built overnight and you didn’t get where you are overnight either. It usually takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks to feel a difference and then notice a significant change. Trust the process and trust your body. If you have signs of lethargy, anxiety or cravings after the two-week adjustment period and your performance in life or in sports is worse, this may not be the eating protocol for you.
- And lastly, it’s always a good idea to consult a qualified coach, a nutritionist or a RD. Do your research, and find a professional who can help you troubleshoot and fine-tune things while on your health journey. And at the very least, eliminating processed carbohydrates, added sugars, and vegetable seed oils should be the basis of everyone's lifestyle.
My suggestion, for the most optimal health and well-being, is to eat an Anti-Inflammatory, Low Glycemic diet to ensure blood sugar stability. Eat seasonally and chose foods that are whole or minimally processed with recognizable ingredients. At the end of the day, you know what's best!
Best in health,