I was recently at a coffee shop and overheard two girls having a rather intense discussion about whether or not almonds were allowed on their new paleo diet. I wanted to hug them.
When it comes to health and nutrition, there is just one thing I wish I could help you understand. To be healthy, energetic, an optimal weight, and have healthy skin – you do NOT need a diet. You don’t need a list of rules or (junk) scientific data. You don’t have to always eat this, or always avoid that, or analyze/obsess over what type of food you can eat with another. You don’t need to go paleo, raw, or alkaline.
All you need is an eating plan. (See below)
Now you may be saying, “but I’ve never felt better since I went paleo.” Or, “my cousin lost 10 lbs after she started following the alkaline diet and claims it’s practically magic.” Or, “I was told eating like a caveman would give me clear skin.”
Here’s the thing, all of the current fad diets that seem to work have the same thing in common – they eliminate refined grains, sugars, processed, packaged and fast food. They promote increased intake of fruits and vegetables.
And that works, every time. So, just do that.
The reasoning behind the rest of it is bogus, so don’t waste your time.
Take the alkaline diet, which makes the least amount of sense to me. The idea being that we have very acidic diets and because our blood needs to be alkaline this affects our health.
Let’s be clear. What you eat or drink will not affect the pH of your blood. (1)
And how about that paleo thing, with the idea that our digestive systems haven’t evolved past our caveman days? If optimal health depended on eating the same foods as our ancestors, we’d be eating leaves, roots and insects. Last I checked, those weren’t ingredients in any paleo recipe books I’ve seen. (2)
Don’t get me wrong. I love me some paleo foods. I’ve found some amazing recipes on paleo diet websites. But I don’t care one bit that they’re paleo. My approval is based on only three factors, is it healthy, is it tasty, does my body like it?
And that’s the take away I want you to have. Forget the dogma. Forget the rules. Just eat wholesome foods, pay attention to your own body, and keep track of what you eat and how it makes you feel. That’s called bio-individuality. What is optimal for me, may not be optimal for you.
For a place to start, everyone can benefit from the following:
- Refined grains
- Processed/packaged food
- Fast food
- Whole foods
- Good fats
- Good proteins
That’s the only template to follow. If you need a name, let’s call it the “eat less junk” diet. But any other details will be up to you, your guts and perhaps your doctor. You don’t have to worry about the rest. Promise.
If you agree, please pass this article along. If you don’t, I’d love to hear about why not in the comments.
And if you’d like to learn more about how I can help you incorporate healthy changes like eating into your life, so that you can see the results in your skin, let’s chat!
(1) Your blood does indeed need to be in a narrow pH range. It is slightly alkaline with a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. And yes, the tiniest variance above or below that can have dire affects.
But that’s why our bodies are amazingly good at making sure we don’t screw that up. We can’t be trusted with that kind of responsibility. Your body is wonderful at regulating blood pH. What you eat has nothing to do it.
(2) To me, the fact that people with (recent) dairy farmer ancestors are genetically better equipped to digest milk shows that our guts are better at evolving than most paleo folk give us credit for. We’re pretty good at adapting to be able to eat what’s available.