There are countless diets out there. I have tried many of them over the years and have learned a lot along the way.
I see now that the reason why there are so many diet and cookbooks at the bookstore is because really, everyone’s diet is individual. There should be a diet or cookbook for every single one of us. The thing is, you are the author of your own book, and it’s up to you to write it. What you are seeing in the bookstore are books about what diet works for the author in most cases. This is great, but how do you know if something will work for you?
This year, I encourage you to experiment, test, and see what the <insert your name here> diet is.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll post some steps to help get you started on your 2017 nutrition adventure.
Below are the things that I’ve learned on the diets that I’ve tried over the years, and a bit about how my ideal diet looks like now.
- How I felt: A little sluggish. Mainly because I did this diet wrong and ate WAY too many carbs to help “fill in” my meat-less meals.
- What I didn’t like: The looks / comments you can get from others when you say you’re following a vegan diet. C’mon people, you don’t need to own a pair of Birkenstocks if you’re vegan.
- What I liked: The spices! I can say that when I was vegan, I really learned how to cook. When you don’t have meat to lean on for flavour, you need to add spices to things. My spice rack expanded 10 fold, and I began to have so much fun experimenting with spices.
- What I learned: It’s easy to pack in the carbs on a vegan diet. Grains and sourdough bread became a huge staple in my diet, and my body didn’t enjoy it. No matter what diet you’re on, you gotta get your veggies in as a main staple in your diet.
- What I still do today: I still enjoy tofu from time to time, and I still buy vegenaise as an alternative to mayo. I just like the flavour of it! I use vegan cookbooks all the time, but have learned to eat way more veggies than grains. And I am still expanding my spice rack.
- How I felt: Really good! But on the rough days I had emotionally (e.g. a tough day at work) I didn’t have my comfort foods to fall back on (rice, pasta, grains). You know, all the stuff that gives you that instant”full” feeling. Enter the realization that I am an emotional eater.
- What I didn’t like: Feeling restricted. As amazing as my body felt, my mind wasn’t really ready for this change. I’d longingly look at pizza and eventually cave. I knew there was something great to this diet, but I wasn’t sure I could do it long term.
- What I liked: How agile my body felt. I felt the inflammation leave my body, and for once, started to feel really comfortable in my own skin.
- What I learned: That good quality meat and veggies should be in my life until the end of time. I can also say now that I have mastered cooking full chickens (and making bone broth out of the bones!) I know what foods actually satisfy, and took a really deep look into my emotional eating.
- What I still do today: I still cook full chickens- use paleo cookbooks, and use paleo alternatives where possible (e.g. almond flour / coconut flour instead of regular flour).
- How I felt: The best I have EVER felt. I had chronic back issues, and when I committed to going gluten free for over a year, I saw amazing results physically. I was finally pain free, and life began to open up! The image I put on this post was of me at this point. I just felt like I was glowing all the time!
- What I didn’t like: The trap of “gluten-free” packaged foods. I can see that it’s a bit of a trend. I also see that many gluten-free breads/crackers etc have boatloads of sugar in them. So really, it defeats the purpose. These foods should be used as treats, and not used daily.
- What I liked: I enjoyed all the benefits of paleo – and enjoyed rice! My goal on this diet was not weight loss but to be pain free. This was the first time I had a goal that wasn’t based on the way I looked. Entering with this mindset was a huge factor that geared towards my success.
- What I learned: I learned that my body doesn’t like gluten. Some people can handle it. I feel sluggish, tired, and begin to feel creaky in my bones. I wouldn’t have learned this if I hadn’t cut it out for so long.
- What I still do today: This is my ideal diet. Admittedly, over the past 6 months, I have not been strict at all. I do want to recommit to this in 2017. Being pregnant and letting the less-than-stellar foods back in (Domino’s pizza and Annie’s Cheese pasta) is starting to get to me. With birth coming up in a few months, I know that having less inflammation in my body will help.
- How I felt: I felt terrible! I also went really low carb, and decided to crush it at the gym everyday. It was all too much for my body. But get this, my husband did AMAZING on this diet and felt great (well, after that 4 day hump of carb withdrawl and headaches).
- What I didn’t like: Feeling tired! Not everyone experiences this, so I don’t want to scare you off, but I felt like I never had enough energy.
- What I liked: I did lose weight, but I didn’t stay on it long enough to keep it off.
- What I learned: I learned how to make veggie based smoothies that tasted great, so much so that my husband actually drinks them!)
- What I still do today: Those green smoothies, and I cook low-carb to support my hubby (I just add whatever carbs I want on the side).
If you decide to give one of these a try this year, take notes! Examine how you feel, which will tell you so much about how you’re eating affects you. Know that you don’t have to subscribe to one way of eating forever, but jumping into something for a few months will give you a lot of data to work with.
Remember: a lot of dieting is pure marketing. If you don’t fall within one category, who cares! These categories are completely manufactured, and companies make a lot of money on making you feel bad and being “on” or “off” a particular diet wagon.