I plan and prepare fairly healthy and nutritious meals for my family, and yet I am becoming more and more convinced that although they may be "nutritious" the combination of foods may not be right for me. I don't feel healthy, I have trouble losing weight and I just have that gut feeling that something is off.
But I don't know what, exactly, is off. There are so many different diets and eating plans out there. How do I figure out which is right for me? What kind of professional is out there who could help me? Can they help figure out the perfect diet (as in, the right foods for me, not just for weight loss) for me to adapt myself to?
Are there any 'fill in the quiz' websites that might help me narrow it down?
Mama to two girls: 5/06 and 3/09
I don't know of any fill in the blanks quizzes. There is something called the blood type diet...
Personally, I have been reading...Michael Pollan, Nina Planck, I read the different food forums here, oh, and Barbara Kingsolver has a great book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution last season. Need to catch up on this season via computer.
Anyway, you may have to do some reading, do some searches on here, read around, try different things and see how you feel. Figure out what changes you want to make first.
For us it has been a long, slow process. Some people make quick changes and overhaul their diets radically all at once.
Good luck! I know I feel much better when I eat "clean" but I still will "cheat" now and then ( going to a pancake breakfast tomorrow and then out to eat for Mother's Day on Sunday) but figure if I don't do that too often and the majority of my diet is what is healthy for me, I should be okay.
It can be hard, because not everyone agrees on what is healthy and what is not and then you have to figure out what makes YOU and your family feel best.
I don't think there is one, because they all seem to be based on an arbitrary ideology, which is why they so often conflict with each other. I think you just have to experiment and find what makes you feel best. I know, not the answer you probably wanted.
For instance, if breakfast is usually eggs and 2 pieces of toast, try adding another egg and going to 1 slice of toast. If dinner is usually a bowl of pasta w meat sauce, try having meatballs, a side portion of pasta and your vegetable. Drastic changes can have unpleasant consequences for a few days, which is why i suggest small changes. Doing it for 5 days or so should give you a good idea of whether you had some bloating, more energy, afternoon lethargy, etc. Then you can try going the other way, your 2 slices of toast, one less egg and some greens, mushrooms, etc. Your bowl of pasta w extra veggies and less meat, and a big side of veggies. You can try eating 6 meals/day instead of 3. Some people do well with 1 big meal and a few snacks throughout the day. There are so many different things to try, you just have to listen to your body. The hard part comes if your DP has different dietary needs than you do.
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I have yet to find a "one diet fits all" solution. The only way I found the perfect diet for myself is trial and error as pp suggested. It was a slow process for myself but truly rewarding in that my mood is improved, my thyroid is functioning, and the weight is coming off that needs to. For me that means eating "mostly" paleo with no starchy vegetables and eating every 2-3 hours with breakfast being my only big meal. Yes, my body is that specific and it took me a long time to figure that out.
You might write down your diet and analyze it yourself for what it is heavy in or what common trigger foods are in it (gluten, dairy, soy, starches). Then you might try the opposite. Or easing into the opposite. If you take something away from your diet or limit it and add it in later (5-7 days) it is generally obvious the effect it had on you.
You didn't mention what diet style you are following so here is a few suggestions.
Vegan? Then try eating meat or giving up soy
Vegetarian? Maybe try vegan or paleo
Heavy Grain? Try paleo or upping veggies
Heavy Milk (even if raw)? Try milk substitutions
Heavy meat? Try nuts or raw
A good place to start is
- Look how the people of your heritage ate? I'm Danish and can eat salmon all day long and be quite happy.
- Look at what is the diet for your environment. I really liked how this was described here
I agree with this.
I have had some major health breakthroughs during the past year, partly related to diet. I am not attempting to lose weight because my weight is about right for me but have had other problems. My dh has lost some weight alongside me while making similar changes, however.
After much experimentation, my diet includes a combination of what feels best to my body, what fits with the tastes of other members of my family, and what I can afford in both time and money. However, the single most important thing was to stop our habitual overeating--esp. always having seconds just because something is tasty. Our whole family has been working on this. More important than what we ate was that constant little bit extra. But changing our underlying health was critical to changing our cravings, our sense of lack that made us always want more.
I think drinking lots of healthy water is central regardless of food choices. (We also don't drink fruit juices or sodas except very rarely and I think they are basically in the same category: "concentrated sugary." I also have learned to avoid coffee--even decaf--most of the time. It was hard to admit I needed to go that far but I did.) For good water quality no filtration/purification approach seems to be perfect but we have a Berkey gravity filter that also filters out flouride and like it overall. I think that we can mistake physical thirst for hunger and actually will eat extra snacks when our body just wanted water, so I respond to myself first by drinking water whenever I find myself prowling the kitchen.
I think hormones are another major factor in weight problems because they are so much a part of metabolism. Blood sugar issues and hormones can be linked, carbs being worse for some people than others. Nutrient deficiencies are part of this as well as long term general stress and exposure to toxins (such as xenoestrogens and flouride) The hormones that get the most attention are thyroid (usually too little) and estrogen (usually too much). Exercise may positively affect hormones as much as all of these other things combined IME. Obviously it also burns calories. I owe part of my health breakthrough to going from sporadically active to very steadily active.
As far as food choices go I have experimented over time with different diets and have created my own personal hodge-podge that really works and has resulted in some amazing healing during the past eight months. I'm basically just a "readjusted" whole-foods omnivore with a lean toward low-carb. I seriously avoid carbs the first part of the day and keep it kind of light the rest. I eat yogurt and nuts at breakfast. My heaviest meal is lunch (eggs/meats/greens). I push green vegetables hard and eat lots of onions. I generally snack on seafood or nuts or baby carrots. Our family has a scheduled afternoon tea-time for indulgences--mostly for the kids so I almost never hear sweets-begging and the timing seems to be okay. Our dinners vary but we are gently carb-friendly with dinners so it can include lots of familiar foods. Everyone does well with this pattern and that was a tricky thing to work out. I think that food choices are important but I think the other things I list above have been even more important. It was a long journey but worth it.
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I would look at this book (recommended by my chiropractor): Seven Principles of Fat Burning http://www.amazon.com/Principles-Fat-Burning-Healthy-Weight/dp/1888045558
You may also consider that you don't feel 'right' because you are missing some vitamins/minerals/etc. Whether you try supplements or look up the foods/sources to add to your diet, you may find that helps as well.
Despite having 'normal' blood labs, I find that I need extra B. And lots of water. And a daily cuppa joe.
My chiropractor does 'wellness' stuff too. Once I'm done nursing I think I may go for some nutritional counseling. He has said before that for the most part you should go with common sense and what feels right for your body. For example, he said I might have to try several types of Vit C, as they come from different sources.
He also said that every now and again he gets tired of his diet (diet as in meal, not as in calorie restriction plan) and has to change it, or he just doesn't feel well...
For me, I start by removing HFCS, sugar, simple carbs, etc. The more I pare down the carbs the better I feel. Add some veggies, then some fruit. Experiment with protein. I find I don't have the stomach for heavy proteins once I do this. I start to crave fish, etc.
I think your body will start to speak to you as you make changes :)
Thank you everyone! I know that this is going to be a trial and error process, I guess I just wish that there was some sort of 'belief o matic' thing out there to help me along! I'm continuing to research and am looking forward to figuring this all out!
Mama to two girls: 5/06 and 3/09
Look into Ayurveda
You get personalized diet to YOUR body
Its 5000 years plus time tested
and to think- it goes against all the latest elimination diets and has proof to back it up-WOW!
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"You know, in my day we used to sit on our ass smoking Parliaments for nine months.
Today, you have one piece of Brie and everybody goes berserk."
The best advice that worked for us was to read the book "Nourishing Traditions" by Dr Sally Fallon. The advice in her book saved our health! My DH lost weight, my rheumatoid arthritis went into remission (after 5 months), DH's chronic indigestion disappeared, my high blood pressure went away. Another great source of info is the ppnf.org foundation, which has a book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr Weston A Price. Excellent read, especially if you plan to have a baby. What did we do to change our health? Well, the basics were: stop eating refined sugar, start drinking raw milk (yes, it really is good for you), stop eating refined flour, throw out the nasty refined vegetable oils (especially soy!), stop eating refined processed foods. Easy? No. But the great health you will receive is worth the effort. Getting off of refined sugar (this also means corn syrup and fruit juices) helped heal our teeth. The relapse I had with my RA was due to me adding too much sugar to the kombucha that we've been drinking for a few years and not letting it ferment enough.
I hear they have free initial consults with dietitians at Whole Foods and/or Vitamin Cottage. Also, one trick I use is that when I fix lunch (today my son wanted mac and cheese - and it is whole grain and homemade, but still not what I want), I will make myself a real quick salad - romaine lettuce, chopped tomato, and a sliced hard boiled egg (I boil a bunch at the beginning of the week). The one salad a day that differs from the "home cooked" meals my family is eating has left me feeling lighter and healthier.
I would make salad the family meal (and sometimes we do with noodle/bean salads), but DH always wants something more substantial, and my two year old son is not a lettuce fan
Mothering my sweet preschool boy and my new arrival
I am (usually) vegan and I feel great.
My favorite trick in the whole world is to keep baby greens on hand. I love arugula. I make my own dressings with oil and vinegar or tahini and olive oil. So easy. Then I cook brown rice and quinoa twice a week in a rice cooker, and then I do the same with lentils, chick peas and black beans. Sometimes I just buy these in cans, without the preservatives. Also, mushrooms, corn and peas. So all of the cooking/prep I do for these salads happens once or twice a week and takes well under an hour (the rice cooker works in 45 minutes). I keep all of these in separate glass jars for mixing-and matching in the fridge. I also have some nuts and seeds on hand. I refill them as necessary, which is usually just the once a week.
Whenever I'm hungry in the afternoon, I always make a bowl of salad first with the grains on the bottom and a bit of beans/veggies on top. It takes 30-60 seconds, on the spot. Afterwards, I'm not panicked by hunger and I can make better choices about whether I need anything else, and what that should be. Because of all the easy options, I never get sick of the salad! But when I'm finished with the smallish salad, I can make up my mind about what else my body needs. Usually I cut up a mango or avocado, or have a handful of nuts.
It's hard for me to listen well to my body when I'm starving. When I have a plan to stave off hunger as it comes up, I make better decisions about what else I need, if anything.
This is a fantastic, whole-foods-focused way for me to eat. Since I've done this, my health and sense of energy has changed dramatically.
I like making green smoothies in the morning, too, but not everybody is into that.
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