There is a diet that is best for everyone, but what is this diet? Well, it is a diet which can be incorporated for a lifetime. A diet that is right for everyone is one that is enjoyable. Lets face it, eating is for life, and the decisions we make in this area are going to have momentous impact on our lives. Eating is a social experience, and one that is involved in feeding our families both physically and emotionally. I know of very few relationships which don’t center, to one extent or another around food.
If being healthy and thin is important to you, then it is important to learn the principles of eating which will both allow you to achieve this goal and enjoy it. It took me a year to experiment with healthy eating, and learning to eat in a way which is both healing, healthy, and enjoyable. I experimented with different ideas, sometimes succeeding, and sometimes failing before I came to a diet which I know is healing, healthy and enjoyable for me. When I failed it was because it was experimentation with something I did not enjoy. When I succeeded it was because it was something which I found enjoyable. It really is as simple as that, and since each of us are different, each eating plan will be a little different too.
I can share some of those things that turned out to be enjoyable for me, but for you it may be different. Even if it is similar to your likes, it will never mimic another person exactly.
I have found that I don’t like “diet” foods, in other words if I am going to eat pizza I am going to eat it less often, but when I do eat it I am going to eat enough to satisfy me. There is nothing worse, in my book, than eating a little bit of something that sets my cravings off. I would rather not eat something at all than eat a little bit of it. So, instead of having pizza once a week, I might have it once a month. I have found that I don’t mind eating my organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and rice most of the time if I can splurge occasionally. I don’t have to splurge all of the time, in fact when I splurge too often I don’t feel as well or have as much energy. When I splurge occasionally it is a real treat that I look forward to.
Speaking of making some of my healthy foods enjoyable I have found that experimenting with new foods, and different spices is fun! I had lunch last week with a friend who made a wonderful recipe with tabouli, so now tabouli is going to be on my list of new foods which I am going to incorporate into my diet. He used a variety of spices with lemon and dill, and we ate it will organic vegetables. It was an absolute delight, and it satisfied my taste-buds. I once made a delicious dish out of cous-cous, oranges and almonds. I prepared a salad for the side, and it was low-calorie, healthy and enjoyable. Would you enjoy it? If not, experiment with different things, such as buck-wheat and organic short grain rice.
Then there is the life giving property of beans. If you’ve ever studied the nutritional quality of the humble bean you will know that they are high in protein, and iron and are packed with vitamins. The bean deserves to be placed on the super-food list in my opinion. I love adding beans to my salad, as well as pureeing beans for dipping. I like adding an avocado and salsa spiced with garlic and onion for a tasty and healthy bean dip to go with home-made (or store bought) tortilla chips. Really, most of the time the kids don’t think “healthy,” they just enjoy eating it too.
I like grilling fresh vegetables for a yummy side-dish, releasing some of the nutrients of the garlic and onion which contain a different array of nutrients cooked than they do raw. Even though raw eating is usually superior for health, sometimes I feel like cooking, especially if it is a rainy day. Oh, and if I am busy I buy those pre-packaged, pre-washed salads. I give myself a break sometimes, and I don’t mind paying a little extra for a little extra service.
I have noticed that when I keep my kitchen stocked with healthy foods and snacks that I am not as tempted to run to the store for a twinkie. The kids are more likely to reach for an orange too, if they are set out on the table. I like making a veggie tray with yummy dip, and the kids think it is a treat while I am feeling good about the nutrition they are getting.
A few years ago I noticed that I had a chronically stuffed nose, and I got tired of it so I decided to cut dairy foods out of my life. Within a couple of months I realized that I no longer had a stuffed nose. I don’t drink any cows milk today, and this is one thing I rarely ever compromise on because the alternatives are equally as pleasant, tasty, and as prevalent as milk. I now drink either almond or rice milk. I love the taste, and at 60 calories for an 8 oz. cup of almond milk it is a no-brainer.
I don’t compromise on pop either, because pop is an addictive substance that provides absolutely useless calories, and promotes gallstones, kidney stones, and a general destruction of health. I do eat chocolate, and I splurge on the occasional piece of cake too. The difference between pop and other splurges, is that once you get addicted to pop, it becomes something that a person craves everyday. It takes a lot of self-control to make pop an occasional treat, but if you are one of those who are able to do so then more power to you.
Here are a few things to remember:
1. You have some control over the size and shape of your body, but much of it is genetics. Learn to love yourself for who you are, no matter what size you are. Concentrate on health more than looks, the people who love you should love you for who you are, not your size.
2. Some foods are addictive, as described above with the pop. For instance, candy and cookies, though not addictive in the way alcohol or drugs are addictive, still have addictive qualities. When test subject at the Monell Chemical Senses center in Philadelphia were shown the names of foods they liked, the parts of the brain that got excited were the same parts activated in drug addicts. Some “treats” for some people simply need to be avoided if you want to end the struggle with cravings. I have a terrible sweet-tooth (addiction), and though I do splurge occasionally I usually pay for it in cravings that I struggle with for a day or two after wards.
3. De-stress yourself! Learn to relax and enjoy life, and meditate more…stress is connected to being over-weight. Exercise is a known stress reliever, as well as spending more time with family and friends who love and accept you for who you are.
4. You can re-set your metabolism: gaining as little as eleven pounds can slow your metabolism down and make your internal mechanisms sluggish. Once your metabolism slows it is hard to lose weight, so losing even a few pounds and adding a little bit of exercise can work wonders for your metabolism.
Ultimately it is up to you, and only you know what you can live with, and live without on a permanent basis. You know what treats you can eat on occasion, and those which you know you must avoid. It is not the same for everybody. It is not a one size fits all lifestyle or plan, and don’t let the diet guru’s make you think it is. They are selling something, and that something is what worked for them, but it may not work for you. Rather than spending too much time worrying about what helped [insert your favorite diet guru here], spend that time and money on what works for you, and for your family.
*I am not a doctor, consult your physician for advice on any health related matter