HJ: It took me years of trying every diet in existence to find the best one — the one tailored to my unique physical and mental makeup. So how does one know what is the correct way of eating for their body type? Well, there are two ways to approach this: 1) There are general guidelines for all body types that everyone should follow to get the most from their personalized diet plan (the article below goes into detail about this and why the various dietary proponents are missing the bigger picture in one way or another) and 2) You need to determine your body type and unique physical makeup and state of health, which I suggest doing by using the tools and concepts provided by the ancient systems of medicine Ayurveda and TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) .
To determine your Ayurvedic body type (known as a Dosha), take an online self-test here: Nature’s Formulary Ayurvedic Dosha (Body Type) Test
To determine your body type/constitution in the Chinese medicine system, take the online self-test here: Eagle Herbs Chinese Medicine Body Type Test
There will be substantial overlap between the two results, but each test will give you the proper terminology and ideas framework to be able to get the information you need from each system of medicine. Armed with this information, you can begin to research what foods and lifestyle habits are good for your unique body type. By combining this knowledge with the general guidelines in the article below, you will have a solid foundation for the healthiest possible diet for your personal constitution.
One can also go see an Acupuncturist or Ayurvedic Practioner (we recommend Kellen Brugman — see her website here: kellen brugman) who will help you develop a personally tailored diet plan based on your body type.
To learn what exercise types are appropriate for your body type, see the recent article here: Find the Exercise That is Best For Your Unique Body Type
Diet Gurus All Claim To Have THE Best Diet, But Do They Have The Best Diet For You?
By Natasha Longo | Prevent Disease
There’s Paleo, Raw, HCG, Vegan, No Carb, No Fat, All Protein, and literally hundreds of other diets which claim their way to a healthy body is best. But is their way the best for YOUR body, your genetics, lifestyle and physiological needs? The next time a diet guru tells you their way is the best way, ask them if they live in your body?
WebMD evaluates almost every diet but even they fall short of recommending an Eaters For Health (EFH) approach which addresses the fact that we must all tune into our instincts, digestion and the most informed decisions on the food we consume rather than follow any specific diet claimed to be the best.
80 percent of people do not achieve successful weight-loss or maintenance while on diets and the reason is simple–every person has a unique metabolism and there is no perfect diet for every person.
Many people feel great and appeal to a specific diet. Regardless of what that diet is, if it working for them, why should they switch to another? The goal is to feel great, obtain a healthy body composition and have plenty of energy throughout the day while ingesting as many clean foods as possible free of toxins. A toxic free diet is impossible, but the goal is to try our best to keep it clean and organic within our budget and resources.
Go paleo? Go raw? Go vegan? Maybe or maybe not. We can all learn from these diets, however a wave of highly informed seekers of clean and healthy food is taking over the information highway and leaving yo-yo and fad dieting methods in the dust. They are representing a new generation of educated consumers who seek not only to maintain a healthy body, but supercharge their longevity and well-being with foods which are free of toxins and genetically modified organisms (GMO).
We should never disrespect the dietary habit of those who are trying to do their best to achieve good health according to their needs. Some people need animal protein and some people don’t. For some, vegetarianism or even veganism works very well, while it’s toxic for others.
An important part of the EFH drive for healthy eating is to follow their intuition and instinct. If a food doesn’t taste or feel right to their palate or digestive system, they will not continue to consume it regardless of the touted health benefits. They educate themselves on their ancestry, what their ancestors subsisted on, including climate, soil, and even air quality. EFH are also very interested in their genetic and metabolic predispositions and select many foods based on this research.
Nutritionist and raw food expert Eugene Hillary says the EFH movement is gaining credibility without a label. “These people have not even labeled themselves, yet they know exactly what they want and how to achieve it in order to increase their health,” he stated. Hillary asserted that those who escape from the yo-yo fad dieting trends and adopt EFH type lifestyles immediately see modest weight loss within a few short months, usually without any exercise because they cut out all toxins and tailor diets to their specific metabolic types.
Despite that fact that almost 70 percent Americans say they are on a diet to improve their health, very few are actually decreasing in size or obtaining ideal body composition. It’s not about dieting, it’s about lifestyle and incorporating the right foods for your health so you can eat almost anything you like within those parameters at anytime.
Many dieters tend to focus on low calorie and low fat foods that are often saturated with toxic chemicals to please the palate. Avoiding genetically modified foods, artificial flavours, colors, preservatives, emulsifiers, and sweeteners all made with toxic chemicals are the first steps in any dieters long-term success. In addition to many diseases such as cancer, these chemicals are guaranteed to facilitate the process of neurotoxicity, immunotoxicty, and insulin resistance causing excess weight. Without eliminiating foods with these ingredients, dieters fail before they’ve begun.
Most studies on dieters show that many women might begin dieting explicitly to change their shapes, and are in danger of being disappointed by their efforts since they have no foundation of the concepts necessary to maintain that shape once and if they ever achieve it.
A review of the scientific evidence in a study published in the International Journal of Obesity by Swiss researchers noted an association between weight fluctuations and cardiovascular disease and death.
This weight cycling, also known as “yo-yo” dieting, has been vilified over the years. Studies have linked it to everything from high blood pressure and high cholesterol to diabetes and depression.
“I agree that data on weight cycling are mixed, particularly on weight regain, decreased energy expenditure, etcetera,” said lead author Dr. Jean-Pierre Montani, professor and chair of physiology at the University of Fribourg.
And at least some of the studies suggesting that repeatedly losing and gaining weight poses health risks fail to separate intentional weight loss from unintentional weight loss, one expert maintained.
Common themes Eaters For Health adopt include:
1. Buying Organic, Non-GMO
Many EFH believe in not restricting what they eat as long as they are ethical in their buying practices. There are many in holistic-eating communities who believe that there is nothing wrong with responsibly produced meat and other animal products.
The best chance of consuming the least amount of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides comes from buying organic produce from local farms. Most farmers who have sustainable organic practices will only use Non-GMO seeds, and essential ingredient in the EFH lifestyle.
2. Going Local
If they are not raising and harvesting the food themselves, the only way they can know for sure that the food they buy is ethically produced is to buy organic from local reputable farmers with the sustainable practices mentioned above.
Whenever possible, an aspect of EFH is making sure that the food they buy is as environmentally friendly as possible. Food that has been transported from the other side of the world or even from across the country does not fit the bill.
3. Buy in Season Whenever Possible
No matter where they live, there is always going to be something in season. They go online and look into what is in season during the various times of year in their area, and then focus their meal planning around seasonally appropriate foods. This means that they will have to get used to not eating certain fruits and vegetables during certain times of the year. It is how our ancestors did it for thousands of years, and EFH are conscious of this too. In fact, the restrictions of buying in season can actually make food choices more varied and interesting.
4. Avoiding Sodas and High Calorie Sugary Drinks
Following the tenant of EFH aims to remove added sugars from the diet. They choose water or tea (with the occasional coffee) for their beverages, or juice their own fruits and vegetables and enjoy them without added sugars or preservatives. They avoid all sodas without exception due to high levels of toxicity.
5. Eating Several Small Meals
EFH consume several small meals to keep blood sugar stable and to avoid overeating. They choose snacks like nuts, or fruits and vegetables. Some EFH prefer organic yogurts and raw cheese and others prefer to avoid these products all together.
Note that some people who live a clean eating lifestyle don’t eat dairy products while others adapt clean eating to a vegetarian lifestyle.
6. Balance Acid Forming Foods and Base Forming Foods
The typical Western diet is high in animal protein, which increases the body’s acidity slightly. Fruits and vegetables reduce the body’s acidity–that is, make it more alkaline. It’s not that meat is acidic, but rather that it contains acid-forming compounds, such as amino acids and phosphorus. Similarly, fruits and vegetables have alkaline-forming compounds (even though many of them taste acidic). EFH try and balance both extremes. They never eat animal protein with complex carbohydrates at the same time. Instead to always eat either animal protein or complex carbohydrates with vegetables to better balance acidity and alkalinity levels.
7. Avoiding All Toxic Additives, Preservatives and Coloring
EFH choose fresh, unprocessed foods over canned or processed products. They believe in fresh fruits and vegetables and that processing them reduces their nutritional value and fiber content and adds salt, fat, sugar and chemicals. They choose fruit instead of fruit juice and if they must pick a processed vegetable, frozen is always better than canned.
They avoid all chemical taste enhancers, additives and preservatives like MSG, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, maltodextrin, gmo emulsifiers (i.e. xanthan gum, soy lecithin), artificial coloring and flavoring, sucralose, gmo soy proteins, etc.
All of the above may seem overwhelming to the average consumer thinking about trying the EFH lifestyle, however most will tell you “it is just a way life.” It becomes part of the routine and second nature like picking the right berry off a plant.
Another major emphasis is to not let it consume you or cause unnecessary anxiety. There will always be times when they must break their own rules to conform to a specific social situation or circumstance. They are well aware and even anticipate such events. When they can, they bring a snack of their own preference. When they can’t, c’est la vie. A true measure of a dedicated EFH eater is not how rigid they become in their dietary lifestyle, but how flexible and creative they become when their ideals are challenged. Because no matter what, they will always revert back to their ideal when the challenge has passed, and that’s all that matters in the end.
Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.