If you’re like us, chances are that at some point in your life you’ve tried one (or all!) of the fad diets out there.
In the early 90s, low fat was all the rage, and people feared avocados, bacon, olive oil, and butter. A few years later, the pendulum swung in the other direction, and suddenly fats were OK but carbs were the enemy.
For a while you may have tried being a vegan, and then you heard about the Paleo craze. Now you’re back on carbs, but only if they’re gluten-free.
It’s little wonder that people are confused – it seems like it’s every day that we're hit with a groundbreaking new discovery about the health benefits of this food or that diet. When did eating become so incredibly complex?
There’s no one-size-fits-all diet
Nutrition is the only science in which two contradictory theories can both be proven true. Scientists unanimously agree that the speed of light is 670 million miles per hour and water is made of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.
Why is it, then, that one study can prove that dairy is a necessary component of a healthy diet while another proves that it’s detrimental? And how is it possible that your best friend lost 15 pounds and is brimming with energy on a vegan diet while it leaves you feeling bloated, weak, and cranky?
It’s time that we take a post-modern approach to nutrition and recognize our bio-individuality: there’s no one-size-fits-all diet. Most nutrition books tell you what to eat without any reference to age, constitution, gender, size, lifestyle, ethnic background, or personal preference. But the truth is that the food that is perfect for your unique body may make another person gain weight and feel lethargic.
What’s more, no perfect way of eating will work for you all the time. Foods you loved for years may no longer agree with you, and what you crave in the winter is completely different than what you crave in the summer. It’s important to not get stuck in dietary dogma and instead eat intuitively, trusting your body to guide you to the foods that best support you.
Your body is a sophisticated laboratory
Fortunately, you already have free, 24-hour access to the world’s most sophisticated laboratory: you’re living in it. Your body is a highly intelligent bio-computer that has evolved helpful instincts to keep you alive and well.
Bloating, exhaustion, and weight gain are all signs that something you are eating or how you are eating it isn’t working for you. Listening to the messages your body sends you before they become unbearable can prevent many chronic illnesses, doctor visits, medications, and operations.
To develop a deeper relationship with your body, try the breakfast experiment: explore eating a different breakfast every day for a week and write down how you feel right after the meal and two hours later.
Quickly you’ll find what energizes you and what drains you. Certain foods will cause indigestion; certain foods will enhance your ability to concentrate at work; certain foods will leave you feeling lethargic. It is a very empowering experience to realize you don’t need to follow someone else’s guidance, but can trust your own intuition to find the diet that works for you.
What’s more important to your health than food
You may not realize that there are other factors in your life that are more important than food for your health. What we eat is often secondary to the energy in our lives that fulfills us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The four forms of primary food truly nourish you and make your life extraordinary include:
- Relationships: We all have a need to give and receive love, so prioritizing your relationships with spouses, siblings, parents, friends, and coworkers is key to ensuring your long-term happiness.
- Career: Work should mean more than just a paycheck – it should fulfill you on an emotional and intellectual level. It’s important to try to find the work you love, or love the work you find.
- Physical Activity: Our bodies thrive on movement and quickly degenerate without it. Whether it’s yoga, jogging, surfing, or taking your dog for a walk, find the type of regular exercise that energizes you.
- Spirituality: Spiritual nutrition can feed us on a very deep level. Whether it’s daily meditation, attending religious services, or taking a walk in nature, becoming more spiritual can add incredible meaning to your life.
To learn more about which diets and primary foods work best for you, get a free, digital copy of Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness
by Joshua Rosenthal MScEd, Founder, Director, and Primary Teacher of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. It’s loaded with valuable insights into nutritional theories, simple ways to nurture your personal growth, and tons of delicious and easy-to-follow recipes.
About The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN)
Founded in 1992, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition has grown from a small classroom of passionate individuals to a global community of over 33,000 students and graduates in more than 100 countries worldwide. Its flagship course, the Health Coach Training Program, teaches students to become successful Health Coaches who help clients make healthy food and lifestyle choices. The school’s unique curriculum teaches a wide variety of skills in health coaching, nutrition education, business management, and healthy lifestyle choices. Visit http://www.integrativenutrition.com for more information.