One of the most common questions I get asked is, “what diet should I be on?” And my response is always, “none of them.” I dislike the word DIEt. It makes me think “DIE Today” because isn’t that how it feels? When you decide to go on a diet, isn’t there something inside of you that feels like a death sentence has just been issued? A diet says no and I teach people to say, “Yes, And!” As a Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner, I help people reframe the way they view situations and decisions. If we reframe the whole diet situation we can easily see that a choice to make some changes in our nutritional habits will result in a decision to say “Yes, AND!” to life. Which sounds better to you? Die Today or Yes, And? Just Eat Real FOOD.
Here are a few simple principles to help you make better nutritional decisions, which in turn will allow you to stay healthy and enjoy life more and longer.
- If you have a food allergy or sensitively, saying “Yes, And” to LIFE means stop poisoning your body. Instead of allowing your mind to think it is being deprived, show gratitude for having the knowledge you need to live a healthier and longer life. The healthier you get, the less you will miss the foods you are having to eliminate.
- If you know you are reacting negatively to food but have no idea to which ones, saying “Yes, And” to LIFE means figuring it out. And the best part, you don’t have to go on extensive “elimination DIEts” to figure it out. Below is a list of the most commonly problematic foods (This list is not exhaustive. If you listen to your intuition, your body already knows what the problem is – trust it and try it). Remove ONE of them for 7 days. On day 8, eat a lot of it and LISTEN to what your body says! Write down your results. If your body says, this is a problem, keep it out of your nutritional plan. Also, if it isn’t a true food allergy, removing it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to have it in the future. It just means that right now, your gut needs to heal.
- Gluten (wheat, barley, rye, spelt)
- Processed meats
- White table sugar
- Black tea
- If you have no known allergies, saying “Yes, And” to LIFE means eating whole, unprocessed, organic foods. Remember the acronym FOOD:
- Free of antinutrients (aka. Unpronounceables) – If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. Also, if it has more than 5 ingredients, put it back on the shelf.
- Organic when possible – if it is in my house, it is organic and organic only. This is because I know when I eat out, I am not getting the best ingredients in most cases and I want to eat out occasionally! My meats are only grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, and wild-caught fish (in moderation due to the mercury).
- Original in form – a chicken breast should look like a breast, not a dinosaur. ‘Nuff said?
- Dense in nutrients – the more the better! When I shop the produce aisle, I look for any and every vegetable that is organic and then I choose at least 3 that are green and at least 1 of each of the other colors.
- Eat with gratitude, not guilt Saying “Yes, And” to LIFE means that occasionally you are going to want to eat something that doesn’t fit the FOOD model. OCCASSIONALLY that is ok! And here’s the thing – if you eat a piece of cake with gratitude, your body will process it completely differently than if you eat it with guilt. When you eat with guilt, your body will produce cortisol and your digestive system will be slowed or even shut down. So, make a firm and educated decision and if that decision is that you are going to partake, receive it with love and gratitude. Being flexible is a great way to say “Yes, And!”
- Forgive yourself for all the times you have fallen off the DIEt wagon. It’s a flawed system. Saying “Yes, And” to LIFE means recognizing where you are right now and showing love and acceptance to that person. Love and acceptance is the way forward as it helps prevent self-sabotage.
Always remember that you are a unique person with unique nutritional needs. Instead of trying every fad diet that comes along or thinking that because your friend was successful on a certain one you will be too, create your own health path. Experiment, listen to your intuition, keep a dairy of your results, and celebrate the small wins!
For more information, check out Healthy Living From A to Z: The Guide to Finding Who You Really Are and Feeding Who You Were Created to Be.