Does the perfect diet exist?

Does the perfect diet exist?

We are constantly hearing and reading about healthy eating, healthy diet and health foods.

But what does it all really mean?

And is there one “perfect diet” for optimal health?

When we are healthy our bodies and minds function optimally, we are resistant to illness and disease and we look and feel great, with consistent energy. From my own personal experience and as a wellness coach helping others improve their health, I understand that diet plays a significant role in this.

Now I would love to be able to say that there is one “perfect diet”. A diet nirvana. One way of eating that will make every one of us super healthy. This is often what various media, organisations and “experts” tell us, and its confusing because we receive so many different and conflicting messages.

For example… Eating saturated fat is good/bad. Eating a high fat low carbohydrate diet is good/bad. Fruit is good/bad. Red meat is good/bad. Dairy is good/bad. Whole grain or no grain?

The list goes on and on.

So it is hardly surprising that I come across many people who are either confused about how to eat well or are eating in a way that they genuinely believe is benefiting their health, yet unbeknownst to them this is not the case. In fact in some cases it is actually causing them harm.

It is true that there are some diet principles which can benefit everyone’s health (more on this shortly), however when people ask me if a particular diet or way of eating is healthy, or what the ideal diet is, my honest answer is always the same……to a certain degree, it depends.

Firstly there are not simply two categories of diet – healthy and unhealthy.

Healthy eating is a continuum, running from the most un-nutritious health damaging diet possible up to the ideal diet for optimal health, and everyone falls somewhere on this scale. And it depends where on the scale you want to be and what your health goals are.

Secondly it depends on the individual. Factors such as genetics, health conditions, hormones, pathogens (such as parasites and certain bacteria), food intolerances and lifestyle all have an influence on the ideal foods to eat, how much and when. For example, if you have any adrenal issues then a ketogenic or low carbohydrate diet isn’t going to be ideal, or if you have common issues such as leaky gut (gastrointestinal permeability) or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) then certain foods may cause more damage than good and make the problem worse. Maybe you don’t have enough stomach acid or digestive enzymes to digest food effectively. Or perhaps you have a highly active lifestyle (and therefore different dietary needs to someone who is less active).

Thirdly, the optimal diet for you today may be different to say 3 months time. For example your gastrointestinal health, hormones, health goals or levels of physical activity may change so your diet should evolve accordingly.

Being aware of these influencing factors and understanding the effects that different foods can have on your body and mind is hugely positive as it empowers you to make informed decisions regarding what you put in your body, or at least ask questions and seek further advice.

As a starting point here are some principles that can benefit everyone’s health. In general, the more toxic inflammatory foods you avoid and the more nutritious nourishing foods you eat, the healthier your mind and body will be and the better you will look and feel.

Inflammatory foods

  • Grains
  • Dairy (except grass fed butter and ghee)
  • Sugary, deep fried or processed foods
  • Damaging fats (margarine, vegetable oils, trans fats)
  • Non grass fed/farmed meat and farmed fish
  • Burnt food
  • Foods you are intolerant to

Nutritious, nourishing real food (fresh and organic produce where possible)

  • A wide variety of vegetables
  • Good fats – Extra Virgin Olive oil, Coconut oil & MCT/Octane oil, oily fish, avocado, grass fed butter and ghee, raw nuts and seeds
  • Quality animal protein – organic eggs from naturally reared hens (if you aren’t intolerant). Grass fed antibiotic free/wild meat & bone broth, wild fish
  • Quality starchy carbohydrates – sweet potato, plantain, yucca, root vegetables, yam, butternut squash
  • Small amounts of fruit – berries are ideal as they are a low fructose fruit

The health jigsaw

Whilst diet is a major factor, it is important to bear in mind that it is only one piece of the health jigsaw. Are you eating nutritious foods and avoiding inflammatory foods yet still don’t feel great or are experiencing undesirable symptoms? In my experience this is indicative of something else going on internally (e.g food intolerances, hormonal imbalance, leaky gut or pathogens) and/or other stressors – physical, environmental or emotional – which you may not even be aware of, affecting how you feel.

 

I hope this post has been helpful to you. If so you may want to check out my previous posts on the power of food, 7 foods to avoid for optimal health and 9 foods to supercharge your diet.

If you would like any more information or have health concerns and want to book a complimentary discovery consultation then please contact me

 

Stay well

Laura x

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