A discussion on popular diet trends. While no diet is perfect, there are positive aspects that you can pull from each one to shape your own dietary choices with.
The perfect diet doesn’t exist.
Instead, every diet out there has some positive attributes about it. Or at least that’s what I think.
In the past I’ve done in-depth posts on various diets and nutrition trends out there. I try to remain pretty objective and just state the facts of different eating styles so you can get an idea of what they’re all about. In some instances, I’ve been a little more critical and outright said why I don’t necessarily agree with a certain diet.
The underlying theme of all of this research and all of these different posts has been: you have to find what works best for you. It’s simply said, but much more difficult to actually discover. Especially when you’re constantly being hit with the latest diet of the stars, the next Dr. Oz fad, or the most recent craze sweeping your CrossFit box.
Today I want to offer you a new perspective on how to approach your diet. Even though it may seem in the past that I am completely against certain lifestyles….I’m not. Nothing is black and white, and I think that almost every eating approach has some redeeming qualities to it. The whole concept may not be spot on and may not fully work for you. But by incorporating the best components of different eating styles, you can craft a well-balanced, mindful approach to eating that gives you the best of the suggestions that are out there.
Today I want to highlight a few popular diets that are out there and the parts of them that I find can be incorporated healthfully into your life.
- emphasis on avoiding processed foods and refined sugars
- quality protein and healthy fats
- eat real foods, prepared well
- fermented and cultured foods — like yogurt, kefir, and homemade sauerkraut — are beneficial for gut bacteria
- eat eggs, preferably from pastured chickens
- raises awareness of the impact of meat-eating on our bodies and the environment
- overall emphasis on whole, plant-based foods: plant derived proteins, veggies, fruits, and whole grains
- eat seasonally
- opportunity to benefit from the many vitamins and minerals which a plant and nut based diet provides
- focus on produce and lean protein, especially fish
- liberal use of heart healthy oils in place of animal fats
- water is the best ‘non-alcoholic beverage’
- eat a moderate amount of dairy products, and opt for low-fat ones
snack on fruit, dried fruit and unsalted nuts
- limit intake of highly processed ‘fast foods’ and ‘ready meals’
- focus on more filling, nutrient-dense foods
- minimally processed, whole foods: such as whole grains, veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, fatty fish and lean meats
- helps regulate your blood sugar, helping you avoid fatigue-inducing blood sugar spikes
- eat well-balanced meals every few hours and always start the day with a healthy breakfast to jumpstart your metabolism
- clean eating helps you avoid dangerous levels of trans fats and other chemicals known to harm your health
- “clean” foods are simpler and have fewer ingredients, thus foods are closer to their natural state
- based on the idea that you maintain an overall nutritious diet
- allows you to eat a great variety of nutrients
- allows you to incorporate ‘fun foods’ into your diet in moderation
- some flexibility in your diet is key to long-term success
I think if you can incorporate some attributes of a bunch of different diets, your life will be that of the ultimate Flexitarian. That’s pretty much what I would consider myself. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, my diet philosophy is as follows: eating whole foods from the earth and incorporating foods from every food group in moderation. Nothing is off-limits and my focus is on eating as close to nature as possible. Does this mean I swear off packaged foods? Nope. Do I not eat sugar? Nope. Eating this way allows me to eat what I want based on what seems good in the moment and also to eat what best nourishes my body.
The truth is there’s no one size fits all diet.
But of course, that doesn’t stop people from jumping on the latest diet fad in hopes that it will be the miracle weight loss tool or health cure.
The thing is…no diet is going to work perfectly for everyone. Do your research, experiment, find what works for you, and don’t let other people OR the diet industry try to convince you otherwise.
The “healthiest” diet you can follow is the one that makes you feel your best inside and out.
Do you follow a specific diet?
Do you believe that one diet is inherently better than another?
What is your ‘food philosophy’?
Brilliantly well done article, Kaila. This is the philosophy I’m always offering to others as advice about their own eating habits. I like how you highlighted some of the best components of each diet too! I’m sharing this on my facebook page for my blog later this week. 🙂
Thank you so much Kaylin! I appreciate the shares!
Loved this!!! Myself I don’t want to put names on my diet. I always try to make the best choices possible and eat to feel good and have energy. I would say that I follow a clean eating/mediterranean diet. My heart, stomach and mind are happy with that!
Thats awesome that you’ve found an approach that works for you!
Diet labels drive me nuts! Why do we need a label for what we eat?!
I eat gluten free, but only because I’m a Coeliac but then can’t eat heaps of “healthy foods” like tomatoes and citrus thanks to food intolerances due to gluten damage so I eat what I like to call (whenever anyone asks me “what” I eat) “the Kristy diet” – foods that I CAN eat (that don’t make me sick!), lots and lots of fruit and veggies, a little bit of meat (only because I’ve never been a meat fan), dairy, nuts, legumes, whole grains and sweets in moderation! I eat what I feel like at the time and don’t stress myself over macros or food rules or silly things that truly aren’t worth the hassle!
You really just need to do what is right for you and your body – and that’s different for everyone!
I love that! Having your own specific diet is what its all about! We are all so individual that labels seem stupid…aside from ones that are medically necessary of course.
Have you read Diet Cults? I think he does a great job of exploring why there is no perfect diet, but there is what works best for each of us
I havent but that sounds really interesting! Ill have to check it out!
I’m with you on being a flexitarian. I hated when “clean eating” became a set thing since I’d always used the term to mean “clean up my diet a bit”. I have too much of an inner adolescent to follow any set diet for long, telling me something is off limits just makes me want it more!
Agreed! I think ruling a food or food group out completely is just a hidden form of restriction!
Agree… there are redeeming qualities about most diets out there and what I’ve learned as an RD is to be open minded in my approach to help someone reach their goals… while my maintenance approach is ideally the same (ie- intuitive eating), not everyone starts in the same place and I’ve come to accept that different styles of eating can work to reach goals and the fun part is joining in on the adventure with them!!!
Yes keeping an open mind is so key when it comes to diets!
yes and yes! I completely agree that there is no one right diet. Every person is different and different things work for different people. My food philosophy…all foods fit! I eat intuitively and allow myself to have what I want without restricting.
Love your food philosophy!
I love the post and totally agree. We all need to find what works best for ourselves and be in tune with our bodies.
Thank you Lisa!!
There is no perfect diet, just like there is no perfect weight or perfect figure or perfect workout! I love this! Thanks girl.
Thanks Carly! Means a lot coming from you!
Great post! I’m a firm believer there is no such thing as a perfect diet. Diets are temporary. For myself, I follow a mix of all these things. There isn’t a one size fits all and everyone have to find what works best for them.
Yes! Thanks Megan!
I agree completely. There are many aspects of different diets that I LOVE but I don’t follow any specific “diets.” I just try to eat mostly healthy foods by focusing on fruits & veggies, healthy proteins, and whole grains in moderation. I try to keep sweets limited… although that is hard this time of year!!
Same here! Mostly healthy with a few treats now and then!
Officially I follow Weight Watchers, but I’m probably more a clean-eater than anything else.
I don’t buy into the fake food products that WW has on offer. I would rather just eat good, nutritious food that serves a good purpose. As I am trying to lose weight and I am a lifetime member, I go to meetings and keep track of my intake the WW way. I’m probably NOT your typical weight watcher though – I don’t “spend” my points on sugar, alcohol or fake food (generally).
I do like different aspects of different diets but ultimately I just want to eat clean and healthy and put food in that will help me become a better runner and ultimately keep me living longer.
I think thats a great approach! Tailoring WW to suit your own tastes and preferences!
Great way to break it down! Since eating paleo my digestive problems have disappeared, so I mainly stick with it, although after a while you definitely tweak it to your own needs to where it’s not about “rules.” Love it 🙂
Thats great that you’ve found a balance that helps your digestion!
I am a vegetarian leaning towards the more vegan side of things because of a lactose sensitivity. I have a whole foods, plant-based diet- 95% fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and some room for treats. I just listen to my body and eat what feels right. Great post, though- definitely agree that the perfect diet doesn’t exist!
Thank you Genevieve!
what a great post! i completely agree! different diets have different pros and cons.
Thank you Caralyn! Love the spelling of your name btw!
Really great. I think diet wise, it’s one of those things that every person has to decide for themselves. I’m pretty flexible with my diet, but I have a lot of friends who are vegan, or paleo, or vegetarian for a bunch of reasons and I try to respect what they do.
I think people should be careful about rules unless they’re medically necessary. Great post!
Thank you Kay!
I agree totally, that there are positives to all of these, and with you that you just have to take the parts that work for you. I think a lot of folks who choose one specific diet like to have it simplified with black and white rules. The way you and I do it, it is harder, but more sustainable. Great post. So glad you brought this topic up.
Thank you for stopping by to read it Katie!
I agree that there is no one perfect diet….we all have to find out what works best for each of us!
flexitarian. Woohoo I have a home! I love the ideas behind so many of these lifestyles so glad I’m not the only one that picks and chooses from each! Thanks for breaking this down!
Oh yes! Youre among friends!
I honestly have a hard time picking & sticking to a “diet” I usually fall off after a week or so and my work schedule makes it hard to stick to perfect meal planning. I’m trying to find balance but I am truly struggling – when I didn’t have my current job I lost 30 pounds and now my current job exhausts me to the point where when I’m not at work I don’t want to work out and I eat random meals at random times, plus I end up feeling extremely sick at the end of everyday. I really need to find a schedule and meal plan that works for me. Maybe you could be of help?!
xo, Amanda | a. nicole style
Thank you Amanda! As much as I’d love to give you some advice, I am not an RD so I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving you a mealplan without having the proper credentials to back it up! All I can say is that if you’re struggling with fitting in exercise, try to work on your diet! Our weight is much more greatly affected by what we eat than how we move. So just focus on eating whole foods every few hours to boost your metabolism and keep your energy level. Stick to complex carbs, lean proteins, healthy fats, and lots of fruits and veggies! Try to pack food with you to take to work so that you’re not reaching for the less than healthy stuff when you’re hungry. Hope that helps!
I agree. There’s no perfect diet at all. The efficiency of the diet depends on how you follow it.
I agree there is no perfect diet. I scoff when I see the latest, greatest fads that promise people miracle weight loss.
I tried what seems like every diet known to woman in my 20s. I learned that I don’t do well when I restrict entire categories of food from my diet. I end up fixating on that food e.g., Atkins Diet or any no-carb/low-carb diet. Now I practice portion control and eat what I like with a focus on getting lots of fruits, veggies and fish. I’ll eat burgers and fries too, just in moderation. It’s worked well and doesn’t make me a crazy person.
Thank you Keisha!
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So true! I eat gluten free because of celiac disease, and I experimented with going paleo or vegan after my diagnosis – mainly because I wanted to find out how to feel good from food again. Now, I focus on lots of veggies, fruits, and avoiding ingredients in large amounts that don’t agree with me (like dairy and eggs). But I still have homemade granola everyday, and am eating more processed foods than before. And you know what? I’m still healthy!
YES exactly! I totally understand having to choose a certain diet for health reasons…but if you’re just looking to be trendy or follow a new fad that’s when I think dieting mentality can become dangerous! Happy you found what works for you!
100% yes to all of this! I’m so thankful God made us all different, and I love seeing the different people and how they eat differently. It always makes me happy to see different people appreciating each other’s different choices in diets. 🙂
Thanks Em! You’re right…everyone is SO different!!
YESSSS! A hodgepodge of them all is definitely the way to go. Plus it means so many more delicious recipe possibilities than just sticking with one 🙂
Totally agree with you there! So many more yummy possibilities when we don’t label our diets!!
i have followed vegetarian and whole30 briefly but i like everything in between burgers, salads, and kombucha 🙂
I like the variety! 😀
I must be a flexitarian too, I eat a bit of each diet. Mostly fresh, rately premade or processed. But I don’t think I could live without cheese.
Yes a mix of everything is good!
This is a great post and thanks so much for sharing it with us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a great week and come back to see us real soon!
Thanks for breaking it down! Great info! Thank you for sharing on Merry Monday! Have a great week!
So welcome! Glad you enjoyed the post!
I have done quite a few comparisons of diets in the past as I have never been interested in following one myself but I was interested in what’s out there. I don’t get on with diets at all as I think with a balanced diet, exericse and as I love cooking, we eat quite well although we do have treats too! 🙂
You sound like you have a very balanced approach to food and fitness!
Such a true post! I tried many of them and yet I always end up being on another diet…#brillblogposts
Thanks for stopping by!
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Nice content and I definitely agree to everything you wrote here! I definitely learned a lot from this too! Thanks for posting!
That’s pretty interesting, and especially liked the Mediterranean part.
Thanks for reading Kenneth!
Well said! I have all the head knowledge. Now if I could just figure out what to do with the cravings, I’d be in good shape. I’ve been focusing on making healthy snacks with fat in them so that I can get filled up and stop the craving. Any suggestions?
I would definitely include some healthy fats like nuts, seeds, nut butter, or avocado into your daily snacks!! 🙂