One of the most common questions when it comes to health and wellness is “Should I try this diet?”. We have all heard of Paleo, Keto, Atkins, Vegetarian, Vegan, and so forth. We choose diets to follow for many reasons. Some of us eat a certain way for religious purposes, others for ethical purposes, weight loss, performance, etc. Whatever we choose to eat is considered our “diet” and to take it one step further to the origin of the greek word “diata” means, “way of living”. Our diet represents the way we live, and how we nourish our bodies, so let’s breakdown diet dogma and learn more about what is really the best diet for us.
When we look into how indigenous cultures ate, there were a wide variety of diets based on availability of food sources. There were no supermarkets importing goods from across the country and world, local and seasonal was the only option. Of these populations, almost all proved to be quite healthy despite having wildly different ways of eating. Fast forward to this day and age, we can choose to eat however we want without much hassle. Want to try Keto? We have all of the accessibility to do everything from reading clinical research studies to ordering prepared meals that fit the exact criteria of the diet.
The problem arises when we choose a diet that doesn’t jive with our bodies. For instance, the ketogenic diet can be extremely healing and effective for people who do endurance style training. This is because it puts the body into ketosis where it is primarily burning fat for fuel. As we have learned, fat is a slow burning source of fuel and can sustain us at a low to moderate activity level for quite some time. Conversely, if we are extremely active and participate in a lot of high intensity interval training, this particular diet can leave us feeling fatigued and cause more stress to our bodies, however this is bio-individual and there are outliers on both sides of the coin.
So how do we find the correct diet, or way of living, for ourselves? A great way to start is through trial and error. Participating in group challenges that emphasize a particular diet is a phenomenal way to test the water while having some accountability to stay on track. Picking a time frame of no less than 4 weeks to devote to a certain style of eating will give us quantitative data as to how our bodies respond. Another option would be to work with a nutritionist to develop a baseline style of eating that compliments our lifestyle and moves us in the direction of our goals. Keeping one key point in mind, that we must commit to sticking to a certain way of eating for a set period of time in order to see the true results. Results can’t be determined in a test period of 3 days. Let’s commit this upcoming year to creating the diet that compliments our lifestyle and allows us to live fully, feel great and accomplish our goals!