There is so much confusion info out there on the internet regarding the best eating plans… Low carb, Keto, Paleo, Anti-inflammatory, Low Lectins, etc. It will leave your head spinning sometimes and not knowing which direction to go. Bottom line, don’t overcomplicate it and make sure it is sustainable.
I’m not a fan of extreme diets and here’s why. Everyone is genetically unique and the way your body burns fuel is different from someone who is built just like you with the exact same diagnosis or health issues. What works for one person may not work for you. Ever do a meal plan with a friend and she lost 10 lbs and you lost 2?? There is a reason for that (well, lots of reasons actually). So, let’s look at the problems with different extreme diet plans:
No carbs = missing out on vital nutrients in many of our greatest fruits and vegetables.
Keto = high fat, little to no carbs (see above + your genetics (apo E4 in particular) may not love saturated fats; thus, increasing your risk of heart disease!
Strict Paleo = too much meat which can be inflammatory as well as increased saturated fat consumed in the diet
Vegan = missing out on some micronutrients (B12, vit D, iron to name a few) that are mainly absorbed when eating animal protein and well as other micronutrient deficiencies. Also, vegans tend to consume higher levels of soy products, which can be estrogen mimicking and cause hormone disruption.
So, how do you know which meal plans are best for you? The easiest and best way is by working directly with a skilled functional medicine provider. By testing your genetics, food sensitivity testing (IgG/IgE), stool analysis, as well as an organic acids test to identify macronutrient and micronutrients, detoxification, methylation, etc., they are able to craft an eating plan that is personalized precisely for you! Interested in learning more about our 16 Week “Overcome Autoimmunity ~ Regain Your Health” Functional Medicine Program, check out this Interview.
If this isn’t an option for you, then follow these simple tips:
Eat slowly, mindfully aware of the food you are consuming and take in fewer calories (if weight loss is your goal).
Predominantly eat plant based and a variety of color so that you are increasing all the phytochemicals from your foods.
When consuming meat, only eat organic, lean meat – no exceptions! Non-organic meat is full of antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones that will then disrupt your gut microbiome. Try to eat grass fed as much as possible.
When consuming fish, wild caught only – no exceptions! Farmed fish is often fed grains thus increasing your Omega-6 (pro-inflammatory) levels rather than the Omega-3’s (anti-inflammatory) levels. Also, farmed fish (especially tilapia) tend to get fish lice (I’m not kidding – GROSS!) so they are sprayed with pesticides on a regular basis in order to minimize the spread.
Buy organic as much as your budget will allow. Organic produce has been found to be more nutrient dense than conventional produce. Check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen from the EWG.org to know which produce you should not eat unless you are buying organic (Dirty Dozen) and when you can save you money by shopping the conventional brands (Clean 15).
Try to keep refined sugars, gluten, dairy, and processed foods out of your diet as much as possible. These foods are highly inflammatory. And, if you do allow some processed foods in, make sure they have 5 ingredients or less AND the ingredients do not look like a chemistry experiment!
Stay out of the middle aisles of the grocery store. The middle aisles can often be tricky to navigate and it’s easy to be fooled by marketing “health” foods, especially power bars! Also, preserved foods found in cans are often high in sodium and the lining of the can increases your toxic load.
Hope you find these tips helpful in your health journey!
Dr. Lesley Allen
Functional Medicine Physiotherapist &
Professional Yoga Therapist