When Trendy Diets Make Your Brain Want to Explode

Diet. What a word, isn’t it? It holds so much meaning, emotion, and… confusion. How could it not be confusing? Take a single food that’s considered healthy one day and then can be the pariah of your pantry a year or two year later. Remember Snackwell’s? Fat-free Lays? They had their time in the limelight. When you think about entire dietary styles…it can feel totally overwhelming, especially during the holidays! It’s as if each year (and let’s face it, it’s usually the New Year), we clean out the cupboards and say “THIS is the year I’ll eat like {fill in the bank}.” With different superfood and dietary trends, it’s easy to get caught up in the thick of it, and believe that there is no one “right” or “wrong” dietary style.The truth is: there isn’t. There is no “one” diet that works for everyone, and it took me a long time to really believe that.

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When you’re dedicated to feeling your best, you keep your eyes and ears open to the latest health news. If you’re an athlete – you want to know what fuels you. If you’re dealing with some chronic health conditions, you certainly want to find ways to keep them at bay. And if the age old, incessant day-dreaming over losing those pesky 10 pounds whispers at you all day every day, well then you’re constantly wondering what is the diet that will help you do that. Guilty of that? Great, me too, moving on.

So what’s a person to do when the hottest fad hits the magazine covers? When you start seeing wild success stories of people religiously following a strict and methodical way of eating? When you’re all proud of eating a brown rice miso veggie bowl, but just heard that grains could be the cause of all your problems. What now? Is anyone else tired of feeling a bit…defeated?

As nutritionists we get asked these questions a lot: My weight won’t budge, should I go paleo? I have bad digestion, should I go vegan? The words themselves are like hot buttons for opinions and emotions. So I’m going to break it down from a Prescribe Nutrition standpoint. Here’s what we know and what we’ve seen.

  • What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.
  • You can be a dreamy, badass vegetarian or vegan, or you can be a processed food reliant vegetarian or vegan. Giving yourself a title alone doesn’t do you any favors.
  • Dietary styles like “paleo” or “low-carb” or “specific carbohydrate diet” (or other similar dietary styles) exclude grains, soy, etc. They dramatically serve some with chronic digestive issues, joint pain, mood issues or stubborn weight. We’ve also seen it cause chronic constipation, irritability and no change in weight for others. Again, everyone is different.
  • Living gluten-free can help some people with bloat, digestion, skin issues…the list goes on…but it may do absolutely nothing for other people. Gluten-free foods aren’t necessarily “healthier” than non-gluten-free foods.

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Here’s the deal, there are plenty of popular dietary lifestyles, and the absolute best one for you is: the one that makes you feel good. So let’s say you’re trying to get to the bottom of what works for YOU. Perhaps you know relying on grains or carbohydrates made from flour (bread, pasta, crackers, etc) results in stubborn weight. But when you cut it out, your digestion slows down or you get a dip in energy. Perhaps for you the solution means having whole grains only once a day. Maybe you need that shot of soluble fiber and carbohydrates. Make your decisions around food based on what your body is telling you, and also on what gives you peace of mind. Focus on these rules instead of following the rules someone else created:

Crowd out the noise, turn down the damning thoughts in your mind (insert: will hummus make me fat?) and tune into your body. What truly makes your body feel it’s best? What foods give you energy? What foods do you feel good about eating, that support your moral stance? Perhaps the toughest challenge of all is to turn down the outside world and tune into what your body is telling you. It’s up to you. This is your life.

Our goal is to help people figure out what works for them. We’re doing just that in our upcoming Prescribe 20, starting January 10th. We offer 3 different dietary styles that we encourage people to tweak their diet and to find what foods works for them. Oh and we’re offering a sweet, sweet early bird offer for a limited time. Use the code getstheworm for 40% off from Friday, November 27 – December 6! Yeah, 40. If you want to make 2016 the year you finally quit diets, and find a healthy lifestyle that’s all about YOU, then join us.

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