Is the Keto or Paleo diet a good one for me? How about Intermittent Fasting?
People ask me these questions. They want to lose 10 pounds, most of which has deposited around their middle.
They also report low energy, achy joints, back pain, skin breakouts, interrupted sleep, a brain that is not as sharp as it used to be, and the list goes on.
Despite having tried different diets, their weight has not budged and they don’t feel like themselves anymore.
Some chalk this up to aging. Heck, if this is what is happening so commonly to people as they get older, then it must be normal.
This is simply not true. These symptoms are common, but far from normal. They are signs that your health is spiraling downward.
The good news is, we can fix this and you can feel like yourself again! The secret is removing stressors pulling you down and giving your body what it needs to heal itself. It is only then that weight and other symptoms will leave.
Your Dietary Needs Are Unique to You!
No two people have the same genes, metabolic needs, gut microbiome (which influences every function in the body), nutritional deficiencies and excesses, hormonal balance, food sensitivities, autoimmune conditions brewing, immune function, detoxification capacity, and the list goes on.
So, it makes sense that one particular diet will not be right for everyone. The diets listed above have worked for some people some of the time. Some people lose weight and experience other health benefits while following a Keto diet and and Intermittent Fasting.
However, these diets may be harmful for other people, depending on what is going on with them.
For example the Keto diet, where you minimize carbohydrates and eat a high proportion of fats in order to burn fat for fuel, promotes weight loss in some people.
However, it is devoid of entire food groups and thus can result in nutritional deficiencies if followed long term.
Other potential side effects are constipation, electrolyte imbalances, muscle loss and cardiac problems.
For some people, like the ones who have reached out to me, weight gain around the middle is often a sign of adrenal dysfunction, hormonal imbalance and poor blood sugar regulation.
Since the Keto diet has the potential to exacerbate these conditions and, as the research suggests, may actually increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, this would not be a good choice for them.
As an FDN-P and health detective, I would continue to dig on a deeper metabolic level before knowing which foods best support them.
Food is a Dual-Edged Sword – Medicine or Poison?
Food is extremely powerful. In fact, it is our most powerful “drug.” The right food can heal you and the wrong food can kill you.
Every food contains hundreds of biochemical compounds. We medicate ourselves 3 times a day, every day of our lives, for good or for ill, with the foods we eat.
Food is information. With each bite, we have the power to create robust health or our body’s demise.
It is not until we stop and pay attention to how we feel after eating a particular food that will motivate us to choose that food again in the future or not.
I have a great example for you – last Mother’s Day, my daughter and I walked past a doughnut shop and the sugary smell literally made me nauseous. We went on to eat brunch, did a little shopping, and then found ourselves in front of the doughnut shop once again!
Bella really wanted a doughnut so we went inside and the doughnuts looked so inviting. I decided to choose one filled with strawberries and cream and fresh strawberries on top. We sat outside and enjoyed eating our doughnuts.
About an hour later, my energy started tanking. I felt lightheaded and for the rest of the afternoon, I was dragging, my brain was foggy and I felt as if I were in a daze. My daughter had to drive us home.
Now, whenever I see a doughnut that looks inviting, I pass on it because I don’t want to feel that way again.
So, tuning in to how food makes us feel helps guide us to choose food that supports us best.
How Food Can Be Hurting You
While many of us think we are choosing healthy foods, there are several reasons why these foods may not really be healthy at all and, in fact, might be putting our health at risk. Here’s what your food may contain:
- Triggers due to Hidden Food Sensitivities – these may result in crashing energy, digestive upset, anxiety, depression, mood swings, joint and back pain, and even acne.
One year ago, a food sensitivity test revealed I was sensitive to lemon, black pepper, and chicken, among other foods. These are healthy foods but for me at the time they were causing an immune response.
I had to back off of lemon water and foods indicated in the red and yellow sections on this card for a few months until my gut healed.
So, not all healthy foods are right for everyone all the time. It depends on what is going on inside.
- The Wrong Proportion of Carbohydrates, Fats, and Protein your body needs to function at its best.
The delicate balance of these macronutrients can optimize your health or make you ill. You can actually play around with these ratios by subscribing to my free 3 week mini-course below.
- Pesticides, Metals, or other Toxin Contamination that disturb the body’s intricate balance and function.
- Antibiotics or Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs that jeopardize digestive health and weaken your immune system
- Synthetic Hormones that interfere with your body’s own hormones and tax your liver
Ways To Use Food as Medicine and Minimize Food as Poison
The mounds of information in the media as well as on grocery store shelves about what constitutes healthy food is often quite misleading. Here are tips to whittle down the confusion and make the healthiest choices:
- Choose USDA Certified Organic produce as much as possible.
The Environmental Working Group is a great resource for informing the public about foods and pesticides and what to avoid. The Dirty Dozen tells you which fruits and vegetables to buy organic, as the conventional kinds are most laden with pesticides. The Clean 15 tells you which produce is the cleanest and therefore safest to buy conventionally.
Why Choose Organic?
Many conventional fruits and vegetables are laden with pesticides and other harmful chemicals that disrupt the body’s balance and may contribute to sickness and disease.
By choosing organic, you are avoiding the onslaught of toxic chemicals in your food.
Organic food is grown on farms that avoid the use of man-made pesticides, fertilizers, sewage sludge, growth regulators and livestock feed additives, irradiation and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
An added bonus when choosing organic foods is it may have higher nutritional value, meaning more vitamins and antioxidants, than conventional food.
- Choose 100% Grass-Fed Beef.
Grass-fed meat means the animal was pasture-raised, free to roam and ate grass and bugs, which was natural food for the animal to and most supportive of its health.
Grass-fed meat is healthier for humans than conventional meat for several reasons: it is much leaner, higher in key nutrients such as antioxidants and vitamins, and contains healthier ratios of omega-3 and and omega-6 fats.
It also has a beneficial fat called conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. This fat has been associated with improved immunity, anti-inflammatory effects, reduced cancer and cardiovascular risk, and better cholesterol levels.
Be Aware Of Labels That Don’t Tell The Whole Story
Don’t be fooled like I was until recently that if “Grass-Fed” is on the label and not, “100% Grass-Fed” it means you are buying meat that is 80% grass-fed and 20% anything else.
Anything else usually means grains such as corn and soy, which are unnatural for an animal to eat and are among the most highly pesticide-sprayed crops.
So, grass-fed is better than conventional and 100% grass-fed is even better than grass-fed. 100% grass-fed and organic is best!
- Local Pastured Eggs, Chicken, Turkey or other poultry
Pastured eggs from a local farmer are the healthiest type of eggs you can buy. The chickens are free to roam on open grassland, eat an organic diet, enjoy bugs and worms, see daylight, and are not given hormones or antibiotics.
The yolks, darker and richer in color, are known to taste better, and have better nutritional profiles, specifically vitamins A, E, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Best are pastured eggs and poultry that are Certified Organic. This means the animals were not pumped with antibiotics or growth hormones. And, if they happened to be fed some grain feed, it was not pesticide-laden.
- Certified humane and pasture raised pork free of nitrites and hormones
- Wild -caught fresh fish and other seafood.
In sum, choosing these foods will greatly reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides, added hormones, antibiotics, heavy metals, and other toxins.
Is It Time To Explore How Food Is Affecting You?
If, after awhile, you have improved the quality of your food and still aren’t seeing the results you are hoping for, then it’s time to dig deeper.
You may have food sensitivities and infections that are preventing you from feeling like yourself and doing the things you want to do.
Recently, I started working with a client who reported eating a normal, healthy diet. When we explored this further and did functional lab testing, we discovered she actually had an autoimmune response to these, “normal, healthy foods.”
We removed these foods from her diet and within days, she reported getting her energy back and was amazed with how clearly she was now able to think.
We still have work to do but getting rid of foods attacking her body has been a crucial step towards restoring her energy, quality of sleep, hair regrowth (it had been falling out), emotional breakdowns, and feeling like herself again.
If you feel like it is time for you to check in with yourself and see how food is supporting your health or taking you down, I encourage you to schedule a free Discovery Session by clicking on the tab below.
Together, we will explore your health complaints, see what you would like to be experiencing instead, and see where I might help!
I help men and women, who wake up every day feeling like their health is spiraling downward, and wonder if there is a solution, heal, so they can age gracefully and live the rest of their lives with energy and passion and health to support their happiness.
My goal is to guide you to Wynne At Your Own Health!
And, if you know someone struggling with his or her health, please share this information!
Have a great rest of the week!