Vegan? Paleo? Ketogenic? Atkins? Bacon on bacon? With all of the diets out there, no wonder eating healthy seems so complicated!
Since the “How I ruined my health with the Vegan diet” post I’ve received a ton of feedback from people with similar experiences. I have spent the past few years researching, analyzing and testing out these diets to answer the question: “What is the best diet?”
This might not be the answer you were looking for, but it totally depends.
The perfect diet is the diet that is BEST FOR YOU and your individual needs. Things to consider:
*Age, gender, activity level, blood type
*Hormones, metabolic type
*Job, environmental toxins, level of stress
*Emotional well-being, mental state
*Location, climate, environment, culture
It is important to have a full picture of your current state of health and your unique needs before moving forward with a diet. Just like anything else, your diet needs to shift and adapt with the seasons of your life. My best advice is to listen to your body, reflect on your life situation and adapt according to your current needs. Hiring a holistic nutritionist is a great way to take out the guess work.
What is my perfect diet?
My perfect diet is the byproduct of MUCH trial and lots of errors. It’s been a challenging learning curve finding what diet works best, not just for my body but also for my mental health and overall well-being. I call it the Balanced Qualitarian Diet.
About 85% of The Qualitarian diet is a blend of the Paleo, Ketogenic and Whole Foods Diet. The other 15% is everything else. Yes, that means french fries, pizza, cookies and chocolate cake.
Now you might be thinking, “What kind of nutritionist would actually recommend eating fries and cake?” – A nutritionist who knows what it’s like to be a human being living in the modern world. I know what it’s like to obsess over food and to severely restrict all ‘bad’ foods. Let me tell you this, we are rebellious and free by nature. Over restricting and over stressing about food often leads to periods of endless binging, unhappiness and disordered eating.
What is the Qualitarian part of the Diet?
The perfect diet for weight loss, body sculpting, hormone regulating, brain optimization and cancer prevention is high in quality fats, has healthy amounts of absorbable protein and is low in starchy carbohydrates. It includes a rainbow of veggies and smaller servings of fruits. It excludes chemicals, additives and refined sugars. *If you’d like to know more about exactly what I eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, just ask and I’ll gladly share!
This specific macronutrient ratio changes the way the body utilizes energy – by converting fat in the liver into fatty acids and ketone bodies. It lowers glucose levels and improves insulin resistance, benefitting overall blood sugar levels, energy, mood and hormones.
10 Tips For Eating a Qualitarian Diet
1. Break up with the refined sugar, corn syrups, fructose and artificial sweeteners.
2. Eat lots of quality fats such as unrefined coconut oil, grass fed butter, virgin olive oil, mct oil and avocado. Completely avoid hydrogenated oil and canola oil!
3. Minimize the empty carbs, including processed white bread, cereal, pasta, pastries.
4. Ditch all synthetic additives, colorings, aspartame, MSG, dyes, and artificial flavorings. These do not belong in food.
5. Eat quality pasture raised grass-fed meat, organic eggs and sustainable sea-food.
6. Soak or sprout your beans, legumes and nuts before eating them.
7. Throw out processed, homogenized, and pasteurized dairy. Organic raw milk dairy products are a good choice if you aren’t sensitive to them.
8. Try to choose local or organic fruits and vegetables.
9. Have 1-2 servings of fruit per day, preferably low fructose fruits like berries and lemons.
10. Enjoy your food. Forget about the number of calories. Eat until you feel satisfied and then put the fork down.
*To follow the 85/15 rule, If you eat 3 meals a day 7 days a week (21 meals a week), 18 of those meals will be healthy whole food meals and 3 of those meals will be considered cheat/treat/yolo/free-for-all/indulgence meals.
For the healthy meals, aim for the caloric breakdown to be approximately 50% of the calories from fat, 20% from protein, 20% from vegetables and 10% from other carbs and fruits.
Now for the ‘cheat meals’. I don’t like to call them ‘cheats’, ‘treats’, ‘bad foods’ or any other title that holds a negative or even a positive connotation. We aren’t meant to punish nor treat ourselves with food, so I will choose to call this 15% my balance foods. You can’t have yin without yang right?
If you love pizza, eat pizza. If burgers got you drooling, go for it. If a double fudge brownie is calling your name, savour each bite! If this idea makes you nervous, you can start by balancing your balance meals. Have 1 slice of pizza with a salad or a burger sans bun. My kryptonite food is peanut butter and homemade nutella with banana on toast. I’m sensitive to wheat, so I don’t have this often but when I do I have a sourdough bread and I take a digestive enzyme. If I have one or two slices, I am totally fine!
It’s when I start to feel guilty about eating and then start blaming and hating on myself that I get a stomach ache.
The gut emotion connection is so strong! Let’s face it – we know junk food isn’t the healthiest for our bodies, but completely restricting all of the naughty delicious food isn’t healthy for our souls. So Voila, the perfect diet is one that works best for you – where you eat mostly whole foods while letting go of the ‘cheat-food’ deprivation.
Go ahead, have your cake, eat it and congratulate yourself for finding balance.