The Diet Dilemma

spinach-cookieThere are so many diets out there today!

From the Mediterranean, Anti-inflammatory, Paleo to the Gluten Free and Vegan Raw diets, you’ve heard of them all. It’s great to have so many options, but how do you choose? As a fitness industry veteran, I know a bit about healthy eating. Still, picking a diet can be confusing even for the most ardent health seeker. But before you give up before you start, let’s get a few things straight…

Each diet has a different metabolic effect.  The Mediterranean and Anti-inflammatory diets emphasize lean meat, fish oil and vegetables and are less carbohydrate oriented, allowing for optimal glucose transport into the cells. The Paleo diet removes all grains, including the gluten free grains which can provide symptom relief in some autoimmune disorders. The Raw diet (on the other hand) is mostly carbohydrate in the form of sprouted grains, fruit and vegetables.  It also tends to be low fat which can reduce cholesterol and slow the progression of heart disease.

They are good for some people but not for everyone.  As a general rule, if you have blood sugar regulation issues (hypoglycemia and Diabetes for instance), a raw diet may not be for you.  You will likely feel better on a lower carb diet that emphasizes protein and fat.  If you have heart disease, the reverse may be true.  

One thing these diets do have in common: they reduce inflammation in the body. News flash for all of you suffering from tendonosis, heart disease, etc.: inflammation underlies your disease and every degenerative disease in the book!  While inflammation is healing if you cut your finger, chronic inflammation is the opposite. But it’s not your fault.

We live in an inflammatory world.From pesticides and hormones, to food additives, GMO’s and trans fats, inflammation is hard to avoid. By choosing one of the diets listed above you will likely experience a spike in energy, sleep, mood and an improvement in your health condition. Still can’t choose…

Here are some fool-proof tricks to reduce inflammation in the body:

  1. Avoid refined carbohydrates like pastries and sugar. They cause the body to release lots of insulin resulting in weight gain and inflammation.  Instead, choose low glycemic carbohydrates such as beans, peas and low sugar fruit which will satisfy your sweet tooth and keep your blood sugar levels stable.  
  2. Say no to conventional produce, meat and the inflammatory pesticides/hormones in them. Eat organic produce and pasture raised meat to avoid endocrine disruptors which may increase your risk of developing cancer.
  3. Avoid drug-like foods.  Coffee, Alcohol, sport drinks, refined energy bars: they’re all hard for the body to process and can contain widely known allergens which may exacerbate brain inflammation implicated in some mood disorders.
  4. Cook with the spices: Turmeric, Ginger, Cumin and Garlic.  They are natural Cox-2 inhibitors like Ibuprofen and will detoxify the liver.

Finding the right diet for you can be a process of trial and error. Everybody is different metabolically and it’s not one size fits all. This is only intended to be a rough guide and if you have a medical condition please consult your doctor.


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