What's the best diet for you?
"Is a plant based diet the best?"
"What's the optimal diet for humans?"
^^^ These are some of the questions I've been asked since Luke Watkins posted about me helping him ensure he was getting all his nutritional needs as he transitioned on to a plant based diet (vegetarian diet).
Now, my first question was "best" for what?
I assume here we mean health (as we all want this) AND weight loss / getting a lean body (as many of us want this...especially with Summer on it's way).
Now, there is no "optimal" / "best" diet that me or anyone can legitimately say is BEST for everyone.
1) Differences in lifestyles may mean you require a different "diet"
>>> An office worker may not need the amount of food / carbs as someone walking around all day
>>> If you work a 12-hour night shift you'll have a different eating pattern to a 9-5 day worker
2) Your likes and dislikes may mean you require a different "diet"
>>> Prefer to eat more carbs, like pasta, bread and potatoes? Well, these may work better for you in your plan as you won't have to give up your favourite foods so you'll be able stick to it and actually keep the weight off rather than pile it all back on...
>>> Don't eat meat / fish? Well, learning how to combine combinations of non-animal based protein sources, such as beans, to ensure you have sufficient nutrition, B vitamins, iron, and energy will be important.
But are there some common eating habits that people who maintain a healthy weight / live the longest seem to follow?
Based on the science and my experience in helping a ton of people lose weight, take control of their eating habits, and feel more confident about themselves…
Here's some eating habits to adopt to set you up for success:
1) Eat a variety of foods – the more foods you restrict, the more you'll crave them foods and the more likely you'll run into a nutritional deficiency...
Think of a pink elephant for a minute.
One that is like 'Dumbo' or one from a zoo, that's fine too.
Now, stop thinking about a pink elephant.
Think of anything BUT a pink elephant.
Think about what you did today for a few minutes...
Is the pink elephant still lingering (like the smell of bacon on a Sunday morning...)
^^ This pretty much shows that no matter how much we think we can block / suppress thoughts, it doesn't really work.
Which is essentially why "banning" / "giving up" your favourite foods will make you think, want, and binge on it...even more!
Which brings me to my next point...
2) Don't give up your favourite foods (and drink) – Remember to enjoy your food.
It's social and brings us together. I'm not giving you a license to drink as much wine and eat as much Layer Rich Malted-Chocolate Toasted Marshmallow Cake as you like…
But I am saying that including them, as part of your nutrition plan, will probably prevent binges and yoyo dieting.
3) The majority of your diet should come from whole, minimally processed foods, like vegetables, fruits, beans / pulses, potatoes, dairy, lean meats, wholegrains etc.
4) Eat to satisfy hunger – Don't always go by the clock. Get back in touch with your hunger and fit your meals to your lifestyle.
Eating the majority of your food late at night will not make you fat.
Just like eating breakfast won't make you thin.
It's what you do over the course of the day / week that counts!
5) Find other ways to comfort and deal with emotions – after a long day where everything that could have went wrong, went wrong…
You can always count on Ben & Jerry's Caramel Chew Chew and a pack of Rolos to cheer you up.
But trying to get comfort from something other than food, like watching some comedy, starting a box set, or socialising with friends and family, could make a huge difference to your waistline…
Just don't turn to Masterchef or Come Dine With Me…
So on to the next questions:
Would a plant based diet be good for YOU?
Well, here's "the good" about a plant based diet:
* You'll probably eat more veggies and feel better as a result
* You'll probably eat less fat and calories due to cutting out processed meats, like bacon, sausages, burgers, and hot dogs
^^^ Studies based on the consumption of processed meats, like hot dogs and burgers, are often –wrongly – translated to "all meats, including lean beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, are bad"…
* You'll spend less money eating out at restaurants, as going for a Chinese without duck pancakes probably won't seem as enticing
* You'll probably be more experimental with new foods and improve your cooking skills!
And..."The not so good":
* It can make eating out at restaurants and socialising a pain as the vegetarian options can be limited…making you turn to cheesey chips on a regular basis
* You need to get familiar with combining certain foods, like cheese, beans, and seeds, to ensure you're getting sufficient protein, B vitamins, Iron, and Omega 3.
* If you enjoy meat and fish, it's probably not going to be sustainable for you…
So to sum up…
There's no one "best diet" that suits all.
In fact, the best diet is the one you'll actually do!
We need to apply the basics and build a nutrition plan from the bottom up so we can get off the dieting merry-go-round, have more energy, and get lean (without piling it back on again).
Which is exactly what my body transformation programme does.
And you can apply for it here:
Matt "can't stop thinking about Layer Rich Malted-Chocolate Toasted Marshmallow Cake" Fruci
PS. has to be gluten-free, though.