Fad Dieting Stinks:
Go Back to Basics

by Gina Paulhus, Owner of Home Bodies

As the New Year approaches, it can be tempting to get roped into all the fad diets that are out there. Raw food this, Zone that, Low-Carb, No-Carb, the Cookie Diet, the latest Colon Cleanze. It’s normal to want to find the quick fix, but the fact of the matter is, nothing is as good as sound nutrition principles, a balanced diet, and finding that elusive place we call ‘moderation.’ If any of those fads worked, you would not be reading this article hoping for the solution to your weight and eating woes. All of those plans can work in the short term, but I can tell you right now that they are the absolute worst thing you can do for your long term health and wellness.

Sure, 1% of people might have the discipline and flexibility to make something like a Raw Food diet work. But for the rest of us, it’s not something you can sustain in the long run--and any plan you cannot sustain for the long run is destined to blow up in your face. So what is a motivated person to do come New Year? It’s simple. Think back to how your ancestors ate—lean meats including lean red meat, poultry, and fish, fruits and vegetables of all kinds, and nuts. This should be the mainstay of your diet.

This is not to say you can’t have complex carbs and other fats as well, and these extra foods can really open up your food choices so you get a nice blend of nutrients and don’t feel deprived. Just make sure you choose the right carbs, meaning whole grains and those found in dairy foods. The closer to the natural state your food is, the better. For instance, a baked potato is better for you than mashed potatoes. Regarding fats, the best choices are nuts and olive oil. With carbs and fats, the calories can rack up fast so use them more as an accent to the meal.

And what to drink? Water, water, water. It’s OK to spritz your water with some fruit juice, and vegetable juice is great (low sodium even better). Coffee in moderation is fine for most, and tea is a great choice. Low fat milk is a wonderful source of nutrients. All other beverages, including diet sodas, should be taken sparingly or not at all.

And, let’s not forget that you are human, so it’s OK to go ‘off’ your plan and have something different like a couple slices of pizza or a piece of birthday cake. The key is to stop at a portion and not go overboard. Happy New Year!

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