When is it appropriate to jump on the dietary bandwagon? Should you be eating “paleo” if your friends are losing weight because of it and you also want to lose weight? Since there is so much bad press about gluten, should you start eating only gluten free products? Maybe veganism is the answer?
There’s no perfect path that suits everyone when it comes to diet. But there are some good guiding principles.
1. Buy the highest quality food you can afford.
Start by reading labels. Avoid GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives like potassium sorbate and sodium nitrate, and excitotoxins. Learn about the brands that make the foods you like to eat.
2. Keep the following things in moderation if and when you have digestive issues: sugar, alcohol, raw food, fried food, very spicy food, soy.
If you consume a lot of any of those groups, and you have any digestive complaints, try cutting back that group by half. Then re-evaluate how you feel.
3. Pay attention to your body’s response to foods.
If you have a complaint (for example, skin issues, weight gain, fatigue, etc) take a look at what you’re eating by creating a simple food diary. Write down what you eat for every meal for two weeks or a month, and note changes in the issue that concerns you. Often you can find a connection between diet and body complaints.
4. If you think you have an allergy or sensitivity (to gluten, wheat, dairy, or something else) do a simple elimination diet for a month and then reintroduce the potential offenders by themselves to evaluate your body’s response.
5. Eat more vegetables. Try to add some veggies to breakfast.
Using frozen vegetables in a pinch is fine. Much of the nutritional value is preserved. Fresh is best, of course, but do what works for you. Find a good cookbook, like “Simple French Cooking” by Richard Olney, and try out new vegetable recipes.