I’m guessing that I got your attention with the title of this post for one of two reasons: (1) you’ve asked yourself, “What is the best diet?” at some point in your life, or (2) you want to know the answer. Or maybe even a combination of both.
Here’s the thing. Most people have wondered about the best diet at some point, so you’re not alone. I’m certainly no stranger to trying different diets myself, but first, let me define the word “diet.” Because I’m not only referring to a “how can I lose weight” mindset, but I’m also talking about the best foods to eat for your body. In fact, the definition of diet is actually “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” So whether your goal is to lose weight, feel great, or achieve optimal health, many of us ponder this question. Myself included.
I was excited to recently learn about bio-individuality which means…
Each person is unique. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all right diet for everyone. Individuals all have different needs and should eat the foods that make them feel their best.
My Food Intolerances as a Child
I was lactose intolerant as an infant. I was breastfed for three weeks, after which I was fed soy milk. But somehow along the way, my parents discovered that I was actually okay with dairy. Then when I was 9 years old, I realized that I was not, in fact, okay with dairy. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that it was the end of ice cream, cereal with milk, yogurt, or cheese. Pizza without cheese was not the norm with my friends, but it worked for me, so I went with it.
I also had digestion issues with lettuce, citrus fruit, and other acidic foods when I was around the same age. My parents didn’t do much looking into it – nothing like we’d do now with Googling, chasing doctors, etc. I simply knew what worked for me and what didn’t, and so I didn’t eat what didn’t work. Sounds pretty simple, right? Right.
My father is Indian, so I grew up eating Indian food daily. I remember craving red meat more than it was offered. Every year on my birthday, I chose to go to a restaurant that served the best ribs. It was always a highlight. But when I was 17, the low fat craze was in fashion, and a few girlfriends were into the rage. I decided I would follow suit – and I haven’t eaten red meat or pork since.
My Ever-Changing Diet Continued into Adulthood
Fast forward to 2013. I was returning from a big natural foods conference where something gave me the inkling to take things a step further and try being vegetarian. Though I hadn’t eaten much Indian food since my younger years, I knew I could get back to the lentils, beans, and such, and I already strived to eat as many vegetables as possible. So why not, I thought? I wanted to see what all the hype was about.
My diet has clearly changed dramatically over time, and I’m pretty sure that it won’t stay the same for the rest of my life. We are all programmed differently. As they used to tell us in preschool, we are all special. ;) So what works for you may not work for me and vice versa. And what works for us at different times in our lives will also vary.
What is Bio-Individuality?
I’m currently enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and will graduate in February. Some people enroll to better their knowledge of nutrition for themselves and their loved ones, and others enroll to become a health coach. I personally enrolled because I wanted to further my knowledge of nutrition for another project I am working on. But that is another story!
All of this diet stuff is on my mind because one of the main focuses at IIN is bio-individuality, which, as I mentioned above, means each person is unique, and for each person, a specific way of eating is going to be the best answer for them. What I love is that this theory resonates with what Lisa preaches and also with what I realize I’ve been experiencing in my life. Just because gluten free is a fad (for some!), it doesn’t mean you have to jump on the bandwagon, and when low-fat was popular, I shouldn’t have followed along. So the moral of the story is, instead of trying the latest craze, listen to your body. See what works for you and makes you feel good. Your body will definitely let you know when you find the right answer!
What’s the Best Diet FOR YOU?
So if you are still wondering about the answer to the question, “What is the best diet?” The best diet is the one that works FOR YOU. It includes real, unprocessed foods. It may include meat (local, grass fed, and/or organic if possible), and it definitely includes lots of fresh, colorful fruits and veggies. Whole grains, whether with or without gluten (depending on what works for you) is also something to consider. Listen to your body. It will tell you exactly what is the right formula. Just for you.
Have you experienced a change in your diet over the years? I would love for you to share it in the comments below! And if you are interested in learning more about the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, their next classes starts on February 11 (an accelerated class that completes in 6 months) or March 18, the year program.