These diets helped me figure out what’s good for me

I’m not paleo, I’m not vegan, I don’t follow the alkaline or Mediterranean diet, I’m not a clean eater. Wait, maybe I am. Maybe I am all of them. I don’t follow their rules, but I cannot deny they have had an impact on my way of thinking. Now, it’s time to summarize the diets that influenced my current eating habits. In one sentence, I would say that I eat (almost) everything in moderation. When I go out I eat many things that I usually avoid. My favourite word is “moderation” when I talk about eating. I eat gluten and dairy products in moderation, for example.

Here are the diets that influenced my way of thinking about food (note, these are just the basics, there is some extra info I may write about later).

The Mediterranean diet:
– maximise the intake of vegetables, including legumes
– when eating grain, it must be whole grain
– love fruits – they are not the enemy, but your friends
– limit the red meat intake – fish and poultry are healthy choices
– use mono-unsaturated olive oil or rapessed oil and avoid animal fat
– limit the intake of processed food
– saturated fat is the real enemy, avoid them
– eat dairy products in moderation (I personally prefer non-cow dairy products, such as feta cheese and goat cheese)
– use as little salt as possible
– instead of crisps and biscuits, snack on fruit, dried fruit or unsalted nuts
– drink red wine during meals (in moderation, 1-2 small glasses per day) – it’s very interesting, because for months I preferred white one but for a few weeks I have cravings for red wine (is it more summer wine for me? Does it remind me of Summer in Tuscany?)
– avoid sweetend beverages, drink water instead

Vegan diet:
– maximise the intake of vegetables, including legumes (good protein source)
– do not overuse grains
– avoid every kind of meat (yes, fish, too)
– avoid every kind of dairy products
– avoid eggs
– the problem can be the overuse of grains, gluten, and soy products

Alkaline diet:
– avoid meat, dairy products and eggs
– avoid sugar and processed food
– not all fruits are good for you
– some grains and mushroom can have an acid-forming effect
– follow the rules of food combining (there are quite many suggestions to make the perfect alkaline diet)

Paleo diet:
– avoid sugar and processed carbs
– avoid potatoes, rice, legumes (peanut is a legume technically, did you know that?) and corn (it is a grain, not a vegetable)
– avoid dairy products
– eat real food, not processed food
– eat lots of leafy vegetables
– egg is a good thing, eat loads of them
– avoid “modern” oils made from grains and seeds
– don’t eat soy
– eat fruits in consideration with their high level of fructose

Clean eating
– eat whole, natural foods
– avoid or at least minimize processed foods
– include some protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal
– be aware of the fat, salt and sugar you consume and try to minimize them
– eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day
– don’t drink your calories
– avoid saturated and trans fat
– avoid calorie rich foods that don’t have any nutritional value
– stick to proper portion sizes

diets_cleaneating

There are some other diets I read about, but they were either extremely far from my style or were just variations of these diets. I don’t follow any of them but concentrate on foods that make me feel good. I try to eat as many vegetables as possible, even legumes. Not always, not every day, but quite often. I eat dairy products only once in a while, I rarely eat eggs (only when I eat my mother’s cookies or very special meatballs), because it is the only food that gives me stomach ache and discomfort. However, I miss scrambled eggs. I try to minimize gluten, but I’m not totally glutenfree. When I bake my bread it’s glutenfree but sometimes I buy wholemeal bread, too, when I’m too busy to make it myself. I’m not vegetarian, but I don’t eat meat every day. But when I eat, I don’t ‘care’ what meat it is (as long as it is grass-fed or organic), I don’t only eat chicken (which is always advised everywhere and I hate it, because it makes eating very monotonous), I sometimes eat pork and beef, and fish quite often. I eat everything that make me feel good.
I follow the 80/20 principle. I believe, if we eat healthily in the 80% of our lives, we can ‘cheat’ on special occasions. And cheating is relative. The other day I was talking to my mom and mentioned I had a cheat meal for dinner (fish fingers with grilled vegetables) and she said it is not even a real cheat meal :D

So, this is what influenced me. And what influenced you? How do you put your diet together? What are the diets that you hate, that has a bad reputation for you?

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My story, round 5 – becoming a nutritionist

Food has always had an important role in my life. As a typical teenager I tried to lose weight even when I didn’t have anything extra on me, later, I had some, I worked hard to lose the extra weight. This was the first time I started to think about food consciously. It was my first meeting with healthy or diet ingredients.

My first real milestone with eating was when I was diagnosed with insulin resistance (IR) and had to dig into dietary suggestions, had to learn the rules, the counting of carbohydrates, the proper time I should eat. I wasn’t a huge fan of the original diet so I started to search for alternative diet suggestions. Luckily, I found the diet that worked best for me. During the search, I learnt quite a lot about the conventional Hungarian approach and dietary suggestions, vegetarian and vegan diet, Paleo and Mediterranean diet. This huge amount of information helped me a lot in my later studies because I didn’t have to study the very basics as I had known them before.

community studying

The second milestone was when I started my school to become a fitness instructor. Luckily, we had a very good teacher, a talented dietitian, who was mostly teaching about typical weight loss diet but gave some extra tips too. I liked those extra tips, they proved to be useful later.

The third milestone was when on our Pilates course we learnt about diet again, but not only from the how-to-lose-weight approach but about minerals, vitamins and other extras.

The fourth milestone was a very determining point in my life. However, earlier I had learnt quite a lot about vegan diet but it didn’t become my closest friend. Then I started to get closer to the Aviva method, which supports the idea of the alkaline diet. First, I was totally against it because it’s highly problematic to follow. Especially, when previously following a typical Hungarian diet. During the class, we were encouraged to read a lot about the alkaline diet. I decided to prove that it’s not the best approach but during my research I realised, there’s a lot of truth in it. I made a conclusion and I decided to support the plant-based diet. However, I do not only eat veggies and grains. I eat meat about once a week, some cheese once in a while, so there are exceptions but when I plan MY diet, it’s mostly plant based. In my opinion, there are many cases when being vegan is not the best option but being “only” on a plant-based diet is always a good idea (I know, it’s not the official definition but for me, plant based diet means that I eat as many veggies as possible and meat as an extra). It has all the positive characteristics of vegan and carnivorous diets.

you-are-what-you-eat

Next time I applied for a sport and weight loss nutritionist course where, luckily, we had very open-minded teachers*, I digged deeper in supportive diets in weight loss, I learnt about different approaches and I also learnt about the importance of other aspects (sport activity, daily work, stress level, body type, etc) so I still wasn’t satisfied.

It was the time where I started to search for more opportunities, for quite a long time I couldn’t decide whether I should go back to college and become a dietitian or going for the more alternative approach. I did my research and realised that I do not always agree with the conventional approach, but I find the holistic way of thinking more effective. I have always encouraged my clients to seek for help in different places, such as therapists (I think stress relief is much-much more important than we think), health coaches, naturopathist’s and try as many methods as they can until they find the perfect one. That’s when I figured out that being a holistic nutritionist and health coach is my path.

And here I am now, wanting to deepen my knowledge in the field of nutrition. I’m very excited about starting my new school. As soon as possible. I’m still saving for the tuition, but it will happen. Until then, I’m “just” reading and trying and using my current knowledge.

*I’m a bit weird, or control-freak or just maximalist, but I always do a long research about which school, which course is the best for me. I rarely choose poorly ;)