We have all heard the saying you are what you eat. And in a basic sense, that really is true. The food choices you make on a daily basis determine your energy levels, overall wellness, and risk for disease.
When you eat healthy, you are healthy.
Given this, diet is a lifelong concern for most people, and let’s get one thing straight: when we say diet, we are not talking about fad diets, which are typically hard to maintain and not actually all that good for you. Rather, we’re using diet to refer to the foods that you eat regularly. Think of the meals you would make for yourself on any average day -- that is your diet.
Diets have everything to do with habit and routine, so we understand that trying to make changes to your diet can be extremely difficult. Ultimately, the best way to make a diet work for you is finding one that fits in with your lifestyle and your needs.
Below we have a list of tips for building the right diet for you, as well as a variety of diet schemes (Mediterranean, Korean, etc.) that may inspire your own diet. For all you need to know about healthy eating, read on!
How To Adjust Your Diet in the Healthiest Way Possible
So, you are looking to change your diet but are not exactly sure where to start. Before making any major changes, you should first consider the following:
- Why are you looking to eat differently? Are you trying to lose weight?
- Are there certain foods you want/need to cut out? Which ones?
- Are there certain foods you are trying to eat more of? Which ones?
- What kinds of foods do you enjoy eating?
- How much time do you have for cooking meals?
- How active are you?
- What is your approximate budget for food?
- Do you want to continue this diet long term?
Take out a piece of paper and a pencil and write down your answers to each of these important questions. Once you do so, you should have a clearer idea of what your goals are, and it will be easier to choose a diet direction to go in.
Before we move on to the specific diets that may inspire you, let’s go through a couple more points that will ensure any dietary changes you make are healthy and relatively easy to maintain:
If you are trying to lose weight, include your doctor in any decisions you make. As much as you might wish otherwise, healthy weight loss needs to be slow and gradual. Make sure to include regular exercise in any weight loss plan.
If you need to cut out a certain food group, make sure you know exactly which nutrients you will be missing out on. For example, if you find that dairy irritates your stomach, understand that dairy products are an important source of protein and calcium, so you will need to make sure you are getting these nutrients from other sources. In this case you can include more fish and nuts in your diet for protein, and try soy or almond milk that is fortified with calcium.
Be realistic about your time and budget, but also know that healthy eating does not have to break the bank. Follow this guide to eating healthy on a budget!
Do not punish yourself. In other words, do not cut out all the foods that you enjoy. Sure, no healthy diet is going to allow you to eat your favorite danish for breakfast every morning, but the occasional snack or treat will keep you motivated and satisfied. If you suddenly stop eating your favorite foods, you are more likely to fall back into old habits quickly, and the diet will be harder to maintain. As long as you consume unhealthy foods sparingly, you can get away with keeping them in your life.
What Kinds of Diets Are There?
From fad diets to lifestyle diets, you are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to diet options. The awesome thing is, each of the diets below are as flexible as you want them to be!
Look at these diets as starting points from which you can build and customize the right diet for you.
The Mediterranean Diet
This diet is named after the Mediterranean region, but there are actually five places in the world (known as “blue zones”) that are considered pioneers in this particular diet: Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Sardinia, Italy.
The people that live in these regions are known for having particularly long life spans, which is why this diet has become so popular.
The Mediterranean diet encourages you to eat lots of fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts. Dairy products, meat, and desserts should all be consumed sparingly, but a glass of red wine with dinner will not hurt!
Shoku-Iku: The Japanese Diet
Shoku-iku is a popular way of eating within Japanese culture. There are four main components of shoku-iku:
- Instead of counting calories, listen to your body’s cues. Eat when you are hungry, and stop eating when you are full.
- Avoid getting bored by adding variety to your diet. Literally, spice things up!
- Share your food experience with others. Eating is meant to be social.
- Skip the processed foods and stick with whole foods -- the more nutrients, the better.
This diet is less about specific foods and more about how you eat, so it is great for anyone that is looking to adjust their mindset about food, eating, health, and even life.
The K-Pop Diet
The K-Pop/Korean Diet is gaining as much traction in the United States as Korean pop music itself! The basic rules are as follows:
- Control your portions.
- Steam your foods to maintain as many nutrients as possible.
- Avoid high-fat and/or processed foods completely.
- Additionally, consume little to no sugar.
- Build up on nutrients with lots and lots of fruits and veggies.
Since the K-Pop diet may force you to cut out quite a few foods that you are used to eating regularly, you should definitely transition into this diet slowly so you are better able to maintain it over a longer period of time.
The Vegan/Pescatarian/Vegetarian Diet
First things first, the difference between these three terms can be kind of confusing, so let’s go over what they mean:
Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or any other product which comes from animal meat.
Pescatarians are vegetarians who eat fish.
Vegans do not eat any product that is associated in any way with animals, including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.
People choose these diets for both ethical and health reasons. The most important thing to take into account with these diets is that your sources of protein will be limited. However, alternatives like beans, tempeh, tofu, nuts, seeds, nut milks, and much more are all available to make up for the lack of meat and poultry.
Additional Tips For Staying Healthy
Diets work best when you follow them up with healthy lifestyle choices. Here are a few steps you can take, in addition to eating a well-balanced diet, to boost your wellness and feel your absolute best:
Add a supplement to your diet. Supplements are meant to build on your diet and account for any spots where your diet may be lacking. Our Prebiotic Fiber Boost, for example, will help increase your dietary fiber intake and improve digestion. Other supplements, like this Detox Probiotic, promote all-natural weight loss by helping your body better digest fats. Work with your doctor to determine what kind of supplement might benefit you.
Sleep more. Seriously, the more you sleep, the better you will be able to function, and the happier you will feel. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Exercise often. Regular exercise will keep your weight at a healthy amount and your stress level at a minimum. Try to incorporate a mix of aerobic and strengthening/toning exercises into your weekly routine.
Reduce stress. If there is any reason to minimize stress it is that many of us tend to overeat when we are stressed, and never healthy foods either. Additionally, stress can really wear the body down over time. Exercise, yoga, mindfulness, and taking short breaks throughout the day can all help keep stress away.
Hydrate. Your body needs water to function, so make sure you are giving it all the H2O it needs. Water, tea, nut milks, and certain vegetables are all great sources of hydration.
Cut out bad habits. This means drinking coffee and alcohol in moderation, and quitting smoking. If you need help cutting back on any of these things, consult with your doctor on how to do so in a healthy way.
If you pair these healthy lifestyle choices with a well-balanced diet, you can maximize your health and build the body you have always wanted. The best time to start is right now!
How to Choose a Diet for Your Lifestyle - Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating
10 Tips for Finding the Best Diet That Works for You (webmd.com)
Paleo, Mediterranean And More: How To Choose A Diet : NPR