3 things to consider if the diet is a good fit for you - your dietary needs, budget and lifestyle

The Paleo and Ketogenic diets and more recently the Diet without Lectins are popular these days. It's easier now than ever to stick with the diets because frozen meals and dietary supplements are readily available and are easily identifiable with the Paleo and Keto diet friendly stamps on the packages.

With so many fad diets, how do know which to follow?  

Personally, I am not someone who can follow any particular diet for long. However, I love to learn the science behind each diet. After years of experimenting with different diets with the motivation to lose weight, I found that I would lose and gain back the weight and some.

Maintaining a healthy weight was the hardest part and I realized that it would require a lifestyle change. So, now I eat to nourish a healthy mind and body with special attention to gut health to stop the progression of autoimmune diseases and to slow down the effects of aging.

The goal is simple.

First, follow the 80/20 rule - 80% minimally processed foods, and 20% to satisfy your indulgence if needed.

Second, incorporate 5 food guidelines below into your lifestyle no matter which diet plan you're on. Improvise to fit your health goals and lifestyle.

Rule #1:   Avoid toxic food ingredients.

I recommend always find the nutritional facts on the package and look for the ingredient list. You will be shock to see ingredients you may not be able to pronounce.

Simply avoid the following:

#1   So-called food ingredients that you cannot pronounce as they are highly processed, chemical laden and possibly not natural.  

#2   Common food additives: white refined sugar, high corn fructose syrup, partially hydrogenated oil, shortening, white flour, guar gum, carrageenan, sodium nitrates, sodium benzoate, MSG (monosodium glutamate) and BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole).

#3   Allergens such as gluten, dairy, lactose, corn, and soy,

#4   Beware of processed foods labeled as Fat-Free, Low-fat and Sugar-Free

#5   Avoid Dairy Products - You may drink goat or sheep milk.

#6   Foods high in lectins that can destroy your gut wall. If you would like to enjoy these foods, pressure cook to destroy the lectins.

- whole grains: wheat, oat, rice, quinoa

- beans & legumes: chickpeas, lentils, peas, kidney beans, soybeans

- night shade vegetables: bell peppers, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, cucumber, potatoes.


Rule #2:   Go organic!

Love your body. Avoid pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and non genetic modified organisms (non-GMO) by choosing organic as much as possible. Be aware that non-GMO foods may contain pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals used in the preservation of the food.

Rule #3:   Eat whole foods and fermented foods.

Processed foods and drinks which include fast foods, boxed foods, frozen meals, pastries, baked goods and soda are all void of nutrition. To get your daily dose of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and probiotics, at least 50% of your daily food intake should come from vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and fermented foods. I recommend incorporating the following into your daily diet.

#1   Lectin-Free Vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, Swiss chard, bok choy, watercress, kohlrabi, arugula, artichokes, asparagus, garlic, celery, leeks, radishes, beets, mushrooms, okra, and mushrooms, sweet potato, yam, onions, garlic.

#2   Fruits low in sugar and in season in moderation: apples, berries, citrus fruits, pineapple, avocados.

#3   Raw seeds: flax seed, hemp seed, sesame seed.

#4   Raw nuts: almonds (soaked almonds are easier to digest), macadamian, walnut, pistachio, pecans and brazil nuts.

#5   Fermented foods: fermented sauerkraut, fermented pickles, tempeh, miso, natto, kimchi, kombucha.

Rule #4:   Consume quality protein.

Protein has many important functions in our body including growth and repair of muscles and tissues. It is recommended that an average sedentary man requires 56 grams of protein daily. An average sedentary woman requires 46 grams of protein daily.  

#1   Select pasture raised, grass fed, cage-free, wild-caught whenever possible.

#2   Choose fish and lean meats.

#3   Minimize vegetarian meat substitutes. Most meat substitutes are made of TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) which is highly processed made from the byproducts of soy oil.

#4   Consume collagen peptides which contains a high amino profile that is easy to digest and absorbed by the body.

Rule #5:   Choose healthy cooking methods

The method of preparation or cooking is just as important as the food. For example, baked chicken is definitely better than fried chicken because fried foods are higher in calories and fats.

  • Avoid anything fried or grilled. Fried foods are higher in calories and fats. Grilled foods on the other hand may lead to carcinogenic production from the char. Eat only as an occasional treat.
  • Choose healthy cooking options such as baking, roasting and steaming. Use Olive Oil for cooking. Limit the use of microwave when heating up food.
  • Choose natural sweetener over artificial sweetener; Himalaya salt over table salt, raw sugar over white refined sugar, butter over margarine.