I confess I'm still evolving in my diet lifeystyle. In my quest to be healthy and find what works best for my life and my body, I've tried many different lifestyle diets. Not diets that are short term and temporary like pre-wedding diet or that pre-vacation diet, but diets when you change the way you eat from now on.
Post college and post "Freshman 15" (which looked more like "Freshman 30" on my 5'1" frame), I tried Weight Watchers. Then the Zone diet which worked, but I was constantly hungry. Then I went back on the commercial track with LA Weight Loss (which didn't work for me) and then Paleo when I moved to California a few years ago. Most recently, I was on a diabetic diet when I had gestational diabetes with Claire. Now, I'm exploring a plant-based diet and not just because of Beyonce and Jay-Z. After watching "Forks over Knives", reading about "The China Study" and hearing Rip Esselstyn from Fire Engine 2 speak about his new book "My Beef with Meat", it's hard to not want to learn more about a plant based diet.
Each of these diet have helped me build my knowledge base on what works for me. FOR ME. Everyone is on their own journey for their own life and I don't believe that any one diet is right for everyone. That's the beauty of educating yourself about food and learning about how your body responds to it. I'm learning. I'm synthesizing the knowledge I'm gaining and I'm discerning what I can apply to my life. Some things are easy. Unrefined salt, such as sea salt is better than refined salt like Morten's. Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes are better for you than simple carbohydrates like pasta. Pairing a protein with your carb helps slow the glycemic load. We choose wild-caught fish over farm-raised fish. Everyone knows eating more fruits and vegetables are good for you (here's a photo of a favorite of mine - sauteed collard greens, kale and chard with carmelized onions and diced bacon). But other areas are less clear to me.
Are eggs good for you or not? When I was on Paleo, I swear, I was eating at least 2 eggs a day. That's over a dozen in a week. What about red meats, like beef? Even if it is grass-fed, pasture-raised (versus those fed a GMO corn and soy-based feed), how does that affect my cholesterol and risks for heart disease? I have some friends that are "pesc-atarians" who only eat fish and no other animals. How much protein DO we really need? I felt really good when I was on the Paleo diet. I avoided a lot of the carb crashes and it definitely leaned me out and helped me with my arthritic knees. It was on the paleo diet where I first gave up dairy and noticed the benefits of living dairy-free. But I missed some grains and legumes like quinoa and kidney or garbanzo beans which are good sources of plant-based protein. Most recently, for the past several months, I was on a restricted diabetic diet while I had gestational diabetes. I ate every 2-3 hours, always with a small amount of protein, carbs and fats to keep my glucose numbers steady. This time, the stakes were a little higher as uncontrolled gestational diabetes can cause a host of problems for me and my growing baby. I had an increased risk for pre-term labor, still birth, complications delivering a bigger baby and a 75% chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Claire had an increased risk of being big baby (macrosomia), hypoglycemia as well as jaundice.
I don't know where I will be a year from now or what dietary lifestyle I will be following. But I do know that I'm committed to my health and the health of my family. What I can do, what we all can do, is to continue to be open to new information, learn what we can and apply what works for our own families. I love that quote..."It's not where you are in life that matters, but the direction in which you move."
So whether you follow a vegan, or plant-based diet, a Paleo, Omni or Weston A. Price diet, or any other diets, let's all move towards health and wellness together.
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