The Perfect Diet
I have learned many lessons while working with clients who are trying to improve their health. And, seeing how a new year has just begun and the majority of us are trying to make some kind of improvement in the way in which we eat, here are what I believe to be the most practical and most relevant principles that you may be able to apply in building your “New Year, New You” diet:
- We are all unique. Nature and nurture impart a specific set of features that make us individual, distinct, and shape physical, psychological, and spiritual needs. Intuitively, this applies to our nutritional needs as well. Unfortunately, intuition can be easily concealed by conscious and/or subconscious bias that encourages us to apply blanket generalizations to individuals from different cultures, generations, and belief systems.
- Application trumps education. Rather, the world’s most knowledgeable practitioners – allopathic, naturopathic, or otherwise – will be largely ineffective if they are unable to properly package and present their wisdom.
- Input determines output. Food is energy, vitality, and health and the quality of your consumption corresponds directly with your health. Food can also be extremely therapeutic and may be able to prevent or reverse certain health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
I believe that these three concepts are fairly intuitive and that the majority of us know these to be true if we honestly, without judgment, look at our diet and how it impacts our wellbeing.
How does eating a carrot make you feel and act, upon consumption and a few hours later, as opposed to a candy bar? Surely we could all eat use at least one carrot in our day and God knows they are just as portable, but what about three dozen or three hundred carrots? Some could probably stomach the first, but the last might send into an Umpa Loompa-esk fit. There is a perfect carrot balance where our nutrient, convenience, and performance needs are all met.
However, generalities don’t often help individuals dial in their diet and really excel in health and life.
That being said, the question becomes, “what is the to ensure health, vitality, and longevity?”
Is the optimal diet Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, or fruititarian? What about Mediterranean, macrobiotic, kosher, or Inuit? Where do Soylent, Shakeology, and the Master Cleanse fit into this?
The ONLY end-all-be-all, perfect, 100% guaranteed to improve health diet is the one that is diverse, sustainable, and composed of real food. These three tenants may be best simplified as follows:
- Diversity – eat the rainbow and all beings under the sun. Plants and animals of every color according to season and geography.
- Sustainability – something to which you can adhere for years, maybe even a lifetime, without feeling deprived or requiring a “cheat day”.
- Real food – food that is consumed in a form very similar to which it is found in nature.
I believe the most potentially problematic component of this simply, nourishing, and absolutely magnificent diet is sustainability. Finding a sustainable diet uniquely suited to your needs must take into account an your upbringing, culture, personal preference, desire, resources (money, time, energy), support system, activity level, personal and professional obligation, current health status, and willingness to try new things. There will be a learning curve to work up in this respect, but, just like everything else in life, we must try new things and keep ourselves open physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Diverse, sustainable, and real!
This is the diet that will absolutely guarantee improvements in health, vitality, and longevity.