If I had a dollar for every time, I was asked one of these questions…. Should I go vegan? What about vegetarian? What about Paleo, Mediterranean, Keto or low fat diets? Which is the best diet plan for weight loss? Have you heard about the _ diet? My answer is always the same….. any diet will work if you can follow it but the problem with most diets is that most people can’t follow them indefinitely. Why do I answer this way? Because almost every single diet plan will work depending on how you follow it. Almost all diet plans eliminate the same foods. These being highly processed, energy density and low nutrient dense foods. No diet recommends cake, candy, cookies, chips, fried food or sugary and caffeinated drinks. What does every single diet plan have in common? They all emphasize eating more whole foods, more vegetables, getting good quality protein, avoiding processed foods with little nutritional value, portion control, listening to your hunger and not eating mindlessly. Follow these rules and the rest is a just a matter of personal preference. Why do I say this? Because we are all individuals with individual likes and dislikes. There is no one perfect eating plan for everyone. If a diet plan is too restrictive for you, making you eat foods you dislike and completely eliminating everything you do like you most likely will not adhere to it. Listen to your body! Your body will tell you how you should be eating for optimal health as you will feel good and have energy. What’s the trick? Learning how to listen to your body and understand what it is saying to us. That’s where most of us need help and guidance.
According to the CDC, since August of 2020, due to the pandemic, the percentage of adults with symptoms of a depressive disorder rode from 36.4% to 41.5%. Depression symptoms can be attributed to the following nutritional deficiencies:
- B-complex: When your body is experiencing stress the need for B vitamins will increase. You may not be able to consume all the additional B vitamins you need from food alone, especially if you consume a large amount of processed foods.
- B12 – you may be b12 deficient if you are a vegan, if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Disease, if you have had bariatric surgery or if you are just getting older as our ability to absorb B12 decreases with age.
- Folic Acid – IF you have a mutation of the MTHFR gene then your body has a difficult time converting folic acid into it’s active form 5-MTHF. This lack of 5-MTHF can disrupt the production of multiple neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine which are all related to your mood.
- Protein- Are you eating enough protein? Our neurotransmitters are made from amino acids which result from the body breaking down proteins. If you are not consuming enough protein then your brain cannot make an adequate amount of the neurotransmitters associated with mood.
- Have you been taking PPI (protein pump Inhibitor) or H2 blockers long term? These common medications used form heartburn, reflux or GERD are fine short term but long term usage can interfere with nutrient absorption leading to deficiencies of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, all of which can contribute to depression.
- Is your thyroid functioning optimally? When was the last time you had your thyroid levels checked? Symptoms of hypothyroidism are low mood, apathy, lack of motivation, and depression.
- Vit D – Suboptimal levels of this important vitamin are extremely common and are associated with a higher rate of depression and seasonal affective disorder.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – most common fat deficiencies associated with mental health disorders are due to a lack of EPA and DHA as these essential fatty acids are not made by the body and must be supplied by the diet.
It is always important to talk with a health professional before taking any supplements.
A healthy lifestyle begins with a healthy diet. Living an unhealthy lifestyle will eventually catch up with you and the more stress that is put on your body, from both external and internal sources, the more lifestyle changes will need to occur for optimal wellness. All these stressors cause inflammation in our body. The more inflammation in our body, the more likely we are to get sick, it’s that simple.
When it come to our diet, there are some foods that are more inflammatory than others. Some of the most common culprits are:
- Sugar – more specifically processed sugar. The sugar that is naturally found in fruit is fine to consume, it’s the added sugar that has inflammatory properties.
- Refined carbohydrates – White processed breads, cereals, cookies, snack foods
- Trans Fats – No one should be consuming these fats as they are the worst type of fat to consume. Trans fats not only cause inflammation, they are also know to increase your “bad “cholesterol and “lower” your good cholesterol, putting you at a higher risk for heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Trans fats are rarely found in nature and the majority of them are man made.
- Saturated fats found in animal and full fat dairy products
- MSG – A food additive used to enhance flavor in many processed foods
- Aspartame – An artificial sweetener commonly found in diet sodas
- Vegetable oils that are high in omega-6 fatty acids such as safflower, soybean, corn, sunflower oils
- Gluten – commonly found in such grains as barley, rye and wheat
Now that you know the foods to avoid it is best to meet with a professional to find out which foods you should incorporate to ensure optimal wellness as everyone is different and has different needs.
January… The month we all decide to change something about ourselves that we think need correcting. This is the month when we all focus on setting these elaborate goals for the upcoming year. Well this year I decided my goal was to go vegan for the month of January. For one month I will not consume anything other than plant based food items. How hard could it be, right?
Well two week sin and I have more respect for vegans then I ever thought imaginable. I’m already a vegetarian, so I thought the leap to veganism would not be to difficult. I found some new vegan recipe to try, so far they have been really tasty. I’ve modified current recipe, the modifications have worked. It’s the eating outside of my house that is the problem! I never realized the amount of preparation and dedication that it takes to be a vegan. So why am I telling you this? Because making a change, even for just a month is difficult and without the proper support we are more likely to fail.
Everybody is different, everyone’s life is different and how we all approach the change in our lives will be different. Think of what you want change and how are YOU going to make that change happen!
The best plan to lose weight – set SMART goals
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