Happy 4th of July! I hope you’re doing something fun today! Derek and I are heading to the beach today for a picnic and bike ride :) It’s Wellness Wednesday which means I’m giving away something amazing (read on)…and talking about a wellness topic that I’m super passionate about:
DIETS and DIETING!
In the last few years I’ve tried soooooo many different diets in an effort to figure out which one would help me look and feel my BEST. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve suffered from stomach pains, digestion issues, inflammation and food sensitivities for 3+ years. I’ve visited countless top gastroenterologists, nutritionists, naturopaths, and specialists to try and pinpoint what the heck was causing it all!
One of them told me to take Pepto Bismol for the rest of my life (LIKE WHAT?!). Some told me to go vegan, some told me to go paleo, some told me to take weird shakes and supplements. Basically no one ever had a solution that actually WORKED long term even after a handful of blood tests and endoscopies. So after lots of frustrating visits and embarrassing bloating, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I have been researching and eliminating/then reintroducing several foods into my diet ever since.
First of all, I don’t really like the word diet.
I associate it with deprivation, restrictions and sad salads. My diet isn’t even really a “diet” but a lifestyle. It’s a way of living and eating that I’ve come up with that is 100% unique to me that makes me feel vibrant, sharp, glowing, and energetic. What are your thoughts on diets? Do you think our society should change the way we think and talk about diets? Have you been frustrated with doctors and misdiagnoses as well? Suffered from food sensitivities and digestion issues? Below are all of the diets I’ve tried – and what I’ve learned or adapted from each. As a reminder, I am not a doctor and you should consult with your own doctor before making any drastic lifestyle changes!
My diet is a lifestyle that is 100% unique and tailored to ME based on years of trial and error. It is closest to the 80/20 diet. I eat anti-inflammatory, gluten free, dairy free, low histamine (see #3), organic food 80% of the time and then pretty much whatever I want 20% of the time. However, some weeks it’s 90% vs 10% depending on how my stomach is feeling. Also, I never crave/eat stuff like soda, fast food, red meat, pork, and rarely drink alcohol, so the 20% free-for-all is usually stuff like pasta, bread or dessert when I’m out to dinner!
Honestly, I know my body SO well now so I know that eating tons of gluten and dairy for 3+ days in a row will leave me feeling like crap for a week. But 1 or 2 days of it and I’m fine (especially in Europe where the gluten is different!). If I have a big photo shoot coming up, I steer clear of dairy, gluten, sugar, and alcohol for at least 2+ days beforehand. In addition, I don’t count calories and I don’t feel guilty for eating something indulgent.
I love my body and I truly believe life is all about balance.
Being overly restrictive leads to binge eating and stress – life is too short for that! I’d rather enjoy pizza and pasta than obsess over being a size 0. What I typically eat in a day at home (when I don’t go out to eat); 7AM hot water with lemon, 9AM green juice, 10:30AM (optional if I am hungry) either a homemade gluten free oatmeal energy bar, buckwheat waffle, or sometimes 2 scrambled eggs. 1PM salad with pesto chicken, 3PM handful of popcorn, seaweed or flax seed crackers. 6PM sweet potato with coconut oil and steamed veggies, white rice with wild salmon and veggies. Or kelp noodles with zucchini, pine nuts and pesto. I do not take any supplements, vitamins or probiotics at the moment.
I love the 80/20 diet and mentality because it means you pretty much eat healthy food 80% of the time and indulgent food/whatever you want 20% of the time. I feel like this is a realistic way of thinking about a diet rather than trying to be super strict and perfect 24/7. (Which in the past has made me “cheat” and crave certain foods even more.)
I recently found out I have a histamine intolerance! What’s tricky about this – is there’s not really a medical “test” that confirms this. And it’s also not super well known in the medical community. I did a ton of research on this after I had hunch that I had it and decided to eliminate high histamine/histamine releasing food for 1 month to see how I felt. After only a few days my bloating went away, brain fog disappeared and I legit felt happier and more like myself.
Turns out, even though I was eating healthy foods like avocado, dark chocolate, citrus, berries, nuts, green tea, coffee, spinach, and even probiotics (yep I stopped taking them for the time being!). They are all high histamine releasing foods and were making me sick. The great news is you can heal a histamine intolerance and I do not have to eliminate those foods forever!
This type of diet helps protect against certain diseases and regulates blood sugar levels. It encourages you to eat lots of fiber, fruit, veggies, healthy fats, omega 3 fatty acids. Also, high alkaline food and no processed food/refined sugar. I try to eat this way 80% of the time!
This diet focuses on natural foods, healthy fat and protein – and eliminates processed food, grains, starchy vegetables, beans, sugar, and sweeteners. I tried being strict paleo for a while, but it didn’t work for me. Personally, I don’t feel my best when I eat a high fat/high protein diet and felt too restricted eliminating all of the food I mentioned above. Also, I thrive when I have a well rounded diet with a little rice, sweet potato, chicken, wild salmon, and of course lots of veggies and seeds. My sister and her fiancé on the other hand, love the paleo diet and feel their best on it.
In: veggies, fruits, tofu/tempeh, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, natural sweeteners (no honey.) Out: eggs, dairy, animal protein, animal oils/fats. I went vegan for a month and since I don’t like soy, quinoa, or legumes I felt like it was too restrictive for me. I can’t eat a lot of nuts because of my histamine intolerance. And I enjoy chicken/wild caught fish so this particular diet just doesn’t jive with my bod or personal preferences. However everyone is different and if it works for you then that’s great!
There are a few different types of vegetarian diets. Vegan as I mentioned above, pescatarian, lacto-vegetarian….The simplest definition of it is a diet free of fish and meat. After watching countless documentaries and reading tons of articles over the years, there’s no doubt in my mind that eating less meat is better for me. I have definitely cut back on eating meat especially in the last year. And I don’t eat it everyday of the week and certainly not at every meal. When I do eat meat, it’s organic free-range chicken and wild, fresh caught salmon.
The Keto diet is definitely having a moment this year. You may have watched The Magic Pill documentary (super interesting – go watch it if you haven’t) or read about it online. Basically you eat 80% fat and little to no carbs. Your body then goes into ketosis and burns fat for energy. I have SIBO, which has contributed to my digestion issues and histamine intolerance. So I tried Keto for 6 weeks to heal my gut. I eliminated all grains, sugar, starchy vegetables, even fruit. Basically, I ate only non starchy veggies, eggs, chicken, fish, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Sadly I actually felt worse eating this way! My stomach ballooned making me look pregnant (not fun!). My digestion was sluggish and I just felt so inflamed. I think part of that could have been from eating the avocado and nuts (high histamine foods). However, this just goes to show, that one diet does not fit all and that sometimes you have to do lots of trial and error to see what works for YOU. Some people’s bodies process carbs really well, while others don’t. Some people’s bodies process protein and fat really well – and some don’t! We are all so different and unique.
There are a ton of benefits to intermittent fasting from curbing cravings to weight loss to improving autoimmune conditions. Reminder – before trying it or making drastic changes consult your doctor. It is not recommended for everyone – and women with hormone sensitivities/issues should be cautious or not do it at all. I recently started doing a very basic version of intermittent fasting. Where I make sure that my body has at least 12 hours to digest between dinner and breakfast.
Usually, I aim for 14-16 hours which means that I eat dinner around 6PM and breakfast around 9AM. Nothing drastic – but this window allows me to wake up feeling more refreshed, energetic, and I’ve noticed that it’s improved my digestion. The first thing I have to “break the fast” is a big green juice which I show you how to make in my latest Vlog! Having a juice or smoothie as your first meal is a great way to wake up your digestive system and set the tone for the day.
I’ve heard great things from several other bloggers about counting Macros. They’ve said they’ve lost a ton of weight and never feel deprived. I personally don’t want to count the grams of carbs, protein and fat in everything I eat throughout the day so this diet wouldn’t work for me, however, if you are disciplined and/or have a weight loss goal in mind then it sounds pretty logical and reasonable! It seems like the best way to go about it is to meet with a dietitian, or determine your macronutrient ratio which is based on your age, height, weight, activity level and goal.
This week’s giveaway is a box full of Tone It Up goodies; their full nutrition plan book, workout bands, water bottle, protein bar and the cutest tupperware (a $170 value!) To enter; Subscribe to my Youtube channel, Subscribe to my Newsletter, Follow me on Instagram and like any of my last 3 photos, and leave a comment below telling me “Subscribed and followed!” Bonus points if you tell me about your dieting experience – pros, cons, fave ones, etc! XO