It pains me a little to write this post because I’ve been emphatic about the powerful impact to your health of making sweeping changes to your diet. I believe in it!
Here’s what I like about an elimination or “bridge” (as I like to call them) diet:
- Takes out nearly all commonly health-harming foods
- Adds in many health-promoting foods
- Informs you about “whole foods” and helps you construct a “forever” diet
- Often results in dramatic & unexpected healing (or at least the beginning stages of healing)
- Eliminates food cravings
- Usually jump starts your metabolism (even if weight loss is not immediate)
However, the vast majority of you aren’t up for this. I understand. I take no offense (it’s BIG, I get it!). And what I love about you is that even though you won’t do this (^^), you still haven’t given up on my food/health rants. You’re still looking for your piece of the pie. You’re listening. You just haven’t heard your language yet.
Because it is not my intention to design some exclusive, elitist club of people who only eat the best of the best foods and who are dedicated only to extreme & perfect health, for you I am going to speak “Baby Steps”. Why? Because that’s your language.
And who am I to deprive you of “better” health? This doesn’t make you lesser or those more dedicated superior. It makes all of us on the right path!
What I really want is something that is broad enough to be all-inclusive. To create a place where everyone can pursue better health in their own way with the information and support they need.
In some ways, these baby steps will resemble the first two bullets points above, a version of removing “offending foods” and adding “healthful foods”. And to be honest, I think those might be in reverse order of importance in this case.
Here’s my best advice for anyone who is open to the possibility of making some dietary changes but isn’t ready to jump off the deep end: eat more health-promoting foods. Prioritize them. Eat A LOT of them. Eat them BEFORE you eat the other stuff.
Why do I believe this will help? Because nutrient density (the amount of healthy stuff in foods compared to the amount of energy [read: “calories”]) plays a significant role in satiety. So I think that if you meet your body’s needs for nourishment with good foods, the drive to eat less good foods just may diminish.
My second biggest tip is to prioritize healthy fats in your diet. Adequate protein (which is also satiating) isn’t typically an issue in our diets. Adequate healthy fats IS. And we’re missing out on the benefit of the satiety it provides. I believe it has A LOT to do with why were are driven to eat more calories than our bodies need.
How would this look?
- Veggies first! And make them as palatable as possible with the addition of healthy fats (great, two birds!). In fact, let them be the “carrier” for many of your healthy fats. Put them in eggs. Put them in soups in large quantities. Add them to everything. Hell, put (real) cheese on them! Whatever it takes…
- Fruits before processed sweets. In other words, eat an apple (maybe even with some almond butter) and THEN eat the ice cream or cookies (if you still must).
- Replace anything low-fat or fat-free (unless it exists that way in nature) with full fat and find ways to add healthy fats to the foods you eat. Brush your meats with butter or ghee. Put whole milk (or better yet, heavy whipping cream!) in your coffee. See the first bullet point.
- Stop eating when you’re full (Ok, if I’ve taken this too far, fine. Do what you will!)
Here’s how I see this playing out: If you were to harness all the willpower you think you need to eliminate the wrong things from your diet and use that willpower to apply these two tips to add the right things to your diet, I’d be willing to bet your overall energy consumption would decrease (in other words, you would consume fewer calories because you would naturally stop eating when your body is satisfied). And maybe your metabolism would reward you! Who knows what might happen?
So there ya’ have it. I am not telling you to give up ANYTHING! I’m telling you I think that if you reprioritize and eat the most healthful stuff first and in the largest quantities, you’ll have some benefit.
You know the absolute best part about these tips? I believe they are universal and should be applied to everyone. Including your children!
I am nearly 100% certain you will not have the same degree of health improvements as those who go “all in”. But that’s why we call it “baby steps”.
What matters most is that you put one foot in front of the other…