Updated: Jul 14, 2019
It pains me a little to write this because I’ve been emphatic about the powerful impact to your health of making sweeping changes to your diet. I have experienced it, my clients have experience, and 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 "Baby Steps" when I believe in the power of sweeping changes?
Because if that’s your language, I want you to hear something that may help you move the needle toward better health.
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.
My Best Baby Steps Advice
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 LOTof them. Eat them BEFORE you eat any of 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.
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 take
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). The goal here to rein in your sweet tooth. It's not the I think fruits should have a forward position in a health diet (they're primarily sugar so, they're not the absolute best choice) but given that they're natural flavors, I think this goes a long way toward resisting processed foods.
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. 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…
When You're Ready to Take the Next Step
Eliminate sugar (all sweeteners, both natural & artificial) and flour (all kinds). These concentrated ingredients send an unnatural, supercharged signal to the brain that triggers a stronger neurotransmitter response than whole, non-concentrated foods causing an over-desire (read: cravings & addiction) for foods with these ingredients. As long as sugar & flour are part of your diet, there is a good chance your hunger signals will not be a reliable source of when & what to eat.