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So what do you believe is truly the best overall healthy "diet" for life?


StaceyinLA
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And why do you think that? If it's a diet you follow, how's your health, weight, cholesterol, etc? Or do you agree that high cholesterol is an automatic precursor for heart disease/attack (I know some paleo diet proponents do not)?

 

Just how should the average person eat?

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I believe some form of low carb or paleo is the most optimal nutrition. I *don't* believe dietary fat = heart disease risk. I don't believe reducing dietary fat is healthier, although many times when people do that, they make changes that ARE healthier.

 

I don't believe the extreme low carbers (all meat, no veggies). I don't think everyone needs to avoid or minimize fruit - I think some have become so metabolically resistant that fruit is not "healthy" for them as a regular part of their diet.

 

That said, I know people who have absolutely thrived on a "balanced" diet including grains. I know people who use maintanenace WW and do great.

 

But I personally believe the science behind paleo and low carb. As a part of that, I *don't* believe the science behind volume control and reduced calories and reduced fat - particularly when that fat is replaced with poor food ingredients (which is what happened in the 80's.)

 

I was a health and ethical vegetarian for several years - and I don't believe that anymore, either, in terms of a biological imperative or design.

 

I feel best when I eat unlimited meat and eggs, unlimited non starchy veggies, butter. I need to be careful with dairy and nuts.

 

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I follow Paleo, so that is obviously what I believe is best, for the time being. I am open to ongoing research and ideas. I got to Paleo in a roundabout way when eliminating gluten for my child.

 

Weight is good. Health is good. Cholesterol is... I honestly can not even tell you the last time I've been to see a doctor aside from womanly check-up every few years, so I have zero knowledge of any bloodwork numbers.

 

And like many Paleo followers, I don't think cholesterol numbers are telling of anything, anyway.

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I'm paraphrasing here, but I think the best idea of a best diet is: Eat real food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants. 

 

I say 'real food' because I think that, in general, the more something is processed, the more you move away from the benefits of the food.  I like the part about mostly plants because I've learned how to get optimal protein -- in the form of good quality protein, yet smaller quantities -- and enjoy a wider variety of plants.  The "not too much" part is extremely important.  I had a skewed view of what a portion size really was, but I've since learned better in that regard, too.  It has been beneficial for me, but also for my family.

 

In the past 4 years following these principles, I lost a lot of weight and my overall health is excellent.  I will add that I do also spend a fair amount of time everyday outside doing chores or enjoying outdoor activities.  I don't do "exercise" per se, but I do ride my bicycle to town in good weather, do a lot of farm chores, enjoy outdoor winter sports and some outdoor summer sports.  I think those also contribute to my overall health, so I am loathe to separate that out from the equation and give diet all the credit.

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I don't think there is one. I know people who thrive on a super-high-carb diet. I know people who thrive on a super-low-carb diet.

 

I think one big reason that people have had such good results from such a wide variety of diets (from paleo to fruit+veggie vegan) is because: 1) We're pretty adaptable. Most of us can adapt to a wide array of diets with time. 2) Many of these diets significantly restrict heavily processed food. They all have rationales behind it, and they're all different, but they very frequently restrict things like sugars and soda. 3) Many of these diets include a lot more fruit + veg than people are used to. In general, increasing the proportion of food that comes from plants has pretty positive effects.

 

I don't know if I'd go with 'Mostly plants' but I'd definitely say 'Eat real food. Not too much. Plenty of plants' is a pretty good general guideline.

 

Now, one real issue is that a lot of people will move from the SAD to something else with more plants, more real food, less overall food, and less processed food. And they will feel so much better. And they will jump to the conclusion that this is THE way to eat, and become nearly evangelical about it. But it's not that their specific diet is THE way to eat, just that it moved away from the SAD.

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1/4 carbs, various kinds, low gluten

1/4 protein, with lots of fish, and some meat alternatives, but low in dairy

1/4 veggies, lots of color, mostly raw

1/4 fruit, lots of color, mostly raw

 

Substitute with olive oil when possible

Substitute with honey when possible

 

My health is pretty good. My cholesterol is "fantastic" according to the doc.

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Moderation in all things.

 

yup.  The best "diet" is the one you can live with on a regular basis.  I'm currently doing WW and it is a tough go.  This is my 2nd time around and I'm trying to be smarter about it.  I chose WW because they don't leave anything out.  You have a food budget and to lose weight, you need to stay within that budget.  How you chose to do that is up to you. 

 

I'm not fond of diets that leave out any particular food group, unless of course, there is a medical reason.  Certainly, there are foods that are not the wisest choices and should be best avoided.  I like to make every bite count.  Quinoa over rice, fresh fruit over candies, fish and lean meats over processed foods. 

 

Every few years some food is labeled as "evil" and should be avoided at all costs.  I remember many years ago when I was a child, my parents talking about the evils of eggs and butter (father had high blood pressure).  So, they  chose to use margarine and eat toaster waffles for breakfast with orange juice.  I so would not do that now!  Not too long ago dairy was evil and soy milk was the way to go.  More recently wheat is bad.  I don't know about all the trends and fads. 

 

Yo-yo dieting is awful.  So is unhealthy eating and being over weight and out of shape.  Portion control and wise choices in foods are so important.  That is why I'm doing WW again.  What does a portion look like? 

 

Fat is another controversial topic.  We need healthy fats in our diets but they are high in calories.  How to wisely include coconut oil, nuts, avocado, olive oil?  And what about fat free products that have more sugar and/or sodium in them?  How heavily processed are fat free products?

 

Remember food combinding?  Eat this with that and lose weight but if you eat that with this other thing, then you won't lose weight? 

 

GMOs? I know several people who won't eat anything on the GMO list

 

I have friends who won't eat anything out of a can. 

 

Or won't eat anything with high fructose corn syrup. 

 

Organics?

 

Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a lifestyle of wellness is not easy. 

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I think Michael Pollan gives excellent advice. Many of the PP have summarized his philosophy: "Eat (real) food. Not too much. Mostly plants." I think he has a few youtube videos.

 

I also heard him use the phrase "omnirexia," meaning the desire to cut out all "bad" foods. He counsels against that as well. He takes a very moderate, but helpful view of food.

 

I think different people respond to different diets. Part of a balanced lifestyle is finding what foods help you feel physically and mentally healthy. I don't think there is any one magical diet that would suit everyone.

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Another vote for real food, not too much and mostly plants.  I am a healthy weight, and my cholesterol is in a healthy range along with my blood pressure.  Both of my siblings are overweight and both of my parents have had heart attacks so I know it is the food choices I make that set me apart from my relatives.

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Food pyramid for over all health....modified for special populations to control certain health issues.  I think that a variety of food, in the most natural state possible (allowing for cooking with other natural ingredients), is what our bodies are designed to eat. 

 

ie I have chronic inflammation so I benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet for my inflammation-based-pain and related body functions.....but I don't think that my restricted diet is the healthiest for the rest of my body. I have less pain on this diet, but I don't feel as good overall.  I take the lower pain though. LOL  

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For me, minimum of carbs/grains (no more than one serving a day), high protein/vegetables, moderate dairy (unless you have a dairy issue, like my eldest son), real food. DH and the kids eat more carbs/starches than me, but they have faster metabolisms and can process it better than I can. We eat fruit, but I don't have much of a sweet tooth so I'm not a huge fruit fan. The closest thing to convenience food in my house is dried pasta, and we haven't had fast food in at least six months, if not longer. I could lose some weight, but both DH and I have low cholesterol, low blood pressure, and we are healthy. In fact, when our blood work came back from our annual checkups in January, the dr. circled the cholesterol numbers and wrote "amazing! What's your secret?" next to it, lol. Personally, although we loosely follow a "Paleo-Lite" diet, I think the secret is cooking with real ingredients and avoiding fast food and processed foods. Well, that and genetics. My father had a heart condition from a childhood illness and spent much of his adult life battling his weight, but he always had low cholesterol.

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Thanks everyone. I'm just curious because I'd like to settle on something I can be committed to for life, and quit struggling to decide what is "best." I've never really had a weight problem, but I want to strive for the best overall health I can as I get older.

 

I do feel best when I limit carbs, but I'm not totally paleo because I like some dairy occasionally, some gluten-free grains, and I think legumes are healthy. I also have a personal issue with paleo because I don't feel great when I consume so much meat.

 

I like the idea of veganism because of animal cruelty, but I don't think it's a healthy choice for life because it has its own shortcomings. Since animal cruelty is an important issue to me, I do seek out local, humanely raised (and as humanely slaughtered as possible) meats. I do believe animals are given by God to us for food, but I also believe He mandates us to treat them well and I strive for that with all animal products I consume.

 

Michael Pollan does make good sense. Sally Fallon's ideas are nice as well. I think a good, sensible balance of real food is the way to go.

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As a young mother I tried to follow the standard food pyramid........ did not work for me at all!  After finding out that dh has heart disease in his family.... I started researching and found Dr. Mercola, Sugar Busters book, The Maker's Diet book, Doug Kauffman's tv show "Your Health"  ( that show helped me more than anything!), and he has written: The Fungus Link. Reading about GMO's kicked me to buy organic seeds, start composting, raise chickens, and buy blueberry plants.  I am doing Winter Gardening now for the first time and it is working so well.  Dh finally was able to break our big garden and we have cold weather plants thriving in square foot gardens. 

 

Super Immunity for your child's health book was a life changer too.

 

   Keeping the chickens and roosters out of my plants is difficult and I have to put bird netting over my plants not in my winter garden.  

 

We also try to get a calf ( grass fed) slaughtered every year to freeze.  

 

Kombucha, D. Earth food grade, Olive Leaf extract, Grapefruit seed Extract, and Oil of Oregano as well as Essential Oils are helping me.  

 

Cutting down on Fast food has helped us all.  Our addiction is Pizza from Papa Murphy's but my favorite one is the Vegetarian.  I am glad we don't live close enough to have a true addiction.

 

Red wine is what dh's heart Dr. finally told him to drink daily since he refused a ton of medication.  He donates blood and gets a check up to monitor his choleterol and we eat healthy fats.

 

I think cutting out soda's is one of the best starts anyone can make.

 

Still, Wheat and grains have tortured me when I have been pregnant so I got used to limiting those.  Some people are obsessed with avoiding them and pain will help anyone resist.  

 

Stress can wreak havoc on the immune, cardiovascular, and digestive systems.  

 

Eat to Live not Live to Eat is my motto.

 

There is a dirty dozen list I look at to prod me to buy organic but the prices just keep going up.  That is why I am going to try to grow strawberries this year if I can get the courage.

 

A friend told me about a Cellular Healing Diet, and here is a pdf file a chiropractor made with simple to read guidelines.

 

http://www.revolution-chiropractic.com/media/Cellular%20Healing%20Diet%20Class.pdf

 

 

 

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Thanks everyone. I'm just curious because I'd like to settle on something I can be committed to for life, and quit struggling to decide what is "best." I've never really had a weight problem, but I want to strive for the best overall health I can as I get older.

 

I do feel best when I limit carbs, but I'm not totally paleo because I like some dairy occasionally, some gluten-free grains, and I think legumes are healthy. I also have a personal issue with paleo because I don't feel great when I consume so much meat.

 

I like the idea of veganism because of animal cruelty, but I don't think it's a healthy choice for life because it has its own shortcomings. Since animal cruelty is an important issue to me, I do seek out local, humanely raised (and as humanely slaughtered as possible) meats. I do believe animals are given by God to us for food, but I also believe He mandates us to treat them well and I strive for that with all animal products I consume.

 

Michael Pollan does make good sense. Sally Fallon's ideas are nice as well. I think a good, sensible balance of real food is the way to go.

Sally Fallon's cook book Nourishing Traditions saved my health during my last pregnancy and we had access to fresh milk from an Amish family at the time.

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I think it begins with figuring out if you are more of a meat meater or do better on grains or a combination of grains and vegetables.

I don't need meat really, I can be happy with a little fish, rice and a variety of veggies. Dh needs some meat once a day or he thinks he is starving and he feels better when he eats meat.

Once you know where you fit in, you can adjust your diet and still incorporate new items or new ways of preparing things.

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I used to think Michael Pollen's advice was enough, but when my son was diagnosed with Celiac (gluten intolerance), I began to look into the paleo and primal diets as a way to be gluten free without needing to buy all that GF processed junk or pay for weird, hard-to-find ingredients.  My basic conclusions are that a paleo or primal diet are best, but if you want or need more concentrated calories from starches (because you are a growing child, or active adult) the preparation methods from Nourishing Traditions can help enormously with digestibility and nutritional value.  Our plate usually looks like 1/4 protein (preferably a moderately fatty cut from good quality meat), 1/4 starch (rice, sweet potato, white potato, quinoa, occasional gf pasta...), 1/2 vegetable, usually with some high quality fat on it (olive oil vinaigrette, butter, homemade mayo, avocado...).  Snacks are fruit and nuts or dairy.

 

Having said all that, I also believe in a bit of the 80-20 rule (assuming no limitations from allergies and intolerance, no inflammation issues)- eat well at home, but have a piece of cake when you're invited over to someone's house for snack.  :-) 

 

And remember food is also one of life's pleasures.  I make a delicious, all veggie guacamole, but I won't eat it with a spoon.  I buy "good" corn chips (organic, only three ingredients) and heap on so much guac that you can't see the chip anymore, but still, there is no pleasure for me in chip-less guacamole.  :-)   My stir fry marinade has honey in it.  The kids' gf oatmeal gets a spoonful of maple syrup.  It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing, as long as moderation is there. 

 

I have thought of going "all the way" with paleo, but have not been able to bring myself to do it.  My son's gluten intolerance is already hard enough when socializing, and I don't want food to be this constant stress- for me, for our host, etc.  No amount of good diet will make up for the cortisol surges of stress every time a meal time approaches, so you need to choose a lifestyle that is very maintainable, and decide in advance how flexible you can be during travel, dinners in restaurants, and when invited to someone's home. 

 

 

 

 

 

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We really just try to eat real food.  Our base is non-starchy vegetables, then fat (animal, coconut oil, olive oil), meat, fruits, breads & starchy veg.  This seems to work best for us.  We've had a rough 7 months in the hotel, but since moving in, we are quickly getting back to where we like to be.  I mill my own flour for the majority of our breads...but when we make treats, they aren't necessarily healthy versions.  But, we don't make treats daily or even weekly.   In general, my husband and I keep our daily carb intake under 100g.  The children are between 150-200g, but we don't actually count, it's more of an estimate based upon what they eat. An example of our daily menu would be:

 

Breakfast: whole grain toast with coconut oil and butter, eggs, cheese or yogurt, orange

Lunch: tuna salad lettuce wraps (tuna, mayo, pickle, celery, onion, hard boiled egg, spinach and tomato), probably another slice of bread w/coconut oil/butter, and either yogurt or kefir drink/dessert.

Snack: Smoothie made with Almond Milk, spinach, cucumber, strawberries & peanut butter on celery

Dinner: beef filet, green salad, sweet potato fries.

 

The majority of our meat (pork, beef, lamb) is pastured, the chickens are not GMO Fed, and the fish is freshly caught (only buy it the day we eat it).  We have to be particularly aware of where we get our food, NOT because of factory farming or GMOs but because the region's land is a toxic waste dump.  Sad...because the neighborhood fruit and veggie stands are very appealing.

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Officially, I'm a moderation in all things or Michael Pollan kind of person.  I think that's the healthiest way to eat.

 

For me, high carb/low fat has worked wonderfully for 26 years now.  I lost about 50 pounds eating that way, and over the years and through two pregnancies and now menopause I've only regained about 15.  My doc would be happy if I lost those 15 pounds again, but he says my blood sugar and cholesterol levels are "enviable."  So it seems to work for me (although for most of us who are reasonably healthy I tend to think it's more genetics than diet).  I have no doubt an Atkins-type diet would help me lose weight, because if my only allowed choices were high fat or high protein I'd probably mostly choose not to eat.  I don't find those types of foods appealing at all other than in very small quantities.

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In a nutshell: If it comes in a box I try to avoid it.

We do eat grains but prefer them whole vs a box of cereal. I tend to think that the human body is very adaptable but doesn't always recognize modern creations. We do have treats and I'm not rigid if the kids have junk at a party. We just try to eat veggies/fruits/meats be the basis of our diet with dairy(if they want, yuck from me) and grains as the " garnish". I try not to obsess though. I can afford to be picky, so many people are glad to just not be hungry it can all seem slightly pretentious.

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Another real food fan, here.

Yes, I cheat with some "junk". Yes, sometimes I take it further and attempt to go all-organic/local.  But mostly just real food.

I've lost weight, had fewer headaches, and haven't had a fibro flare in months.  To be fair, working out has definitely helped with all of that, but I do feel it's more the food than the gym.

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Diet is not a one size fits all thing for obvious reasons. But I am convinced that no one needs to live on the chemical soup that many foods in modern grocery stores contain. 

 

I buy very little from grocery stores.  This is because I am a proponent of supporting local economies--my local farmers, fishermen, the local butcher.  Yesterday I went to a store to buy some out of season/not local produce (avocado, cilantro, lime). I am always astounded by the amount of stuff on the shelves.  Who buys these things, I wonder. And I don't mean to sound like a snob in writing that!  The chemical additives in these products are one thing; the cost for little content is another.

 

I agree with others who have quoted Michael Pollan who besides the "Eat Real Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants." mantra has made note that if your grandmother wouldn't recognize the ingredient name on a package, you probably don't want to eat it.

 

 

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Eat real food in moderation.  I used to be a proponent of low-ish carb/paleo/primal, doing one form or another for a few years.  But I couldn't get my weight to budge that way, especially after having children.  Now I'm eating a much more rounded diet, including "bad" things like a bit of bread and pasta, and I feel so much better than I did with paleo (not that I felt bad with paleo).  I'm careful (or perhpas I shoul day "aware") with portions.  However, I do go very, very easy on the sugar because of how diabetes runs in the family, and I'm probably lower carb than your average American.  And I only have about a serving of gluten a day there's a definite migraine link for me.  I've lost 20 pounds in six months.  A lot of that was pregnancy weight, but it would just.not.budge. while I was doing lower carb and unlimited portions.  Now I'm more than 10 under my pre-pregnancy weight.  10 to go to pre-kids weight.  :)

 

You know that Frozen song, "Let it Go"?  That's how I feel about chucking all the rules the pseudo-experts in the dietary, but especially low-carb/paleo, world come up with and squabble over. :P  If I feel like pasta for lunch, I'm going for it.  If I feel like dessert, it's happening, no guilt!  I just maintain an overall awareness of my diet and seek balance, and for me it's working.

 

Humans are complicated and this isn't for everyone.  I believe that some people really do need to be low carb.  And some lucky ducks can eat unlimited X and continue to lose weight.  But for me, moderation is key.  Also, scales are key. ;)  I gain weight evenly over my body so it can really sneak up on me.  I do a weekly weigh-in as part of my awareness/balance thing.

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Real food, not a lot.

The less processed, low-fat, boxed, altered food the better.  Stick with veggies, fruit, meat, some nuts.  I eat some dairy as well.  I probably eat about 85% paleo-ish, but I'm not worried about being perfect, just good :)

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Eat your vegetables. Fill in the rest of your diet with other good things. Don't obsess and don't overdo.

 

I've always been at a healthy weight, so I can't speak to weight loss options. But I'd be leery of anything drastic--I'd think it would be best to go with what you can live with for the rest of your life.

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I agree with moderation being a key (and I think we have a skewed view of what moderation is).  As we age, I think we need far fewer calories than we used to or than we think we need.  I also think there's a benefit to intermittent fasting similar to the 5:2 "diet" (not a diet at all, rather something that's been in practice for thousands of years; fasting a couple of days a week). When I do this -- and I'm not the best at it -- it kicks my body and will's butt to let it know it's not in charge.  It helps gives strength to the remaining days. 

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I have PCOS and am therefore on the more insulin resistant end of the continuum, even though I've always been a normal weight, normal BMI (BMI in my adult life has ranged from about 19-22).  I feel much better on minimal grains, grassfed meats, eggs, proteins, fats, lots of veggies, as does DH.  DH's family has some type 2 diabetes and in his late 20s his hemoglobin A1c was creeping up, although still not prediabetic.  Our whole family just feels best eating this way, and we've been doing it for over a decade since I got my diagnosis of PCOS and started piecing together how that fits with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, etc.  We are not purely paleo, but have used a lot of paleo ideas for the last decade (the idea of things like pastured meats, fermented foods, etc. has been around in nutrition circles before "paleo" was marketed as such).

 

My parents have also really benefited.  While I hate having PCOS, it really clued me into a lot of things.

 

I don't think naturally occurring saturated fats are inherently bad.  I think it is wise for everyone to look at reducing sugar, and think most people's idea of "moderation" for sugar is not really very moderate at all since there is so much hidden sugar, let alone obvious sources.  I think most  nutritional research is so intertwined with lifestyle issues (like meat eaters also tending to have more unhealthy habits in general.  Many studies on the amount of meat people eat aren't going to have the majority of people consuming pastured me

 

at and eating a lot of veggies vs. hamburger rolls).  Self reporting in nutritional studies is a problem and too many conclusions are drawn from self reporting (People lie about what they eat.  Even nice, well-meaning people :) ) 

 

Omega 3 and omega 6 ratios and oxidization of fats is turning out to be a pretty big deal, and I think most people would be well served to look into reducing many common PUFA rich veggie oils when possible.

 

Lots of veggies, lots of greens.  We do fruit, but smaller portions of higher sugar fruits and a greater focus on things like berries that are naturally lower in sugar.  We do beans here and there and I don't stress about it, but I don't overdo as they are too carby for me overall in large portions (I'm a former vegetarian, so I do like them). 

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I think I would add to the Michael Pollan advice, and include not genetically modified food.  I do believe that there is some credence to what is said in "Wheat Belly" about how wheat has been genetically modified and how it may impact health. (But in all fairness, I have gluten intolerance, as do some of my kids.)  I don't believe that all grains are evil, though.  

 

I think we have way too much added sugar and processed foods in our diet, and moving away from that would be healthier for all.  I think that, in general, the quality of the food supply in the US is not good.  We emphasize quantity over quality.  I found it very interesting that many Egyptians I know in the US complain about the quality of food here. One would think that we would do far better than a poor country like Egypt, but the thing is, many people buy their food from family owner farmers in Egypt.  THey bring their food themselves into Cairo to sell, or sell their animals to the butcher.  The concept of large-scale factory farming really hasn't taken off, which I find surprising for such a large (population-wise) country.  I also remember buying strawberries at Farmer's Markets when I lived in France, and they were 1000% sweeter than any I can buy here, even organic.  Same thing with the wonderful grapes I used to buy at of all places, the train station when I lived in Switzerland.  

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I agree with everyone on the real food in moderation, and a variety of veg.

 

I also find that key for me is to every few months spend a week or so weighing my food to re-remind myself what a portion looks like. I also try not to have junky food in the house for snacks, because if it is there I will eat it :D

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To quote Amber @ GoKaleo, "It's not the fat. It's not the sugar. It's not the USDA dietary guidelines. It's the diets. It has ALWAYS been the diets." (https://gokaleo.com/2014/05/07/its-not-fat-its-not-sugar-its-not-the-usda-guidelines-its-the-diets-it-has-always-been-the-diets/)

 

Most of the science for either extreme (really low-fat or LFHC) is tenuous at best. Easy to cherry-pick, easy to focus on the evidence that supports your hypothesis and ignore that which disagrees. What the evidence actually agrees on is far more moderate - a focus on plants and moderate fat intake with a good dose of fiber. The science also shows benefit to watching your sugar intake as it relates to *added* sugars, not the kind you'll find in plants. Adherence is key. There's no point in rushing into another fad if you call it quits at some point along the way.

 

I have weight to lose and have had PCOS in the past and probably still have metabolic syndrome to some degree, but I'm still losing weight eating quite a lot of carbohydrates and counting calories. It's a bit slower than when I followed a fad diet (South Beach, Primal, LCHF), but those made me nauseous even when I was six months in and who can live that way for the rest of their life? I also aim for 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables a day as well as ample fiber and moderate fat intake. Basically? The USDA guidelines.

 

If I were to make changes without needing to lose weight, I'd still do the same thing. Lots of plants, sufficient fiber, moderate fat intake, and enough calories to fuel my lifestyle without going over (though an occassional meal here and there won't harm you). I'm a proponent of leaving "the one diet to rule them all" behind and tweaking these general guidelines to suit your taste.

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I loved being Vegan, 80% raw.  I had energy and felt fantastic.  However, it was very difficult to maintain.  Every get together, party, even family dinner, there would be food I "couldn't eat" because I was doing a raw vegan diet.

 

Dawn

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I agree with moderation being a key (and I think we have a skewed view of what moderation is).

I very much agree with this. Moderation is key, but moderation is in the eye of the beholder! I personally do not think that there is anything moderate about having dessert and/or soda every single day (much less multiple times per day!) but I know people who do.

 

And I know that many people consider my diet to be terribly immoderate, because I restrict carbs too severely. But to me, moderation isn't just about how much is going in, it's about the effect that it's having. When I eat what most people consider to be a "moderate" or normal amount of carbohydrate, my blood sugar shoots up to very immoderate, unhealthy, even potentially dangerous levels. So in order to accomplish moderation in my body, I have to be pretty strict in my behavior. But I don't restrict any more than necessary to accomplish what I need to accomplish, so I think of my diet as quite moderate, while others often believe it to be "extreme" or a "fad diet", etc. And I fully recognize that most people do not need to restrict carbs as much as I do - I keep foods on hand that I cannot eat, because my husband and daughter can and do eat them without any problems. But I also know people who have to restrict their carb intake even more severely than I do.

 

I guess what I'm getting at is that moderation truly can be different things to different people.

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I very much agree with this. Moderation is key, but moderation is in the eye of the beholder! ....

 

With my "we have a skewed view of what moderation is" comment, I did admittedly refer to amounts.  I believe that we need far less quantity/calories than we think we do especially as we get older.  I maintain on two meals and about 1000 calories a day.  More than that, and I gain. But I understand what you're saying, too! 

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With my "we have a skewed view of what moderation is" comment, I did admittedly refer to amounts. I believe that we need far less quantity/calories than we think we do especially as we get older. I maintain on two meals and about 1000 calories a day. More than that, and I gain. But I understand what you're saying, too!

Ah, yes. Sorry I got off on a different tangent there! :lol:

 

Yes, I've heard many women bemoan the fact that they have to restrict calories so much in order to lose or just maintain. It worries me for my future! Right now, I'm at a point where I can just restrict carb grams and not overall calories and maintain where I want to be (not perfection, but comfortable for me). I realize it may not always be that way. Women seem to have it harder than men in this regard. At least, that's my impression.

 

Have you found that exercise gives you more flexibility with your diet? I really thought that weight training might burn off some fat without having to change my diet, but it hasn't. That's not to say that weight training hasn't been worth it - I think the health benefits are worth it, and I like having some muscle tone! But it doesn't seem to be very fat-burning for me like many other people seem to experience. But when I was running three times a week - wow, did it affect my appetite! I was eating about 2400 calories per day! I wasn't gaining any weight/fat, so I guess the running really was just burning a lot of extra calories. It was kind of a weird experience because the only other time in my life I've had an appetite like that was my last trimester of pregnancy. I'm going to start running again, because running did seem to give me more of the emotional and mood benefits of exercise than any other form that I've tried. So I guess I better make sure the fridge and pantry are fully stocked. ;)

 

ETA:  Maybe I need to stop talking, because I think I'm just putting my foot in my mouth today.  I did not mean "bemoan" as in "gosh, you sure are whining."  NO.  Now, *I* would be whining (and crying and throwing a fit) if I had to restrict myself to 1000 calories a day, but YOU were not.  And neither were the other women that I've talked to about this subject.  They were simply stating that more calorie restriction is required than they would have thought, or than most people seem to realize.  Please forgive my bumbling awkwardness.

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Have you found that exercise gives you more flexibility with your diet? I really thought that weight training might burn off some fat without having to change my diet, but it hasn't. That's not to say that weight training hasn't been worth it - I think the health benefits are worth it, and I like having some muscle tone! But it doesn't seem to be very fat-burning for me like many other people seem to experience. But when I was running three times a week - wow, did it affect my appetite! I was eating about 2400 calories per day! I wasn't gaining any weight/fat, so I guess the running really was just burning a lot of extra calories. It was kind of a weird experience because the only other time in my life I've had an appetite like that was my last trimester of pregnancy. I'm going to start running again, because running did seem to give me more of the emotional and mood benefits of exercise than any other form that I've tried. So I guess I better make sure the fridge and pantry are fully stocked. ;)

 

Weight training really doesn't burn much. It does help with muscle tone and for me doing a lot of leg work has really helped with my really bad knees.

 

Running isn't for me but I get my cardio in through Aikido. I love it.

 

I do think that getting exercise in for health benefits is really, really beneficial. It doesn't have to be running or swimming or Zumba class or anything traditional, but it should be *something* that involves moving around and bearing weight. (chasing after toddlers counts too, but not teenagers :D).

 

I have PCOS and my blood sugar used to be really, really unstable. I really had to eat small frequent meals. After I started doing lots and lots of martial arts, I found that my blood sugar stabilized and so did my cycles. I've been off The Pill for 2 years straight now and my cycles are still running when they're supposed to. I also feel just fine eating 1-3 meals a day (depending on activity during that day) now instead of the every 2 hours I used to need.

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Weight training really doesn't burn much. It does help with muscle tone and for me doing a lot of leg work has really helped with my really bad knees.

 

Running isn't for me but I get my cardio in through Aikido. I love it.

 

I do think that getting exercise in for health benefits is really, really beneficial. It doesn't have to be running or swimming or Zumba class or anything traditional, but it should be *something* that involves moving around and bearing weight. (chasing after toddlers counts too, but not teenagers :D).

 

I have PCOS and my blood sugar used to be really, really unstable. I really had to eat small frequent meals. After I started doing lots and lots of martial arts, I found that my blood sugar stabilized and so did my cycles. I've been off The Pill for 2 years straight now and my cycles are still running when they're supposed to. I also feel just fine eating 1-3 meals a day (depending on activity during that day) now instead of the every 2 hours I used to need.

 

I've thought about taking Aikido!  Right now my money is going toward a gym membership, but if I happen upon some extra cash, I'd like to give that a try.  I've heard such good things about it.

 

I can relate regarding the small, frequent meals.  Going LCHF has eliminated my hypoglycemic episodes, but I do still have to eat pretty frequently.  In my church, we normally fast before communion.  But I was having reactive hypoglycemia after my post-communion meal, even though I was keeping it very low-carb.  I just couldn't make it work (so my priest told me very kindly but very firmly to basically stop being so stubborn and start eating breakfast before coming to church!  :lol: )  I have heard SO MANY other low-carbers say that even though they used to have to eat constantly, they can now eat as little as once a day and feel great.  I still have to eat at least three times a day, preferably four.  I don't know why, but since I've been eating LC consistently for three years now and that hasn't changed, I guess it's not going to.  :(

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I believe grains and sugar are completely unnecessary and should be avoided unless it comes down to a survival situation. However, I think one can generally be healthy while having them in moderation, (barring allergies or celiac, for example) But ideally, none is better than some in moderation.

 

I also don't think there is one diet that's right for everyone. Some people claim being vegetarian makes them feel well, but I believe I need meat. Non meat proteins just don't satisfy me. But I do believe some people may not need meat. I think most people would do well to eat lots of veg and fruit, though maybe some people should avoid fruit and obviously things they are allergic to.

 

I also think some kinds of fasting can be good, periodically. I'm not talking about avoiding all foods here. For me, for example, I feel well on a fresh juice fast and seem to experience health benefits when I do them.

 

And of course fats are important, but we have to choose these carefully. I'm playing around with different ones now and I can't say I've figured out which ones are right for me. I keep hearing conflicting things about certain fat sources - some claim one is a cure all while others say that same one causes inflammation, for example. It's hard to know, so it's worth playing around with to see how I feel on each one.

 

ETA I also think most people would do well to have more variety, maybe even eating foods on a rotational basis the way those with mild food allergies do. I think this might prevent allergies. I think we get into trouble when we eat the same few foods daily. I think we may rotate meats but fall into a rut with our side dishes or things like bread where we have them daily. I don't think this is good.

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I loved being Vegan, 80% raw.  I had energy and felt fantastic.  However, it was very difficult to maintain.  Every get together, party, even family dinner, there would be food I "couldn't eat" because I was doing a raw vegan diet.

 

Dawn

I am not at 80%, but I am better than 50% and I do frequently bring a dish (raw or whole foods cooked) to get togethers.  For me, I don't mind the extra effort as I gave up animal flesh/fluids for my health originally, and then opened my heart to the ethics, so that makes it much easier.

 

My health is through the roof as is my performance level.  I cannot even remember the last time I had a cold.  And I have spiritually and emotionally transformed as well.

 

I think for the average person that has no ethical problems with eating animal flesh/fluids, Michael Pollan is spot on.

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I think everyone has to decide what is best for them. I tried low carb after my weight started creeping up on the lower fat balanced diet that I had used for a decade. I now eat an unprocessed diet that is about 80% fat by calories - mostly meat and veggies with coconut oil and heavy cream. I lost 20 lbs and am now a health 5'6 and 125 lbs. and my cholesterol is about as good as you can get (147 total, 70 HDL, 49 TRI, 67 LDL). I am never hungry and exercise moderately. I am 40 and in the best shape of my life. I tell people what works for me but never recommend my diet because different things work for different people.

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