This post was prompted by a question about whether I eat potatoes and sweet potatoes, because they’re not on my foods to eat more of or foods to eat less of lists.
Those lists don’t mention every food type and I can remember questioning my nutritionist about various foods I wasn’t sure of. As I read more about different healing diets (Paleo, SCD, GAPS, Wahls Paleo, SANE, FODMAP, Anti-Candida etc) I got confused. The paleo diet avoided all grains and legumes, but I ate lentil soup quite often for lunch. Would I feel better if I cut out the lentils? Some diets recommended avoiding dairy, others encouraged eating live yogurt. Who’s advice is right? Which one should I follow?
I think the truth is that there is no one right diet for everyone. Some people thrive on Paleo, some don’t. Some people swear by veganism, some people seem to feel better when they eat meat. The problem is that when you feel awful most of the time it’s hard to know how much of that is due to the food you’re eating, and which foods you should avoid.
Actually I think all these diets have plenty in common and the differences are pretty small. Here’s what’s common:
1. Eat lots of fresh vegetables
2. Avoid processed foods and eat real whole foods
3. Eat protein (the quantity and type of protein recommended varies)
3. Eat whole food fats
4. Avoid refined sugar
These are major common items, and for most people would be a major change to their diet. After this there are differences, and whether you do better on one diet than another is probably down to your individual situation. Personally I found that going paleo left me constipated and my body does much better with some legumes and whole grains. However, there are people out there who swear by paleo, and so I presume they don’t have that problem.
Ultimately the best diet for me may differ from the best diet for you, particularly if we are sensitive/intolerant to different foods. I suggest working on the basics and not worrying too much about the fine print. Of course if you notice that you always feel bad after eating a certain food try eliminating it and see if you feel better without it. We’re all different, so we all need to find our own optimum diet.