Somewhere in between a nutrient-dense salad and a deep-fried chicken nugget, the word “diet” turned negative. Definition #1 of diet: the kinds of food that a person habitually eats. Sounds fine and to the point to me, don’t you think? Definition #2 of diet: a short-term special course of food to which one restricts oneself, typically in calories, and eats very sparingly to lose weight.
“I’m going on a diet.”
The definition #1 of “diet”, to me, means a lifestyle. The problem here is that definition #2 of “diet” appears to be a temporary fix where one is living in a world of restrictions: counting calories on a carton of ice cream, and listening to gimmicks on how to drop 20 pounds in a week with one magic pill, not eating when there body is truly hungry. These things aren’t health-promoting and only cause stress and confusion to both yourself and your body. Instead, focus on the foods you should be eating, not what you shouldn’t. We should not be restricting ourselves from the fresh foods here to nourish our bodies: whole, plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
“Diets” have become something to fear. Something to make jokes about. Something you’re embarrassed to admit. Why? This shouldn’t be the case. We should not be “dieting”, we should be eating to live eating to thrive!
“I can’t… I am on a diet.”
What happens when you restrict your food/calorie intake for weeks [or months] and then go back to your “normal” eating, or rather… the way you were eating before which caused you to want to “go on a diet”? The truth is, processed foods and junk foods are not the normal and natural diet that our body requires to truly flourish. When you return to eating these foods after your “diet” has ended, you are at much greater risk to end up back in the same position you started…gaining the all the weight back, and often times more! Dr. Joel Fuhrman teaches that these unsustainable diets often lead to repeated weight loss and gain, which increase the risks of diabetes and heart disease.
There seems to be a vicious cycle here. Don’t continue down this path! I did until I was 23 years old and let me tell you, it is not worth the struggle, the tears, the unhappiness, and the extra heavy weight… literally. Break the cycle.
Instead of making a temporary commitment, make a lifestyle commitment. My husband and I committed to live a whole food, plant-based Nutritarian lifestyle and have lost over 150 pounds combined! Not to mention healthier hair and skin, reduced allergy and asthma symptoms, more energy, happier aura… just to name a few.
So… what is a Nutritarian? In the words of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who coined the Nutritarian lifestyle: “a Nutritarian lifestyle is a way of eating which bases food choices on maximizing the micronutrients per calorie.” The focus of a typical Nutritarian lifestyle each and every day is as follows:
- Raw non-starchy vegetables and cooked/steamed non-starchy vegetables [goal – at least 1 pound raw, and 1 pound cooked]. Enjoy in unlimited quantities and especially include many leafy greens, other green vegetables, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, cauliflower, eggplant.
- Beans and/or lentils [goal – at least 1 cup]
- Fruit – [goal – 4 servings, more if desired]. Especially include berries, cherries, pomegranates, plums, and oranges.
- Ground flax seed [goal – 1 tablespoon].
- Grains and starchy vegetables [goal – less than 1 cup, if desired]. Starchy vegetables include sweet potatoes, squash, corn, rice, etc. Some will only have grains and starchy vegetables a couple times a week, and that’s ok.
- Raw nuts and seeds, ground flax seed excluded [goal – less than 1 ounce if you have weight to lose; enjoy more occasionally if desired].
- Avocado [limit to one-quarter avocado if you have weight to lose; enjoy more occasionally if desired].
- Remember, SALAD is the MAIN dish! Enjoy 3 full meals a day, with salad being the main dish for at least 1, if not 2 of them. Get creative to make gourmet salads daily, as well as soups, stir fry, cold bean and vegetable salads, smoothies, hummus [life changing bean dip for veggies or whole grain pita], fruit oatmeal, etc. Variety is the spice of life!
- Speaking of spices… add spices, no-salt seasoning blends, and herbs to your dishes.
- GBOMBS! GBOMBS! GBOMBS! Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Seeds/Nuts.
- Sautée, cook, and roast with water or vegetable broth [for additional flavor, if you have on hand].
When we focus on eating the nourishing foods listed above until we’re satisfied first, there is no room for refined sugars, bleached flours, chips, highly salted snacks, fast food, soda, candy, pastries, sweetened dairy products, fried foods, processed meats, oils, etc. Toss it all! Really, this was a game changer for us– we simply didn’t bring these harmful things into our home. It is not easy for our bodies to THRIVE when we consistently consume these unhealthy foods. Again, break the cycle and grab some delicious and satisfying whole food, plant-based recipes!
Be patient and try new things. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t like something. Try again, but prepare it in a different way. Your taste buds will change, so allow time for that to happen and keep trying! Forming a new habit takes a consistent 21 days [approximately]. I had to try mushrooms, tomatoes, and many other nutritious foods many many times before I learned to like them. Now I love them, and have never felt better.
Live positively, full of excitement, and embrace these healthy foods and new changes. Imagine where you’ll be when you kick the junk and stick with it! You will thank yourself in leaps and bounds. You’ll feel better than you ever thought you could, mentally and physically. Need some extra encouragement and accountability? We got ya covered!
Work hard, play hard, Love Chard.
xoxo, Bethany Stec Janicek [Mrs. Love Chard]