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There are a ton of diets out there. From low fat, to low carb, to raw, vegan, paleo—the list goes on. On one diet, fats are the devil. On another, oil is a magical elixir. Every diet has some accomplished physician backing it up or some story about how it’s backed by human evolution. So what are we supposed to believe? Don’t worry. I’m not here to tell you that my way is the answer. It might be. It certainly is for me. But eating is a very personal thing. Every piece of food you eat has a story—a personal reaction with your body, a relationship to the earth, to those who cultivated it, and to the life cycle of living things. The right diet for you depends on you and your body’s interpretation of that story. Here are my keys to a good diet:
A good diet…
Keeps the doctor away
If you’re getting sick all the time, look at your diet. I used to constantly be sick—sinus infections, coughs, stomachaches and so forth—but since giving up dairy and wheat, I haven’t felt healthier. It’s been over a year since my last cold! Clearly, a vegan, gluten-free diet works for me. But it doesn’t work for everyone. Some people go vegan and their bodies can’t handle it—no matter what the studies or I or anyone else says. So listen to your body and decide what it really wants from your food.
Is full of vegetables and water
From the very first health class we all took, we’re told to eat our vegetables and drink tons of water. There is no conflict on this. Absent some rare disease-specific diets, every mainstream diet out there advocates eating lots of vegetables. They are low calorie, sugar, carb, high fiber, high vitamins, antioxidants, water-content, cancer-fighting; basically they contain all the good with none of the bad. And water is the best detoxifier there is. So eat your veggies and drink up, because this stamp of approval is here to stay!
Keeps your conscience clear
Ever since I was a child, the thought of eating animals was very difficult for me, even without knowing about poor farming practices. However, I was always told that eating meat was the right thing to do, so I did it. It wasn’t until I went to college and learned about factory farming my first year that I finally gave it up altogether, and my conscience never felt clearer. And while for the first 4 years of my diet I was extremely unhealthy (I ate a ton of processed/fake meats and sugar), I felt much better than I did when eating meat. Even though my body hadn’t started healing, my conscience had. There’s something about me that strongly empathizes with animals—sometimes more so than with humans—and I just can’t eat them. That’s what my gut tells me—both figuratively and literally. Your gut though, may tell you something different. It may tell you not to eat GMOs, not to eat exported food, or to be very cognizant of the labor going into your meals. The point is that you need to live with it. Find out what’s important to you, and stick with it.
And keeps something else clear too…
Alright— I have to be at least a little blunt here. If you’re not having regular, solid bowel movements, something is wrong with your diet. And keep in mind that a lot more goes into a good poo than you think—check out Dr. Oz’s segment to get a better idea!
Above all, it’s important to remember that you are the best judge of your own health. Listen to your body and your brain!