Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one copy and paste perfect diet plan for everyone?!

Actually… no… I think that would be really boring and mundane. Sure, it might be easier for people to understand how to be physically healthy… but what about FUN?! What about Culture? Comfort? Social-Life? Family reunions? What about nostalgia? These are fundamental aspects of our society that often revolve around food.

Food and diet are HUGE aspects of all of our lives, and they mean more than simple health. We eat the things we eat because of a bunch of different psycho-sociological factors.

We all have our preferences, and they stem from a lifetime of experiences. Your preferences in your diet are super valid! And there’s no reason why we should be looking to banish all of the foods we deem to be ‘NOT GOOD’.

Because every single food out there could be deemed as bad.

And every single food out there, can be deemed as good…

What Makes A Food Bad? The Habits That Come With Them!

We can of course calculate the nutritional value of a certain food, which is how we can measure if that food has a low-nutrient density or high-nutrient density.

But nutritional value is only one aspect of good vs bad food.  

We’ve calculated the nutritional value of that doughnut and as it turns out… it’s not that easy on the body.

HOWEVER. You ate that doughnut at 4pm, the time of day where you get to catch up with your friends at work before grinding through the next hour, and reluctantly heading home to a somewhat stressful homelife…

Let’s take away the doughnut.

You work through your afternoon break and don’t see your friends, because you don’t want to be tempted by the doughnuts.

Instead, you sit at your desk feeling detached, wishing you were able to go and socialize without the risk of indulging in this off-limits food.

You go home after work, and having not been able to chat things through with your work friends, everything at home feels that bit heavier… Everything’s a bit more overwhelming today...

The next day you wake up feeling low. You decide to let yourself indulge in your afternoon doughnut so that you don’t have to feel bad about socializing with your doughnut-eating friends. You feel better from it.

SO. Is the doughnut good, or is the doughnut bad?

In my opinion as a Health Coach, the doughnut is one aspect of an actually very healthy and helpful habit. This socializing that takes place at work seems to be really worthwhile for this person’s wellbeing. The doughnut isn’t great for the body, but the habit is worth keeping.

So what’s THE best diet for this individual? What’s the best course of action around their doughnut?

The BEST and most effective diets are the ones that are tailor-made to easily fit into your lifestyle and accommodate your genetic predispositions (aka, what you’re born with!)

In this doughnut instance, we’ve identified we want to keep the habit surrounding the food, and now we can start to swap what we’re consuming gradually over time, making small improvements to your healthy afternoon work snack.

Maybe we initially swap the doughnut for an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie; still indulgent, but better than the doughnut. After a while, maybe you start making the cookies yourself to regulate how much sugar goes into them. Maybe one week you skip the chocolate chips and gradually, your doughnut break has become a healthy, homemade oatmeal cookie break. Just make sure you make extras for your friends!

Some Golden Health Rules

For some simple (not necessarily easy) techniques to start improving your diet and health:

  • Eat a minimally-processed diet
  • Reduce (better yet, eliminate most) sugar from your diet
  • Improve sleep quality (and often, quantity)
  • Exercise and move your body in a way that celebrates your body’s ability to move, rather than as a punishment for your diet.
  • Manage your stress levels

To get really specific with understanding what your body’s best diet is, you can get lab testing done to then work with a nutritionist who can put together the pieces of the complicated task of reorganizing and replanning your diet.

Trying to go from exhausted, confused, and overwhelmed with our diets to eating salads and fruit bowls overnight is not only boring, it's unsustainable. These changes have to slot easily and effortlessly into your current lifestyle for them to be long-lasting.

SO while you might be sitting there feeling like life would be easier if there was just one golden rulebook for dieting and consuming, remember that it would also make life pretty boring!