Did you know that all diets are not just about weight loss? When we hear the word diet, it sends chills down our spine. We immediately think about how much weight we can lose.
But the world of nutrition is full of different kinds of therapeutic diets. Diets that heal the body. Diets designed for people facing autoimmune conditions like MS, Asthma, Arthritis, Fibromyalgia. There are diets designed to reduce inflammation in the body. Diets designed to reverse type 2 diabetes. Diets to increase longevity.
Did you know the Ketogenic diet was designed first as a therapeutic diet? It has been successfully used in curing some forms of cancer as well. Then it was picked up by the bodybuilding and weight loss community.
Today however the word diet fills us with dread because it means we have to give up something. Giving up things we like is hard.
Which is why dieting has gotten such a bad reputation. I often hear people say, “Oh Ashdin is always dieting”. I don’t understand what that means. Because, technically, all of us are on a diet. My diet, 5 years ago, used to be greasy Chinese food and 2 doughnuts every day. With an evening snack consisting of 2 instant noodle packets.
A diet basically means the principles of how you eat. So never think of getting ON a diet. Just think of changing, your principles of everyday eating.
When we think of diets the words that pop into our minds are “No”, “Can’t”, “Stop”. These are all words that have a very deep-rooted negative bias. We are eliminating things.
If not done properly, dropping calories and eliminating foods that you are used to can lead to nutritional deficiencies. For example, when the whole world tried doing no Fat, we all had major omega 3 deficiencies. Or when we stopped using saturated fats our Omega 3 and Omega 6 balance got skewed.
Another issue with looking at a diet from just an elimination perspective is the feeling of missing out. Or FOMO. Seeing friends demolish a pizza while you chew on a celery stick.
Giving up sugar has a similar effect, you watch your friends bite into a gooey chocolate cake, all the while wishing it were you.
I have been there! I understand your pain. And if your friends are anything like mine…they will rub it in your nose! Buggers!
So what I recommend as a first step to diet change. Is not, elimination. But Addition. I want you to add new kinds of foods to your diets, things you haven’t had before or things you are not used to adding.
These are foods that you know are in line with your future diet goals. Things that are nutritious and healthy. Here is a list of my “GoTo add-ins”.
Sweet potatoes, as these will replace the regular potatoes eventually.
Almond Milk made at home or store-bought, as this will replace the dairy milk
Get used to the taste of stevia or monk fruit or xylitol as sweeteners, before you eliminate your sugar
Try jowar or millet for rotis
Add a big salad to your everyday meals, I have already made a podcast on this.
Try Dark cacao or cocoa powder. This can help with chocolate cravings in the future.
Then have fun with these new ingredients. Make delicious dark chocolate and sweet potato brownies. Try popping jowar seed in the microwave for a healthy alternative to pop-corn.
Add fresh new veggies to your daily menu. Try making baked sweet potato fries or bake Okra for a crispy delicious snack!
To your afternoon coffee add a splash of almond milk or coconut milk and see how the flavour changes.
The idea is to never ever feel deprived. Most of the time there are healthy alternatives to the common food we eat at home. We just have to add these new foods to our diet.
So your habit of creating a great diet for the future is to go to a big food store or a local vegetable market and buy things you have not bought before. Start with those mentioned in this article. Sweet potatoes, Stevia, Almond milk, Cacao powder, Coconut milk, Jowar.
Remember never ever feel deprived.