Diet or Lifestyle?
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Do you find the word ‘diet’ distasteful?
If so, you’re not alone, because we often see ‘diet’ as restrictive or giving up foods we love to eat. Difficult!
As a naturopath I’ve worked with more than 16,000+ clients over 28+ years, prescribing therapeutic diets to give many the optimum conditions for their bodies to heal.
There are therapeutic diets to support all sorts of health conditions and deficiencies. Diets low in FODMAPs, salycilates, oxalates or sugar. Diets for allergies, parasites, PMS, arthritis and SIBO. Other diets support autism, hypothyroidism, leaky gut, PCOS, weight loss, skin conditions, menopause, hormones, diabetes, quit smoking or drinking. And there are many more.
These diets are based on a simple premise: eliminate foods that harm or antagonise the condition, which leaves foods that heal. For example, a seemingly healthy kale smoothie or broccoli soup could be harmful for a client with Hashimoto’s.
When I hear the word ‘diet’, I think of the word ‘healing’, especially as I have seen so many clients who transformed their lives through diet.
Some of these diets were short-term or progressive, and after initial healing, they moved onto a diet that was sustainable.
And there’s the key: a successful diet is sustainable – meaning you can manage and enjoy it long term. So instead of thinking ‘it’s a diet’, why not make it your new lifestyle.
But first, contemplate your future. How do you want to feel, look and what quality of life do you desire?
If you desire a lifestyle without dietary restrictions and prefer to prop up your body with ‘energy’ from coffee, sugar, or alcohol, that’s ok – because it’s your choice. Unfortunately it may not be sustainable, because down the track ill health could creep up on you and bring you to a screeching halt.
Or you might choose a lifestyle that gives you more energy, vitality and zest for life: a lifestyle to be celebrated.
That could be a Gluten and Dairy Free lifestyle with lots of choices and yummy substitute foods. Or a Vegan, Paleo, Mediterranean or Vegetarian lifestyle might work for you. All are healthy and can be sustained for many years, depending on your individual needs.
Consult with a naturopath, nutritionist, or integrative doctor for advice to determine what style of eating suits your body.
In our case, initially we went gluten free and found lots of excellent substitute foods that were gentler on our bodies. After about a year we added dairy free foods to the mix. Then after another year we gradually cut back on sugar (the toughest). I’d describe our healthy lifestyle today as a Mediterranean Gluten and Dairy free combo. We love it.
Make it fun! Ultimately you could open the doors to a wonderful glug-free lifestyle. Initially it takes perseverance, but the rewards are wonderful.
And here’s some profound words of wisdom for a healthy, vibrant lifestyle: