Updated: Aug 22
There are over 100 diets you can choose from. And I am not only talking about diets promoting weight loss but rather diets that focus on a specific way of eating.
You can follow the low fat or low carbohydrate diet, calorie restriction diet, gluten-free diet, or anti-inflammatory diet. You can go on to remove certain sources of food and follow a pescetarian diet, vegetarian diet, or vegan diet.
What is the end-game for you? Are you looking to lose weight, increase energy, build muscles, stop bloating or another digestive discomfort?
Choosing the one and only diet may seem hard but read on to find out what question should you ask yourself before you start a new diet, and discover 5 must-haves a wholehearted diet needs to include.
But before we start, get your copy of my e-book The Wholehearted Diet. Discover the power of plant-based eating, stress less, and have more energy.
What Question Should You Ask Before Following a New Diet
As a Health and Wellness Coach, the first question I will ask you is the question of ‘why’. Why do you want to start eating healthier? Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to increase your energy?
But I found that there is a better question to ask when it comes to starting a new way of eating. Asking why you want to start a particular diet will really indicate the end result and motivation behind it.
Don’t get me wrong, you still need both to build a new habit. But food is so personal to so many of us, that it warrants a deeper consideration. After all, whether you realise it or not, you do have a relationship with food.
It is said that humans can survive without food and water for up to 21 days. Technically you can remove any food group from your diet, it is only a matter of time. How long can you live would your favourite meal?
Truly the question you need to ask of your new diet is if it is sustainable. Can you go on without eating chips, freshly baked bread, rice or (fill in the blank)?
Personally, I could not live without potatoes. I could give up a lot of other products, and I have throughout the years. But for me giving up potatoes for life is not something sustainable.
So, is the diet you want to start sustainable for you?
What Is a Wholehearted Diet?
I have been following a plant-based diet for over 20 years, but I have been playing with the term wholehearted diet for the past few years only. I also thought that I ate healthy because I didn’t eat animal products.
But a wholehearted diet is much more than just eating plants. It is also about balance, exclusion, and replacements. And this does not only include food you eat, but it stretches to your mindset and how you manage stress.
So here are 5 key elements of a wholehearted diet:
You have already answered the question of sustainability and if the diet you want to start can last. Can you see yourself counting calories for the rest of your life? Can you induce ketosis in your body over, and over, and over?
I often hear that you could not give up meat. For me that part was easy. I never really liked the taste of it. So, you may answer that giving up animal products is not sustainable for you.
But when I look at sustainability, I look at the whole picture. I not only consider if I can sustain my own food choices, but also the sustainability of the products and the planet as a whole.
Yes, there is modified corn or soybeans. It is not all peaches as they say. But I like to think that it is more sustainable for me to grow my own vegetables, than farm cows in my backyard.
#2 Contains All Food Groups
A wholehearted diet contains all the food groups. Because your body needs not only fats and proteins but also carbohydrates. Some vital functions cannot happen without glucose or amino acids.
There are vitamins that cannot be absorbed without fats.
For your body to give you the energy to conquer the daily challenges you need to consume a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins. Eliminating any of the groups will cause serious imbalances in your body.
When I decided to become a vegetarian, everyone was asking me what I would do without eating proteins. But even if you follow a plant-based diet you still eat proteins. The only difference is that you deliver them from a different source now.
#3 Gives You Energy
Food is energy. So, to have energy, you need to consume products that can give you what you need. The two main food groups that our body needs for energy are carbohydrates and fats.
But when we talk about any food groups, it is essential to remember about the sources of them. There is a big difference between carbohydrates and empty calories you find in a lot of processed foods, and the dietary fiber, starches, and glucose you find in plants or beans.
Deep-fried foods will mostly contain trans fats and won’t bring the nourishing benefits you seek from healthy fats. The source of your carbohydrates and fats matters. And the more healthy the source, the more energy you will have.
#4 Promotes a Positive Mindset
Your food needs to nourish you from the inside out. It is not only about how many grams of fat a day you can eat, or how many calories are in those cookies.
If you obsess about food, or if you use food to comfort your fears, feelings of loneliness, not-enoughness, and unworthiness then you can’t find mindfulness. Food is to give you energy so you can face the challenges life throws at you.
Food is not to cover unfulfilled desires, emptiness, or lack of companionship. There are other tools and techniques that can help you to tap into the stories you tell yourself so you can rewrite them.
Because when you feel worthy and like you matter, you will reach for food that supports your wellness.
#5 Reduces Stress
Stress and food go hand in hand, don’t you think? If you are stressed out, your body’s chemical composition changes and you crave certain food groups more. Depending on the type of food you delivered to your body, you either stopped the stress or increased it.
Trust me, you will make healthier food choices when your stress level is low. And when you provide a healthy, balanced meal to your body the stress of many digestive problems such as bloating, constipation, or even inflammation will go away.
What Diet to Follow
A diet that promotes mental and physical wellbeing will always be a winner. It's even better when it is sustainable not only for you but the entire planet.
Your body needs all the food groups, yes, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Because this way your body can create the energy you need to face the ups and downs of daily life.
You also don’t want to obsess about your diet or use food as a coping mechanism for the unsupportive stories you tell yourself. You don’t need that extra stress. In fact, your diet should reduce the digestive stress on your body too.
I would say that it is about time you start a wholehearted diet, don’t you?
Ready to get started with a plant-based diet? Get your copy of my e-book The Wholehearted Diet. Discover the power of plant-based eating, stress less, and have more energy.