The Blood Type diet, Paleo diet, the Whole30, Ketogenic diet, and the list goes on and on... There so many different diet fads out there, it’s difficult to keep up! Especially in the age of technology and social media, it seems that the trends shift even faster! This makes for a very confusing and overwhelming climate that makes people want to just throw their hands up in frustration. Even as Naturopathic Doctors, it’s challenging to keep up with the latest diet craze. When it comes to finding the best diet for you, the answer is often more simple than we think.
Eating shouldn’t be a stressful endeavor. Far from it! It is well known that the best digestion occurs when your body is in a parasympathetic state aka you are feeling relaxed, can take your time to eat, and actually enjoy your food.
But what about WHAT to eat?
Rather than recommending a specific diet craze, I invite people to consider what their cultural ancestors were eating. The traditional diets of our ancestors generally include more whole foods, less sugar and saturated fats, more lean meats and fish, and vary depending on the season. Researchers have found that there is less incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and overall better health outcomes in people who stick to a more traditional diet in our modern age. Just about every culture I can think of has some version(s) of fermented food as a staple part of their diet, from sauerkraut to kimchi to kombucha to fish sauce, there are numerous examples. Fermented foods provide key nutrients that are vital for health, including vitamins, amino acids, probiotics, trace minerals. Many also contain prebiotic fibers to help feed the probiotic strains in our intestinal tract. Because of the rich nutrients that fermented foods provide, having them as a regular part of your diet is highly beneficial and provide more benefits that just taking a probiotic pill on its own.
Being of Japanese descent, I find that I feel the best when I eat miso soup, tsukemono (pickled vegetables), rice, veggies, fish and lean meat. I also love going to local farmers markets to pick up fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. It’s not about finding the “perfect” diet, it’s about finding what works best for your body and what is sustainable in the long term.