The good, bad and fad!
Author: Rhys Skellern / Category: Nutrition / Published: May-29-2019
Healthy eating isn’t just a way to lose weight, it’s the best way to reduce your stress levels, balance your hormones and provide the energy you need to tackle the day. That’s right, energy! That’s what food is for! Unfortunately in our fast paced lives and the search for a ‘quick fix’ that message has fallen by the wayside, to be replaced with miracle weight loss cures, magic pills and fad diets. It’s about time we dived into eating psychology so you can go from being the sale, to being the solution.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy Now
Sure these lyrics make it sound easy, but the truth is we all live busy and stressful lives. Trying to find balance between work, home, relationships and time for ourselves, cooking at all let alone healthy recipes can become an onerous task. All of this stress not only leads to inflammation, it can also lead to:
- Sleep deprivation
- Autoimmune disease
It’s important to remember, however, that at a biological level stress wasn’t meant to put us under this much pressure! I’m sure you all remember learning the ‘fight or flight’ response from high school biology. When we feel challenged or threatened, the body releases stress hormones, which tell our body how to respond.
Often this response can actually be a positive, providing us with energy, focus or adrenaline to deal with whatever caused the stress in the first place.
However, when we are subjected to the continuous and on-going stresses of our daily lives, we are also consistently releasing these hormones to a point where the body is always releasing an inflammatory stress response. This chronic stress not only causes mental health issues, but has also been shown to be a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, poor immune function, high blood pressure and obesity! You see where this is going right?
The kicker is that after a stressful event has passed, dwelling on it or reliving the moment can have just as negative an affect on our health and stress response systems as the original event!
Enter Eating Psychology- a New Look at an Age Old Problem
The same stress responses can be triggered by the food we eat. We all know that McDonald’s is not good for you, and that your sugar intake should be kept to a minimum. But aside from the stress (and inflammatory response) that puts on your body physically, it can also negatively compound and exacerbate your psychological stress responses.
That is to say, eating something unhealthy is one thing. But feeling guilty and punishing yourself for eating it only makes it worse! This unconscious punishment we put ourselves through is the kind of thinking that leads us to jump at the next ‘amazing’ weight loss program or fad diet. This negative feedback loop not only contributes to more poor food choices, it reduces our ability to manage stress (and in many cases will increase it), and is usually followed by even more negative self-talk.
Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence,
so that's very important for good health.
— Dalai Lama
When we look at eating psychology, it’s important to understand and acknowledge that we are biologically programmed to take the path of least resistance. To choose what we perceive to be the lessor stressor. With so much stress in our daily lives already it’s absolutely no surprise that we jump into the every fad diet and rapid weight loss program to cross our desks in the hopes it will make our lives easier.
Healthy Habits Lead to Healthy Eating
In addition to unconsciously increasing our stress levels based on the food we eat, it’s important to acknowledge the difficulty we have in breaking habits.
“Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.”
“Especially one that is hard to give up.” The brain learns by repetition. These repeated actions become habits, which in turn affect our behaviours, thoughts and actions.
To put things into perspective, research has shown that it takes 8 weeks to form a new habit. 8 weeks! That also means it also takes just as long, if not longer, to break old habits! Add to this our ability to be master procrastinators and it will start to make sense as to why it’s so difficult to make real, lasting change in our lives.
Again- we are biologically programmed to take the path of least resistance. Which means every time you dive into healthy eating, or try to make regular exercise part of your life, if you don’t start out with the target of doing it for 8 weeks, you’ve already failed.
Don’t Dive into the Fad
Now that we understand what it takes to make a new habit, and change our behavior for the long term, it’s easier to understand why fad diets don’t work. Ultimately, going ‘on a diet’ is much the same, regardless of what you’re ingesting. Being on a diet suggests that it is only a short-term thing, whereas to truly affect your health, and receive all the benefits that a healthy lifestyle can provide, choosing to eat healthier foods has to be a lifestyle change. Not something you cycle in and out of.
This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all of the foods you love. It just means you do them in moderation, or from a point of good health where you actually get to enjoy eating them, instead of punishing yourself with guilt after the fact.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more recent fad diets and why they’re unrealistic as a long-term life-changer.
The Keto Diet
The Keto diet, and in particular subjecting your body to a state of ketosis has become a popular weight loss strategy over the past few years. In a nutshell, this is the drastic reduction in carbohydrates, which forces your body to begin converting fats as the primary source of energy.
Typically, this process begins when the body is starved of insulin (used to move sugar from the blood into the cells). It’s important to note here that we aren’t talking about refined sugars. We’re talking about the natural sugars your body converts from carbs. The diet has become popular under the notion that once your body is converting fat into energy instead of carbs, it will also start to break down the fat you have stored, and lead to weight loss.
This is true, to a point. However in the process of breaking down fats your body also produces ketones. These are acids, and although they can help to process fats, an oversupply of ketones-which can on the ketogenic diet- can also lead to acidic blood. This metabolic process, known as ketoacidosis, can lead to comas and even death.
Add to this the fact that starving your body of carbs can actually put your body into starvation mode, if done incorrectly, and it may actually lead to weight gain!
Yes, the ketogenic diet does have some merit for people with diabetes and other insulin related issues, but for the every day person the best choice of ‘diet’ is and always be a healthier lifestyle change. One that allows you to eat everything you enjoy (in moderation) without the restrictions. If you would like to reduce your carb intake, in a healthy way, check out our low carb menu at Movement food.
The Lemon Detox Diet
Also touted as the ‘master cleanse’ diet, the lemon detox diet is essentially a fast, where you consume a lemon-water drink up to 6 times a day, consisting of:
- -2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- -2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- -1/10 teaspoon (0.2 grams) cayenne pepper
- -8 to 12 ounces of purified or spring water
The idea behind this fad diet is that you can loose weight by putting your body into a state of caloric deficiency. Sure, it will lead to short term weight loss. But considering the diet “consists of lemonade, laxative teas and salt water,” I think we all know where that ‘weight’ is going. Not to mention claims that it will ‘detox’ your body, which have no real substance or research backing them.
When you take into account it is severely lacking in real food, and any real nutrients, it’s pretty easy to see why it’s a poor short-term solution for weight management or lifestyle change. Concurrently, it’s easy to see why so many people flocked to this fad diet in an attempt to take the shortcut!
When it comes to detoxifying the body, it is unlikely that any ‘diet’ will actually achieve this. In the body, the liver is designed to remove toxins, or anything harmful to the body. With the right food choices, we can aid the liver in its detoxification processes. Consuming certain foods, like cruciferous leafy greens (kale, swiss chard etc…), and adding micronutrients to our diets from other fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices have been shown to assist your body in this process.
If you want to take out the guesswork, or simply don’t have time to make fresh juices every day, try adding the Lean Green Detox juice to your next Movement Food order! With ingredients like apple, swiss chard, mint and ginger it’s been designed to help your liver to process and remove other harmful toxins. Of course, these juices are meant to supplement your healthy lifestyle and diet, not replace them.
The Paleo Diet
The Paleolithic diet certainly gets closer to the mark in terms of whole foods and a more sustainable choice. Based on the idea that our anatomy hasn’t changed much for the last couple million years, the Paleo diet is designed to return our eating habits to those of the hunter-gatherer era.
The diet is made up primarily of lean meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, with the main premise of the diet being that our daily diet is made up of whole foods, and local ingredients.
Whilst there are many positives of the Paleo diet, like the move away from processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol and other toxins, it is also decidedly lacking in legumes (beans, lentils etc…) and other whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and wild rice, which can add much needed fibre and nutrients to your system.
Moreover, some Paleo branded foods have also been found to contain a wide array of artificial sweeteners and additives, exploiting a loop hole which allow them to fall under the Paleo category, but can actually make you hungrier, as well as negatively affect your gut biome, insulin levels and blood sugar.
Add to that the need to completely cut out coffee, the time (and often increase in price) it takes to purchase and prepare meals with whole foods each day, and it’s easy to see why people stray from this dietary concept as well.
More recently, research has shown that having a wide variety of wholefoods, herbs, spices is the best way to add micro-nutrients to our diets and assist the body in processing the good and the bad. As we mentioned, making healthier lifestyle choices doesn’t have to be restrictive. More often than not, cutting out the things we enjoy only leads to binging on sugary snacks later.
Good health is all about balance. At Movement Food, we provide healthy alternatives like protein pancakes and burrito’s so you can still enjoy the sweeter things in life, without all of the guilt!
All of our meals are prepared fresh, without any artificial sweeteners or refined foods, so you can enjoy the benefits of whole foods without all the hassle of preparing it yourself. To check it out, try using the ‘Paleo’ filter the next time you’re looking through our menu!
The Raw Diet
The raw diet is a subset of the vegetarian/vegan diet, and essentially involves eating raw or uncooked foods. Of course, the majority of these foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and is based around the idea that cooking food kills nutrients.
With a focus on fruits and veg, this diet is typically low in calories, fat and sodium, can lead to lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other lifestyle diseases. It can also lead to weight loss due to the complete reduction in processed and high-sugar foods (if you stick to it strictly).
However the raw diet isn’t full proof either. Dietary supplements are often needed to replace essential nutrients like protein, calcium and iron. It is also based on the falsehood that cooking food makes it toxic, where in fact cooking some foods not only makes them more digestible, it can also kill harmful bacteria that lead to food poisoning and other potential problems.
The raw diet is not only highly restrictive, it can be nutritionally inadequate, and often means you’ll be spending more time and money in a quest to only eat organic ingredients.
Did you know Movement food solves all of these issues by only using fresh ingredients, and providing a wide range of vegan meals? Simply use the ‘Vegan’ filter when searching through our menu to add some nutrient rich, organic meals to your diet without all the guesswork!
Love Yourself Healthy
Now that we’ve looked at some of the more recent fad diets, it’s time we came back to the notion of loving yourself healthy.
Healthy food choices aren’t just good for your body. They’re great for your mind. Eating the right food helps you to balance your stress levels, provides you with genuine energy to get you through the day, and helps your body rest. But to achieve these goals, you have to genuinely desire all of the good things a healthy diet can bring.
The best way to stay consistent, or to make a lifestyle change is to enjoy everything in moderation and balance. Making the lifestyle choice to consume a balanced diet means you don’t have to restrict yourself from anything, you don’t have to feel guilty for eating something you enjoy, or punish yourself for it later. You just find a better way of incorporating healthy foods into your life!
In changing your habits, and allowing your body to detoxify naturally, we are also able to re-balance our stress levels, and reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases. The flow on effect is that this also helps to clear your mind, raises your natural energy levels and stress-response mechanisms, and leads to a healthier, more positive you!
For more information about the meals we provide, meal plans, or how you can make a healthier change today please visit movementfood.com or get in touch with us on (778) 227 0839 between 8 am-6 pm PST and we’ll help you get started.
Let food be thy medicine
Author Rhys Skellern / Category Nutrition / Published: May-29-2019