to diet or to not diet

To diet or to not diet?

Despite the craze over the last twenty or so years to greatly reduce or eliminate whole food groups from our diet, our bodies require a variety of foods to get all the nutrients we need to function at our best. You knew that anyway, didn’t you?

There are six basic nutrients that we can’t live without; carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins and minerals.

Understanding why we need certain nutrients is the first step in improving your nutritional status. In addition, these basics give a solid foundation on which to intelligently evaluate the health claim headlines we are exposed to daily. When you have a basic understanding the next step is to listen to what your body needs.

I am not suggesting for one minute that you take a nutrition course, rather that you raise your awareness, use common sense, change your not so good habits, do a bit of trial and error and listen.

You body while in a toxic state will naturally crave things like sugar and it is, as I know, one of the hardest things to give up. I promise you it will be worthwhile. When I gave up sugar, my fist was my best friend, I simply stuffed it in my mouth when tempted and silently screamed.

Sugar, I discovered is the sweetest poison of all. It is lifeless like any food that has been modified, is empty, vacuous, worthless and not worth the moment of pleasure you may think you experience on your lips. As sugar creates demands on your digestive system, it leaves little room for your digestion to do its proper job.

What is a diet?

A diet is a long-term way of eating, which is healthy, balanced and designed for your lifestyle. It provides healthy and nutritious sources of energy. E.g. a vegetarian eats a meat-free diet.

Dieting is a way of eating and drinking to achieve short-term objectives, such as gain or lose weight.

These terms are often interchanged and misunderstood. Personally, I follow a vegetarian diet and I do not ever use dieting as a concept to lose weight. My weight is maintained naturally because of the way in which I eat. Creating a diet for you can be tough, but it is worth it. When you are eating what is your best diet, you will have clear skin and thinking, no bloat, better sleep, more energy and a better digestive system among other benefits.

Like many women I have been tempted by dieting, I have found them restrictive and difficult to adhere to. At the beginning, I found myself fired up and as time went by I looked for cheats or simply couldn’t be bothered. Instead, when I learned how to eat what my body wanted, it was dead easy. Rather than focus my life on food and losing weight, I have been able to live my life and fuel it as and when I wanted.

Types of diet plans

Weight loss – where you restrict your foods with the aim of losing weight

Weight gain – where you eat to gain weight for a particular reason, think Rene Zelwegger preparing for her role in Bridget Jones

Medical / healing – where you need to eat in a particular way for your health, think diabetics, people with heart problems, people with intolerances, women going through the menopause

Normal – it’s your normal way of eating, a way which is perfect for you, one which you have developed through trial, error, possible illness and nutritional knowledge

A Healthy Diet

Diet and nutrition play a significant and important role in the health of an individual. You need food which is the form in which the body gets energy and converts it into ‘stuff’ that it can use as fuel to keep it functioning.

Food = energy

All food that you eat affects every aspect of your body.  It is therefore, vital to eat a balanced diet and one which is right for you. My diet is not necessarily right for you. My mum, for example, loves tomatoes but they do not like her. I, on the other hand, know that raw tomatoes are not fans of mine while cooked ones are perfectly ok and I choose to ignore this. Unlike friends who can eat bananas every day, for me, it is better if I have one, every other day. Sliced white bread makes my nose run and cows milk gives me the tummy of buddha.

Developing a healthy diet isn’t restrictive when you know what is right for your body and lifestyle. I live by fairly simple rules (which I do break – but hey I am human), virtually no processed sugar (I do have a mouthful of cake sometimes) and absolutely no processed foods. Every week I buy an organic veggie box and experiment. And because I am fascinated, I research ways to create a diet that I will enjoy and which fulfils its obligations to provide me with foods from all groups and which is balanced.

What is Nutritional Therapy?

Nutritional therapy is using diet to treat and prevent illness, restore your body to a natural healthy equilibrium, and promote healing. Nutritionists believe that deficiencies in the diet are responsible for dis-ease and weakness in the body. The therapy provided by a professional will be individual to you. A friend of mine has to be very careful about how much iron she can consume and combines foods to ensure that her body does not absorb as much as say mine needs. By this strict and careful monitoring of her diet, she stays away from treatments that she would otherwise have to have to keep her alive.

Listening to your body

All things being equal you will have taken some time out to understand the basics of nutrition. After which you will have looked at those things which are poisonous to most humans. To my mind sugar, cows milk, white rice and pasta and processed foods are some of things that I avoid.

You know that not drinking enough water can create a fuzzy brain or constipation. Constipation could be an indication of a stuck life or you are holding onto something. If this is you, take some time to consider what it might be and it is not always the most obvious thing. More than likely you have become pretty adept at disguising the things that cause (or have caused) discontent.

Why is a healthy digestion system important?

Digestion is the process by which food and drink are broken down into their smallest parts so that the body can use them to build and nourish cells and to provide energy.

When we eat such things as bread, meat, and vegetables, they are not in a form that the body can use as nourishment. Our food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients before they can be absorbed into the blood and carried to cells throughout the body

Our nutritional goals must be to ensure that we eat a healthy balanced diet that is right for us and one which our bodies can digest easily and make the most efficient use of the food that we eat.

The problem is that left to our own devices many of us have spent a lifetime abusing our digestive system and have ended up with a mass of problems including bloating, reflux, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), leaky gut and ulcers.

Eating rubbish and not digesting life successfully can lead to other unpleasant issues. Our stomach is our second brain and as such sends signals to the brain about our emotions. Which in turn affects things like our mood. What do you do when your mood is off kilter? Eat something and usually not highly nutritious. It makes sense then if you do not feed your second brain properly and make sure that it functions properly, it is going to send wonky signals elsewhere. Seems like a vicious circle doesn’t it?

The link between emotions and dis-ease

The health market is flooded with remedies for problems created from food abuse. I know that I took a peppermint remedy for IBS for years. When in actual fact my life and diet were pretty rubbish, I was stressed and not addressing emotional issues. It was a lifecycle of problems; unhappy, eat rubbish, feel ill, increased discontent, eat more crap. Until I learned that my stomach was more than a food digestion station, that it was also a place to digest life, I stayed in this endless cycle. The problem was I now had to spend time unravelling what I had caused and that comes with its own set of  ’emotions’.

Any kind of emotional eating will mess with your system. Unresolved emotions eventually create physical ailments. The good news is that with a combination of addressing your emotions and changing your diet, you will heal.

My advice

Stop dieting and think health, healing, nourishment, nutrition and harmony.

By putting in excellent sources of food with high nutritional content, flexed to suit you as an individual you can get your digestion system rocking and rolling. Add to that awareness of your lifestyle and emotions you will soon be enjoying the flowing dance of life.



Writer, author, book coach, conscious woman and mum to three beautiful dogs. Living in the hills in Spain watching the world from a distance and drinking tea are just a part of what I fill my days with. That is when I am not writing or walking said dogs.