There are so many diet plans out there, and like you, I've tried too many of them. When I was trying to lose weight after the dreaded freshman 15 (or 20!) I went on the Special K diet. I cringe just to think about it, two bowls of milk and cereal a day, with a "sensible" dinner... I may have been counting calories, but I was basically giving my body carbs and processed junk. I was tired through my all-cardio workouts (more about that later), felt foggy all day, was having unexpected breakouts, and was STARVING the whole time. Every time I tried to go on a diet I failed, because diets don't work! At least not in the traditional sense.
It seems like popular thought is making a shift, and more and more people are looking for healthier habits rather than a quick fix. To make it easy I follow one simple rule the 3 P's.
Plants, Probiotics, Protein
If it doesn't fall into one of those categories, don't eat it! Or at least don't eat too much of it.
Your body thrives on a plant-centric diet. Does this mean you have to go full on vegan? No! (But you can!) What this means is that plants should make up the vast majority of your diet. Think beyond the salad, the veggie is having a renaissance! Try a Buddah Bowl, or plate full of roasted veggies perfect for fall (this Thanksgiving Bowl is heaven), make a veggie soup like this one, or a veggie omelet for breakfast. Vegetables are inexpensive, packed with phytonutrients, and help with healthy digestion, along with a LONG list of other benefits. Bonus points if you have your own garden... I'm still working on it.
Did you know that when you're born your body is 100% your cells, but when you die it's only 10% your cells and 90% bacteria?! Yeah, you read that right. So what happens when the bacteria in your body is imbalanced? You're more susceptible to disease and infection (think IBS, yeast infections, UTIs, acne, GAH!) but you're also less able to fight off the bad little microbes when your body doesn't have enough symbiotic (good little microbes) to fight your battles for you. There are so many things that can throw off your gut flora, processed foods, sugar substitutes, real sugar, antibiotics, caffeine, and alcohol to list only a few, but sometimes the causes are unavoidable. This is where probiotics come in; like a little reserve troop the probiotics come in to fight the good fight and keep you back on track. Probiotics can be found in the form of a pill, but there are lots of tasty ways to get them in your diet. Keffir, Kombucha, yogurt, kimchee, apple cider vinegar (with the mother), and fermented veggies are a few of my favorites. Most probiotics have a slightly briney taste, which I happen to love, but if you just can't get past the unusual flavor pill form works just as well. Be careful not to overload in the beginning, too much of a good thing can cause your tum to get grumbly.
Lastly, focus on protein. If you're doing any sort of physical exercise you're going to need some protein in your diet. Keep in mind though it can come from anywhere! Legumes are a great source of protein, they also have a ton of fiber, are environmentally sustainable, and vegan friendly. If you're going for animal protein always pick organic, free range, grass fed, and local if possible. It's more expensive, yes, but if you're not eating it as often the price should level out. Lean white meat is always the healthier option. Red meat, including pork, should be a special treat. Eggs are a great alternative, and contrary to what you may have been told, are actually a heart-healthy food (go ahead and eat the yolk!). General rule of thumb if your'e exercising you should have about 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight; for example I weigh 130 lbs, so I am to get 65 grams of protein per day.
The 3 P rules makes life easier for me, but just to make it even easier, here's an example of what I eat over the course of one day.
- veggie soup from wherever I can find it, homemade if I'm not being too lazy
- kombucha, this lavender one is my favorite!
- Grilled Chicken breast 38 grams of protein
- Roasted veggies (brussel sprouts and sweet potato are two of my favs)
I don't snack often, but when I do it's usually on almonds or cashews, to indulge my sweet tooth I love a banana smooshed up and stuck in the microwave for 45 seconds with some almond butter and cinnamon on top.
Do you have a simple diet plan that works for you? Paleo? Whole 30? Mediterranean Diet? Send me a message or share it in the comments below! I love hearing from you.