The “Do What Works For You” Diet
It may be a generational thing, but a lot of nutrition clients I’ve worked with feel too “loyal” to certain nutritional philosophies.
I was working with a woman once who became ill every time she ate eggs, so I suggested that she stop eating them. Her reply startled me. She said, “I can’t stop eating eggs; I’m Paleo”.
Since when did the Paleo Police check for 100% compliance?
It seems like people want to be on “teams”, even when it comes to what they eat or don’t eat. It’s a running joke in the health world that some vegans are sometimes known to be a little militant about avoiding meat and announcing their vegan-ness. (Favorite vegan joke: A dying man tells out “Is there a doctor in the house?” A man runs up to help and exclaims, “I’m a vegan!”) Meat eaters sometimes have an equal but opposite fervor about what they chew and swallow for sustenance.
Yeah, I used to be that way, too.
But then the light bulb came on through two different observations. The first was in seeing how differently people responded to different supplements. Supplement A was my favorite, but some people couldn’t even tolerate it when they took it. They responded better to Supplement B, C, or D, and the results were proven by lab results. It became obvious that one size doesn’t fit all with supplements.
The second observation came while doing an experiment in 2015 with the ketogenic diet. Keto diets have you eating mostly fat, a little protein, and almost no carbs.
One day, I went with my wife to visit a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor. After examining my wife, he wanted her to drink no more cold beverages, and begin eating white rice, and well-cooked vegetables. The reasons aren’t important for this post, but we began talking about the recommendation. He reminded us that all of Asia eats white rice – LOTS of white rice – every single day, and the Asian physique stereotype is one of leanness, while the Western physique has become portly. Yet, we run from white rice and all other starches, while the lean half of the world eats them daily.
The fact is, everyone has a different genetic blueprint. I have raw foodist friends, ketogenic diet friends, vegan friends, and meat-eating friends. I’ve counseled lots of people over the years, and have observed how they respond to different strategies.
What I’ve discovered is that the people who do well are the ones that find what works for themselves, and don’t feel “guilty” for not doing it the way any other group does it. (Yes, I’ve had many – perhaps it has been the majority of my clients tell me they felt guilty when they had to stop following this or that diet. Like they’re cheating, or being disloyal.)
I get the feeling that people who become militant about one way of eating haven’t had to help very many others overcome an illness, or have to face what happens, clinically, when the thing that was supposed to “always work” just isn’t working for someone.
When that happens, the only thing you can do is change. Try something else.
I think it may be generational to feel like you’ve got to stick with one plan, only. Even if it’s not working. It “should” work according to this or that book, so they’ll spend a decade of their life pursuing it.
Natural health does take time. You’re not trying to change symptoms, alone. You’re trying to change the reasons for having those symptoms in the first place. That takes longer than just taking a pill to mask the symptoms.
But you should see progress over time. Things should change, eventually. Trying to be loyal to a plan makes no sense if it’s not working for you.
My own wife experienced this while dealing with adrenal fatigue. Is there anything healthier than spinach, and a giant spinach salad? Well, for her, every time she would eat this ultra healthy salad, she would practically black out for a couple of hours afterwards. An insightful health practitioner told her that the adrenal fatigue might be causing her to be intolerant of certain raw greens. When she stopped eating the salad, and instead started eating butter and salt and meat, she felt better instantly.
And I have stories illustrating the same point, but with opposite nutrition advice in those cases. For example, people who became raw foodists because they finally felt so good on raw fruits and vegetables, only.
And I say, Great!
Its just food. If it’s real food, and it’s working well for you, and you’re making progress, do it.