How do I know what diet is right for me?

It seems that every other week someone comes out with a new 'diet' claiming to have the answer to all your health or weight concerns. This is becoming very confusing for most people. Experts appear so adamant that their fad diet is the way, with claims that diets that focus on low-fat, low-carb, raw foods, paleo, or vegan will revitalize your health and metabolism solving all your diet dilemmas. And the truth is, they are all right -- or, at least they have been right for somebody at some time. But, just because a certain diet(way of eating) helped one person lose weight or heal from their chronic disease doesn't necessarily mean it will work for you. Your body type, genetics, environment, lifestyle, and circumstances are probably different than those of the person who promises their diet is the secret we've all been missing. We are all very different. So, it's silly for us to think that one diet would work for all of us, that there is one right way.

There are many different diets or ways of eating that have been successful for different people in different circumstances. Different being the key word.

It turns out the type of food that our particular body needs to thrive (to be fit and healthy) depends on our body type, genetics, age, life circumstances(over stressed anyone?) environment we live in, time of year, and activity level. Even for you in particular, a certain diet might work better for you in the summer than in the winter for instance. The types of foods your body will respond best to will be different if you are working out daily, or recovering from an injury, or dealing with a stressful life event.

When you align yourself to these natural cycles and rhythms, you become more in harmony and balance within your self and your life.

Ancient wisdom, like India’s 5,000 year old healing science of Ayurveda, have a much better understanding and philosophy. A system and philosophy that is more in line with nature, the natural cycles of the seasons, our bodies, and our lives. The problem with our modern culture is that we want to label everything, compartmentalize things, so we can feel like there is certainty. But, this creates a false dichotomy between 'this' or 'that.' In truth, this line of thinking is limiting and goes against nature - inn life, nothing is stagnant, everything is in a constant state of change. Even right now in your own body, billions of cells are expanding or contracting, exchanging oxygen or neurotransmitters, producing hormones, building new cells, getting rid of old debris, metabolic waste and so on. So, for us to think that we can say everyone should eat this one food or this particular way is severely narrow minded. To adopt this approach is to work against your body and the balance of nature. It is our desire for certainty that leads us to believe and want to believe in a particular diet fad. To our mind that seems like it would make it easy, give us the answers. The truth is for us to truly find the 'answers', we need to step back in order to see the bigger picture, relax our desire for absolute certainty and recognize that the only thing that is certain is change. If you look out at nature you can surely see this, from the cycle of the seasons, to the flow of water, to the air we breathe that circulates the planet. There are natural cycles to everything within our world and within our own bodies. When you align yourself to these natural cycles and rhythms, you become more in harmony and balance within your self and your life.

When we are out of sync with the natural cycles or rhythms is when we are not healthy and disease occurs. To see this in nature, think of water, when water is flowing like a river it is refreshing, cleansing, and supportive of life. When water is stagnant or backed up like a still pond, scum and muck accumulate on the surface breeding bacteria and disease. Within our bodies, it is the same. Where there is flow things are healthy, where there are blocks and lack of flow( blood flow, air flow, energy flow) there is disease. So in order to be in healthy, you must keep your body in flow with its natural cycles and rhythms.

Begin to tune in to the cycles of nature around you and within you. Eat with the seasons to bring your body and mind into balance. Listen to your body and the signals it’s giving to you so you can adjust your course and find your path to health and vitality.


Melissa Hill, FDN-P