The Perfect Diet Myth

WELLNESS--There are close to 9 billion people on the planet and that means 9 billion unique and specific diets. We are constantly getting flooded with fad diet books and food systems claiming to be the holy grail of health. We’re told to add just 1 specific nutrient to change our entire lives. Narrow reductive studies are put out regularly “proving” that this new food or that new vitamin will change our lives over night. 

Some studies tell us that an alcoholic drink a day is good for us. After all they drink in Europe and they supposedly live forever and are all skinny, right? The next day we see a study claiming that alcohol, even in small amounts, is dangerous for our health and especially our livers. We see these “studies” repeated with coffee and chocolate. They are healthy one day and the next they are not. 

There are of course some general dietary guidelines that work for us a whole. Things like less saturated fats, more whole grains, low sugar and no processed foods are simple rules to follow, but when it comes to specifics like do I eat meat or not, and are certain vegetables better for your body than others, people get confused. What about things like fruit? Some people notice certain fruits agree more with their body types than other fruits. Others report things like melon or pineapple actually making their mouths sore or swollen and they wonder if they are allergic. Then there is dairy. Many say avoid it all together but some day the vitamin D we get from it is healthy. I can go on an on. 

It’s no surprise that people are confused about good health. The truth is, our bodies are the labs and we are the scientists. We need to choose foods carefully and pay attention to how that food makes the body feel. General rules like eat plenty of vegetables and fiber and steer clear of simple sugars are helpful reminders. So is using low to no alcohol and staying away from saturated fats and greasy foods is also a safe bet. 

Outside of these basics, the rest needs to be determined by each individual.

Paying close attention to digestion and elimination is imperative as they are the best indicators to how good a food is for our bodies. The two other big indicators as to whether a food is good for us or not is to notice our energy levels throughout the day especially after eating meals. Also taking note of how well the immunity is working over all. Then we have the ever so famous Gluten. Many people have jumped on the gluten intolerance bandwagon. While it is true that some people are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive, the percentage of those people is very low compared to the number of people avoiding gluten. 

Regarding vegetables, there are so many different types, and certain ones can cause inflammation in some people. Nightshade vegetables for example can be very inflammatory for people with inflammatory diseases like crones and colitis and need to be avoided all together by them. Books like Eat Right for Your Blood Type and Nutrition textbooks like Eat Drink and be Healthy are also great places to start if you are in the process of turning your diet around. 

No matter how much you read or how many people give you advice about diet and nutrition, the most crucial data you receive is free and coming to you every day from your own body. Take time to notice and be honest about how your body is working or not working. Notice your energy levels or if you get an afternoon slump after lunch. If so, what choices are you making and how can you make better choices? Are you supported towards good health at home, or is your partner bringing junk food into the home? Good health is easier to attain if you feel supported by the people around you. Ask them to help you, and if they are willing to help ask them to join you!


(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)