The Perfect Diet

So here it goes.  A moment of truth…and shame.  Since I was about 15 years old I’ve been a chronic dieter.  And as a result, I’ve done a lot of damage to my body by depriving it of the essential healthy fats and other nutrients that it needed to be nourished.  And even worse, an imbalanced body like mine was utterly unable to support the healthy mind and spirit needed to really love myself.  The worst damage was done in the time leading up to my wedding when I began a 1000 calorie a day diet.  If I’d been just eating big bowls of vegetables and lightly steamed greens it might not even have been so bad, but I wasn’t.  I was incorporating the nutrition-less, empty calorie ‘diet’ foods like Weight Watchers meals and diet sodas.  And the awful thing, was that after 9 months of eating like this, depriving my body of any nourishment, I was exhausted, mentally and physically, and I wasn’t really losing that much weight.  I struggled to keep up my exercise routines because I had no energy.  I think I lost around 12 pounds in total.  I went to see a dietician at my local GP practice and her “sage” professional advice, after looking at my diet diary was to swap butter and olive oil for margarine and suggested that perhaps I should reduce my diet to 900 calories.  Yep, you heard it.  She wanted me to remove the small amount of healthy essential fat I actually WAS getting in my diet and replace it with toxic, hydrogenated, free-radical spread…I mean margarine.  Even I knew that was wrong, so I ignored her and continued with what I was doing.  It was only later, after the wedding and honeymoon, when I started thinking about wanting to become pregnant that things really changed and I realised the damage I had done to myself through deprivation dieting.

And now I’m ready to share with you the perfect diet.  Are you ready?  Here it is………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….there is no perfect diet.

There is a perfect diet for you, but there is no perfect diet that will work for all of us.  And here’s why.  It’s really complicated.  It’s because, get ready for it, we’re not the same person.  That’s right.  I’m not you and you’re not your neighbour John, or Sally who works at the supermarket.

Do I wish that we could all use the same diet and exercise formula and get the same results?  Yes, of course I do.  But genetics doesn’t work that way.  We each have different DNA (aside from identical twins, but even they express those genes in different ways) and so we don’t all have the same number of genes.  There is no perfect or ideal number of genes, so its not a competition.  But it does mean that some of us may lack enzymes which are essential for different body processes.  (Bear with me here, this will come back around to diet.)  You may have heard of the MTHFR, COMT or BRCA genes.  MTHFR and COMT enzymes are essential for methylation, which is used to control gene expression.  Women who lack these genes will have difficulty becoming pregnant and maintaining pregnancies.  On the other hand, the BRCA genes are tumour suppressing proteins and Angelina Jolie made the BRCA I & II genes famous when she had prophylactic surgery undertaken to remove her breast tissue, ovaries and fallopian tubes because of her high genetic risk for getting this cancer.  So what I’m getting at here, is that we don’t all process the world around us in the same way.  And we have to love our bodies for what they are.  The lack of this gene or that gene doesn’t make us imperfect, but it does make us realise that we may have to take certain precautions to avoid higher risks for foods, toxins and lifestyles which our bodies are simply unable to handle.  For me, the incorporation of a moderate amount of healthy, organic full fat dairy, like non-homogenised milk and raw butter, was incredibly important to feeling good again.

Okay, so I started eating healthfully again.  I got skinny right?  Wrong.  I started eating normally for like the first time in years, and my body had no. clue. what. to. do.  I mean I’d basically been telling my body – in prehistoric terms – that I was going through a time of famine and so when it started getting a normal amount of food, and I’m talking like 1500-1700 calories here, it thanked the god of rain for sending it a time of plenty and it decided to store every calorie it could.  As fat.  Yay.  But the good news was that all this healthy food I was now eating allowed me to maintain a really healthy pregnancy and produce a really healthy baby.

So a year and a half on postpartum, no I’m not skinny.  I’m not where I’d like to be, but I’m okay with how I look.  I fit into my size 8 jeans and that will do for the time being.  I’m still breastfeeding my daughter and I’m grateful to my body for all its been through and for the beautiful daughter its given me and still helps to nourish.  I continue to support my  thyroid health through diet and the use of therapeutic essential oils, and that is helping me enormously now.  So I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve very slowly found the diet that is right for me.  And actually, it isn’t a diet at all.  I’ve learned that I can’t eat too many sugars (argh!), one cup of coffee a day does me good (but more than that doesn’t) and that I am one of those people who can eat full fat dairy but that I definitely can’t process gluten (as much as I like to tell myself I can when I see a croissant winking at me from the bakery window).  However, for you, dairy may not be your friend.  Or you may not be able to tolerate coffee at all.  Some people have issues with one of their liver enzymes and can even build up high levels of mercury from eating something as simple as salmon, whereas the next person processes it perfectly well.  Juicing diets and green smoothies could actually do you a lot of damage if your thyroid isn’t functioning optimally.  And I haven’t even touched on how your gut flora fits in to all of this.  The list goes on.  Bodies are funny old things, aren’t they?

There is an easy and shorter – but more expensive – way to learn all of this about yourself.  You can get genetic testing done and enlist the help of a reputable nutritional therapist.  They can help you to understand your test results and to recommend bespoke  adjustments to your diet and lifestyle which will support what your individual body is able to do, and to avoid what it isn’t able to do.

I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to tell you that a Slim Fast shake is the perfect diet solution for you.  But its not.  Not for anyone.  And the one bit of generic advice I can give everyone is to get the toxic chemicals out of your food, cleaning and skincare regimens.  Eat organic, biodynamic or non-sprayed foods.  Use natural skincare.  Clean your home and office with natural cleaning products.  (They work just as well, by the way, and they cost less.)  Yes, we do have livers and yes, livers were designed to remove toxins from our bodies, but no one’s liver was designed to handle the amount of chemicals we eat, breathe and slather onto our skin every day in today’s world.

So whether you choose to go the slow route of figuring out the right diet for you, like I did (and continue to do), or if you opt for a faster route with the support of a nutritional therapist, I hope that above all you prioritise learning to love yourself and love your beautiful body.  I found the support of my Young Living essential oils incredibly helpful in both an emotional and physical capacity over the last 9 months of this process.  But I guess what I’m saying is be gentle with yourself, be kind to yourself, eat beautiful foods and move in ways that make you happy.

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34 thoughts on “The Perfect Diet

  1. LaaLaa (@LaaLaaMonroe)

    I’ve recently started to watch my diet because I’ve started to comfort eat since starting a new therapy. Way too emotional throwing myself into food and I’ve put on some pounds but I’ve decided to cut out the sugary comfort food and be more conscious but I’m not good with diets, crash diets. I’ve decided to pay attention because I’d rather curb it before I become ill and something is irreversible. Thanks for sharing your story lovely xo

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    1. Our Little Organic Life Post author

      Isn’t it funny how emotions and food are so connected for us? Its actually kind of odd when you think about it logically. Its so great that you’re looking to cut out sweet foods. Even though I know better, I still struggle with it so much – utter fail over the weekend when I made a pumpkin pie for Canadian Thanksgiving! Its lovely to hear when people care about themselves enough to look after their bodies like you are.

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  2. Milly Youngman

    I love the idea that there’s no perfect diet. I’ve just re-started Slimming World and it’s the only thing that’s worked for me – but other people have found all kinds of ways to fit healthy eating into their lives. As long as it works and is good for you, I’m a fan of any way of eating that promotes better health!

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    1. Our Little Organic Life Post author

      I think what is nice about Slimming World is I get the impression (I’ve never done it) that its more about cooking your own foods using real food ingredients. Surely that is a great improvement for many people who are used to grabbing lunches at Pret (or worse!). Its not one of those diet plans that relies as much on processed crap food like Weight Watchers does.

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  3. The Kats Paws

    When I read the title of this I was a little unsure until I realised as I read through that you are in total agreement with me in the fact there is no perfect diet! We are all so different and therefore, each of our bodies need different things to another. Xx

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  4. flowerpowerlife

    It’s interesting what you say about green juices and smoothies – I have an underactive thyroid so I avoid too much raw greens, but it really is hard to know what’s best with so much conflicting information out there.

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  5. Sarahjane

    I love how honest this post is! I’ve never really dieted and sometimes roll my eyes at some of the fad diets out there! I’ve always believed in eating healthily and balanced, exercise regularly and have everything in moderation

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Our Little Organic Life Post author

      Well, its less about taste, motivation and time and more essentially about our DNA and individual genes (or lack of genes) to process different foods, chemicals,etc…but of course those things you mention matter too and they have to be taken into consideration.

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  6. cheskaaanels

    I agree that you do have to find what works for you its not the same for everyone. I don’t agree with slimiest and silly diets like that as they prove to be difficult and really don’t aid you as much as you think. I actually had 2 children got really huge and then decided enough was enough, I cut my calories started to eat really healthy like I never have before and I ended up loosing 2 stone. It worked for me fortunately!

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  7. Anonymous

    Completely agree with this. I’ve always just listened to my body and eaten / avoided whatever my instincts tell me. My mum is a bit diet obsessed and constantly asks me when I’m going to lose some weight but I go by how I feel not what size I am – I always know fairly quickly if I’ve not been eating right. Interesting to hear the explanation behind it though!

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  8. Georgia Colloff

    I can honestly say I have never been on a diet, I couldn’t imagine depriving my body of what it needs. I’m an eat in moderation kind of person and I eat everything that’s out in front of me or that I put in front of myself. I’ve seen people struggle on diets over the years and I don’t think it made them happy at all maybe down to not having enough of what they really need.

    You are so right in saying everyone is different when it comes to what they need. If you saw me I’m a 4ft 11 inch and a size 6 and the way and what I eat has always worked for me, but my other half adopted the same habits and foods as me and he did not do well, he was tired and grumpy! Haha

    Great honest post and I hope I haven’t rambled.

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    1. Our Little Organic Life Post author

      Oh good for you Georgia. I love hearing when people are kind to their bodies and respect themselves like you have. I’m definitely using ‘diet’ in two contexts here as you can probably see. At first I referred to the deprivation I put myself through off and on through the years but what I mean now by ‘diet’ is just the food I eat on a daily basis. (A ‘real food’ diet as opposed to a Standard American/British ‘diet’). Thank you so much for commenting and taking the time to read my post!

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  9. Lubka Henry

    The healthy diet is a very personal thing indeed and it depends on where we are at with our body. I just bloggers about “no more diets” this week, as it is crucially to know what is the appropriate food habit for you in order to keep healthy.

    Liked by 2 people

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