The Do Diet vs the Don't Diet
When we think about eating better, we often think about what we have to take out of our diet - usually the things we like most! 😲 What if, instead of starting with a mindset of restriction, we start with a mindset of abundance? What if we were to focus on adding foods in, rather than removing them? While I can't take credit for this idea, I think it's brilliant. It's one that I share regularly with my clients and a first step that many find easy to do.
Here are the top 10 foods I recommend adding as part of the Do Diet:
Fruit, especially berries. Fruit is full of vitamins, phytonutrients and fibre. It's naturally sweet; nature's version of dessert. Fibre is important as it helps keep things moving through our digestive system, while also removing toxins and waste from our bodies. Berries contain some of the highest amounts of polyphenols, a micronutrient, that fights free radicals and oxidation - the things that make our cells age.
Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats are also called essential fats because our bodies require them for but can't make them on their own, and thus they must be obtained from food. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory and support brain health. The richest sources of omega-3 fats are oily fish like salmon and sardines. You can also get some from omega-3 enriched eggs and flax or hemp seed.
Green tea. Green tea is another rich source of antioxidants. It's consumption has been linked with improved brain function, increased metabolism, and reduced risks for certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Dark chocolate. Who's going to complain about having to eat more chocolate? Chocolate with 70% or greater cacao solids is loaded with minerals like iron, magnesium, manganese and copper. It's also a good source fibre and can help protect your skin from sun damage.
Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are good sources of healthy fats. Fats are satiating and help to keep us feeling full longer. A small handful of nuts is a satisfying snack that won't raise blood sugar levels.
Mushrooms - While we often think of mushrooms as a plant or vegetable, they are actually fungi - a different species altogether. Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins and beta glucan, a form of soluble dietary fibre that’s been strongly linked to improving cholesterol and boosting heart health.
Greek yogurt - In addition to being a good source of calcium, an important mineral in bone health, Greek yogurt is a fermented food making it a rich source of probiotics. Probiotics are important because they feed the good bacteria in our gut. Our small and large intestines are full of trillions of bacteria which help us to digest and absorb nutrients from the food we eat. A healthy gut full of good bacteria is linked to numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, enhanced immune function, healthier skin and a reduced risk of many diseases,
Avocado: Avocados are a good source of fibre, loaded with heart healthy monounsaturated fats, full of vitamins and contain more potassium than a banana. Potassium is an important mineral that many people don't get enough of and is associated with regulating blood pressure.
Olives: :Another heart healthy monounsaturated fat, olives are a staple of the Mediterranean diet, considered to be one of the healthiest diets in the world. The Mediterranean diet focuses on high consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nut and seeds, and of course, olives & olive oil.
.Sweet potato: With it's orange flesh, sweet potato, like carrot, contains high amounts of beta carotene which your body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for maintaining healthy vision as well as ensuring the normal function of your immune and reproductive systems.
Here's a few ideas on how to add the foods listed above into your day, without taking away or changing what you are currently doing. Breakfast Let's say your typical breakfast is a bowl of cereal or a muffin, how about adding an omega-3 enriched egg? Hard boiled eggs are quick and convenient, but eggs cooked any way you like is great. Eating toast? Why not top with sliced or mashed avocado and a dash of hot sauce if you like things spicy. Lunch If a sandwich is your go to at lunch, why not opt for canned salmon or tuna once or twice a week? If the option is available to you, add a small side salad with your meal and sprinkle with some sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Snacks A small handful of almonds or walnuts and a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips is the perfect afternoon snack to keep you fueled till supper. Mid-afternoon energy crash? How about a cup of green tea? And if you're peckish, an apple. If you prefer savory snacks try some olives and a few carrot or celery sticks to create that salty-crunchy combo. Supper Planning spaghetti & meat sauce for supper? Finely dice mushrooms, or pulse in food processor, and add to ground beef as you fry it. For variety, swap out regular potato with sweet potato once a week. Yogurt isn't just for breakfast - make a Greek inspired sauce by combining plain Greek Yogurt with grated cucumber, garlic and a pinch of salt - serve with chicken breast, on top of a burger or as a dip for raw veggies. Dessert On the Do Diet, there's no need to skip dessert. Finish your meal with a square or two of dark chocolate or a bowl of berries. (Thaw frozen ones given that fresh are hard to come by most of the year).
Ready to give the Do Diet a try? Which food might you like to try adding first? How might creating a mindset of abundance versus a mindset of restriction serve you better?