“Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature.” 
Thomas Kempis

While browsing in the library recently, I wandered over to the diet book section. I thought I'd pick up a book on eating Paleo (which I didn't find; note to self: sometime using the library search engine is a good idea). Even though I've been around the health and fitness world for 16 years or so, I was once again surprised by the vast quantities of diet and nutrition books that exist. So, I thought I'd blog about what I've found is the best "diet" (why not add my voice to the multitude?).

Keep It Simple, Silly. 
1. The best diet is no diet. Your best chance for success is to begin modifying what you already eat. You will have to say good bye to some foods, but I have found that restriction-- creating a list of "do not eat"-- only creates craving and obsessing about the forbidden. It's human nature, really. We want most what we cannot have.

2. Baby steps Make changes in the way you eat slowly. Instantly cutting out all of your favorite treats and cheats will only frustrate you and cause massive cravings. 

3. Snack and do NOT skip meals, especially breakfast. Yes, snack. Good healthy snacks keep you from over eating at meal times. Eat a small snack between every meal-- a handful of almonds, an apple with peanut butter or almond butter (be sure to check the label for added sugar and salt), Greek yogurt, home made granola, etc. Your body is the most complex machine on the planet. Keep it well-fueled.

4. Say good bye to deep fried food, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Stay with me and breathe. Ever notice that all fried food tastes pretty similar? It's because it's usually cooked in the same nasty oil. Gross! Use olive oil to sauté your potatoes, or zucchini, or chicken. Just don't drown it in oil. As for sugar and artificial sweeteners... "what's left?" you say. Use honey, or agave nectar, or stevia. I've read (and found it to be true) that artificial sweeteners trigger cravings.

5. Drink water. Not soda. Not Crystal Light. Not sweet tea. My exceptions are coffee and green tea, sweetened w/ natural, stevia based sweeteners.

6. Eat protein. Make sure you get enough protein in your diet. The amount you need varies, so find a good resource to determine your needs. 

7. Eat fiber. Fiber will make you feel full and also helps clean your system. Studies have shown that increasing your fiber intake, reduces your chances of getting certain types of cancer. I eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning. I always add a scoop of either vanilla or chocolate protein. Oatmeal can be very versatile: add apples and cinnamon, or bananas and peanut butter, or pumpkin and pumpkin pie seasoning with walnuts, or blueberries, or a few dark chocolate chips.

8. Switch to whole grains. No white breads or pasta. Whole wheat pasta takes some time to get used to, but it's good. Brown rice is more flavorful than white rice and more nutritious.  

9. Eliminate processed food. The more packaged it is, the more processed. Eat natural foods-- fresh fruit and vegetables, and nuts. Eat real food, not chemically enhanced (aka artificially sweetened and colored). You will be amazed at how good real food tastes and how fake processed food tastes. 

10. Beware of labels. "All Natural" can still mean added sugar and salt. "Contains Real Fruit Juice" can mean 5% juice (fyi: fruit snacks are just glorified candy.). "Zero Trans Fat" can still mean high fat, added sugar, added dyes, etc. And that's just to name a few. Check the ingredients. If you can't pronounce it, then do you really want to put it in your body?

So, this is where I started. I've noticed an improvement in the way I feel-- balanced, not as many energy spikes and lulls, and not as many mood swings. I allow myself a cheat meal or two during the week (pizza night is a must!), and I don't beat myself up if I go on a dessert binge. I don't  get on the scale and obsess about my weight because I know that if I am feeding my body good, healthy fuel in reasonable amounts (watch serving size!) and working out regularly, I will stay at a healthy weight. 


  1. Hey Amy, you might want to check your formatting for this page. I couldn't read the post unless I highlighted the whole thing. It might just be my computer.


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