There is so much written about diets it can get very confusing. Unfortunately, most of us still associate the word diet in negative terms as most of the material is about losing weight and calorie restriction.
I wish to outline various healthy eating programs that bring about balance and energy and at the same time one will achieve their objective and lose weight. I truly believe the word diet should be changed to eating plan. There are many eating plans that one can easily choose the ideal plan to reach your goals.
Nutritional therapist agree that an eating plan consisting of fresh food which in unrefined and lightly cooked which helps to preserve the maximum amount of nutrients is best for all round health. However on your first consultation you maybe prescribed a Hypoallergenic Diet as a diagnostic tool to be used for the first two weeks of a nutritional therapy regime.
THE HYPOALLERGENIC DIET: excludes the four basic food items associated with allergic symptoms (wheat and gluten, dairy produce, eggs and yeast) other dietary food that can cause stress to the digestive system include tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar, salt, alcohol, saturated fats, red meat and artificial food colors and addictives. This diet must, of course, be under professional guidance and in no way mandatory.
CLEANSING DIET: These are often based on raw foods, there purpose is to remove excess tissue acidity, often caused by long term consumption of too much protein, to correct the sodium/potassium balance and to promote cell respiration and oxygenation, and to help decongest the liver and discharge toxic waste matter.
Protein when metabolized by the body leaves an acidic residue, which can build up and cause damage to tissue and joints. It may lead to the development of degenerative diseases such as arthritis and cancer; these diseases often exhibit high tissue acidity. As fruits and vegetables leave an alkaline residue after being metabolized, cleansing diets main concentrates on these.
For the first ten days to two weeks this type of diet mainly focuses on raw foods, following this. Some steamed vegetables may be added and some brown rice and pulses. The diet is low in calories since that is designed to break up fatty deposits in the liver. Body fats are broken down to release stored energy. You must take care not to reduce calorie intake too much.
MACROBIOTIC DIETS: Roughly translated the word macrobiotic means ‘large’ life and the diet was founded on the principle that wholesome food would help to promote good health and longevity. This system in centered on the consumption of whole grains and the basic proportions of each food type eaten in this diet are as follows: Grains 50-60% Soup 5-10% Vegetables 20-30% Beans and seaweed 5-10% Fish, seeds, nuts and fruit 5% 3-4 times a week.
At least two grains are used everyday with each meal. A minimum of six types of vegetables with one serving of pulses is taken daily. Fish and fruit restricted to three to four times a week.
THE HAY SYSTEM: food combining diet: Named after Dr William Hay this diet has been promoted as very popular and effective for weight loss and digestive problems. Based on the principal of not mixing protein and carbohydrates at the same meal.
Protein foods: Meat, fish eggs, fish, dairy products, nuts and Soya may be eaten with All vegetables except potatoes and artichokes Neutral and sub acid fruits e.g. strawberries, raspberries, plums, mango, pineapple, apples, pears, and peaches.
Carbohydrate Foods: All grains and pulses with the exception of Soya with All vegetables Sweet fruits such as bananas, grapes and dried fruit Neutral foods.
Neutral foods, which may be eaten with either protein or carbohydrates, are All vegetables except potatoes and artichokes, Seeds and nuts, Herbs and spices, Wheat germ, Fats, oils and egg yokes, Honey, maple syrup, molasses and raisins, Alcoholic spirits.
In health terms the Hay System when followed properly in an extremely nutritious eating plan. White flour, white rice and sugar are not included.
VEGETARIANISM: The Stone Age man originally ate fruit, berries, seeds and plants. It was not until the population began to increase that man turned to hunting wild animals and fish to supplement his diet. The meat we buy today is usually mass produced, high in fats and cholesterol and contains many chemicals, including antibiotics, pesticides and female hormones. Fish is also a suspect due to increasing pollution of our seas.
However, a vegetarian diet is not always a healthy diet, one of the reasons is that meat is often replaced by dairy products which contain high fat and are acid forming. A VEGAN diet avoids all animal food including the products of animals like milk and dairy and eggs. Studies have revealed that conditions such as arthritis, asthma and psoriasis have improved. The immune system functions better with increased white blood cell activity, saturated fat levels fall. The diet does not contain hormones or antibiotics. One of the dangers of this sort of diet is that protein levels may be inadequate.
The body needs protein to build and repair muscle tissue and to form cells. Enzymes are made from protein and protein is a vital part of hemoglobin. Antibodies, hormones, adrenalin and insulin are partly made my protein.
LOW CARBOHYDRATE DIETS: These are very last resort treatments for severely obese and are not recommended. Depriving the body from carbohydrates it will have to turn protein into energy. Low carbohydrates can lead to acidosis, dehydration, loss of lean tissue, impaired kidney function due to the build up of waste products from breakdown of body tissue are just a few of the complications which can occur when following this regime.
If it must me adopted it is considered a once-only diet to be used in very special cases only.