The [Anti-Diet] Diet
Updated: Sep 5, 2019
"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants" -Michael Pollan
For the full Anti-Diet guide click: Here
For so long our culture has moved from diet to diet guided primarily by the hopes of quick results, misguided teachings or the advice of a celebrity. Even good diets became muddled with the inclusion of unhealthy foods and habits that may have even technically "fit the diet". After seeing this so often with our patients, we decided to create a mindset that is both all of those diets and none of those diets at the same time. Created out of the best scientific research and over 22 years of clinical experience The [Anti-Diet] Diet was born.
Not only do we take the best parts of all of these previous diets before us but add in the forgotten component that impacts how your body interacts with food; lifestyle. What makes this "diet" unique is how many core principles that drive the success of this plan have nothing to do with the food you put in your mouth. The fact that nearly all other dietary teachings has left this out has created a massive gap in our understanding in health. The anti-diet is named as it does not fit into any of the "fad diet" boxes and addresses factors behind food and drink.
As we have began teaching the Anti-Diet, we have seen eyes opened, beliefs challenged and lives changed. You will find this diet lacks many of the shortcuts or flashy "superfoods" that others have but rather, just "makes sense" and feels sustainable. This way of eating and living is not a 30 day challenge, it is a 30 year lifestyle.
Part I: Cut the Crap
Sodium Benzoate, butylated hydroxyanisole, red dye 40, azodicarbonamide, propyl gallate.
This is just the short list of potentially cancer causing, disease promoting substances that belong in a 7th grade science fair...not our food. To enhance shelf life, brighten color, promote addicting flavor and ultimately improve sales, large food companies have reached for helping hand of biochemists to add extra ingredients. For example, distinctly bright yellowish orange color in Kraft's mac n' cheese has removed at the effort of one blogger and 350,000 signatures from concerned parents and citizens alike. This quote from "The Food Babe" describes it best, “Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 can be contaminated with known carcinogens,” she also says. They “cause an increase in hyperactivity in children, have a negative impact on children’s ability to learn, [and] have been linked to long-term health problems such as asthma, skin rashes, and migraines.” These are only a few examples of the THOUSANDS that are still on the shelf!
Additionally, nearly 90% of all food allergies in the United States can be attributed to the same 8 foods: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. These foods are also oftentimes highly processed and altered from their original state. In many cases our body no longer recognizes these "foods" as what they are labeled and may not even possess the enzymes to break it down anymore. As is the case with highly processed dairy. This is where we draw the line in the sand. Foods like gluten, processed dairy, peanuts and toxic meat/fish have no place in any diet regardless of allergy or sensitivity.
So what do we do? Cut it out. A great rule of thumb to live by is that if it is processed, you do not recognize the ingredients or triggers an immune reaction...it is best to avoid it.
Part II: Whole food, real food and nothing but the food
This should be your guiding mantra when grocery shopping and cooking. Preservatives, colorings, artificial flavorings and processed forms leave the end product devoid of nutrients at best or more likely, a health risk. It may seem that cutting out processed foods leaves nothing but celery sticks and fiji water but that could not be further from the truth.
"Eat vegetables like a vegetarian" There are many benefits to a plant based diet as illustrated by the largely vegetarian or vegan community. However, even this seemingly healthy way of eating has several pitfalls. At times, this diet can turn into a high carb, mostly processed and protein devoid way of eating which leads to health issues. So we take the principle of focusing on vegetables as the core of the Anti-Diet. Aim for 8-10 servings of vegetables per day and be sure to rotate them. This means that you should try eat many colors and many variations of your vegetables to enjoy the full spectrum of nutrients that plants can provide.
"Enjoy fat as if you are Ketogenic" For a long time we were strong supporters of the ketogenic diet for its extensive scientific backing, fantastic results (including weight loss) and rich source of brain/hormone feeding fats. However, as the diet became more popular the components that made it so great were often lost. Polyphenol rich olive oil and wild caught salmon was replaced with cream cheese and processed dairy. Aim to consume at least 40-60% of your daily calories from HEALTHY fats. When combined with exercise and some light fasting, you will enjoy the tremendous health benefits of nutritional ketosis without the extreme restriction of strict ketogenic diet. Some of the best fats include quality olive oil, wild caught salmon, medium chain triglyceride oil, and grass fed meat, avocados and coconut milks.
"Quality is king" Growing up in the midwest, every meal was like one of those Texas steakhouse challenges where your entire plate was a piece of meat and the only green was the money you win when you finish it under an hour. Meat should be viewed as an addition to the meal rather than the focus. Aim for 4-6 ounce servings of grass fed high quality meat. Unfortunately conventional meat harbors hormones, toxins, molds and a perfect storm of inflammation increasing chemicals. However, good quality meat is loaded with the most complete, body friendly protein that exists and can even act as a "meat vitamin" when raised properly.
Part III: Non-diet, diet components
The truly unique attributes of this diet is that it addresses aspects that have nothing to do with the food we eat or beverages we consume. This may sound a bit strange at first, however the research is clear. Food and drinks do not impact our body in isolation from our lives. In fact, two people could eat the exact same meal but if one was eating in a stressed out state while the other was very relaxed, the stressed person would actually experience more weight gain and more inflammation...from the same food!
Sometimes the best meal you could have is no meal at all. Fasting is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle that has only been forgotten in our very modern culture. Part of religious practices for centuries, periods of fasting was thought to cleanse the body and soul. Current research has indicated that purposely abstaining from all food or drink aside from water, black coffee or plain tea has profound benefits on anti-aging, autoimmune conditions, neurodegenerative conditions and so many more. While there are many different types of fasting (intermittent/1 day/5 day etc), it is important to listen to your body and work with someone who has experience in coaching people through this.
One place that people often negotiate with themselves while getting healthier is exercise. "I can skip the gym today as long as I eat clean". Though we have all said it (myself included), it could not be further from the truth. Insulin, leptin, ghrelin and so many other hormones are regulated by exercise, which does not only experience improvement immediately after exercise but for hours and even a full day depending on they type of exercise. It is important, no matter age, to include many types of exercise including low intensity (walking, gardening etc.), strength/resistance training (weights/resistance bands) and burst (high intensity short duration). Each type provides unique benefits that allow the food and beverages you consume to interact with the body in a healthier way.
Lastly, the final core component to your diet is your sleep. It is profound how these two interact like butter and coffee! Many of us have felt how our diet can interact with sleep. Eat a huge piece of cake, ice cream or other processed sugary treats before bed and just wait until the early hours of the morning and you will be wide awake. This is your blood sugar dipping and cortisol spiking. This relationship also goes the other way. Poor sleep sets of a cascade of hormones that indicate stress or dis-ease in the body. One study found that reducing sleep by just 1 hour 20 minutes resulted in the participants consuming an extra 550 calories during the day due to the hormonal impact. Just so we are on the same page...that is 1 pound a week or 52 pounds per year, simply by sleeping less. So if you feel like you are always craving a snack or desiring salt and sugar, look at your sleep!
So no matter where you are at with your diet, focus on being better than you were yesterday as opposed to having to be perfect. You are going to be eating for the rest of your life and if you attempt a diet that is not sustainable you will end up frustrated and worse off then when you began. In fact, the average person GAINS 11 pounds for every weight loss diet they attempt! So keep it simple and get back to the basics. Eat well, live well, be well.
If you would like guidance with your diet or feel that other factors such as food sensitivities, hormones and autoimmunity please reach out to schedule an appointment with one of doctors at 270.389.9696.