I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! Here is a photo of a piece of my time over our break. We had a great evening at the beach running from the waves and watching the sunset.
As I write my first post of 2015, I can't help but think of all the social media posts and talk about resolutions, diets and hopes for the coming year.
I will start this article with this caution: Diets can harm you. Yes, they can cause some physical side effects, but I think the biggest risk to diets is actually the psychological impact it can have.
Whether you're a cancer survivor or someone interested in prevention, it's in your best interest to focus your mental energy on positive lifestyle choices, rather than focusing on the things you should avoid. Cancer survivors know first hand that it's not worth it to waste your time and energy on negativity and guilt!
I believe the first place to start with healthy eating is by following some basic mindful eating techniques. At the very core, mindful eating is about two simple principles:
Eat when you're physically hungry.
Stop eating when your body has had enough.
The challenge for many of us is that we don't pay very close attention to these two things. At Cancer Services, I coordinate a mindful eating program for GYN survivors. We contract a local dietitian to teach the class and the suggested reading she gives is for the book Intuitive Eating. I think this would be a great place to start, especially if you think you're an emotional eater.
The complement to mindful eating is to be physically active. The best type of physical activity is the kind you enjoy. Make it walking, dancing, yoga, classes or doing yard work. It's as simple as using your body, and limiting the amount of time you spend sitting.
Want to try not dieting this year? Join Julie Dillon, RD on a FoodPeaceChallenge! She's posting on her blog about it, and I encourage you to follow. Yes - you can make big strides in your health by NOT dieting. Try it. :)
Maybe you don't feel like you're an emotional eater, but you would like a bit of guidance on making healthy food choices. This next review is for you!
Diet Review by US News and World Report. And the winner is...???
It's handy that people do this work for me! This week I read an NPR story on the diet review that the US News and World Report did. It's a great read, you can find it here: From Paleo To Plant-Based, New Report Ranks Top Diets Of 2015. The reason I like this is that there are SOOO MANY really bad diet plans out there. It's like going to the grocery store. Probably 85% of the products are not good for you.
Remember this about diet plans, books, programs: THEY EXIST TO MAKE MONEY! OK. There is a major conflict of interest here. They don't need to be based on any kind of proof. They just want your money. And they can say pretty much whatever they want to take your money and make promises they don't have to deliver on, while at the same time making you feel guilty for failing. What kind of business model is this? You give them your money and end up feeling bad about yourself. How about we not do that!!
Anyway... back to the point - which diet (I prefer to use the term 'food choice guidance plan') is the best? Here's the bottom line from the study, which uses medical experts and nutritionists to do the review and they look at long term success.
"For the fifth year in a row, the government-researched DASH diet (an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) ranked No. 1 overall diet. It's similar to the Mediterranean diet: heavy on fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts."
This is the plan I usually recommend to people who want a list, meal plan, or something to "follow." It's proven and effective and focuses on lots of plants. What's not to love!? You can find more info here at the DASH diet website.
I hope your New Year has started with many simple blessings. Thanks for listening to my rant!