Choosing a healthy and ideal diet for yourself can be a pretty entertaining venture, but also overwhelming and intimidating at times. There are probably over a hundred different ideal diet theories out there on the internet which promotes diet for weight loss or other health conditions. It can be daunting to choose just one diet out of so many which could be called the “ideal diet” for us and our families.
Now, what can be done is to write down our own food philosophy that could help us to reach our health goals, weather it is fighting a health condition, weight loss or going on a fat loss diet.
Two things must be kept in mind before you set out for this venture: First, to have an understanding of your food philosophy or your opinions about your food choices and second, going in deeper to understand it in and out.
How To Find Your Ideal Diet
Over the time your food philosophy can evolve. It can change because of your changed goals. Fo example, while your goal previous year could be to follow a diet that revolves around certain health condition, this year it could be a diet for weight loss. And next year you can probably shift to a fat loss diet. So, there could not be one specific ideal diet.
During these goals, the aim could be to cut off all the foods that are highly processed and store-bought because they contain high levels of harmful compounds like fructose, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and many preservatives. In fact, the choices of having low-fat dairy products are followed by going all vegan too.
Whatever diet you consider your ideal diet to be, the primary goal is to feel better than before; to have more energy and probably lose a bit of weight too.
But one must also focus on enjoying the process of cooking homemade meals with your family, developing new recipes, and going to the farmer’s market and learn about local farming practices. To develop a relationship between you and your food to understand your ideal diet better, it is important that you understand the complexities of local farming methods.
Developing relations with farmers, vendors, beekeepers, herbalists, etc, would deepen your own understanding of your relationship with you, and wouldn’t you just make the best choices for yourself? You won’t just create a change in the way you purchase your food but support the local folks who are involved in producing it. Eventually, it becomes a way of life and leads to positive food habits that are also quite sustainable.
“Being healthy, and healthy eating, in particular, seems doable at first. All you have to do is eat more veggies, skip KFC, exercise, and sleep enough. However, it gets more complicated than that as you begin to follow the pattern.”Your Fit Moment
Ideally, one must buy all their produce from local farms if available and supplement some of the products from local grocery stores. If you have children, the connection formed would be valuable for them to learn about where the food comes from. And with this comes the knowledge of mindful eating practices. also, it makes for a great and fun family outing (we’re going the old school way here!)
Why is this important to do? With a 9 to 5 job, we have pretty much moved away from having a connection with our food. Instead, we eat our dinners at the drive-thru, snack from boxes, and straight out of packages and turn a blind eye to the malpractices of animal feeding operations done in big industries.
This is by no means to promote any diets, for example, veganism or vegetarianism. This is far beyond the idea of having an ideal diet. Our body might crave meat, not of a lot of it though. So it is only practical that we must be mindful and have a balanced approach when it comes to choosing our meat options. Locally raised, pastured animals who are fed only the diet of grass is a perfect choice.
Because each one of us is different, each of us has different dietary needs too. Not to forget a unique food palate too! Therefore, it is practical for each of us to have an ideal diet that caters to our individual needs. This makes any commercial diet, pretty subjective. But, it is also imperative that everyone would have a key similarity: to benefit from eating whole and unprocessed foods, grass-fed meats, organic produce, and meanwhile support the local farmers and businesses while doing so.
Steps To Designing Your Ideal Diet Yourself
No matter how cool and trending a particular diet seems on the internet, do not feel compelled to make your own ideal diet work for you because, in the end, it is your goals that you have to read and no one else’s. You must decide if you have to go vegan or vegetarian or eat meat once, twice, or even every day of the week. You can be flexitarian too. Meaning, being vegan one day and pescatarian the other.
All in all, your diet should be your own choice. However, it seems so simple and idealistic but how do we put it into practice? Is it as easy as on paper?
Here are some things that you must consider when you start designing your ideal meal plan:
1. Develop your own Food Philosophy
This is probably one of the most essential step on your journey to map out your ideal food plan.
While you develop your own food philosophy, your focus should be on it being sustainable, local, organic, and wild. These constants can vary for each of you but start with fewer rules.
For example, start with buying your produce from local farmers and businesses. Then thinking of going organic and step away from the processed foods. Try and go wild, which is including more herbs and plant-based foods into your diet.
With this in your mind, also follow correct eating practices, like eating mindfully and slowly. To enjoy your food is the best way you can consume it. Besides, it is great for building good digestion and stronger immunity.
Ina ddition to these things, here are some more things that you must consider before chalking everything out:
- Include things that you actually enjoy eating.
- Consider what is the source of production of your food choices?
- Think about how you would like your meals to be cooked?
- How would you make decisions at a supermarket or grocery store?
- What does your dream meal look like?
2. Consider what is locally available
The world is crazy about Instagram’s famous foods and loses no chance of re-creating one for themselves! However much we all love avocados and goji berries in our smoothie bowls, one does not have access to it at all the times, and in every part of the world.
This is because most of these foods are not local; at least for many people in the world. But you must not completely eliminate them from your diet, rather swap them with more seasonal fruits and vegetables instead. Look for what is available in abundance in your area, that is, the things that are local.
Local foods contain a lot more nutrients than the kind of foods that are shipped across the country for days!
In an ideal scenario, your ideal meal plan would have what is easily and most abundantly available to you. Not only will this support the local businesses, but it will also reduce the harmful impact on the environment that’s caused by unnecessary transportation, etc. Besides, you will have access to fresher and healthier foods!
3. What are your activity levels?
The amount of activities you do throughout the day is also very important to determine your ideal diet. If you are going to the gym and working out at least 6 times a week, your daily nutrient requirements would, of course, be much more than someone who has a sedentary lifestyle and does not go to the gym either.
Similarly, on the days you are more active, you will need more calories than on the days you have been a couch potato. That means, some days you will have simpler meals than others. Some days would be as simple as eating some lean protein salads and others would require you to have more protein, water, and electrolytes to keep your going.
4. Know what your health situation is.
If you are designing your ideal diet for some specific purpose like suffering from some autoimmune disease or inflammatory problems, your diet might need to work according to that. You will probably have to go gluten-free and vegan and avoid all the dairy products and sugar.
Similarly, if you know about some family history of a disease, you might want to consider increasing your intake of foods rich in antioxidants, superfoods, and fermented foods that will help increase good bacteria in the gut and improve the immune system to fight against diseases. You might also have to cut down on meat products too.
5. Demographic Factors (age, gender, etc.)
Biologically, a male needs more protein and carbs than an average female. They also have different micronutrient needs.
The difference in nutrients is not just gender-based. Both women and men need different amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients in various stages of growing up too. Therefore, it is vital that you take into account the gender and the stage of life before you begin to set your ideal diet.
If you have children, you might want to rethink their nutritional requirements at different stages of development so that they have optimal growth.
6. Your Lifestyle Choices
The way you live your life or simply, your lifestyle choices is a huge determining factor of your daily nutrition goals. If you are a full time working professional and balancing family life and other social and religious affairs, then you need to chalk out your daily calorie intake accordingly so that it keeps you energetic to endure all these activities.
You may have not enough time to cook your own meals but still want to avoid takeouts and have home-cooked meals, you might want to consider your options. For example, you can research about easy and healthy meal recipes or even begin a cooking cooperative where you share meals with a bunch of people. You can also find some healthy meal providing a company that will help you reach your goals.
Another option is to prepare your meals in advance. You can batch prep a few meals during the weekend or meal prep for the entire day every day. Know your schedule and work around it to achieve your goals.
7. Dietary Preferences
Choosing your dietary preferences also mean that you must weigh in different kinds of allergies, sensitivities, and some foods that you dislike too. That will form your ideal diet.
Some people may do well with a large number of carbs in their diet, while others do not react the same way. Writing down your food sensitivities would make it easier to choose what kinds of food you would want to include in your diet. The most common forms of food sensitivities that people find are from gluten, dairy, and nuts.
8. Amp Up The Research
To find all your preferences and sensitivities, you might have to do a lot of research. However, it might feel taxing at first, it is worth it in the end. Researching about diet and nutrition is also one such field that is ever-evolving. You will have something new to read every day.
Nonetheless, you must be careful about the fact that there is a lot of misinformation brewing over the internet when it comes to correct nutrition and choosing the ideal diet. Pay attention to where the science is coming from. Rather, clarify your doubts and research from multiple sources before you make a conclusion.
Many nutritionists work the commercial way and would cherry-pick the statistics just so they can endorse their point of view. There must be hundreds of articles that will point out how veganism or vegetarianism is the way to go, how paleo is the best form of the diet, or how the keto diet gives the best weight loss results.
Make sure you research your ideal diet from multiple sources to gain an all-round perspective.
9. Trial and Error
Making mistakes is a part of the journey. So do not lose hope if you make a mistake even if you might have to start over. Know that eating raw foods would probably give you some tummy troubles which you were unaware of. You could be miserable for a whole week, but do not let that stop you from trying out new food and food groups.
The point is to find your ideal diet by the means of how you feel. So write down how each kind of diet and specific food products make you feel. If specific foods make you feel more in tune with your body, that’s how you know that it must be a part of your ideal diet.
Choosing an ideal diet might seem to be taxing but it is enjoyable once you get to know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to making food choices according to your goals. Choosing your ideal diet might be an ever-evolving process so you might need to have a bit more motivation to stay consistent.
In the end, it all boils down to sustainability. If your ideal diet is not sustainable and enjoyable, meaning, you can’t imagine doing it for the rest of your life, then no matter how hard you try, it would not work for you. So, try to create an ideal diet that revolves around what works for your body and your lifestyle.
Also, give a shot at this entertaining video about what your healthy ideal diet plate should look like:
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