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Any Diet Can Be Followed Badly

As a naturopath and nutritionist, I’m often asked to describe the perfect diet. I feel there is no clear answer to this, even if you consult a variety of different studies. There are so many variables when it comes to long-term studies of diet, with a lot of trust put into being given the correct information over a long period of time. The fact of the matter is that we are all totally different and the differences are what make us all weird and wonderful. At the same time, this also means there is no single way of living and eating that works for everyone.

The ketogenic diet is currently very popular, with many different variations. These range from those chewing their way through copious amounts of animals each day, to those surviving off nuts, seeds and vegetables. Both would describe their diets as ketogenic, but they are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. In clinic, I have many clients who follow a ketogenic protocol, tailoring it to suit their individual needs. However, you don’t need much understanding of nutrition to be aware that cutting out most veg and living off just meat is not going to create a healthy internal environment. It will create an overload of protein, which will get passed onto the kidneys. The issue is about fully understanding a diet, in order to know the effect it will have, as every choice you make about what you eat will create a reaction in your body.

Another diet that many assume to be fantastic is a raw diet – surely that is going to make everyone radiant and beaming? Think again! Even a raw diet can be followed badly, resulting in the consumption of lots of dehydrated foods, such as the food that you make in a dehydrator, along with dried seeds, nuts and fruit. This can lead to becoming quite dehydrated. A raw diet also consists of large amounts of fibre, through the ingestion of high volumes of raw food. For some, this can prove way too much for the digestive system, which can be irritated, resulting in depleted energy levels, due to every bit of energy going towards dealing with digestion and inflammation.

Our ancestors, cave women and men, would have eaten according to their location and season. In the summer, there would have been plenty of berries and other small bits of fruit, along with an abundance of vegetables to be foraged. Their diet would have been generally low in carbohydrates, high in fruit and vegetables and low in meat, particularly in comparison to a modern Western diet. In the winter months, they would have reverted to more of a ketogenic way of living and used fat for fuel, as they consumed higher volumes of meat and animal fat and a small amount of foraged food they were able to dry. But how often today do we change our diets depending on our locality and season?

Even if a raw diet suits your system, I feel that where I live in West Wales, in the UK, where we experience wet and cold winters, many people would benefit from introducing a bit more heat into their diet throughout the winter months. Someone on a ketogenic diet may benefit from exploring a more low-carb approach throughout the summer months, as in the time of cave women and men.

As humans, we are constantly breaking the laws of nature and forgetting that we are animals. We need to look to nature to guide us. Wild animals eat with the seasons, times and their energy needs, and so should we.

So, this week I invite you to look at your diet and ask yourself if it is working for you? Do you vary your diet throughout the year to match the seasonal changes? What could you do to make your diet more in tune with the natural world?

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