Paleo, HCLF, HFLC, raw, ketogenic...
Don't eat meat, go vegetarian.
That's not good enough, go vegan.
There are just so many diet principles out there on how we should eat that it's a wonder we manage to eat anything at all. Even the most health conscious of us is bound to be confused by all of the ideas we're bombarded with on a daily basis.more
Have you ever stopped to wonder why one person can thrive on one of these holy grails, while for another it's a complete nightmare?
Your slim friend swears by paleo, but you just feel sluggish and depressed, yet eating a salad leaves you craving something more and you feel like your nerves are running at 100 miles an hour. How can you find balance?
The truth is that there isn't ONE diet that fits us all. Nutrition isn't a "one size fits all" theory. We're all different, so wouldn't it then make sense that we all need different foods?
Compare for example your needs in winter with in summer. In winter we crave fatty and rich foods to keep us warm, while in the summer we want lighter meals to keep us more active. The same goes for our daily schedule, if we're more active we need more protein than if we're sitting in front of a computer all day.
Before you throw in the towel and decide that you will never be able to eat healthy, know that there is another way which answers most of the questions raised.
It's called the Primal Pattern.
Look back to how our forefathers lived and how they ate. Inuits lived off of the fish that they got from the oceans which were high in fat and protein, but had very little carbohydrates to go with. On the other hand, tribes in sunnier and warmer climates around the equator were more likely to have fresh fruits daily with a little protein.
Both thrived, so which diet is better than the other?
The answer is neither and both!
That's the basic idea of the Primal Pattern - it divides people into three different profiles with varying needs; Polar, Equatorial and Mixed Type.
Polar types require more meat and fats in their diet than they do carbohydrates.
If you've ever used the word "hangry" to describe yourself, you feel jumpy after drinking coffee, and sugar leaves you racing, this is most likely your type. Generally as a Polar type you should aim of the following ratios:
30% Fats & oils
Equatorial types are the opposites to Polars, and rely more on carbohydrates to keep them going. However, this should not be confused with vegetarianism/veganism.
The Primal Pattern advocates eating meat, as when we look to nomadic tribes, rarely were they fully vegetarian. Equatorials generally do well with sugar, feel sluggish when eating high fat foods and have to remind themselves to eat protein with their meals.
As an Equatorial type you should look to have your meals consists of:
15% Fats & oils
Mixed types, as the name suggests, falls somewhere in-between. As a Mixed type your requirements can change from meal to meal, so it's very important that you learn to listen to your body and take note of how foods leave you feeling. You should aim for the following ratios:
20% Fats & oils
These are general guidelines, as the ratios may switch from person to person. For example, one Polar type may require a higher ratio of fat to another Polar type to feel well.
The best way to figure out what the correct ratio for you is, is to experiment and keep a food journal and note down how you feel an hour after you've eaten.
Still hungry? Feeling jumpy and nervous? Amp up the fats and proteins.
Feeling full but still hungry? Craving coffee or tea? Crank up the carbohydrates.
How can you find out which type you are? By filling out a questionnaire.
It's important that you answer what is true for you, rather than what you've heard in magazines or from others. Don't rush through it, but take some time to figure out your answers. Once have your type, have fun with it and play around. Then take the test again in four months time. It's a good way to see if you've truly found your correct Primal Pattern type.
Ready to take it to the next level? As a Holistic Lifestyle and Nutrition Coach I can advise on how and what to eat that's best for you! We'll go through your current eating habits and work to improve where you feel you need help. Eating according to your Primal Pattern is not only be beneficial in terms of weight loss and muscle toning, but more importantly it works to create a more balanced and healthy life.
Press HERE to find out more about coaching with me.