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How and Why You Should Design Your Own Diet

Good_Food_Display_-_NCI_Visuals_OnlineHow you eat and what you eat is influenced by many factors including your physical needs, taste preferences, personality, lifestyle and cultural influences. If you try to follow a diet that doesn’t suit you it’s like wearing clothes that don’t fit properly. You will be disappointed with the results.

Tailoring a diet to fit your personal needs makes a lot more sense. Some of the first things to consider are your current habits and preferences. Rather than trying to turn your whole life upside down, use what already works for you in a positive way toward better health.

Do You Follow the Plan or the Principle?

Some people like to follow a well laid out diet plan while others prefer learning the principles of nutrition and using this knowledge in a flexible way. Which method suites you?

Recipes for every meal and snack Almost never follow a recipe
Shopping list according to recipes Shop for the foods you like
Prepare ahead & store for later Spontaneous or creative meal prep
Eat by schedule Eat when you’re hungry or have time
Pre-made packaged meals Grab food on the fly

Being a planner or principle follower is a personality trait. A planner prefers structure and schedule, perhaps a more detail oriented person. A principle follower likes to use information in a broader and more flexible way.

You may also fall somewhere in the middle using a bit of both methods. Knowing where you stand in terms of being a planner or a principle follower can be the deciding factor in whether a diet works for you or not.

Creating Your Healthy Food List

Everyone has taste preferences and trying to follow a diet full of foods you don’t like is definitely going to fail. Start by listing the foods or recipes you enjoy and then eliminate, reduce or find replacements for the high carb and sugary foods. Another way to do this is to use a glycemic load food list and choose the lower glycemic load foods you like from the list. Here’s one possibility: http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods

Some basic principles to remember when creating your own dietary plan:

  • Variety will help you stay interested and satisfied
  • A good source of protein and Omega 3 fats are a must
  • Natural and unprocessed or less-processed is best

Avoiding Triggers and Problems

What foods are really tempting but set you up for a binge? It might be potato salad for one person and Danish pastries for another. Even just a taste of this food sets you on the path of cravings.

You may or may not be able to find a satisfying replacement for this type of food. You can eat more protein and fiber with your high carb food, and reduce its portion size, to lessen the impact on your blood sugar. You can also use SUGARDOWN® before eating a high glycemic index food to reduce the impact of carbs in your diet.

Hidden Food Sensitivities Can Sabotage Your Diet

A final note is to consider the possibility of food sensitivities. If you struggle with inflammation even after following an anti-inflammatory diet, there may be a food in your diet that needs to be eliminated. The only way to find out is by eliminating suspect foods from your diet to see if it makes a difference, and then gradually adding them back to see if they create a problem for you.

Each person is unique and that’s why it’s important to create a diet that works for you.