Monday, 2 April 2012

Should we all be on the same diet?

One of our tutors at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition used to calm nervous second years before their first supervised consultations by pointing out that at the end of the day we are all recommending pretty much the same diet.

Infact this isn't the case, as a nutritional therapist you approach all clients individually and always have in mind that everyone is biochemically unique and so reacts to foods in different ways, but what he was saying is that the fundamentals of a healthy diet are pretty constant and a good place to start for most people.

More on the individual approach to diet tomorrow, but I thought it would be worth sharing the more common recommendations that hold true for most clients:

These are:
- Eat a healthy/lean source of protein with every meal and snack to balance blood sugar levels
- eat wholegrain carbohydrates, rather than refined grains, so whole oats, rye, wholewheat pasta and bread
- eat at least five portions of fruit and veg daily, varying the types and colours
- drink 1.5-2 litres of water throughout the day (preferably filtered or mineral)
- eat oily fish 3 times a week
- eat a palmful of natural nuts or seeds daily
- eat at regular times, preferably leaving a minimum of 3 hours and a maximum of 5 between meals and snacks
- always have breakfast and avoid having a large late dinner

- avoid sugar whenever possible
- minimize intake of refined carbohydrates such as white rice, white flour and processed goods such as crisps, biscuits, cakes
- don't eat wheat every day
- avoid dairy products with the exception of live natural yoghurt
- limit red meat to once a week and eat only lean, skinless cuts of meat to limit saturated fat intake
- avoid all stimulants - caffeine (tea/coffee), cigarettes, stimulant drinks
- limit alcohol intake to one glass of wine per day and have at least two alcohol free days per week

The final part is to eat healthily 80 per cent of the time but also allow yourself to indulge 20 percent of the time. This bit is for your mental health :-) which should never be neglected!

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