What Diet is Right for YOU?

By Anne Zauderer, DC

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”

— Ann Wigmore

What diet is right for YOU? There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what we should be eating and why. Everyone claims to have “the answer” or “magic diet.” Ultimately, why is it that so many people fail at their diet? Statistically, 95% of diets fail and most people will regain the weight they lost in 1-5 years1.

Personally, I don’t like the word “diet.”  In our modern society this has come to mean a restrictive way of eating, most often in an attempt to lose weight. It implies a certain time frame. Once the diet is over, then we can go back to the unhealthy behaviors that led us to the weight gain in the first place. This mentality breeds an unhealthy relationship with food.

The model of “calorie in, calorie out,” intended to help us maintain a healthy weight, does not tell the whole story. This model implies that the reason we gain weight is because we eat too many calories and don’t exercise enough. While there is some truth in this, it is only in the extremes. More important than how much we eat is what we eat.shutterstock_116466427

Think of food as a communication to your body and genes about what is happening in the environment. What we eat is a signal to the body to help it adapt to our ever-changing environment. High-sugar, nutrient deficient food communicates something very different than a green salad with good fats and proteins. (For a more in-depth explanation, please see the Health Hunters main article in the October 2015 issue entitled “How Food Affects our Genes” by Dr. Ola Buhr.) Foods can heal you or they can make you sick… depending on which foods you choose.

So the question must be asked, what should we eat? Outlined below are four different, popular “diets” (or more accurately, lifestyle changes) that each help with not only getting rid of excess fat in the body but also healing it. See which one is right for you! If you would like more information on how to eat, attend the Food as Medicine course every Tuesday from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. at the Riordan Clinic.

Paleo Diet

What it is used for: The Paleo diet is used to help reduce foods that trigger an inflammatory response in the body. This type of diet is loosely based on how our hunter/gatherer ancestors ate. It promotes a whole foods diet with minimally processed foods. There is an emphasis on good quality, grass-fed meat and organic fruits and vegetables.

What do you eat: grass-fed meat, fish/seafood, eggs, nuts/seeds, vegetables, fruits, low glycemic sweeteners (maple syrup, honey), healthy oils (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil)

Foods to avoid: refined sugar, all grains (wheat, corn, oats, rice etc.), dairy, white potatoes, beans, processed food, vegetable oil, hydrogenated oils, candy, fruit juices, and soda.

Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)

What it is used for: The SCD was originally developed for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, diverticulitis, cystic fibrosis and chronic diarrhea; however, it is safe for anyone to use. It promotes avoidance of complex sugars that feed bacteria and yeast in the intestinal tract.

What do you eat: eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, fish, pork, lamb, most vegetables,  SCD yogurt, natural 30-day aged Cow and goat cheeses, butter, ghee, and dry curd cottage cheese, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts, peanuts, white beans, navy beans, lentils, split peas, lima beans, kidney beans, and black beans.

Foods to avoid: wheat, barley, corn, rye, oats, rice, buckwheat, millet, bulgur, spelt, quinoa, ham, processed sausages, lunch meats, canned vegetables, canned and most fruit juices, soybeans, chick peas, bean sprouts, fava beans, garbanzo beans, commercial yogurts, milk of any kind, unnatural cheeses (Kraft and most other mainstream shredded cheeses), all of the following cheeses: cottage, cream, feta, mozzarella, ricotta, processed cheese spreads, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnip, cornstarch and tapioca starch.

Ketogenic Diet

What it is used for: The ketogenic diet was originally used to help control epileptic seizures in children. Currently, it is used for brain-based disorders (such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s), quickly losing fat (especially abdominal fat), reducing lipid levels (like cholesterol and triglycerides), lowering insulin and blood sugar levels, and even metabolic disorders such as cancer. It is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet. Generally, people who consume this diet eat 70% of their daily calories from good quality fats, 25% from protein, and less than 5% from carbohydrates.

What do you eat: avocado, butter, coconut oil, olive oil, flax seed, peanut butter, salmon, tuna, trout, shellfish, whole eggs, meat, pork, poultry, low carbohydrate vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, lettuce, snow peas, spinach, squash, tomato), heavy whipping cream, hard and soft cheeses, sour cream, cottage cheese, nuts and seeds and limited berries.

Foods to avoid: high carbohydrate foods: most fruits, tomato-based products (tomato sauce with added sugar), red and yellow peppers (green are lower in carbs), wheat, barley, corn, rye, oats, rice, buckwheat, millet, bulgur, spelt, quinoa, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, sugar, honey, maple syrup and milk.

Candida Diet

What it is used for: The Candida diet is used for those who have tested positive for overgrowth of Candida. Candida is an opportunistic, pathogenic fungus that tends to grow when the immune system is weakened. The most common causes of an overgrowth are: antibiotic use, high consumption of sugar, and stress. The symptoms of Candida overgrowth include: brain fog, craving for sweets, acid reflux, fungal infections on the skin and nails, white coating on the tongue, acne, and recurring yeast infections.

What do you eat: non-starchy vegetables (asparagus, avocado, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, eggplant, kale, olives, onions, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, plain yogurt, beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, buckwheat, millet, oat bran, quinoa, oils (such as coconut oil, olive oil, flax oil, sesame seed oil), stevia and xylitol.

Foods to avoid: sugar, honey, chocolate, alcohol, wheat, rye, pasta, spelt, corn, rice, fresh fruit, dried fruit, canned fruit, fruit juice, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, beets, peas, parsnips, pork products, cured and smoked meats, processed meats, cheese, milk, cream, coffee, black & green tea, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, beans, chickpeas, tofu, soy milk, mushrooms, condiments (ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, soy sauce), peanut oil, corn oil, and canola oil.

  1. Statistics on Weight Discrimination: A Waste of Talent, The Council on Size and Weight Discrimination, Retrieved July 18, 2011, from (http://www.cswd.org/index.html)