I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year. If you feel like me, then Christmas was food-wise a complete escalation. I spent Christmas and the holidays with my family and I have basically rolled from breakfast to lunch to tea time to dinner. I do not know if this is just me obsessing, but I have the feeling that I ate more during these holidays than during any other year. I think I had reached the climax, where I decided to change something in 2016, when I was with my family in a Greek restaurant at 11 am and had fries AND rice as a side (No, not ‘or’).
Well, anyways – you guessed it already – I have changed my diet since the new year. For me, a diet change was long overdue. I had the impression that I did not improve with my Pole or strength training as quickly as I should and my muscles often felt tired and literally empty, despite sufficiently long regeneration phases. Christmas was the last trigger that I needed to finally change something.
I know that there is a diet jungle on the internet which drives everyone mad. I want to show you today some great articles, such as the reasons why I decided for this diet and the process that took me there.
What have I eaten so far?
My parents have attached great importance to a healthy diet. Fruit juice was a ‘special grocery’ that they bought rarely and I had sweets only for special occasions. As much as this annoyed me as a child, today I am very grateful to my parents. I have been taught to always cook. Ready-made meals are non-optional. I have learned to pay attention to the quality of food and appreciate good food. Most of all, I never include sweets into my shopping because I am not used to it from my childhood (at least industrially produced sweets – I am an absolute sweet tooth regarding cake). So I think, I ate already quite healthy before I changed my diet. However, I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, and many cereal products: pasta, cake, pastries.
What do I eat now?
Deciding on the right diet is very difficult. Die ZEIT published an impressive article which shows how the same food is a superfood in one diet and condemned by another. So what is right? What is wrong? Who can we believe? Is there a perfect diet? Mark Maslow wrote a great article that has appealed to me. According to him, there is not one perfect diet that works for everyone. Every body/every digestive system is different. People lead different lifestyles, have allergies or intolerances, or come from different cultural backgrounds. Not everyone needs many carbohydrates, not everyone feels energized when omitting animal products. Mark Maslow also writes that one does not have to move strictly within diet categories (veganism, vegetarian, high carb, low carb, paleo). Instead, with a good idea of a healthy diet and an extensive knowledge of food, you can also very well make up your own diet.
If you are following me for a while now, you will know that I have long flirted with the idea of changing my diet to Paleo. Paleo comes closest to my previous eating habits and personally makes the most sense to me. Also, if you ask around, many athletes eat according to Paleo and I did not want to leave this trend untried. Nevertheless, there are also a few food restrictions in the Paleo diet that I do not understand, which brings us back to Mark Maslow. So I currently do not eat cereal products and focus my diet on nuts, seeds, meat, fish, dairy products, vegetables, and fruit.
Why not Paleo?
I have decided for various reasons against a true Paleo diet and the blog Urgeschmack was very helpful here. Urgeschmack writes that when you cook with local and seasonal products, eat lots of fresh vegetables, omit sugar/cereal products/vegetable fats (with exceptions), then your diet is already 90% healthy. The paleo diet, for example, includes eggs but no dairy products. I figured that, at least at the beginning, a radical change to a diet without cereal and dairy products would be too much. Also, dairy products yes or no is still a quite controversial topic within the Paleo community. I will thus first get used to the new diet without cereal products and then maybe at one point try to omit dairy products as well. Paleo is also more strict with regard to, for example, seeds or certain vegetables, as I want to be right now. Therefore, I eat according to a slight Paleo variation. By the way, I leave the omission of dairy products for later, but already now I have found that I consume automatically less without even thinking about it – without bread with butter and cheese, without cornflakes with milk, without spaghetti with cheese -. So what might appear crazy complicated in the beginning, sometimes dissolves on its own.
If you feel that your diet does not support your body optimally, check out different ones. Leave carbohydrates and eat more healthy fats. Maybe leave carbohydrates during most days and then have so-called carb days or try to leave meat or dairy products. However, you do not need to follow the rules of any diet too strictly. Instead, listen to your body and what it tells you. Also, cook as much as you can yourself, and always make sure to buy healthy, good quality food. If you then decide to change your diet, go slowly step by step. If, from one day to another, you are not allowed to eat any of your favorite foods anymore, you probably will not stick to this diet for long. Get used to a component of the diet first and change your eating habits step by step.
What are your resolutions for the New Year? Have you already tried different diets? What are your experiences? What worked for you?
PS. Here are my Pole resolutions for the new year.