Establishing a diet direction is a way to organize the amounts and varieties of foods one chooses to consume in order to achieve a specific effect. Our lives, as with everything else in nature, run in cycles. We have daily, monthly, and seasonal cycles, as well as progressing stages of life. Learning to eat to support our nutritional requirements for all of these can help us achieve healthful eating patterns and prevent us from getting into nutrition ruts.
What is Your Diet Direction?
The three main diet directions are:
Though these directions are based on ratios of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, they do not exist in a macronutrient vacuum. No matter the direction, their health-conferring properties are dependent on optimal levels of high quality micronutrient-rich foods. These include both animal and plant foods, sustainably and cleanly raised, and prepared in ways that preserve or improve the integrity and bioavailability of their nutrients.
The benefits of following each of these three diet directions are discussed below. The length of time one follows a designated diet direction depends on his or her health status. It is common for a person to follow a Cleansing diet for 7–14 days at a time to achieve a healing, cleansing effect. The Building and Balancing directions tend to be the default directions for most people, with a health supporting balance of macronutrients. Cleansing provides too little fat, and sometimes too little protein, to be undertaken for long periods of time. For purposes of healing tissues, organs, and body systems, Balancing and Building directions can be alternated, depending on season and need. A Building diet program often works best for those who are tired, nutrient depleted, and have a long history of eating poor-quality foods. Its larger amounts of high quality fats are satisfying and health building, and some people find this direction suitable long-term.
As Bauman College graduates, you can help clients evaluate the benefits and timing of each direction and help teach them the art of understanding their own diet direction requirements.
Many people with chronic endocrine or immune system disorders, carbohydrate cravings, and excess weight feel better if they follow a Building Diet, which includes fewer starchy carbohydrates, moderate-to-high protein, and more fats.
The Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet is a Building diet, with its formula of 15 – 35% calories from protein, up to 65% calories from fats (varies among writers), and 20 – 40% calories from carbohydrates. The Atkins Diet, a high-protein, high-fat, limited-carbohydrate diet, is another type of Building diet — albeit not a very healthful one.
Building diets are appropriate for people who are growing rapidly, like children and teenagers, as well as for athletic individuals, adults doing manual labor, or those recovering from illness or injury. The Building direction is also often useful for weight loss and is an appropriate direction during winter’s cold temperatures.
Eating for Health suggests animal protein sources include organ meats as well as muscle, and that broths be made from bones, in order to supply healthful amino acids and nutrients missing from the flesh. It is crucial that a person on a Building diet eats ample amounts of fresh vegetables (5 ormore servings per day) and low-sugar fruits (2–3 servings per day) and drinks herbal teas rather than caffeinated beverages to maintain a healthy acid-alkaline (pH) balance.