Kim fights for full extension. She's on a Keto diet and it works for her.
The Myth of the Perfect Human Diet
There is no one size fits all perfect diet. The perfect diet is the one that gives you enough energy to do all of the things you want to, provides enough macro- and micro nutrients to keep you fully functioning, and enough calories so that you don't accumulate excess calories as body fat.
For the most part, humans are meant to eat real food. We are meant to chew, swallow and digest a variety of foods. While we may elect to drink some or our calories, the majority of our calories need to be masticated.
I recently attended a Masters Training camp at the Olympic Training Center (OTC). Nutrition at the OTC is front and center for all athletes. Resident athletes and campers get special classes on nutrition and supplementation and we are given plenty of educational materials on the value of real whole foods. Nutrition education and counseling at the OTC is a food first approach.
For the past 4 years I have been writing weekly about food and nutrition and I also take a food first approach. I endorse the CrossFit guidelines of eating meat, vegetables, nut & seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. You'll notice that this nutrition prescription is a food first approach. There's nothing about shakes, pills, bars, and other diet supplements.
However, within the context of food first, there are a variety of eating strategies. For example, you can be vegetarian, vegan, keto, paleo, Mediterranean, pescatarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, alcohol-free, locavore, etc. There are so many strategies because there is not one perfect human diet! Keto works for some, but it might not work for others. Some folks are just happy being vegan, whereas others might falter and fail.
There's not one perfect diet because we are all so different. Our gut biomes are different, our hormones are different, our food tolerances, food allergies, taste bud abundance, are all different. The perfect diet is the one you can stick with and that makes you feel and look good. The challenging part of finding what works best for you, is that you must do just that - find out what works. It involves a lot of experimentation and a realization that what worked for you when you were a teenager will not necessarily work for you in your 30s, and what worked in your 30s will probably need to change as you continue to age.
The best way to begin to find your perfect diet is to just take stock of what you're eating now. How do you feel eating this way? How do you look eating this way? If you don't feel and look good, something needs to change. Focus on food first, get rid of junk food and reduce overall processed carbohydrate and refined sugar intake. If you buy food in a box, bottle or can, these are probably processed foods. Try switching to processed food with less than 5 ingredients, and make sure all the ingredients are recognizable sources of food.
I will continue to look at switching to a food first diet and how to find the perfect one for you over the next few Foodie Fridays. Be sure to check back on Fridays to learn how to find your perfect human diet.
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