Truth be told, I hate the word “diet.” In my mind, it’s synonymous with the thousands of books about French women drinking wine and staying skinny and Phase I & II high-protein plans with promises that you’ll look like Heidi Klum or Brad Pitt. You don’t need to “diet” to achieve health or to lose (or gain) weight. Find the foods that are right for your physiology and consume these foods in the right ratios, and you’ve found your eating plan for life. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Since we all have different physiological needs (biochemical individuality), we require different amounts of proteins, carbs, and fats. When you find your ratio, your body will function in balance, and that means weight normalization, mood stabilization, and more energy!
Do you have a hearty appetite? When you’re finishing one meal, are you already thinking about the next? Do you dream about hamburgers? Prefer dark meat to light? You’re a protein type. You need up to 6 oz of protein at each meal. This is 15%-20% of the population. A protein type eating the wrong foods will be hungry all the time – even if full, they will continue to eat. “What do I need? I want something but I’m not sure what it is.” Protein types can be stuffed and still feel hungry since they are inefficiently using food. Protein types do not do well on a vegetarian or low fat diet and often have problems with sugar cravings if they’re not getting enough protein.
Do you have a light appetite? Can you skip meals with no effect on energy or mood? Do your meals consist mainly of salads and veggies? You’re a carb type. This is 60%-70% of the population. You’re the opposite of a protein type. You typically don’t like meat or salt, and you love salad. Carb types feel great after fresh, organic vegetable juice and have a high tolerance for, well, carbs of all kinds: low card veggies like broccoli or kale, high carb veggies like potatoes or beets, or grains like quinoa, rice, or oatmeal. Beginning meals this way makes you feel great, and carb types can enhance well-being through fasting.
Are you attracted to meat and veggie combos? Do you tend to top your salad with chicken or order mixed vegetables with stir-fried beef? You’re a mixed type. You naturally gravitate towards protein + veggie sources together. This is 15%-20% of the population. Mixed types have very broad nutritional needs and do well with a balanced ratio of vegetables and proteins together.
So how do you know what your type is? If you’re not sure from the above descriptions, try eating the whole protein portion of your meal (4 ounces, or about the size of your fist) alone before every meal for 4 days and see how you feel. Then try eating the vegetables first for 4 days and see how you feel. No discernible difference? You’re a mixed type.
Are you laughing right now because you’re not even eating any veggies? Check back to future posts about how to START!
*Stay tuned for Part II: How Do I Build the Right Meal?
In the meantime, here is what I’m making for dinner tonight, the perfect meal for protein types.
* 3 lb of organic, grass fed beef shoulder or boneless chuck roast
* 1 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
* Salt, pepper, italian seasoning to taste
* 1 large yellow onion, chopped or sliced
* 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
* 1/2 cup of red wine
* Several carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise
Use a thick-bottomed covered pot, such as a dutch oven, just large enough to hold roast and vegetables. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil on medium high heat (hot enough to sear the meat). Sprinkle and rub salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning all over the meat. Brown roast in pot, all over, a few minutes on each side. Don’t move the roast while a side is browning, or it won’t brown well.
When roast is browned, lift up the meat and add garlic and chopped onion to the bottom of the pan. Let the roast sit on top of the onions. Add 1/2 cup of red wine. Cover. Bring to simmer and then adjust the heat down to the lowest heat possible to maintain a low simmer when covered.
**Cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until meat is tender. Near the end of the cooking, add carrots, cook until tender, about an additional 10-20 minutes.
**OR transfer meat to crock pot and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Add vegetables and cook on high for 30 minutes.
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.