I’m Ready to Clean Up My Diet – Where Do I Start?

August 31, 2022

By:  Dr. Mary Rose Strickland
Physical Therapist | Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner

The foods we eat play a huge role in how our bodies function and our overall health.  The saying “you can’t outrun a bad diet” holds true.  While exercise and activity is very important, the food choices we make impact everything in our body from inflammation, to gut microbiome and gut-brain health, to the energy we have.  Proper nutrition and food choices can help us naturally manage a large list of chronic illnesses including diabetes.

Many patients I talk to acknowledge these facts and their desire to clean up their diet.  The number one question is “Where Do I Start?  There is so much information out there, so many “diet” plans to follow.  Which is right and how do I pick?”

My recommendation is to make choices that are based on plant-based, whole foods to start.  If it has a label with list of ingredients and nutrition facts, it’s not a whole food.  The next recommendation is to eat a variety of plant-based, whole foods following the saying “eat the rainbow,” as different colored plants provide different nutrients and benefits to our bodies.

My favorite resource to direct patients to is Full Plate Living at fullplateliving.org.  They offer a completely FREE membership that includes access to workshops, meal plans, recipes, an online facebook community, and disease-specific intervention through dietary changes.  Their philosophy encourages you to eat 75% plant-based, whole foods and 25% “other”; this could be your meat or yes even still your evening ice cream.  Following the advice of all good things in moderation!  They also have a heavy emphasis on fueling your body with enough fiber, which has tremendous health benefits from weight loss and management to gut health to blood sugar control.

Ultimately you must see these changes as true Lifestyle modifications; not a short term “diet plan” which often include a start and an end.  Lifestyle modifications are an ongoing journey that is about progress, not perfection.  Join me over the next few weeks as I take you through how to implement and make health changes stick or search “Health Change” in our Lifestyle Medicine Corner to read the series.