The New Year is here and so are all the crazy, restricted 30-day diets promising miraculous weight loss and a return to youth.
While the details vary, these New Year’s resolutions diets have one thing in common: they all prey on our very human desire to look and feel our best at every age.
Of course we all know in our hearts that restrictive diets are not sustainable or healthy. These crash diets crash and burn every time. And unintended side effects include potential for long term damage to metabolism, resulting in – you guessed it – additional weight gain. Still there is something about the New Year that brings out the magical thinking, that convinces is that this time will be different.
2023 can be different – and much better – with the Microbiome Diet Resolution.
I started to explore the benefits of a Microbiome Diet* in earnest in 2017, and first wrote about it here: including the following ABCs:
A – Add Naturally Occurring Probiotics: fermented foods.
Popular Probiotic foods include: unsweetened Kefir/Yogurt /Leben or other fermented dairy products, Sourdough breads, Miso, Kombucho, Kimchi, and Tempeh, among others
B – Boost Consumption of Prebiotics: fiber-rich whole fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and complex carbohydrates
C – Curtail Processed Foods: these include foods with fillers, colors, added sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, and/or artificial sweeteners, and other simple, low-fiber (refined) carbohydrates. This is all the stuff you already know is not good for you.
Unlike a highly restrictive diet that shortchanges your body and your brain, adoption of the Microbiome Diet represents a mind-shift for holistic health, promoting your long term well-being.
We all know that the changes that really stick are not the sudden big attempts to change everything at once. Instead it is best to focus on one thing at a time, to really solidify the adjustment to your daily routine, and then to add the next building block.
I am here to set you up for success. All of the recipes on I post here at 2ndMiddleAge.blog are Microbiome friendly, including salads, soups, entrees and desserts. Many are vegetarian, vegan and/or Gluten Free (GF).
The first step: make an honest inventory of what you eat on average, ie your daily / weekly diet. This is because we all want to turn the page, however we have to read it first. In other words, it important to be honest with ourselves of the strengths and weaknesses at the outset.
Then we can move on to the ABCs of the Microbiome Diet, taking care not to overload the system. Unlike crash diets I am not telling you to throw out everything in your pantry and to buy expensive supplements or exotic foods. Quite the opposite; the most successful and sustainable healthy diet is built methodically and slowly, one step at a time. You will start to feel better and to see results in the first week or two, however meaningful change takes time.
For the next step on your Microbiome Diet journey, the A is to add Probiotics (fermented foods): like yogurt, kombucha, sourdough bread, etc., that you already like, and make a concerted effort to include them in your daily diet. Including probiotics help to support a healthy gut and also brings interesting flavors and textures into your life.
Once you have incorporated Probiotics into your diet, the B is to Boost Prebiotic foods – whole grains, legumes and complex carbohydrates. Unlike crash diets, including whole grains, legumes and other complex carbohydrates will actually help you to feel full longer and to lose weight gradually, safely and without long term negative effects.
After you have successfully introduced Probiotics and Prebiotics into your daily routine, the C stands for Curtailing processed foods. This last Microbiome Diet building block actually should be much easier after you are already enjoying more variety in terms of fermented foods, whole grains, legumes and other complex carbohydrates. Because you are adding so many delicious, healthy things, you may also crave fewer processed foods.
Taking up the Microbiome Diet in stages instead of all at once, leads to meaningful, sustainable improvements in your nutritional footprint, and gradual, longterm weight stabilization and even possible weight loss over time.
The New Year is the perfect time make these gradual, sustainable changes incorporating elements of the Microbiome Diet in a way that works for you.
So are you ready for your 2023 Microbiome Resolution?
*If you have special dietary needs please first check with your doctor, dietitian or nutritionist before starting this or any new diet.