I was thinking about this the other day:

Most of us make diet changes in the most painful way possible.

Now, I realize that when you are changing your diet for a specific purpose like getting rid of your acne, you want to see that result as soon as you possible can. So the reasonable thing to do is jump head on in without looking back, slash foods out of your diet with no abandon, and have a 100% new diet by the next day.

For some personalities, this actually works really well. And that’s fine.

But I think for most people it’s pretty traumatic… I mean, sure, it might be okay if you’re doing a short diet challenge or something, but if you are changing your diet 100% overnight with the intention of it being a permanent change, the fast route is often fraught with failure.

I would also like to mention that most of the time in this situation, the focus is heavily on what you aren’t allowed to eat anymore vs what you are. So not only is a full 180 diet change stressful enough as it is, it makes it worse when you are feeling deprived and sad that your favourite foods are now completely off limits FOREVER AHHHHH 

Okay, so what I would like to propose is that you take it a little slower and totally switch the focus of your changes. Instead of starting by slashing foods you can’t eat, start by finding and researching nutrient dense foods and meals that fit the description of how you want your diet to end up, and then begin incorporating those.

Each week, find a few foods or meals that you like, figure out where to buy the ingredients, and make them. Keep doing this, week after week – keep adding those foods in.

The beauty is that after a while, you just simply don’t have any room left in your diet for the bad stuff! With each healthy food you add into your regular routine, you are displacing something not as healthy.

Eventually the majority of your diet will be awesome and there was no pain or mourning involved. Woohoo.

For example, when I was in Australia this past winter, I came across this list of nutrient dense foods to keep your guts healthy from a very smart woman named Pat at her ‘Heal Thyself‘ network:

Nutrient Dense Foods:

  • Homemade Bone Broth – every. single. day. 1 cup (MANY nutrients needed for detox, plus minerals)
  • Homemade Milk Kefir – every. single. day. 1 cup (gradually work up) (B vits, enzymes, most probiotics in proper ph)
  • Homemade Kombucha – every. single. day. 1 cup (start with an ounce, increase by 1 ounce a week.)
  • Green Smoothie – every. single. day. day 2 cups (any frozen fruit plus any dark leafy greens, rotate produce)
  • Liver – one ounce, only three times a week. (B-vits essential for detox)
  • Lentils or Beans – 1 cup per day. (folate, molybdenum)
  • Coconut Oil – 1 Tbls every. single. day. (medium chain fatty acids, kills candida in the large intestine)
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil – every. single day. (most expensive item) (vit A, D, K, EFAs)
  • Bubbies (or homemade) Sauerkraut – 1 Tbls. every. single. day. (or other raw, fermented food) (probiotics)
  • Brazil nuts – 1 ONLY, every. single. day. (selenium)
  • Celtic Sea Salt – a pinch in every glass of water, broth. (microminerals)
  • Lemon juice – fresh squeezed, 1 tsp. in every glass of water or smoothie. (alkalizing to body ph, paradoxically)
  • Raw Honey – 1 Tbls at bedtime. (helps bifidum bacteria to grow in the gut)
  • Egg yolk , 1 per day. (nutrients help to detox)
  • Nettle Infusion –  1 or 2 cups per day. (many vitamins and minerals and phytonutrients)
  • Kelp – 1 teaspoon every day.
  • Epsom salt baths – 1 cup in a tub of water 3x/week for 20 minutes.

Now, Pat’s intention with this was to tell us what you can be eating in order to get all the nutrients you need without expensive supplements. Don’t be scared though – I realize this list is a LOT of stuff to be fitting in every. single. day. and I wouldn’t expect that from you or me.

However, when I saw this list, I was very inspired to begin adding as much as these things into my regular food intake as I possibly could. And although I knew I wouldn’t be able to remember to eat every single thing on the list every single day, I still wanted to be eating them as much as I could.

So I got back into making kefir, I started making bone broth, nettle infusions, keeping up with making sauerkraut, made sure I was having my green smoothies, and I even began eating liver!

You know what I found? That simply by trying to slowly incorporate the foods on this list, a lot of other things were being displaced. My diet was getting a nutrient boost in a very positive way – no pain, no suffering, no banning anything, no missing anything – just a boost via simple displacement.

How do you make diet changes? Are you a jump in headlong kind of person, or do you think this displacement method might work a bit better for you?

photo by kali-ma