Tag: healthy diet

Traffic Light Eating: Is It a Dietary Treasure or Nutritional Minefield?

The healthiest people we know aren’t flawless models of perfection. Actually, you might find their eating habits quite surprising. This is because, rather than sticking to someone else’s dietary recommendations, they’ve created a personalized food list that aligns with their unique dietary preferences.

They consider both taste preferences and how food affects them, allowing room for indulgences, and it’s an effective method. It promotes a healthy, enjoyable, and controlled approach to eating without feeling deprived. This approach is accessible to everyone and has been used successfully with over 100,000 clients for more than a decade.

Let’s talk about the traffic light eating method. If you don’t like the name or think it’s too strict, don’t click away just yet. Some companies have a similar-sounding approach with strict food rules for everyone, which can be controversial.

With our system, you’ll create your own categories of “green light,” “yellow light,” and “red light” foods based on what suits you best, and just so you know, “red light” doesn’t mean they’re bad. It’s not just about nutrition quality; your personal preferences, habits, goals, and how your body reacts also matter in this process.

Green light foods = anytime, anywhere foods

These are the foods you regularly and comfortably enjoy. You can consume them at a normal pace and in sensible portions. This list is primarily comprised of whole foods, but it may also include items you eat purely for enjoyment in amounts that suit you. Nutrient density is important, but your “green lights” are foods that bring you pleasure, align with your lifestyle, and make you feel good physically or mentally. These foods don’t require much thought – you simply savor them without overthinking.

Yellow light foods = “sometimes” / “maybe” / “small doses” foods

Your “yellow light” foods are ones you eat occasionally, with some care and thought. They might disagree with your stomach, but they’re not a big emergency. You might prefer to have them in small amounts or only on special occasions, like when you’re out with friends. It’s important to know that yellow-light foods aren’t necessarily “problem” foods. They can include nutritious options you eat from time to time. For example, you might not be a huge fan of eggplant, but you’ll have it when your partner makes it or when it’s part of a restaurant meal. Or you eat tofu once a week for “meatless Mondays.” These can be any kind of food, from certain “junk foods” to healthier options like kale.

Red light foods are the ones you usually steer clear of or limit.

Red light foods aren’t necessarily bad; they’re just foods you choose not to eat often. These foods might not be suitable for you because:

They don’t align with your goals, you tend to overindulge in them, you have allergies to them, they’re hard to digest, or you simply dislike them.

Ultra-processed foods often fall into this group because many people struggle to stop once they start eating them. Some call them “trigger foods” because a single bite can lead to a couch covered in Cheeto dust and empty ice cream cartons. However, it doesn’t mean you must avoid these foods entirely. For instance, you might not stock cheesecake in your freezer, but you’ll happily savor a big slice on a special occasion. On the other hand, even “healthy” foods can make it to the red light list. If broccoli is a no-go for you, putting it on the red light list is perfectly fine. After all, who wants to eat foods they can’t stand?

If eating apples gives you hives, consider it a red light food. And if plain, baked chicken breast makes you feel like you’re on a strict diet, that’s another red light item. Remember, placing something on your red light list doesn’t mean you can never have it again. Unless you have severe allergies, it’s worth trying them occasionally. You might develop a taste for something you currently dislike or learn to enjoy it in moderation.

Hold up: Couldn’t the traffic light system promote shame, guilt, or disordered habits?

It all comes down to how you apply it. The PN traffic light system isn’t about categorizing foods or adhering to a rigid system flawlessly. Instead, it’s designed to help you understand which foods suit you and which ones might not. This way, you can make informed choices that align with your preferences.

However, not every traffic light system is the same.

Some other programs also use the traffic light system, but they apply it in a different way than PN. They mainly consider the nutritional value of foods to determine which ones you should eat most (green), eat moderately (yellow), and eat sparingly in small amounts (red). Moreover, their list is the same for everyone.

In contrast, our approach is distinct for a couple of reasons. First, we avoid labeling foods as “bad” or forbidden.

Based on what we’ve observed and learned from working with clients, limiting food choices often results in more challenging eating habits, not fewer. While we do provide resources to guide people toward healthier options, our primary goal is to assist clients in making changes that align with their preferences. Additionally, when employed as a tool for increasing awareness, the traffic light eating method can actually help individuals reduce unhealthy eating habits and feel more confident, adaptable, and content with their food decisions.

This can feel life-changing.

Once you understand which foods suit you, which ones are just okay, and which ones create problems, making food choices becomes simpler. The best part is that you can adjust your traffic lights whenever you like, and they grow with you. Even better, your decisions are tailored to you – your body, mind, and health – not someone else’s diet, meal plan, points, or regulations. Your dietary choices become less rigid and more adaptable, making food less stressful, not more.

What Is The Mediterranean Diet?

As its name suggests, the Mediterranean diet is the type of diet emphasized by people living in countries by the Mediterranean Sea. Not all of these countries eat the same mind you, as there are some cultural and social differences between them. But, one is certain – with this type of diet, the risk of you getting cancer or any cardiovascular disease will drop down dramatically. That’s why lots of Americans are flocking to this type of diet, as cardiovascular diseases are one of the biggest problems in the US. So, let’s learn what is the Mediterranean diet, and what are its benefits!

So, What is the Mediterranean Diet, Actually?

Following this type of diet follows the dietary principles of the Mediterranean people in the 1960s. Actually, during this period and in this specific region, the risk of heart diseases was the lowest in the world! The traditional food that forms the Mediterranean diet includes fresh produce, legumes, and whole grains, and a healthy dose of healthy fats and seafood.

To be more specific, this kind of food forms the Mediterranean diet:

  • Vegetables. Tomatoes, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, etc.
  • Fruit. Apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, grapes, peach, etc.
  • Legumes. Beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, etc.
  • Fish and Seafood. Sardine, salmon, tuna, shrimp, oyster, crab, etc.
  • Seeds and Nuts. Walnut, almond, hazelnut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Tubers. Potato and sweet potato, yam, turnip, etc.
  • Poultry. Duck, chicken, turkey.
  • Whole Grains. Brown rice, corn, whole oatmeal, whole wheat, whole-grain pasta, and bread, etc.
  • Dairy. Yogurt, Greek yogurt, cheese, etc.
  • Herbs. Basil, garlic, mint, sage, rosemary, etc.
  • Healthy Fats. Avocado, avocado oil, olives, extra virgin olive oil.
  • Eggs.

One point to keep in mind is to stay away from added sugars, processed meat, refined oils, and refined grains.

It is recommended to take at least 1 glass of red wine for women, and 2 glasses for men. Red wine can improve your cardiovascular health in the long term. Just don’t indulge too much in it, as it can be counterproductive for your heart health if you go over the limit! Also, now that we are talking about liquid, drinking lots of water is a must in the Mediterranean diet!

Daily physical exercise is a part of a traditional Mediterranean lifestyle. So, make sure to implement some daily physical exercise in your daily life. It doesn’t have to be anything hardcore! Walking around your block every day can do wonders for your health in the long term too.

Some Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

As this type of diet consists of a lot of fresh produce, nutrient-rich food, and a healthy dose of exercise, there are numerous health benefits for you to reap! Let’s list just a few of them!

  • Better Sleep Quality. If you are an older adult facing difficulties sleeping, good news for you! Some studies concluded that the Mediterranean diet indeed promotes better sleep quality in this age group. However, with young adults, there is no noticeable impact.
  • Helps With Losing Weight. As this diet is full of nutrients, and you are not just pumping calories in your system blindly, it certainly helps with weight loss. There are quite a few studies with numerous subjects that report more weight loss on the Mediterranean diet than on some kind of low-fat diet. This makes this type of diet the best one for weight loss!
  • Greatly Lowers the Risk of Heart Diseases. With the combination of less processed food and red meat, as well as low saturated fats, coupled with lots of physical and social activity, the Mediterranean diet style (and lifestyle!) reduces the risk of heart diseases and death by 20% over the regular diet.
  • Keeps You Energetic. For older adults, the nutrients gained from this diet can reduce risks such as muscle weakness and other signs of weakness by a whopping 70%!

So, now that you know what is the Mediterranean diet, are you convinced to make a positive change? Keep in mind that this type of diet is called blasphemy by some because of how expensive it can be. Trust us, if you choose the ingredients well, this type of diet can be cheaper than your regular, and probably much less healthy, diet!