I do think there are different kinds of diets, and I am not referring to keto, the cabbage soup diet, or raw foods. Instead I like to look at diets as therapeutic, experimental, or habitual. The Institute for the Psychology of Eating has described a similar breakdown. There is a good chance in the course of working with me you might try all three.
Therapeutic diets are used as part of a treatment for a medical condition. It could require increasing or decreasing certain foods or nutrients, changing the consistency of food, or using a different pattern of eating. For example, following oral surgery you may be required to consume soft, liquid, or pureed foods until your mouth heals. Or if you have iron deficient anemia you may focus on increasing your intake of iron rich foods. For sodium sensitive individuals with high blood pressure a therapeutic diet could be one that reduces in the intake of salt. Therapeutic diets could be used for a limited amount of time or it could become a part of a habitual diet.
An experimental diet is something that is done for a limited amount of time in an effort to learn or gain information. The experimental diet I use most frequently with clients in an elimination diet. The idea is to remove several foods that could be problematic for a period of time. Eliminating foods and then carefully re-introducing them one at a time can help us determine if food is causing things like brain fog, fatigue, joint pain, or skin issues. Again, like therapeutic diets, this information can be used to inform the habitual diet.
A habitual diet is how you eat the majority of the time. All of us have a habitual diet and this diet can change over time. It can evolve as you try new foods that you decide to eat more regularly. It can also change based on what you learn during an experimental diet or based on needs as outlined in a therapeutic diet. Habitual diets can also change based on food availability and the seasons. It is natural to want to eat more fruits and raw vegetables in the summer when they are plentiful and the weather is warm. My goal for clients is to find a habitual diet that supports their healthiest and happiest self. The exact make up of this diet can vary from person to person. Sometimes it takes healing with a therapeutic diet or eliminating some foods in an experimental diet to find the mix that works best for each individual.
Amber Hanson is a licensed nutritionist with a passion for food and cooking. She likes teaching clients the power of eating real food as a path to wellness, health, and happiness. Amber knows a person is not just a number on the scale, a medical diagnosis, a job title, or a relationship status. She meets each client where they are, without judgement, to empower them to live their best life.
Prior to entering the nutrition field Amber worked in all manner of food - chef, food product developer, recipe developer, food stylist, and more. Her passion for food still carries over to her work as a nutritionist. Visit Amber's professional website for more information about her and to view her upcoming classes.