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What is the “Zone” Diet and is there a comparison to the “Mediterranean” Diet?

Written by Coach Connie,

Lifestyle Health Mentor

 

Did you know there are over 100 dietary theories out there and that’s just the ones that have been referenced or documented? When we look back on our ancestor’s daily meal habits, we most likely seen meat, potatoes, vegetables and occasionally the dessert daunting us to have a piece. There are so many ways to get our nutrients and diets are the focus of society’s outtake on living healthy.

So what is the right “diet”?  There’s a reason there are so many “diets” in reach, but what does each do and how do we know what works and doesn’t. As someone who has been in the health industry for years, I’ve been there. I felt like I was my own test subject to figuring my body out. That’s why no diet works for everyone, we all are different, but knowing what we can have and what our body needs is half the battle.

I started with the “Zone Diet” and then switched to the “Mediterranean Diet” due to changes in my exercise routine and metabolic changes. Once I achieved my goal weight, I wanted to ensure that I would recover more rapidly from exercise by controlling my levels of inflammation, and doing this in a way that allows me to perform at my highest possible level.

Dr. Barry Sears wrote the book on the “Zone Diet” and then almost 20 years later, wrote the book titled, “The Mediterranean Zone”.  It has very similar attributes, but unlike the Mediterranean diet, the Zone Diet shifts on view on the healthy eating plate. The Zone diet contains 40% of the calories as carbohydrates, 30% of the calories as protein, and 30% of the calories as fat. This improved protein-to-carbohydrate balance means decreased insulin levels and decreased cellular inflammation. A Mediterranean diet shifts the carbohydrates to 50%, protein goes down to 20% and the fat remains at 30%. That’s why it’s been highly recommended for weight loss and cardiovascular health.  Technically, they both have benefits that tie together. Again, depending on our inflammation and metabolic factors and how it affects our insulin responses.

To ensure the best results, time out your meals to help stabilize blood sugar levels and add in physical activity at least three days per week.

An example of a daily meal plan:

  • 7am: breakfast (should be eaten within 1 hour of waking)
  • 12pm: lunch (eaten no more than 5 hours later)
  • 5pm: a mid-afternoon snack
  • 7pm: dinner (2-3 hours after snack)
  • 11pm: a late night snack right before bed to balance blood sugar levels in the brain while sleeping

The Zone Diet states that a 1/3 of the plate (about 3oz for women and 4oz for men) should be made up of protein, and the remaining 2/3 should be fruits and vegetables – with a dash of monounsaturated oil to finish off the meal.

So let’s clarify, what are the some examples of the right foods and ones to avoid and the pros & cons to the Zone Diet:

Foods to include:

  • Skinless chicken
  • Fish
  • Egg whites
  • Tofu
  • Legumes
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Olive oil
  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Turkey
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Soy meat substitutes

Foods to avoid:

  • Trans-fats
  • High sugar fruits and veggies like corn and bananas
  • Breads
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Fruit juices
  • Tortillas
  • Bagels

Pros:

  • Discourages the consumption of trans-fats
  • Promotes consistent eating habits
  • Recommends adequate intake of fruits and vegetables

Cons:

  • Zone products are processed
  • Excludes certain plant based foods

The Mediterranean diet consists of natural, whole foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, nuts, dairy, and pure oils, and excludes processed and refined foods. The diet includes an abundance of extra virgin olive oil and seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as whole, unprocessed grains. It’s recommended that wine consumption remain at 1-2 small glasses daily, and coffee is consumed moderately for pleasure and mental stimulation.

Now let’s take a look at some of the examples of the right foods and ones to avoid and the pros & cons to the Mediterranean Diet:

Foods to include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grain
  • Fish
  • Meats
  • Dairy
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil

Foods to avoid:

  • Processed foods
  • Refined foods

Pros:

  • Moderate, flexible approach
  • Considers primary food
  • May become a sustainable lifestyle approach

Cons:

  • Some may require firmer guidelines to feel their best
  • Some may not react well to wine and coffee
  • Some may not have the willpower to moderate rich foods

 

To put things in perspective, the zone diet is the evolution of the Mediterranean diet. There is no “one–size fits all” diets, but reviewing both methods shows very comparable methods, but unique when comparing our overall dietary guidelines.

Find what works best for your body type and always consult your health professional. I hope this article finds you in good health.

 

Sources:

Get started with the Mediterranean Diet www.mediterraneandietforall.com

Mediterranean Diet www.health.usnews.com

Mediterranean Diet www.mediterraneandiet.com

The Zone Diet. webmd.com. 6 February 2009

What is the Mediterranean Diet and The Zone Diet? www.Zonediet.com? 21 March 2011

2017 Integrative Nutrition, Inc. Learning Center under Dietary Theories

The Principles of Intuitive Eating

We’ve talked about intuitive eating in the past (check out our hunger scale!) but never fully dove into all 10 principles — until now. Intuitive Eating was coined by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD, Fiaedp, FADA, FAND, after their clients expressed concerns about the diet plans they had been given in the past. Eager to learn more about how we instinctively eat and to improve their clients’ relationship with food, the founders developed and began teaching 10 principles for intuitive eating.

Hopefully these 10 principles make intuitive eating a little less mysterious and a little more practical. These principles can help improve your relationship with food so you spend less time thinking about eating and more time engaging in meaningful life experiences.

This blog post includes contributions from Liz Sanders, MPH, RD.

 

https://www.foodinsight.org/10-principles-of-intuitive-eating

Are you a workaholic? Tackling the signs when you’re burnt out!

The best way to deal with burnout is to prevent it in the first place. And the best way to prevent it is to be aware of the signs of burn out and your risk factors.

Who’s at risk?

  • workaholics
  • perfectionists
  • people who dislike their job
  • people who work at emotionally draining jobs or jobs with high stakes for failure (firefighters, doctors, etc)
  • people who travel a lot for business
  • people with high stress levels
  • employees who have little control over their work assignments, schedule, etc.
  • people with demanding managers or unrealistic expectations
  • employees who feel under appreciated
  • people who get little time off

 

As you can see, burnout can be a serious problem. It’s not just hating your job or needing a new career. It can affect your health, personal relationships, and finances.

Hacks for preventing burnout:

  1. Take time off regularly. Use your vacation and sick time. They are there to help restore your body, mind, and spirit. You should come back from vacation rested and refreshed, which allows you to perform at your best.
  2. Do things you enjoy on your time off. Pursue a hobby. Learn something new. Enjoying a meaningful activity can offset some of the negativity at work.
  3. Set boundaries at work. Say “no” to extra assignments, unrealistic deadlines, working on weekends, filling in for coworkers.
  4. Practice self-care. Get enough rest, exercise, eat well, get out in nature, socialize, have some fun.
  5. Don’t let your job define you. It’s only one piece of who you are.
  6. Listen to your body. If you pay attention, it will tell you if you’re under stress. Things like aches and pains, insomnia, food cravings, anxiety, or depression are signs of problems.
  7. Get support. This could be in the form of a supportive friend, colleague or supervisor. A therapist can be really helpful in sorting out causes and solutions.
  8. Surround yourself with positive people. Moods are contagious so be mindful of who you spend your personal time with. Limit time with negative coworkers as much as possible.
  9. Don’t expect perfection from yourself. Cut yourself some slack. Forgive yourself for mistakes and don’t create unnecessary work for yourself through perfectionism.
  10. Consider whether you’re really at the right job or company. Explore what you like and dislike about your job and this particular company/department. Think about how it fits in with your long-term career goals.

10 Hacks for Preventing Burnout

 

 

Best Multivitamin for Women

 

  • It’s believed that around 30 percent of all women are deficient in one or more of the most important vitamins and minerals, and for many women the risk only increases with age. Another scary finding? Estimates show about 75 percent of women would likely develop nutrient deficiencies if supplemental multivitamins didn’t exist.
  • The best vitamins for women include vitamins A, C, D, E, K and B vitamins. In addition to the best vitamins for women, other nutrients that are important include iron, iodine, magnesium, omega-3 fish oil and calcium.
  • Risk factors that make a women more likely to have a vitamin or mineral deficiency include: eating a highly processed diet, being vegetarian or vegan, being underweight or consuming too little calories in general, being of reproductive age, being over the age of 65, and having a low socioeconomic status, a lack of education and living in poverty.
  • Risk factors for not getting enough of the best vitamins for women include being vegetarian or vegan, pregnant or over the age of 55.
  • Make sure to consume as many of the best vitamins for women as possible in order to be the healthiest you can be and prevent nutritional deficiencies.

 

 

The Best Vitamins for Women

Managing Cravings

An important question to ask before eating – am I hungry?

Eating when stressed happens to all of us. It is a normal part of life, however if it happens too often, it can lead to even more stress and no one needs that!

One of the key elements that I use personally in my health coaching business is to use the following method to determine is it physical or emotional hunger and the steps to break it down. I’ve also included a great guide to all our favorite “bad” food cravings, which breakdown the why behind the craving and what “healthy” food we should reach for to help us conquer this battle.