Addition Diets vs Subtraction Diets: A Game Changing Approach to Nutrition
We may not consider ourselves math geniuses, but when it comes to nutrition, we do understand one equation entirely too well:
Addition Diet > Subtraction Diet
Say what now? You read it right. It is exactly what it says.
From skin concerns to sleep concerns to weight concerns, for as long as we can remember, the solution always boiled down to one thing: “cut ____ out of your diet”. But no matter how hard we tried, we always ended up back to square one, always burdened by guilt and disappointment. Turns out, it’s not just about will-power or self-control. It’s human nature.
When you’re approaching nutrition from a perspective of foods you CAN’T EAT, you’re falling prey to a mindset where now you’re constantly thinking about these “forbidden foods” (and this is only natural), as opposed to focusing on meeting your daily nutrition goals. The result? You manage to stick to this for a week, maybe two weeks, and then just like that, you find yourself binge eating and back to square one.
‘Addition diet’, as the name suggests, focuses on adding more foods to your everyday diet, while keeping everything else you eat as it is. In essence, it’s a simple shift in perspective. Instead of approaching your nutrition from a scarcity and deprivation mindset, you approach your nutrition from a wholesome, filling mindset. It’s not only a more positive way of looking at eating, but also a more sustainable one.
First off, you’re not depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy. You’re just reorganising your plate a little bit. And because you’re not depriving yourself of what you like, you don’t feel like you’re being punished, which automatically keeps you from the slippery slope of binge eating and the guilt and negative self-talk that follows.
For our optimal health, we are expected to rein in on certain junk food habits of course. But you don’t have to give up on enjoying life through food.
Okay, but how to go about an Addition Diet?
We’re glad you asked. We’ll give you some actionable steps to set you on your path of wholesome, joyful nourishment without any of the guilt and negativity.
When Cosmix started, it began with an intention of making ourselves and everyone around us fall in love with the concept of nutrition, nourishing our bodies and taking care of our health without making it a constant battle with the self. We realised that in the whole process of subtraction, we could be depriving our bodies of essential micronutrients that play such an important role in our physical, physiological and mental well-being.
Here’s how you can ADD foods, especially micronutrients to your daily diet.
Track what you eat
Spend anywhere between 5 to 7 days doing nothing but making a note of EVERY SINGLE THING you eat. It’s okay. No one else has to see this, except yourself. So be honest and don’t hold back. We’re just tracking what we eat, nothing else. Fortunately for you, there’s apps that can actually help with this!
Observe the findings
Now, simply observe your food patterns and understand where you can make improvements.
What to add?
When it comes to micronutrients, there are nearly 30 vitamins and minerals your body cannot manufacture, and need from the outside.
Here’s some of these vitamins and minerals and how you can add them to your diet:
Vitamin A: carrots, cantaloupe, mango, papaya red peppers
Vitamin B6: Bananas, potatoes with skin
Vitamin C: Guava, oranges, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, cauliflower, broccoli
Vitamin E: Nuts and seeds, avocado,
Micro-minerals (calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium): milk, yoghurt, beans, spinach, oats, bananas, tomatoes, regular & sweet potatoes, beans, pumpkin, tofu, brazil nut, peanuts, cashews, almonds
Trace minerals (iron, manganese, zinc, copper and selenium): spinach, peanuts, cashews
General guiding principles of an Addition Diet
- Processed foods are engineered to get us addicted to them, so naturally when you set out to eliminate them out of your diet completely, you are going to struggle. Addition diet’s role is to fill you up such that you don’t rely on these as much as you would. And occasionally even enjoy these “junk foods” without feeling too bad about it.
- The key thought behind an addition diet is that by adding high-quality sources of nutrients to your diet, you are automatically reducing room for anything that doesn’t add value to your health.
- Make proteins and fibre the starting point/building blocks of your diet. And add healthy fats and carbohydrates to this, as you need.
- Eat only as much as your body requires, according to your activity level. And as much as you can, choose foods derived from nature and those that are minimally processed.
- When it comes to nutrition, it’s what you do MOST OF THE TIMES that makes a difference, not what you do occasionally. So focus on an addition diet on a daily basis consistently, and the rest will effortlessly fall into place.
Did this make sense to you? Are you going to practice adding nutrients to your diet rather than subtracting? If yes, we’d love to hear how! Drop a comment and share your thoughts!