Which Diet is Best For You in 2021?

I’m not a huge fan of the word diet–It conjures up 1990’s images of Slim Fast, Subway, Fat Free Diet and The Hollywood Miracle Diet. All based on limitations and narrow windows of eating the same thing for days on end. I’ll PASS!

I’m a true foodie at heart and really enjoy the idea of eating a colorful plate of seasonal, fresh, real food. As long as my plate is balanced—it could literally be anything!!! That variety excites me and encourages me to keep nourishing my body with the right food no matter where I am. And it’s a totally sustainable “diet” philosophy I can follow FOREVER.

I realize that some of you really enjoy starting a “plan” to jump start the New Year. It’s just a format our culture really resonates with. Especially for January. If you are looking for a healthy diet to add to your list of 2021 resolutions, make sure you are selecting a healthy eating style with balanced nutrition. Trendy diet solutions often have a quick fix, marketing mantra in play that is often not sustainable or balanced.

First and foremost, always consult your doctor before making huge shifts in your diet. In the meantime, here is a run down of possible “diets” and how they may or may not fit your needs. **Based on my personal experience and opinion.

The Keto Diet

Breakfast Egg Burger Recipe • CiaoFlorentina

A juicy burger + a fried egg is a staple for a ketogenic diet! This eating style sets guidelines on how to break down your macronutrient intake: 70% of your calories from fat, 20% from protein and 10% from carbs. Your body will naturally adapt and start to burn fat as it’s fuel source (after it’s burned through the very limited carb stores). This is Ketosis which is the magical benefit of the Keto Diet.

Pro: Your body adapts to use fat stores as its first source of fuel very quickly–while still having glycogen on tap for quick energy. The Keto diet also leaves you feeling very satisfied and reduces your blood sugar/insulin levels! Even though your caloric intake is likely lower, by eating higher fat and larger amounts of protein you will feel very satiated and satisfied. Many people don’t “feel” like they are on a diet. *Please make sure your fat and protein are coming from quality sources and that your your consumption of high fiber veggies remains balanced.

Con: First–Most research around “diets” is done on men. So if you are a woman, know that the research might not be applicable to you and/or female hormones. If you have a history of high cholesterol consult with your doctor before going Keto. Although one of the benefits of the keto diet can be a reduction in cholesterol, personally, my LDL cholesterol went through the roof when I tried the Keto diet a couple of years ago.

If you are interested in giving Keto a try, I suggest you pick up Ketotarian by Dr. Will Cole. It’s a mostly plant based eating style that makes room for ketosis without highly inflammatory foods.

The Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet 101: A Meal Plan and Beginner's Guide

This diet has been recommended for decades, and for good reason! The diet is rich in Omega-3 fats, veggies, fruit, nuts, legumes, olive oil, fish and poultry + moderate amounts of unrefined grains and wine. It’s colorful, nutrient dense, delicious and easy to sustain.

Pro: Well established research by the World Health Organization shows that people who regularly eat the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant rich foods included in this diet have better cognitive, cardiac and gut health.

Con: It’s low in red meat so you may not get enough Iron, selenium, or Vitamin B12 so supplementation is necessary. Iron carries oxygen to the muscle cells which serve as an energy source and selenium helps with recovery and boosts your immune system.

Whole 30

The Whole 30 - Vibe Ride

This elimination diet with a cult like following focuses on eating whole foods like produce, seafood, unprocessed meat, eggs, natural fats and herbs while avoiding inflammatory foods like sugar, grains, dairy, legumes and alcohol for 30 days.

After 30 days you slowly add the banned foods back into your diet one at a time and test them individually for inflammatory reactions. Many people I know live their own version of a Whole30 lifestyle forever and feel amazing! Personally, I also live my own version of this diet 80% of the time.

Need meal ideas? There are Whole30 sponsored cookbooks, products and blogs and IG pages EVERYWHERE!!! Simply search Whole 30 and you will be amazed. Dallas based food blogger–Defined Dish does an amazing job of publishing weekly Whole 30 based meal plans that are delish and family friendly! {Her Cookbook is one of my favorites too}.

Pro: Whole30 is a great starting point in teaching how to eat real food and let go of processed food in your diet!! YES!! I did my first Whole30, nine years ago and it was the first time I realized that I feel better without processed food & dairy in my diet.

There are several books, blogs and recipe sources to keep Whole 30 interesting and sustainable long term!!! There is even a Whole 30 support system you can join virtually!

Con: Very few carbs can leave you feeling exhausted. Try to lean on starchy veggies like sweet potato and squash to fuel your body, especially if you are regularly physically active!!

After you’ve refrained from legumes/beans for 30 days and tested them for inflammation–you may want to bring the extra carbs back into your diet if you are able.

Intermittent Fasting

How To Do Intermittent Fasting? Types, Benefits, Side Effects

Time restricted eating is based on the time window you consume food. A popular version is to fast {refrain from food} for 16 hours–and plan to eat, for example, between 10:00a and 6:00p. Another method is to fast just under 24 hours , say from dinner to dinner and eat one meal a day (OMAD). Basically an extreme version of Intermittent Fasting. No thanks!

My personal favorite way to IF {not during summer or winter holiday seasons} is 14 hours–With an eating window of 9:00a to about 6:30p.

I find this time frame super easy to follow, without feelings of hunger or deprivation. I generally work out fasted in the early AM so I’m ready for my smoothie by 9:00a and then we often eat dinner at 6:00p, so I’m ready to close the kitchen before 7:00p.

Pro: If weight loss is your goal, IF naturally limits your caloric intake by reducing the volume of food in your diet. There is research that says it also helps with lowering insulin levels, cholesterol and inflammation.

Con: Overeating is a common downfall, especially when the morning meal is entirely skipped. I really do believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day when aiming to balance blood sugar and reduce cravings. Personally I find better, sustainable success with myself and my clients–when the eating window is during the day–as opposed to skipping breakfast entirely and starting the eating window at 1:00p, leading into a late dinner.

I love THIS detailed article by Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LD, IFNCP. It’s filled with research on time restricted eating, the benefits, and tactical ways to start Intermittent Fasting and have success.

*Pregnant women, children, diabetics and patients of disordered eating should consult with a doctor before trying IF.


The low FODMAP diet: Does it work for IBS?

LOW FODMAP is designed to help people eliminate sources of GI issues. It’s a short term plan, that cuts out foods containing high amounts of FODMAP’s–which is a type of carb/sugar that ferments in the gut.

Personally I had some major digestive issues with bloating and constipation a few years ago, and this diet did wonders for me in healing my gut quickly and effectively. Personally–giving up wine was the hardest part. Don’t worry–you get to bring most of the refrained food items back to your diet.

Here’s the beginners guide to Low-FODMAP that I followed.

Pros: People with IBS, gas, constipation & bloating tend to feel better when they limit FODMAP’s. When used as a 30 day elimination style diet, you may be able to figure out which foods trigger painful stomach symptoms and improve your digestion.

Con: It’s restrictive, and even limits healthy foods like onions, apples, avocado, peaches, cauliflower and rye. *Keep in mind, Low FODMAP is not meant to be a sustainable eating plan. It’s a healing method.

Cheers to a healthy 2021

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Welcome to Happy Dinner! I’m Cortney, a Holistic Health Coach, wellness entrepreneur, wife and Mama of two, here to make holistic health simple and engaging!

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