What's the healthiest diet?

diet and nutrition

The truth is, only you know.

And the path to discovering your optimal relationship to the elements of the natural world that you consume on a daily basis, is a physiospiritual journey as unique as you are.

Most of us don’t break the spell of addictive industrial foods until we get sick, and often, in the associated state of powerlessness, we look to gurus, and books to tell us what to do. It’s natural to want to feel held, guided, and led when we are scared.

The challenge is, as much as I love scientific research, reference it (you should see my book bibliographies!), and expand my knowledge through it, I’m really driven by living proof. No one wants dietary advice from someone who looks unwell, but I also don’t want dogma, subtle condemnation and condescension, or to be told what’s best for me as an individual. What I do want is to be in someone’s energy who’s been walking the walk for a while and enjoying vitality. Someone who radiates positive energy, and someone who loves what they’ve come on to so much that they want to share.

That’s how I became inspired by my mentor, Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez. I’d never met someone who was so gently passionate about his nutritional paradigm, who was, himself, living proof without an ailment or even eyeglasses at 67 years of age, and who had gone on to secure medical history making outcomes sharing his enthusiasm.

I had already, myself, put my Hashimoto’s into remission with a paleo-like diet and applied the same to my patients with great success, however, I didn’t have the elegant frame of metabolic types and the 12 different diets that Nick did. He helped me to see that my approach was successful, likely because my patients were parasympathetic dominants and they would thrive on red meat twice daily, and they did. Most of my patients were vegans or vegetarians, on 1-5 psychiatric medications, and they were simply hitting rock bottom

Nick always said, “patients want to eat the diet that will heal them” and I remember the women in my office lighting up like a Christmas tree when I would recommend my bolognese recipe as part of their first month of treatment.

My signature program, Vital Mind Reset, and my two books A Mind of Your Own and the later Own Your Self, both detail the dietary protocol that I landed on as a foundational ritual for health reclamation, and it works. Despite being a template, the energetic field of this space is very powerful, and it serves to initiate participants to their own navigational system. While I provide tips about how to tailor your diet after the 44 days, the truth is that your intuition—now less clouded by bloating, brain fog, body aches, and fatigue—will guide you.

Just when I figured it all out…

For much of the past decade, I thought that was that, and I was done reconsidering dietary paradigms, research, and debates. In fact, Nick, for the most part, believed in a diet-for-life model, so there wasn’t much investigation required after landing on the diet that freed you from the medical system.

Then, I adopted a cat. This in the context of deep inner child and shadow work that would consume much of 2017 to the current day, and something in me began to rattle. There was a night I prepared filet mignon and literally teared up when I put my fork to it. I was done with red meat. It wasn’t a cognitive decision “for my health,” it wasn’t a visceral aversion, it was simply a knowing that a shift had come upon me.

Shortly thereafter, I began raising chickens and the Italian chicken stock I had made weekly for the past decade, and all associated chicken dishes were an entirely unfeasible option as I began to get to know these creatures, soul-to-soul.

Pescatarian (and dairy/gluten free) for the following years, I had a white noise fear that I was nutrient depleted or going to “get sick” sometime soon when the other shoe dropped on my heart-based experience, but I knew there was no turning back. I had stopped taking supplements about three years prior—also an intuitive transition—and everything I had programmed myself with said, what you’re doing now isn’t healthy.

Diet as a psychoemotional mirror

I began to explore my shifts and to consider some possible paradigms that could hold my own journey let alone the impossible-to-reconcile reality that people thrive on different diets. It seemed that, to me, there is a significant spiritual and trauma-based component that expresses physically in our relationship to food. When we are at the beginning of our awakening journey, our energy is defined by disconnection, from self, and from whatever is greater than self. Toxified, disempowered, fearful, many of us including myself and the thousands I have worked with directly and indirectly may benefit from borrowing the pranic, or literal, hormonal energy of animals to stabilize on a platform of physical well-being. It’s kind of like the way that anger is actually healthier and more empowering than fear and hopelessness but it’s not always the destination. Then, as we heal, meet parts of ourselves, and begin the process I’ve referred to as ensoulment, more and more connection and energy become available to us, and our needs and relationship to food changes. Perhaps this is why breatharians exist…to show us that eating at all isn’t necessary.

And that brings me to my recent revelatory experience of water fasting!

Inspired by my friend Dr. Andy Kaufman whom I am in conversation with in my Sovereignty Series, at a very pivotal moment in my personal life, I endeavored to embark on a 7 day (with two days of only fruit following) silent (apart from daily group calls) water-only fast in my own home. I share the details of my experience in the Series, but suffice it to say it was an unparalleled transformation. I have never been present to myself, without distraction, without addictions, without stimulation for even one day, let alone a week, and clearly my body needed a moment to exhale. And that was just the psychoemotional dimension.

We are also in the midst of a zeitgeist around the power of water as foundational to biology, as holding memory and information, and as being the only real requirement for the body to regenerate in the ways only it knows how to. Creating these conditions for the body to use its energy to heal and cleanse is arguably an essential practice.

In my process, I also had the opportunity to learn a lot about Loren Lockman’s experience as as a thirty year fruigivore who has never been ill in that time, is bright, self-possessed, and vital. He believes that we are only designed to eat foods that appeal to us in their raw state, and that can be eaten as a meal. The only foods that meet this criteria seem to be fruits (including tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocados) and tender leafy greens. His philosophy is that he feels good eating this way, and that’s why he does.

I came to the conclusion that a water fast of any meaningful length—most of the folks in my group were doing 21 days—requires a significant amount of mindset, psychoemotional, and physical foundation. In fact, I was left thinking…when you’re ready to uplevel your life, Vital Mind Reset is a powerful (and relatively easy!) commitment with history-making outcomes, and when you’ve stabilized in that realm, on to the water fast!

Get clear and follow your yes

I don’t believe there is one “human” diet and I don’t believe that there is one diet in a lifetime. In a sea of conflicting nutrition “research” and endless pundits, finding your inner guru is the only way. Intentional and even ritualistic pattern disrupting commitments are how you open up your reflexes, habits, and addictions to new paths. How you lay down fresh snow on your mountain to ski into new terrain. Once you’re clear and connected to yourself, and you learn what your true inner yes feels like versus your appeasement-focused, I want to get straight-A’s-on-life, fear of illness and death yes, you will guide you. Because we do what we do and we make the choices we make for good and valid reasons, until it’s clear that there is more relief in change. And then we’re ready to explore.

Buon Appetito!

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About Dr. Kelly Brogan

KELLY BROGAN, MD, is a holistic psychiatrist, author of the New York Times Bestselling book, A Mind of Your OwnOwn Your Self, the children’s book, A Time For Rain, and co-editor of the landmark textbook Integrative Therapies for Depression. She is the founder of the online healing program Vital Mind Reset, and the membership community, Vital Life Project. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from M.I.T. in Systems Neuroscience. She is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms. Learn More