A holistic diet is one that is intended to treat a person’s mind and body. It is aimed at ensuring the health and balance of all physical systems. This also includes emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being. An example of this type of diet would be a weight-loss diet where, instead of simply instructing the dieter to consume fewer calories by eating less food and burn more calories by exercising, a doctor assessed the dieter’s entire physical metabolic system – including thyroid, digestion, and genetic factors – and also took into consideration things like the patient’s learned behaviors, stress levels, and feelings toward exercise.
The purpose of a holistic diet is to treat the whole human being and help bring all systems into balance. The diet places a higher value on addressing underlying causes of conditions than on providing immediate solutions. People who endorse this type of diet say it is more effective because of its focus on underlying causes and whole health.
For example, some estimates claim that as many as 90 percent of people who lose weight will regain it. A holistic diet can address the underlying metabolic and psychological factors that caused a person to become overweight to begin with. When these causes are treated, the person may be more likely to lose weight permanently, making the holistic approach more effective.
A holistic diet may also be used to treat specific medical conditions such as migraines, insomnia, and arthritis. Holistic practitioners believe many of the chemicals and preservatives in modern foods contribute to various health problems. They also claim that a holistic diet can alleviate these problems.
There are many types of holistic diets, but most focus on eating whole foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, and refined sugar, and are free of chemicals and preservatives. This means eating healthy, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, hormone-free meats, free-range poultry, and whole grains. Some holistic diets advocate vegetarianism or veganism. Advocates of these diets say that the absence of the chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, and hormones in these types of food helps to cleanse the body of toxins and alleviate medical problems.
Holistic therapies and diets are nothing new. They have been around for thousands of years and, in fact, were the medical standard before doctors began to learn about bacteria, viruses, and specific physical systems. Although modern medicine has become far more popular than holistic medicine, holistic therapies are still favored by many because the method addresses underlying causes and integrates the treatment of mind and body.