What Is a Holistic Diet?

A holistic diet may be used to treat insomnia.
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  • Written By: Erika C.
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2014
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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.

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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.

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Discuss this Article

EarlyForest
Post 3

How would I get started doing a holistic diet? I first heard about people using a holistic diet as an acne home remedy, come to think of it, but this sounds like it could really have a lot of benefits.

Could anybody give me some advice on how I would start doing this, and what things I should do and know before I start?

Thanks so much!

TunaLine
Post 2

This seems like just such a healthy way to diet. I am the fad diet queen; I've tried everything out there on the market and a few other "diets" of my own making, but it was only when I sat down with a nutritional counselor that I was able to finally come up with a plan to lose weight for good.

It really is so important to understand the reasons why you become overweight, rather than to just try and will your way out of it. And it's also very helpful just to have someone to look at your situation from the outside and give you an unbiased perspective of your diet and exercise life.

So skip out on all the fad diets -- either go totally holistic, or at least make a healthy diet plan with a nutritionist. Believe me, you'll be a lot happier with the results.

CopperPipe
Post 1

Did you know that holistic diets have been used for literally thousands of years in China? The emperor and his court used to have an official that I suppose we would call a nutritionist whose job it was to make up good, healthy diets for the members of court.

A lot of the same principles from that Chinese diet therapy are still applied today in holistic detox diets and even holistic health diets in general.

It's actually really fascinating to see how much power food has on your body. We tend to think of food as just food, a luxury or entertainment, or even just a fuel. However, ancient Chinese believed (as many cultures still do) that food can have an almost medicinal effect on your body.

It's just a fascinating topic in general, whether you believe it or not, so I'd really encourage people reading this to do a little research of your own. You might be surprised to find out just how powerful food can really be.

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