Blog Diets The Holistic Diet: Your Comprehensive Guide to Balanced Living

The Holistic Diet: Your Comprehensive Guide to Balanced Living

Holistic living involves making choices that ensure your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It’s about finding balance and harmony in every area of your life, including your diet. A holistic diet focuses on nourishing your body with nutrient-dense foods while also fostering a positive relationship with food.

Many of us have been conditioned to view food as a means to an end – fuel for our bodies or a source of pleasure. However, the holistic approach to diet recognizes that food is more than just calories and taste; it’s medicine for our bodies and nourishment for our souls.

If you’re looking to improve your overall health and well-being, incorporating elements of the holistic diet into your lifestyle can have significant benefits. Here’s what you need to know about this approach to eating.

What Is the Holistic Diet Philosophy?

The holistic diet is based on the principle that food should be viewed as a whole, rather than just individual nutrients or calories. This often means focusing on natural, whole foods rather than highly processed or packaged options (8).

In addition to nourishing our physical bodies, the holistic diet also takes into consideration how food affects our mental and emotional well-being. It emphasizes mindful eating and encourages a positive relationship with food.

A key aspect of the holistic diet is eating a variety of whole, nutrient-rich foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats. These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that are essential for our overall health (8).

The holistic diet also encourages incorporating organic and locally-sourced ingredients where possible. By choosing these options, you can reduce your exposure to certain chemicals and support sustainable farming practices (3).

It should be noted that the holistic diet isn’t about strict rules or restrictions; it’s about listening to your body and making choices that align with the principles of holistic nutrition.

What Are the Core Principles of a Holistic Diet?

The core principles of a holistic diet can be categorized as whole foods over ultra-processed, and balance and diversity in eating. Within these two overarching principles, there are several key components:

  1. Whole Foods: Emphasize minimally processed, natural foods.
  2. Balanced Nutrition: Ensure a balance of macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbs) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals).
  3. Moderation: Practice portion control and avoid overeating.
  4. Seasonal and Local: Choose foods that are in season and locally sourced when possible.
  5. Organic: Some people prefer organic produce to minimize exposure to certain pesticides and GMOs, although this isn’t a strict requirement.
  6. Hydration: Maintain adequate hydration with pure, clean water.
  7. Mindful Eating: Eat slowly and mindfully, paying attention to hunger and fullness cues.
  8. Diverse Diet: Include a variety of foods to ensure a wide range of nutrients.
  9. Plant-Based Focus: Increase intake of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains.
  10. Minimal Sugar and Additives: Reduce consumption of added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and other food additives.
  11. Sustainable Practices: Support sustainable farming and fishing practices.
See also
1700 Calorie Meal Plan High Protein Diet For Weight Loss: How Effective Is This Diet For Weight Loss?

Whole Foods over Processed

Whole foods are foods that are in their natural state or have undergone minimal processing. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Processed foods have been altered from their original form due to various methods like canning, cooking, freezing, or adding ingredients. It’s impossible and unnecessary to avoid all processing of your food, as some processing is often required to make things edible. For example, chopping something is considered processing, but this doesn’t negatively impact the nutritional value of the food. However, most highly processed foods, which are called ultra-processed foods, are best limited. Examples of ultra-processed foods include sweets, snack chips, and sugary cereals.

Why is consuming whole foods so important? For starters, whole foods retain their essential nutrients—vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber—that are often stripped away during certain kinds of processing. These nutrients play a crucial role in maintaining overall health. They help with everything from boosting our immune system to improving digestive health (8).

Holistic diet  

While they may be convenient, ultra-processed foods often come laden with added sugars and unhealthy fats. Consuming these may contribute to a range of health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes (14). By focusing on whole foods, you’ll avoid the hidden dangers that lurk in ultra-processed options.

Furthermore, whole foods tend to be more filling and satisfying, thanks to their natural fiber content. This helps with mindful eating, a practice that encourages paying attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel (5). When you eat whole foods, you’re more likely to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues and practice moderation naturally.

Choosing whole foods over highly processed foods also aligns with the principle of sustainability. When you opt for these foods, particularly those that are seasonal and locally sourced, you support local farmers and reduce the carbon footprint that is associated with transporting processed foods. 

The holistic diet isn’t about imposing strict rules or demonizing certain foods, it’s about making informed, conscious choices. Embracing whole foods over ultra-processed food is one way to ensure you nourish your physical body and contribute to your mental and emotional well-being (8). 

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Mediterranean Diet Desserts: The Best Treats For Sweets Lovers

Balance and Diversity In Eating

Balance and diversity in eating form the cornerstone of a holistic diet. Rather than viewing food through a binary lens of good or bad, this principle encourages a more nuanced approach that values moderation and variety.

Balance involves ensuring a proper mix of macronutrients—proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Each of these plays a unique role in the functioning of the body. Proteins are essential for muscle repair and growth, among many other roles (11). Fats, especially healthy fats such as those that are found in avocados and nuts, provide long-lasting energy and support cell functions. Carbohydrates, particularly complex carbs from whole grains and legumes, are our body’s primary energy source (4).

Diversity is about eating a wide range of foods to ensure you get a comprehensive array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Think of your diet as a colorful palette where every shade adds something valuable. Fruits and vegetables offer a spectrum of nutrients—think beta-carotene from carrots, lycopene from tomatoes, or flavonoids from berries.

Why does this matter? A balanced and diverse diet helps maintain a healthy weight, supports immune function, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Eating a variety of foods is also important for gut health (7). Different foods provide different types of fiber and nutrients, and a diverse gut microbiome is linked to better overall health (10).

In addition, balance means practicing moderation. Overeating, even with healthy foods, can lead to imbalances and nutritional excesses. Portion control becomes key—rather than counting calories, focus on understanding your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Mindful eating is an excellent practice here and it encourages you to savor each bite and listen to your body (5).

Choosing seasonal and locally-sourced foods can enhance the variety in your diet while supporting sustainable farming practices. Seasonal foods are often fresher, tastier, and more nutritious. When you shop locally, you get to explore a variety of produce and reduce your carbon footprint.

How to Start a Holistic Diet

Starting a holistic diet requires some planning and intention. Find out which holistic foods to eat, which mindful eating practices to adopt, and simplify the meal planning process. 

Which Holistic Foods Should You Eat?

A holistic diet focuses on whole, nutrient-dense food (7). Here are some examples of these foods that you can incorporate into your daily meals:

  • Whole grains: These include quinoa, brown rice, oats, and whole-wheat products that retain their bran and germ layers during processing.
  • Leafy greens: Kale, spinach, collard greens, and other leafy greens are packed with vitamins and minerals.
  • Starchy vegetables: Sweet potatoes, squash, and beets provide complex carbohydrates and valuable nutrients.
  • Lean Proteins: Eggs, chicken, fish, lean beef, and other meats provide high-quality protein.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, and peas are packed with protein and fiber.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of healthy fats and protein.
  • Healthy fats: Avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish such as salmon are all great options.
  • Fruits: Seasonal fruits such as apples, oranges, and berries are excellent sources of vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Fermented foods: Yogurt, kimchi, and kefir support gut health by providing healthy bacteria.
See also
Carnivore Diet Food List: What to Eat 

Adopt Mindful Eating Practices

Mindful eating is a powerful tool in promoting overall wellness (5). It encourages you to slow down and pay attention to your food, emotions, and body’s signals. Here are some mindful eating practices you can incorporate:

  • Be present: Sit down at a designated spot without distractions when you eat.
  • Engage your senses: Take time to appreciate the appearance, smell, taste, and texture of your food.
  • Eat slowly: Chew thoroughly and take breaks between bites to fully experience your food.
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to when you feel full and stop eating before you feel overly stuffed.
  • Practice gratitude: Take a moment to appreciate where your food came from and the effort that was put into growing it.

Simplify Meal Planning

Meal planning is an essential aspect of maintaining a holistic diet. Here are some tips to simplify the process:

  • Plan ahead: Take some time at the start of each week to plan meals for the upcoming days.
  • Keep it simple: Focus on nutritious, easy-to-make meals that incorporate whole foods.
  • Use seasonal produce: Incorporating fruits and vegetables that are in season adds variety and supports sustainable practices.
  • Prep ingredients ahead of time: Chop vegetables, cook grains, or marinate proteins in advance to save time during the week.
  • Try new recipes: Don’t be afraid to experiment with new dishes that incorporate different whole foods. This can add excitement and diversity to your meals.

Read more: 7-Day Weight Loss Low-Carb Diet: Choose High-Protein, High-Fiber, or Ultra-Low-Carb

The Role of Organic and Locally Sourced Foods in a Holistic Diet

While organic and locally-sourced foods may not be necessary for a holistic diet, including them in your meal planning has some potential benefits.

Organic foods are grown without the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, certain pesticides, or synthetic hormones. Some people believe that they reduce exposure to harmful chemicals compared to conventionally grown produce (3). However, they can also be more expensive and don’t have higher nutrient contents than conventionally grown produce.

Locally-sourced foods refer to those that are produced within a certain radius of where you live. These foods tend to be fresher and may retain more nutrients as they don’t need to travel long distances before reaching your plate. In addition, buying locally supports small businesses and reduces the environmental impact of transporting food long distances.

See also
Vegetarian Mediterranean Diet: Your Blueprint for Daily Wellness

Incorporating organic and locally-sourced foods into your diet is a personal choice and may not be feasible for everyone. If budget or access are limiting factors, remember that a holistic diet can still be achieved with a variety of whole, nutrient-dense foods. The most important thing is to focus on eating mindfully and incorporating a diverse range of foods in your meals.

Holistic diet  

Integrating Mind, Body, and Spirit to Support a Holistic Diet

A holistic diet is not just about the foods we eat; it also takes into account our mental and spiritual well-being. You may not understand this approach, but science backs it up. The gut is often referred to as our “second brain” due to the strong connection between the gut and our emotions.

To support a holistic diet, you must consider that:

Stress Affects How, What and When We Eat

Stress and our diets are connected (12):

  • Stress can cause overeating or undereating.
  • It can also affect food choices, which can lead to cravings for unhealthy, comfort foods.
  • Chronic stress can have long-term effects on digestion and overall health.
  • Practicing mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and self-care can help manage stress levels and support a healthier relationship with food.

To support a holistic diet, it’s important to find ways to manage stress effectively. This could include:

  • Regular exercise: Physical activity is a great way to reduce stress, boost mood, and improve overall health (1).
  • Mindful movement practices: Yoga, tai chi, or qigong are mindful exercises that can also help manage stress levels (2).
  • Meditation: Taking a few minutes each day to quiet the mind and focus on the present moment can have significant effects on stress levels (6).
  • Connecting with nature: Spending time outdoors in green spaces has been proven to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation (13).

Our Relationship with Food Affects Our Well-being

The impact of food goes beyond the physical. Our relationship with food, including our thoughts and emotions surrounding it, can also have a significant effect on our well-being (14).

For example:

  • Eating in a stressed, distracted state can lead to digestive issues and make it difficult to properly absorb nutrients.
  • Restrictive or unhealthy eating patterns can cause mental health strain.
  • Developing a positive mindset toward food, prioritizing self-care, and practicing intuitive eating can support a healthy relationship with food.

Some ways to improve your relationship with food include:

  • Letting go of perfectionism: There’s no such thing as a perfect diet. Instead, focus on balance and moderation.
  • Practicing self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and let go of guilt or shame associated with food choices.
  • Honoring hunger and fullness cues: Listen to your body’s signals and nourish it when hungry – stop eating when you feel comfortably full.
See also
Hourglass Figure Diet: What To Eat For A Smaller Waist

By integrating mind, body, and spirit in our approach to food, we can support a truly holistic diet that nourishes not just our bodies but also our overall well-being.

The Holistic Diet and Weight Management

Can you turn to the holistic diet for weight loss? As it has no calorie restrictions and focuses on intuitive eating, some may wonder if it can support weight loss goals. The truth is, the principles of a holistic diet can promote weight management in the long term.

Nutrient Density and Satiety

When we focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods in our diets, we feel physically satisfied and nourished. These foods are often lower in calories but higher in essential nutrients, which supports weight management goals  (9).

Mindful Eating and Portion Control

Practicing mindful eating allows us to better tune into our body’s hunger and fullness cues, which leads to more balanced and appropriate portion sizes (5).

Balanced Approach to Food

A holistic diet takes a balanced approach to food, including all food groups without restriction. This can help prevent feelings of deprivation or binge-eating tendencies that can occur with restrictive diets.

Stress Management

Stress can have a significant impact on our eating habits and weight. By managing stress levels through practices such as mindfulness and self-care, we can support a healthier relationship with food and promote weight management (12).

Sustainable Eating for Long-term Well-being

Crash diets and quick fixes may promise rapid weight loss, but they’re not sustainable for long-term health. A holistic diet that focuses on nourishing our bodies with whole, nutrient-dense foods and prioritizing overall well-being can support sustainable weight management in the long run.

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Holistic diet  


  • What is the difference between a holistic diet and a traditional diet?

A traditional diet often focuses on specific macronutrient ratios or calorie restrictions, while a holistic diet emphasizes whole, nutrient-dense foods and overall well-being. A holistic approach also considers the mind-body connection and incorporates practices such as mindfulness and self-care.

  • Can anyone follow a holistic diet?

Yes, anyone can incorporate the principles of a holistic diet in their eating habits. It’s important to listen to your body’s needs and make choices that support your individual health goals.

  • Is it necessary to eat only organic and locally-sourced foods for a holistic diet?

While choosing organic and locally-sourced foods may have benefits, especially for the environment, it’s not a requirement for following a holistic diet. The focus is on incorporating whole, nutrient-dense foods in your meals and prioritizing overall well-being.

  • Can a holistic diet help with weight loss?

The principles of a holistic diet can support sustainable weight management in the long term by promoting mindful eating, stress management, and balanced food choices. However, it’s important to prioritize overall health and well-being rather than solely focusing on weight loss goals.

The Bottom Line

A holistic diet goes beyond just the food we eat. It also takes into account our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. By incorporating organic and locally sourced foods, managing stress levels, and improving our relationship with food, we can support a truly holistic approach to eating that nourishes us from the inside out. Remember, it’s not just about what we eat, but how we eat and how we take care of our overall well-being that truly makes a difference.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Benefits of Exercise (2017,
  2. Exploring mind-body modalities: a revealing review of the latest scientific studies dealing with the psychological benefits of different mindful types of exercise (n,d,
  3. Health Benefits of Organic (n,d,
  4. Macronutrients (n,d,
  5. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat (2017,
  6. Meditation and Mindfulness: What You Need To Know (2024,
  7. Nutrition as a Key Modifiable Factor for Periodontitis and Main Chronic Diseases (2021,
  8. Nutrition Benefits and Considerations for Whole Foods Plant-Based Eating Patterns (2022,
  9. Nutrient density and bioaccessibility, and the antioxidant, satiety, glycemic, and alkalinizing potentials of fruit-based foods according to the degree of processing: a narrative review (2024,
  10. Physical Activity and Nutritional Influence on Immune Function: An Important Strategy to Improve Immunity and Health Status (2021,
  11. Protein in diet (2023,
  12. Stress and Eating Behaviors (2014,
  13. Shinrin-Yoku (Fores Bathing) and Nature Therapy: A State-of-the-Art Review (2017,
  14. The Contribution of Food Consumption to Well-Being (2019,


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