Eons ago, I wrote my first nutrition PixieTip during a theme month about adding not subtracting in life. If you can’t remember back that far — I barely do! — here’s the link. I recently ran into an old friend in the supermarket who mentioned she was struggling with her weight. She said that she was on the Paleo diet. I asked how it was going and she said, “Good,” stopping the conversation dead in its tracks and I know why. As many of my friends and acquaintances can attest, I can be a bit preachy when it comes to nutrition, and especially when it comes to subtraction or elimination diets because they can often cause nutritional deficiencies.

I am writing this week’s tip after I had the privilege — or burden depending on how you look at it — of doing a bunch of my 75 hours of continuing education credits to maintain my status as a Registered Dietitian. And in doing so, I just so happened to look at the most current research in the field of nutrition, weight loss and general health which I’ll summarize in 5 points.

1. Eat mostly fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I’ll add lean protein too. Vegetarian sources or otherwise.

2. Eliminate as many processed foods as you can. If eating processed foods, stick with items low in sugar, salt and fat that have very few ingredients such as dried oats or quinoa. Classics have the easiest time eliminating things like processed foods but Smart Structures and Funs can eliminate things if it’s logical and practical to do so … and by easiest time I don’t mean easy but rather tend to stick with it.

3. Add super foods high in antioxidants such as green tea, dark chocolate, red wine and berries. And yes dark chocolate and red wine can be part of a healthy diet if you exhibit moderation (1 oz. of dark chocolate hits the spot).

4. Exercise right. Current research on exercise suggests that one size does not fit all. Find out which type works best for you. Some look and feel their best strength training, some achieve this from a combination of cardio and strength training. Don’t give up; try to find something that works for you and that you enjoy. The latter is key for Organics and Funs to make exercise a regular part of their lives.

5. Elimination diets: juice fasts, the Paleo diet, gluten free, high protein, etc., can help to kickstart any weight loss. Just question why you are doing it, is it working, and are you getting all of your vitamins and nutrients? Also use basic common sense: how do you feel? If you feel lousy it’s probably not because you are “detoxing.” The body has built in systems for detoxing. You may be subtracting too much.

*6. I thought I’d throw in a bonus tip … when in doubt ask a professional. There are many of us out there. A nutritionist is a very vague term. A Registered Dietitian has to complete a dietetic internship and subsequent board examination all grounded in science. You can search the American Dietetic Association Database to find a Registered Dietitian in your area: www.eatright.org