Healthy Appetite: Expert Guidance On Choosing A Diet Plan

November 14, 2016 | Tampa Magazine | Health & Fitness

Written By Derek Herscovici  |  Photography By Gabriel Burgos

We live in a complex world where anything can be personalized—especially dieting. While nothing burns fat and builds muscle like ol’ fashioned exercise, supplementing your workout with body-boosting natural foods and vitamins can elevate your results. TAMPA Magazine asked Dr. Michael Heim, a part-time triathlete, and nutritionist/football player Cody Durakovic how to start, pick and stick with a new diet.


Fruits and veggies, lean meats, seafood and nuts—the hunter-gatherer diets of our Paleolithic ancestors may seem extreme, but the results speak for themselves. Balanced energy, constant fat burn and improved sleep patterns are all benefits of cutting out processed or pre-cooked foods, but moderation is key—cutting too much too quickly makes your diet exhausting and inconsistent.

CD: Going from one extreme to another by consuming nutrients daily and then cutting them out completely results in a rebound or inconsistency. Supplements fill in the dietary voids that occur while following the paleo diet.


Over 90 percent of the immune system is located in your gut, meaning what you put in the tank affects your chances of catching a cold, how well your body processes nutrients and a whole lot more. Gluten, dairy and corn have been proven to cause inflammation in the stomach by interfering with digestion and absorption—swap them for something better.

MH: The first step in improving gut health is to remove the things that cause inflammation and interfere with digestion and absorption, then add targeted nutrients to repair the gut and restore proper function. The bottom line is, if your gut is not healthy, the body is not healthy.


Deciding to do away with all animal-derived foods is admirable, but rushing into it without proper supplements can be an extreme your body isn’t prepared for.

CD: Vitamins, minerals and micronutrients should be taken daily in order to improve immunity, decrease inflammation in the body and to maintain good health, whether you are exercising seven days a week or not at all.


There’s a big difference between juice “dieting” and juice “fasting”—committing to a liquid-only diet is at best extreme and, at its worst, potentially dangerous for your health. Juice cleanses, detox diets and other liquid quick-fixes may help you lose weight, but without replenishing the nutrients you’re cutting out, you risk exhaustion or binge-eating to make up for it. Use as a supplement only!

MH: Our bodies aren’t meant to take in concentrated liquid calories, which is exactly what happens when you remove only juice from foods. Blood work from patients that are only juicing shows elevated blood sugar—maybe the biggest contributor to everything that we die of in this country, including heart disease and cancer. There is no substitute for eating whole foods.


Cody Durakovic is a former member of the USF Bulls football team and owner of Nutrishop Northdale. A specialist in sports nutrition and development, Durakovic works one-on-one with clients to plan out personalized fitness routines for maximum results.

a0172946Dr. Michael Heim
opened the Center for Health and Age Management in 2009 after years of practicing bariatric, osteopathic and family medicine. A lifelong triathlete whose competed in over 70 events, Heim has extensive knowledge of sports nutrition and regenerative medicine.

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