Anyone familiar with dieting has likely heard of a few of the new diets put out. Some are best as medical and have no health benefits outside of those who need them (Gluten free for example) and others can boost your overall energy and wellbeing, while helping figure out if you need to avoid any foods or not (Whole30)
Some fit the bill perfectly if you have combinations of medical issues that have recommended diets (Paleo can easily fit the bill if you have a mix of medical issues)
This is the first post dealing with the different dietary options. These are some of the more well known- some lifestyle, some best bets for medical and others can help with weightloss.
Plant based– This diet involves eating mostly fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds and nuts- anything found planted and very little meat or animal products.Some people take it to vegetarian levels, but many do continue eating meat and sea food.
In this diet, you eat mostly grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. The reasoning behind taking most animal products out and eating mostly grown foods is focused on sustainability and the concept that our ancestors ate very little meat- they had to kill the animals themselves, so their diets weren’t high in meat. It is thought that they didn’t have the lifestyle diseases like we have now- diabetes or obesity especially and this is a very low artificially processed diet.
Vegan is typically a lifestyle change than just a “diet”- where they not only avoid eating meat, eggs or anything like honey (anything that comes from animals), they avoid using any products, clothes or cosmetics that use animal products at all. This is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle choice- based typically on morals. This is a wonderful way to live, if you’re healthy and can handle taking all animal foods out of your diet- it’s not for everyone, though. Vegan isn’t a fad diet, it’s a lifestyle based on ethics and morals. The only problem is that some people get sick when taking all animal products out. Other people don’t get sick and swear by that diet being the “magic pill” but like all diets, it’s not going to work for everyone.
If you’re not ready to take the full steps to become a vegan, you have the options of full or partial vegetarian. There are some vegetarians that consume no meat and others that only consume seafood.
Many vegans started as vegetarians and it can be a huge step towards full veganism. Other options are to find non cruelty cosmetic, skin and hair care brands and start reading ingredients in everything you purchase to make sure no animal by-products are listed. There is also a one month Vegan challenge- Veganuary that helps you make the switch.
Gluten-Free– this is a very beneficial diet if you’re Celiac, intolerant, have certain autoimmunity issues or a few other medical problems BUT it’s not beneficial at all for people in good health. This diet eliminates wheat, rye, barley and anything with any form of those three grains. Gluten is the protein that adds to the flavor and texture of bread and other baked foods. There is nothing inherently wrong with it and a diet rich in whole grains (which the GF misses) is one of the best. Whole grains are much healthier than white (bleached and enriched). If you eat gluten free, have no medical issues and choose to use substitutes you may find yourself gaining weight. You’ll likely gain because gluten free foods have much more sugar added than normal grains to make up for taste and texture differences. If you do see a dramatic difference (positive), you may want to speak to a doctor because it could be something wrong- either something like an intolerance or as severe as Celiac. Gluten is out of your system within a month, so one month gluten free should be a decent indicator if you actually have issues with it. Common symptoms of an intolerance are bloating, nausea, diarrhea, gas, heartburn and some people even say joint and head pain goes away on the gluten free diet. It should really only be followed if you have a medical problem and going gluten free helps eliminate the symptoms.
Paleo- This is almost the polar opposite of Vegan. You do eat a lot of fruits, vegetables but it’s higher in protein and animal products, like eggs and no grains, legumes. The Paleo diet helps avoid foods that are highly processed and not natural to our bodies. The whole point of the Paleo is to try to take you to what our ancestors used to eat, before obesity and Diabetes became epidemic but even if it’s not the best way for everyone to eat, I found with the food recommendations people made to me based on Reactive Hypoglycemia, Gluten and Lactose triggered IBS and a few other issues, Paleo is a good fit.
Whole30 is the Paleo on steroids. It’s a very strict elimination diet made to last 30-60 days to reset your old eating habits and has a re-introduction plan to help determine any intolerance or other food issues you may have. There are several books and it’s recommended to read “It Starts with Food” prior to starting so you get the rules down. This diet is also made to make you think about your eating habits. The rules are fairly simple-
1. Don’t snack (unless you have to due to medical issues like Hypoglycemia) or are genuinely hungry
2. Eat 3 larger meals and make sure to follow their guidelines on the right amount of protein and fats. That part is important to avoid cravings and keep from getting deficiencies.
3. No desert or make shift sweets, no “Paleo” or “whole30 compliant” pasta, breads or breakfast foods like
4. (Not so much a written rule but very strong guideline)- read the books before attempting Whole30. It Starts with Food explains the plan, the journal is great to go through as you’re on Whole30. It gives a day by day play out of how you may be feeling and gives you space to write things down. The cookbook is a godsend when you’re at a loss for good, flavorful recipes or when you’re burning out. It even gives recipes for condiments but be careful if you try using the butter. They have a recipe for “clarified” butter but it still is dairy- even melted down and if you have issues with dairy, it will give you diarrhea.
5. No “cheats” and no “slips.” If you have one slip, even on accident, you have to start over from day one. That’s not for any morality reason, it’s because the diet is set to reset your digestive system and if you mess up, it can set you back.
I made it 22 days in and ended up accidentally eating something steamed in butter, so I had to start over. This 1-2 month diet helps find trouble foods, as long as you put things back in the right way (one thing at a time over the course of 2-3 days instead of everything at once)
I will come back with another post similar to this with another four diets and I will post further going more in depth with each diet. This is a basics- the basics of what you can and can’t eat with each. Each do have benefits but they also can be bad- no 2 bodies are the same. I can do extremely well on the Paleo diet, but other people won’t. I couldn’t last 2 weeks Vegan before I ended up on supplements and others feel great.