Top 4 Healthy Diets Demystified
Vegetarian, Paleo, Gluten Free, Ketogenic
There are so many diet trends and life styles it can leave your head spinning! So this week I wanted to take the time to demystify, introduce, show you the pros and cons and give you my tips for getting started on a healthy path.
First, let’s talk about why you are thinking about a diet/lifestyle change. I would like you to ask yourself these questions.
- What is the reason I want to try ___________ diet?
- What are the goals that I hope to achieve with ____________diet?
- How much do I know about ____________diet?
If you have ever heard me talk about diets/lifestyle you have heard me say that not all diets are good for all people. It is important to identify why you want to try a certain diet or make a certain lifestyle change. For instance let’s say you want to try being a Vegan. You should identify why you want to become a Vegan, is it because you’re BFF did it and it seems cool or do you feel a connection to all things living on the planet and you don’t want any of them to give any part of their life for your resources? Either is valid but becoming Vegan is a commitment and you can fail easily if you don’t know the answers to those questions. That would pertain to any diet or lifestyle change you choose to embrace.
Leslie’s “diet” Story…
“When I was 20 years old I worked for a weight loss company, Nutri System, maybe you have heard of them. It was then that I was introduced to the Vegan lifestyle. I thought it sounded pretty awesome because after all I love animals. Not eating them sounded awesome. I set off on my own and just stopped eating meat and any by-products of any animals. I did not do my research at all and landed in my Dr.’s office about 6 months later. Losing hair, very fatigued, not pooping, ashy skin I was pretty much a total mess. I was severely protein, zinc, iron and calcium deficient. I am sure my B vitamins were a mess as well. My ignorance had caused some major problems in my health, relatively fast. I am not telling you this to bash the Vegan lifestyle, I am telling you my story because I want to you see the reality of what not answering the questions above can cause. I really had no convictions about why I wanted to be Vegan, I had no goals in mind and I surely did not anything about how to have a Vegan lifestyle while keeping my body balanced.”
Although this post will only be hitting the high points for each diet and lifestyle, hopefully it will serve to start your education should you choose from the list here.
Generically speaking we think of a vegetarian as someone who only eats vegetable and fruits right? Well the truth is there are levels of this lifestyle, I will be referring to being a vegetarian because it is more of a lifestyle than a diet. So what are the types of Vegetarian? NOTE: I have so much respect for Vegans and their lifestyles. Keep up the good work!
- Lacto Ovo – the majority of people that have a vegetarian lifestyle are lacto ovo. This includes eating all plants and the byproducts of animals, like dairy and eggs.
- Lacto – This lifestyle includes eating all plants and dairy but no eggs.
- Vegan – The choice to eliminate all animal products and byproducts from the whole of the lifestyle. Including food, personal care, clothing, and personal items. So all plant based, in all areas of life.
- Raw Vegan – consuming only uncooked plant based foods with all the lifestyle principals of a Vegan.
- Easier than ever to find plant based foods
- Great for heart health
- Reduces the risk of some types of cancer
- Humane to our fellow residents on our planet – animals
- Great for weight loss
- There is a process to learn what to eat to maintain balance in your nutrition.
- Lowers B12 levels –particularly vegan lifestyle
- Must identify your protein sources and not overload on carbohydrates.
- HUGE lifestyle change!
Tips and Tricks:
- Consult an expert on how to achieve a healthy vegetarian lifestyle.
- Watch for warning signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
- Make sure you know what your protein source is.
- Ask yourself the 3 questions at the beginning of this blog post
The Paleo lifestyle is often called the Caveman diet or Hunter Gather diet. It refers to one eating like a human did in Paleolithic times. It is somewhat restrictive but can be easily followed by learning the principals from a book or good website. In a Paleo lifestyle you eat: Fruit, Vegetables, Lean Non-processed Meat, Seafood, Nuts, Seeds and Healthy Fats. You avoid: Dairy, Grains, Processed Foods, Sugar, Legumes (Beans), Starches (even corn and potatoes) and Alcohol.
- Real Food based diet.
- Total grain elimination.
- Gluten Free eating.
- Easy principals to follow and understand.
- Anti-inflammatory for the body.
- Gets you in the kitchen cooking.
- Allows fat and protein resources from Pork and Shellfish
- No organic focus is taught.
- Very high in protein and low in carbohydrates, must keep an eye on balance.
- We don’t necessarily have the same type of lifestyle as the Paleolithic human.
Tips and Tricks:
- Get the Book Your Personal Paleo by Chris Kesser.
- Personally I would be seeking organics and clean meats.
- Find a support group that can help you get strated.
This lifestyle was introduced as a symptom reliever for those who suffer from Celiac disease. Celiac is an autoimmune disease where wheat gluten causes the small intestines to attack themselves and damages the lining. It does causes pain and inflammation in the small intestines. Gluten is a protein found primarily in GMO wheat, barley and rye crops. Easy enough to understand a Gluten Free lifestyle, removes anything with gluten out of the diet.
- Can solve the complications of Celiac disease.
- Very good for those with food allergies or sensitivities.
- Great availability of Gluten Free products in the market place.
- Don’t think that because is it Gluten Free it means it is healthy!
- Lack of whole grains means you need to identify your fiber source.
- Some Gluten Free products will add sugar or fat to ensure taste quality.
Tips and Tricks:
- Read the labels for all Gluten Free food to make sure you are getting something healthy and not full of other additives.
- If you suspect that you have Celiac, get a diagnosis, don’t just assume.
- Get professional help to guide you though what product might contain gluten.
Your body naturally produces Ketone Bodies. It is a toxic acidic chemical that occurs when there is not enough insulin in the blood, so the body starts to break down fats instead of glucose or sugar for energy. This process is called Ketosis. The diet is where you put your body in the Ketosis state to burn fat. You do this by eating a high fat low carbohydrate diet. Ideally the diet consist of 70% Fat, 20% Protein and only 5% Carbohydrate.
- Great for epilepsy, which is what it was originally designed for.
- Studies being conducted now to determine if it can help with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, acne in adults, some forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
- Quick Fat Loss
- Low Sugar
- Great for weight loss
- Very hard compliance
- Should be tested (can do this at home) to be sure that safe levels of Ketosis are being achieved.
- Can cause damage to your metabolism.
- Not for the casual dieter or for someone that is not already eating healthy.
- Can be taken to far by cutting too many fruits and vegetables trying to eliminate more carbs and sugars.
- Ketosis in a body can result in a foul odor in urine and breath that is similar to the smell of finger nail polish remover.
Tips and Tricks:
- GET HELP to understand this diet! It can be dangerous if you do not follow it properly.
- Only good for the short term 3 weeks to 3 months if you are just trying to eliminate body fat.
- Make sure you are testing at home with a urine kit. Ketosix $14.99 Walgreens.
- Google who should not be considering a Ketogenic diet before you begin or better yet ask a health professional!
Get a lifestyle that suits your goals for health. Base those goals on the end results that you want to achieve. Set yourself up for success by educating yourself about any diet before jumping right in.