Is your head spinning from all the current lifestyle diets out there? Which one do I do? Which diet will work best for me? Because of the endless options, we sometimes just want to throw in the towel. Either we try and see no results or we just don’t know where to start.
First, it’s so important to educate yourself and really understand the break down of each diet not to mention the science behind it. From there you can discuss your symptoms and history with a practitioner and come up with a personalized plan.
I’m going to break down 5 of the most common lifestyle diets and explain the benefits as well as any possible downsides.
GLUTEN FREE DIET
We’ve all heard about the gluten free diet. Some would say that it’s become quite a “FAD” diet but I can assure you that the health benefits are dramatic.
I remember when going gluten free was a “new thing” and everyone was so perplexed. There was so much criticism to the idea of giving up bread and pasta not to mention many other items that have been apart of our diet our entire lives. But the truth is, there is such a solid foundation for going gluten free.
WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten is a group of proteins found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye & spelt. The most common source of gluten can be found in wheat. These proteins are called glutenin and gliadin. Our body lacks necessary enzymes to break down these proteins giving them full reign over our stomach lining and intestines. This causes an inflammatory response releasing chemicals called cytokines. Cytokines cause inflammation in the lining of the stomach and intestines which results in “leaky gut”.
Leaky gut is process where food particles including gluten leaks through the lining and into our blood stream. In this process we lose essential vitamins and minerals. Because of the ongoing inflammation, this can lead to diseases such as autoimmune, cancers and more. The most common disorder due to gluten is Celiac Disease.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF GLUTEN INTOLERANCE OR CELIAC:
- digestive issues
- abdominal pain
- skin rashes
The misconception amongst many is if you don’t have a celiac diagnosis or do not experience some of these symptoms that there is no need to go gluten free.
I beg to differ!! Because every one of us lacks the enzymes to break down gluten we can all benefit from a gluten free diet. For this reason alone I always recommend this to clients.
Going gluten free can improve gut health, improve neurological symptoms and decrease inflammation in the body. It’s important to know that a gluten free diet may pose a lack in dietary fiber so make sure to eat plenty of organic veggies and fruits. You can also supplement with a fiber powder. I use this FIBER in my smoothies daily.
There are delicious options when it comes to gluten free grains such as :
- brown rice
You can also find these as flours for cooking and baking.
If you haven’t tried a gluten free diet I highly recommend giving it a go. Many people see a reduction in bloating and some wait loss in a timely manner but a prolonged gluten free diet will bring even more benefits. Take it one step at a time and see what you think!
Check out my Green Girl Summer Pasta! It’s gluten free, dairy free & meat free!
The Paleo diet, otherwise know as the “hunter-gatherer” of choice. This common diet mimics the diet of our ancestors thousands of years ago. The basic premise around Paleo is to eat from the earth with about 55% lean meats & seafoods and 45% compromised of vegetables, fruits and nuts & seeds. A Paleo diet includes:
- lean grass-fed meats
- wild caught fish
- organic fruits & veggies
- raw nuts & seeds
- unprocessed oils like olive oil or avocado oil
- All grains
- All dairy
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Carrageenan, MSG & sulfites
The benefits of Paleo are dynamic. This is considered a clean eating plan that is high in good fats. It also reduces inflammation in the body, promotes weight loss and is also gluten free.
The important elements to consider with Paleo is to not rely heavily on red meat. This can keep your body acidic. I like to stick to wild caught fish and organic chicken. Due to the elimination of grains you can become deficient in B vitamins as well as D so you may need to supplement.
All-in-all the Paleo diet is a clean-eating lifestyle that will promote health and well-being.
A vegetarian diet, as you know, is a common diet free from animal protein. This includes a diet rich in vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts & soy. Some vegetarians will eat eggs but no dairy, also called ovo-vegetarians while others will consume dairy and eggs, also known as lacto-ovo-vegetarian. While consuming mostly plants your body will see a reduction inflammation however, there can be some nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies may include Iron, B12 and Vitamin D so it is important to be tested periodically and supplement if low.
One of the most common concerns with a vegetarian diet is the proper intake of protein. Vegetarians as well as vegans get protein from tofu, whole grains, nuts and seeds and of course, legumes.
Vegetarianism is popular amongst animal advocates as well as some athletes.
The ketogenic diet is quite common yet very complex. It is all about burning fat. With this diet you consume 70-80% healthy fats, 15-20% protein and 5-10% carbs. Our body’s first source of fuel are carbs. When we restrict carbs the body will utilize the fat storage. Our body runs on glucose or ketones. The body burns glucose first but, again, if there are no carbs available for glucose production the body will turn to ketones. Ketones are byproducts of fatty acids in the liver which are used when no glucose is available. The goal for a ketogenic diet is to reach ketosis-which is a metabolic state in which the body is actively burning fat for energy.
Some of the cons of the ketogenic diet can be blood acidity or ketoacidosis. This is when the blood becomes too acid and this can happen from the overconsumption of meats and dairy. Another risk is your ketone level becoming too high so it’s important to work with a practitioner and test your ketone levels regularly.
One of the greatest benefits of a keto diet is weightloss. People tend to lose weight quickly but again, it is very important to work with a practitioner so that you can monitor your progress and your overall health.
The biggest issue I see with people following a keto diet is the constant consumption of red meat, pork and dairy. This will absolutely create an acidic environment which is a precursor to cancer and other diseases.
If you are considering a keto diet please do your research and work with a practitioner.
One of the most popular trendy diets is the vegan diet. Veganism is more than just a diet-it’s a movement. Vegans are 100% plantbased consuming no animal byproducts. Many vegans are animal activists raising awareness against the inhumane treatment of animals.
Similar to the vegetarian diet, vegans find protein through tofu, legumes and nuts but can be deficient in B12 which only comes from animal protein. Again, it is important to work with a practitioner and be tested regularly for these deficiencies. Another issue can be the increase in hormones due to soy consumption. This can be a risk factor for some types of breast cancer.
With any diet there are pro’s and cons so again, do your research. One of the best ways to approach a lifestyle change is to work with a practitioner and get baseline nutritional testing and blood work. Together you can create a plan that will best suite your health needs.
Cheers to your best life!