I hope you all had a fantastic Labor Day weekend. For me, it was a much-needed break. After traversing around up in the mountains and spending time with friends at the CU Boulder vs CSU game; it was good to have a day for downtime. It also gave me time to think about where I’m at from a health perspective.
Getting back into spin class and adding a new strength program to help me get back in shape after a summer of dates filled with amazing food…is all starting officially this month. With that, I wanted to take a look at my nutrition and diet and see if there were any modifications or programs I could try out. If you’re in the same boat, check out a few of the popular diets below, and I’ll let you know which one I decided to pursue!
Fun fact, my parents are good friends with the woman who popularized the Paleo diet to the mainstream world, Loren Cordain. Small world! The paleo diet is designed to resemble what human hunter-gatherer ancestors ate thousands of years ago. This means you can eat meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, healthy fats and oils. And on the flip side, anything processed, with sugar, grains, dairy, artificial anything, etc. is off-limits. My mom’s given me the Paleo cookbook to give a try, though what I’m nervous about is giving up all dairy and grains. Particularly rice that I like to mix with my veggie and chicken bowls.
I’ve had a lot of friends and coworkers do the Keto diet. This option is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that involves majorly reducing carbs and replacing it with healthy fats. This ends up putting your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, which makes burn fat for energy. This diet has a lot of great results, but also a few health issues that can arise if you’re not smart about how you approach it.
It has a ton of health benefits, but you can also quickly gain the weight back after going off the diet. With Keto, you can have a few dairy options, whereas you can’t have any in Paleo.
This one caught my eye because it’s short-term, no calorie counting required. This idea behind Whole30 is that for a lot of people, foods are to blame for what causes you different stress, fat gain, mood issues, etc. To determine which type of foods may be impacting your negatively, you must cut out all traces of sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy, and legumes for 30 days. The cons of this one are that it’s SUPER restrictive because even a bit of cheating can send you back to the start. Also, it can help you lose weight but also gain it back quickly when you finish the program, so it’s not meant to be a long-term strategy for weight loss.
I checked out both of these diets (and if you want to know more, check out some of Anne’s blogs), but I was already sure these weren’t for me. To determine the difference, you should know that veganism is “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
This means NO animal products whatsoever, even milk and honey. It’s a great lifestyle option if you’re passionate about protecting the planet and leading a more sustainable life. While I agree with these initiatives, I don’t think I could ever cut out skim milk! I do often do vegan butter however and I’m willing to give Almond milk a second try.
In comparison, vegetarianism is just an absence of meat, fish, and poultry. Many people make the switch to a vegetarian diet because of the potential health benefits. Vegetarian eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes including lower levels of obesity, reduced risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. It also has a great impact on the environment if you choose to switch to vegetarianism.
Which One am I Going to Try?
After researching all of these, it’s hard for me to come to terms with one that ‘fits me’ exactly. Paleo, Keto, and maybe even Whole 30 come close…but I have my reservations on all three. After talking with friends, I also realized that a ‘diet’ is never the answer, it has to be a full lifestyle choice that you can happily maintain. It’s about balance. Carbs and sugar in moderation are not the enemies, but I also recognize that I could be eating way less of them.
So perhaps, I need to try a blended diet. One with two vegetarian dinners a week, one with low carb, high protein…with a little wiggle room for a cheat meal here and there. I’m still not sure if I give up milk either. I plan to dive further into what the Paleo and Keto diet truly looks like, and I hope to have an answer soon as to the one I want to pursue. And in the meantime, I’ve got to get all the sweets and carbs out of my house!