Eat better. If this is your goal for 2019, you are not alone. In fact, ‘eat better’ tops the list of New Year’s resolutions year after year. And while the decision to munch on healthier foods is easy to make, the next steps can be overwhelming and confusing. For starters, what does it mean to eat better?
Your neighbour is noshing on veggies non-stop while your mother-in-law swears she feels amazing when she eats as much meat as possible. Everyone has a different opinion and your Facebook feed is buzzing with all of them! You scroll past vegan recipes and deliberate over invitations to join the latest Whole 30 challenge, then shut your computer off and grab some leftover holiday baking.
Eat better. Easier said than done when you aren’t sure exactly how to do it.
As much as it can feel like a challenge to make changes to your diet, I encourage you to consider this an exciting shift. It’s a commitment to trying something new that could leave you feeling more energized and vibrant. Chances are, after ‘eat better’, you listed a number of other goals you’d like to achieve this coming year. The truth is, when you are at your optimal health, it’s so much easier to attain anything else you set your mind to.
It’s no wonder that, as the awareness between food and mood increases, more of us are concerned about what we’re ingesting. And we now have a wealth of knowledge about the importance of the kind of calories we consume and what certain foods do for our bodies. While the number of trending diets can be tricky to navigate, it’s a nod to the fact that everyone’s chemistry is unique – and there is something out there that is wonderful for you.
Let’s explore 5 diets that got the most attention in 2018. I have personally tried each one of these so I can understand the commitment involved and have some concrete information to share with my clients. If you’re wondering why people choose to eat like cavemen or how someone can thrive on a vegan diet, read on!
5 Trending Diets To Explore With Your Naturopath
You may have heard this referred to as the ‘Caveman’ diet – only foods that were hunted or gathered by our ancestors are included, like meats, fish, nuts and seeds along with green leafy vegetables. This means no grains, sugar, dairy and processed foods. This is an especially good diet for someone who tends to be carbohydrate and sugar-heavy, has blood sugar irregularities or is looking to lose weight while putting on some lean muscle mass. These Maple Pumpkin Meatballs are a classic example of what you can eat on a Paleo diet. ultimatepaleoguide.com
Think of this one as ‘fat for fuel.’ This diet eliminates sugars and starches while placing a moderate emphasis on proteins. Without the carbohydrates and sugars for fuel, your body runs on its own fat stores. There is a huge emphasis on fats, such as avocado, coconut oil, bacon, cheese, fatty fish, medium chain triglycerides (MCT) oils, butter, nuts and seeds, and only low-carbohydrate vegetables like lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and asparagus. This diet provides rapid weight loss while supporting your lean muscle mass. It is currently used in medical settings for people with Alzheimers and epilepsy, and for professional athletes. Avocado Deviled Eggs might be on the menu for someone on the Ketogenic diet. draxe.com
This program focuses on eating unprocessed foods for 30 days. On this diet, you can eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats, and herbs. You avoid alcohol, legumes, grains, dairy and added sugars. It’s a 30 day commitment but if this trending diet is right for you, it could end up being a lifestyle change. The idea behind Whole 30 is also easier for most people to wrap their heads around; why wouldn’t we benefit from eating wholesome, real ingredients devoid of chemicals and artificial sweeteners? Trying out the Whole 30 diet? Try this Rustic Beef, Tomato and Cabbage Stew. soletshangout.com
A vegan diet is high in vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, root vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains, and plant-based protein sources such as soy. It avoids all meat, eggs and dairy. Due to rising social awareness of the animal and farming industry, veganism is growing in popularity. But what do people eat when they don’t eat any animal products? There’s a lot to learn for those who are newly committing to this diet. It’s amazing how many products exist that can replace animal products in baking and cooking. These Vegan Apple Banana Muffins make a great breakfast on the go, and use egg replacer instead of eggs. allrecipes.com
It’s very important, if you choose to go vegan, that you consider your nutrient requirements and supplements. Most vegan females I see in practice suffer from a B12 and iron deficiency as those two nutrients are primarily found in animal proteins. Protein deficiency and omega 3 deficiency can also be a concern. Veganism can be a wonderful plan with the correct nutritional support. If you are on this diet and experience any weakness, fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails, pallor, shortness of breath or dizziness, please see a professional.
Plant Based or Vegetarian/Meatless Monday
This diet is a plant-based model in which foods are predominantly coming from fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains. However, it is not as restrictive as a vegan diet; you can consume eggs, dairy, fish and animal proteins on occasion. The emphasis is on whole foods from plants, however the option for animal-based proteins make this trending diet enticing and more sustainable for some. Be careful not to replace the proteins with carbohydrates. This can lead to weight gain. It truly can be the best of both worlds; vegetarian meals dispersed with animal protein can be an effective and healthy combination. This Vegetarian Skillet Chilli Topped with Cornbread, for example, is hearty enough that you won’t miss the meat! foodnetwork.ca
Now that you’re armed with some information about each of these 5 trending diets, you can take some time to figure out what will work for you. The ultimate goal is to have a lifestyle change, and not a quick fix. So, your diet has to be sustainable and beneficial for you. Having a professional on board will not only ensure your nutritional and supplemental needs are met, but will get you one step closer to a successful ‘eat better’ resolution!