As part of my month of looking at my diet and making improvements, I thought it might be a tiddly bit of fun to examine some of the popular diets out there right now. Some of them I know a bit about, but most of them are completely foreign to me. I was raised eating pretty much everything, until my mom and step-dad started practicing vegetarianism while I was in high school. From hot dogs to spinach to pasta to steak, I didn’t really food-discriminate until I met my boyfriend, who happened to be a vegan when we met.
Diets have always interested me because people get so… heated about them. People who like meat seem to LOVE meat and those who don’t like meat craft a full lifestyle around not wanting meat products. It’s intense. I’ve even been evangelized to when it comes to other people’s eating habits. So without further adieu, here are two of the most popular food and lifestyle diets out there these days.
Veganism (like most diets probably) has an absolute form and then a sliding scale that those who consider themselves vegan practice on. Some vegans just practice diet restrictions, while others have made it a full lifestyle, not supporting companies who use animals or their byproducts and being very conscious about their purchases and where they are grown/created. There are many reasons an individual might choose to practice vegansism, such as animal rights or health concerns.
When talking about a vegan diet someone is usually referring to no meat, no dairy, no eggs and some go as far as no honey or any other animal products. Veganism is well known as the diet that often incorporates “fake meat” such as soy, tofu and tempeh. Vegans go as far as replacing simple things such as condiments with eggs like Mayonnaise to Nayonaisse.
The pros and cons of any diet are highly subjective, but in general a vegan diet is usually high in fiber, folic acid and many other vitamins compared to a meaty diet. Speaking from experience though, eating vegan is hard. Not to mention, it takes a lot of preparation to eat vegan because so many mainstream American foods incorporate meat products. As a vegan, I fell off the boat quite a bit and would end up eating vegan boxed mac and cheese and Tofurkey party pizzas.
I honestly didn’t know anything about paleo before today, other than it seems like a lot of people who do crossfit also seem to talk about paleo often. Ha. Paleo is still a bit murky to me, but it seems like the theory behind it is to revert to a diet like we would have eaten in the paleolithic era, or somewhere near the dawn of man. It seems that most people choose the paleolithic diet as a means of creating a stronger, healthier body primarily.
Since paleo is based off what our ancient ancestors had access to, you have avoid processed, no grains, no sugars. It also sounds like paleo eaters try and avoid dairy and legumes (beans and such) as well. That’s right, no salt, no alcohol, no sugars, no grains. Emphasis on non-starchy veggies, meats, seafoods and fruits.
Paleo is a pretty heated diet to read about. Some people swear by it, others have studied it scientifically and are calling bullsh*t. In my opinion, it seems like a great concept. You are cutting out a lot of unhealthy and fatty foods. It also seems easier (may depend on the person) than veganism, but I imagine eating out to be quite difficult when you aren’t consuming salt or sugar.
What do you guys think? Have you ever practiced either of these? Both of them seem pretty extreme to me, but sometimes extreme might be just the thing you need! I think saying goodbye to icecream in both of these would (or has) break my heart a little bit!