Which Diet Is Right For Me? A Look at Some of the Best and Healthiest Diets
Posted Mar 15 2012 12:00am
People ask me all the time, "What diet do you recommend?" More specifically, they ask "What diet do you think I should go on?" Honestly, it depends on your health goals and how fast you want to get there. Today I want to share with you the ones I personally think are best, and let you make up your own minds. I will give short reviews of the Eat Clean Diet, the Paleo Diet, the Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diet, the Vegan Diet, the Raw Food Diet, and Juice Fasting. I've done them all.
If someone asks me what diet to start out with when they have been eating what is known as the Standard American Diet (SAD) of anything and everything out there, including between one and three meals a day of fast food and sodas, I tell them to get on the Eat Clean Diet . This is such a huge jump for most Americans that it seems radical. Why? Because for the first time in perhaps their entire lives, these people are going to have to learn how to cook from scratch and quit eating processed and pre-prepared food.
The Eat Clean Diet is easy in principle, but hard in reality, because we have to give up a bunch of food addictions like salt and sugar. My strong preference is for all of the food consumed to be 100% organic and GMO-free. However, food budgets can be tight, so I always tell people to do the best they can.
A tongue-in-cheek version of the Obama Administration's "My Plate" nutrition program accurately portrays the healthy Eat Clean Diet many fitness competitors embrace- image courtesy of one of my Facebook friends
Bodybuilders and fitness models live on the Eat Clean Diet, because it works. All this diet consists of is healthy proteins, healthy fats, and healthy carbohydrates in approximately a 33-33-33% calorie ratio. We don't eat anything with more than one or two ingredients listed on the label. We eat healthy proteins like chicken breasts, salmon, tilapia, turkey, eggs, dairy if we tolerate lactose, and the occasional steak. We eat healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, fish oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, and butter. We eat healthy carbohydrates in two forms: healthy starches such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa, and all manner of fresh vegetables and fruit from the produce aisle or Farmer's Market. We eat five or six small meals a day in order to keep our metabolism up so we burn more fat.
The Paleo Diet includes approximately half of calories in protein and half of calories in vegetables and fruit- image by The Paleo Divas
The Paleo Diet takes clean eating a step further. Some people just don't get the sleek look they want on the Eat Clean Diet. The Paleo Diet removes dairy and grains. With all of the current concern over GMO labeling, the Paleo Diet may be a safer, more healthy diet for meat eaters. Practically all of the calories come from nutrient-dense healthy proteins and fat as outlined above, and vegetables and fruits for the carbohydrates. I see a lot of fitness competitors, whether in bodybuilding or Crossfit, "go lean" with the Paleo Diet prior to a contest or competition. There are fantastic resources for recipes for the Paleo Diet available online. I love Everyday Paleo , Mark's Daily Apple and theclothesmakesthegirl for starter references.
A vegan diet is consumed by many people across the planet in respect for the lives and gentle treatment of animals- image by veganfoodpyramid.com
Some people, out of respect for the lives and humane treatment of animals, choose to become vegetarians. Of these, one can become a lacto-ovo vegetarian or a vegan . One of my daughters is a lacto-ovo vegetarian. She consumes dairy and eggs for some of her protein, but her conscience will not allow her to participate in the slaughtering of animals for her to eat. She (and I) prefer cage-free eggs and dairy products from grass-fed cows. Vegans eat no animal products at all. Instead, they rely on vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and seeds for all of their protein and other vitamins and minerals.
While the above diets are what I might recommend for most individuals, there are times when what I call "cleansing diets" may be appropriate. These are the high raw vegan, the 100% raw vegan, and juice fasting diets. I recommend these diets when the body needs to go into "healing mode," but I do not recommend them for a long term lifestyle (as in decades) diet. The high raw vegan diet is simply adopting a vegan lifestyle, but consuming a minimum of 80% raw, live, uncooked plant food. Many Christians may recognize this diet by the name "Hallelujah Diet."
If one adopts the 80-20 high raw vegan diet to correct a health issue such as diabetes or to prevent cancer the way groovy Kris Carr is , I strongly encourage the addition of a "superfood" product for additional protein, vitamins, and minerals. Why? Because the soil on most farms have been so badly stripped of minerals that our plant food supply usually does not contain all the vitamins and minerals we see listed on nutrition lists. Actually, I recommend that everyone take a "superfood" product for their vitamin and mineral supplement for the same reason. I am writing an ebook right now on superfoods which will include a recipe you can make yourself.
This chart actually lists the electromagnetic energy in foods, depicting which foods give us the most healing (alkaline) energy and which (acidic) foods actually take away our energy. While the terminology may be offensive to some, the chart makes it pretty clear which foods will heal our bodies the fastest- image by living superfoods
A way to ramp up the healing process and detoxify faster is to adopt a 100% raw vegan diet. In this diet, no food is cooked at all. Soup may be warmed some, but in general, everything is eaten fresh and uncooked. There are a lot of raw food gurus and chefs now with some creative and delicious recipes. Check out David Wolfe , Matt and Angela Monarch , Shazzie , Ani Phyo , Mimi Kirk , and Quintessence raw food restaurant in NYC for starters. I know I left some gorgeous people out- sorry!
Finally, if you are really ill, dying, or someone told you you were "incurable," I recommend starting out with at least a 30 day fresh juice fast. I highly recommend the movie "Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead." You can watch it online through Netflix. The main character, Joe, heals himself on a juice fast using his "Mean Green Juice" as his primary diet. Here's the recipe
I've done several juice fasts, and must say they are amazing healing tools. I will teach y'all about juicing and juice fasting in later posts. The Mean Green Juice is delicious and incredibly good for the body. You can make it in a cheap blender if you don't have a juicer and just squeeze out the juice into a bowl with a clean cotton dish towel or nut milk bag.
I want to give a special warm "Hey Y'all!" to my new readers in Brazil, Pakistan, Indonesia, Papau New Guinea, Singapore, Malaysia, and Bangladesh! I am so deeply honored to connect with you! I send you love from Deep in the Heart of Texas!
I'd love to hear which diet is your favorite. Leave a comment and vote!