Do you have questions about what diet/eating plan is better for you? Many people do. I have studied nutrition and experimented with a variety of eating plans. Here are my thoughts on this topic.
There are merits to a variety of eating styles. I practiced eating a vegetarian diet for almost 30 years. Vegetarians diet excludes meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, all animal and animal products. Vegetarians eat vegetables, grains, beans and fruits. It is a whole food diet. This can be a very healthy way to eat. But it is not the only way.
Benefits of a vegetarian diet include from Vegetarian Times:
- Lower risk of heart disease and cancer
- Lower cholesterol levels
- More fiber
- Regular bowel habits
- More antioxidants
- Lose weight and maintain lower weight without counting calories
- Build strong bones by eating dry beans, tofu, soy milk, dark green vegetables like broccoli, collards and turnip greens
- Reduce risk of food borne illness that can be found in beef, poultry, fish
- Ease symptoms of menopause with soy and tofu as natural phytoestrogens
- Help reduce pollution from chemical and animal wastes effecting water quality
- Avoid toxic chemicals found in SAD (standard American Diet): PCBs, DDT, heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, lead found in meat, fish and dairy products.
- Help reduce famine. It takes a lot of grain to feed animals verses eating it directly. David Pimentael from Cornell University if people ate the grain directly we could feed 800 million people or boost US trade balance by $80 billion a year.
- Spare animals. Ten billion animals are slaughtered for human consumption annually. Animal factory farms are horrid places and slaughter animals are very inhumane.
Macrobiotic diet is a way of life verses a diet plan. It is a balance of yin and yang energy of food. The diet is largely short grain brown rice (and other whole grains), bean, greens, seaweeds, naturally fermented foods (sauerkraut, pickles), vegetables and fruits. There is a small amount of fish. You can eat small amounts of meat occasionally. There is nothing that is not allowed. This diet is about balance and eating the near the middle. Eating in the middle will help create balance in your life.
Because macrobiotic a whole food diet, low in sugar, low in fat, high in fiber, most people who eat the SAD (Standard American Diet) would experienced improved health. A macrobiotic diet will normalize blood sugars. It is an anti cancer diet.
Contrary to the above diets is the Paleo Diet, this is similar to the Atkins diet.
According to Dr Mercola the stone age diet was primarily a variety of vegetables, fruit, nuts, roots and meat. This diet changes the body chemistry. According to Dr Frassetto of the University of California in San Francisco tested this diet. She found that in 2 weeks people experienced the following: lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels (better than stantin drugs), lost weight, normalization of blood sugar levels, reduced toxins.
This happens because you eliminate carbohydrates, processed food, sugar, fructose. Stop eating fructose and you can reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels
Fructose creates uric acid during metabolism and this will drive up your blood pressure. People who eat the Paleo plan experience lower blood pressure, normal insulin metabolism, lower cholesterol and triglycerides and lose weight.
All of these diets have something in common. They are all whole food diets. People who eat these diets tend to eat organic and locally grown foods and meats.
There is no processed foods. No foods from boxes with ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Every thing is made from scratch from whole foods.
You need to decide what works best with your body. Experiment with different diets and see how you feel. You will probably want to be on each of these at least 4-6 months to experience the full value.
Also you will need to consider you family and life-style. It will be more of a challenge to eat well on say a vegetarian diet if the rest of the family are carnivores. Pick a plan that works for you. It is an eating plan, not a diet (which is a temporary weight loss program in most minds).
All of these eating plans are a little extreme. That means you will have to work to ensure your dietary needs are being met when dining out. Each of these diets are very doable. Many restaurants and grocery stores have many items to eat should you choose to follow one of these diets.
Be creative. Do what you can. Whatever you do, bless your food: the plants, animals, and all the people that participated in bringing the food to you. Whatever you choose to eat… savor and enjoy every mouthful!