Sorting Through Today’s Popular Diets and Making Sense of it All
In today’s times, it’s very confusing to find what works for us individually, in regards to the various popular diets that are being talked about and promoted. If one were to pay attention to every diet that exists nowadays, it would be very easy to become bewildered and overwhelmed. I know, because I speak from experience, and I am very sure that I’m not alone.
Among the sea of diets out there, is our attempt to outline the most popular, or trendy of them all, and in no particular order. The goal is to help you, the reader, become clearer on which path you’d like to walk. Keep in mind, there are many more than will be listed here, but these pretty much cover the gamut, in general. Also keep in mind that we at RawBellion, understand that every body is different and everyone has their own journey to follow and that paths change course, sometimes. It’s of our belief that there’s no one size fits all, when it comes to diets or really anything, in life.
This diet includes fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. It does not include any animal products, including honey , although there remains controversy as to whether or not honey is an animal product, as it is a food made from the nectar of flowers. Someone who eats honey but no other animal derived products can be called a ‘Beegan’. A person can follow the vegan diet but veganism can also be extended and implemented into other areas of life. This means that no clothes, shoes, or home decor, etc. would be made of animal products. This type of veganism is called Ethical Veganism. Some vegans believe that a true vegan is Ethical, and is not just a Dietary Vegan.
The vegan diet can be a very healthy diet, as it is high in fiber, high in magnesium and vitamins, and low in saturated fats and calories. It can also be unhealthy if one relies too much on a lot of sugary, processed foods and fats. One category of foods that can commonly be relied upon but aren’t typically healthy are ‘fake meats’, in the form of products made with tofu, soy, and gluten/wheat. These fake meats are called Seitan and Tempeh but also come wrapped up to look like hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and beef.
Raw food has been heralded as the original diet, because it includes any food that is not processed or cooked. Fruits, vegetables, seaweeds, herbs, fermented foods, nuts, and seeds are typically eaten in large part (called the Raw Vegan diet), but for some raw foodists, it can include raw meat and dairy too.
The temperature limit for preparing foods is thought to be around 116 degrees, but opinions on this vary. The point is to not cook food, because once it’s heated above that temperature, many vitamins and minerals, as well as all enzymes are lost, therefore the food is ‘dead’.
There tends to be a lot of division within the Raw Food movement, particularly when it comes to nuances in what foods are most healthful to focus on (e.g. eating mostly fruits, AKA Fruitarianism). Raw food is many times called a lifestyle, rather than a diet, as it is taught that health is all encompassing and a true raw foodist will live their life to include activities like meditation, yoga, rebounding, colon cleansing, among other things.
The Paleo diet calls for foods like grass-fed meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, eggs, seafood, and healthy oils like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil. It abstains from foods like grains, dairy, legumes (like peanuts), potatoes, refined sugar, salt, processed foods and refined oils like soybean oil, canola oil and corn oil. Other names for this diet, like Paleo, is Caveman, Stone Age, and Hunter Gatherer.
Paleo dieters believe that this diet improves human health and that humans are carnivores. This diet includes foods that were supposedly eaten by humans before the dawn of agriculture, which is believed to be responsible for the introduction of western diseases, or non infectious, non transmissible diseases.
On a side note, it’s been discovered that a new subgroup of the Paleo diet has been created, called Paleo Vegan. There is a book by the same name, and, without having read it, most likely is similar to the Raw Vegan diet, except with the inclusion of cooked vegan, gluten free foods.
Some vegans like to say that they’re ‘grown up’ vegetarians. That being said, a vegetarian is a less strict, less exclusive diet. It abstains from the consumption of meat and any flesh of any animal, but it differs from veganism in that it allows the consumption of eggs and dairy. There are many sub groups of vegetarianism, e.g. people who want to abstain from land animal flesh, while eating the other foods that vegetarians eat, are called Pescatarians.
This diet uses grains as a staple, and vegetables, while eliminating most animal products, refined and processed foods. Foods like miso, seaweeds, beans, legumes, vegetables and grains like brown rice are used often in this diet. As for animal flesh, fish is the main food consumed. Its origins come from Japan. It’s very similar to vegetarianism except for the consumption of fish. Also, some vegetables are discouraged, like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes and avocado, because they are believed to affect calcium balance.
The foods that are plentiful or a staple in the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea are what comprise this diet. This includes foods like olive oil, legumes, cheese, yogurt, fruits, vegetables, wine, seafood and a small amount of meat. There’s areas in the countries around the Mediterranean that heavily consume unhealthy animal fats like butter and lard, but for the most part this diet is derived from food patterns of Crete as well as a large part of Greece and Southern Italy, in the 1960s. It also encourages regular physical activity, with total dietary fat percentages being 25-35% of the calories.