You hear it all the time, “New year, new me…right?!” You start making yourself all sorts of promises and goals, but halfway through the year you find you haven’t stuck to any of them! Sound familiar? Just like you, I am guilty of this. Here’s the thing, we have to stop making goals we THINK we should be making for ourselves and instead make goals because we truly WANT to change!
The new year is an obvious time to look back at the past year, plan for the new year and set goals to become one step closer to the person you want to be. Naturally, your diet might be one of the changes you want to make. I’m going to be honest with you, I HATE the word and idea of a diet. As I am writing this post, I am eating a big ole’ mug of chocolate ice cream and this past week (it’s Wednesday) I’ve been trying to get started in yoga, but have only gotten as far as pinning some yoga workouts. Oops.
So, I came up with a new definition to “dieting”; eating what works for you! Changing your diet can be really daunting and hard to get started, so here are a few of the most popular diets right now. Use them as a guide! What do you want to get out of your diet? What is feasible for you? Is money or meal planning a concern when changing what you eat? At the end of the day, taking care of yourself begins with what you eat, and the new year is a great time to start planning for a better you!
It’s all in the name! This food lifestyle is all about eliminating gluten from your diet. Gluten is often found in pizza crust, breads, soups and french fries. I know what you’re thinking, “WHY WOULD I WILLING NOT EAT PIZZA?!” Luckily, these days you can get just about ANY FOOD made gluten free.
Dieting like this stems from a autoimmune disease called Celiac Disease. A person who is celiac means that, because of their genetics, they cannot ingest gluten, which is a protein that naturally occurs in wheat, rye and barley. If so, it can trigger a serious attack on their small intestines.
Anyone wanting to try a gluten free diet, you’re going to want to eat foods that are naturally gluten free. These include fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy, beans, legumes and nuts. By abiding to this kind of lifestyle, you can lose weight (with exercise, just like any other diet), become more aware of food labels, consumer less preservatives and consume higher quality grains, nuts and flours, like quinoa, chia, nut flours and flax. Maintaining a gluten free diet can result in not getting enough carbs and fiber. Just as you can lose weight, you can also easily gain weight. Wait, how…? Gluten free products can be higher in sugar and fats, which are not your friend when trying to lose weight.
You may have heard other names for this diet like keto diet, low carb diet or low carb, high fiber diet. Basically, when you eat carbs your body produces glucose, which becomes your main source of energy. By lowering your carb intake, your body is forced to use ketones as a source of energy. Ketones are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. Once your body is out of glucose to burn, it turns to stored fats, hence the ketones. You can still eat bread, bacon and nachos, just slightly different versions!
On a keto diet, you want to cut your carb consumption to less than 15 grams per day.
That means eating foods like:
- leafy greens
- high fat dairy
- nuts and seeds
- above ground vegetables
You’ll want to stay away from:
- tubers, such as potatoes
By following a keto diet, you can have an easier time losing weight, you’ll detox from sugar and it can help with inflammation. Just like any diet, you’ll have to plan ahead. It also can be difficult in the first few weeks when adapting to consuming less carbs. Finally, it is a restrictive diet, which can be very difficult depending on your current diet.
Paleo diet or caveman diet takes your diet back to basics! The idea is that you only eat what cavemen would have eaten back in the day. That means consuming natural sugars and carbs and not eating any processed or artificial foods. Doesn’t sounds too bad, right?
On a paleo diet, you’ll eat:
- grass-fed (ideally) meats
- natural oils
You’ll want to stay away from:
- any processed foods
Changing to a paleo lifestyle emphasizes eating whole and natural foods rather than processed, which can have a wide variety of health benefits. You’ll also likely become more aware of food labels and what you are putting into your body. Although, there is a TON of research on what a “paleo diet” should consist of and all of that information can be very overwhelming. Just as with any diet, it is restrictive and can be costly.
A vegetarian diet is simply, not eating animal products! Although, there are various degrees of this lifestyle that include lacto-ovo, lacto and vegan.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians will eat milk and egg based products. Lacto vegetarians will eat milk products, but no eggs. Vegans will only eat plant based foods. (More on veganism below!)
Abiding by to a vegetarian diet has a number of health benefits, can save animal that are breed for feeding humans and can aide in weight loss. Unfortunately, like many other diets, it can be costly to keep up a vegetarian diet, deficiencies are common and eating no meat at all may not be the healthiest option for some. A vegetarian diet
A vegan diet it pretty straightforward; you can eat anything, as long as it doesn’t come from an animal. This is the strictest level of vegetarianism. There are different variation of a vegan diet, depending on how intense you want to be.
With a vegan diet, you’ll eat:
- plant based products like tofu
- plant milks
- whole grains
- fruits and vegetables
You’ll want to stay away from:
- meat and poultry
- fish and seafood
- any animal based ingredients
Some benefits to a vegan diet are weight loss, keeping blood sugar levels down, and this type of diet is linked to overall health improvements / benefits. Although, following this diet can be costly, very restrictive and can cause nutrient deficiencies.
So now you’re probably thinking…
“This is going to be a lot of work.” I know you can do it! Creating a change because you actually WANT to is what will help you actually STICK to your goals this year. Good luck!