Navigating the health world and all it’s different facets can get confusing. There’s a plethora of information where health is concerned for weight loss, disease prevention, detoxing, beautifying, etc., and with these desired health goals come some kind of prescribed diet.
Here, we cover and summarize 4 of the most popular modern lifestyle diets.
Dating back 5000 years, Ayurveda is a holistic medical philosophy and practice based on the notion that humans are made of 3 main types of energy called doshas. It is this inherent energy that those who practice Ayurveda can base their healthy lifestyle on, that ideally would best keep the body in balance and good health.
By identifying your dominant dosha and your unique combination of energy, the Ayurveda diet can help an individual create their own custom health practices. The basic concept of these doshas are:
Vata energy is cold and dry. Those who have this dosha would benefit with warming foods paired with healthy fats to stabilize their energy. Think warm soups and stews as well as milk and hot porridge, nut butters, baked whole wheat bread and hot beverage as herbal tea and water.
To keep Vata energy balanced, avoid cooling foods such as raw vegetables, icy drinks and unripe fruits as these foods tend to off balance the inherent cold and dry energy of an individual.
Pitta energy is fiery. This gives those with this energy good appetites and digestion making them efficient and eating and metabolizing most foods fairly easily without issue.
With this said, Pittas can eat cooling or warming foods, with bitter and sweet tastes as the most ideal. Seasonally, Pittas should eat cooling foods in the summer such as salad and ice tea and warming foods in the winter such as porridge. Due to the inherent fiery nature of Pitta, a vegetarian diet is most beneficial as too much read meat can heat and already warm body.
To stay balanced, Pittas would benefit from minimizing animal fats and dairy as well as avoiding alcoholic, caffeinated, oily, spicy and fried food.
Kaphas are known to be naturally calm. This energy allows for good sleep as well as regular digestion. However, when this energy goes off balance, Kaphas tend to gain weight, develop allergies and become bloated.
A good diet to keep Kaphas in balance is through opting for warming yet light foods. This covers lightly cooked foods, fresh and raw fruits and vegetables as well as spicy food. To stay balanced Kaphas should avoid overly sweet, oily, and salty food.
Intermittent fasting has gained popularity, especially in the last few years, not only for its weight management benefits but also overall cardiovascular and blood sugar benefits.
The main idea behind intermittent fasting is to regularly ‘fast’ for a given period of time. Doing so ideally should reduce the total calories consumed within a day due to a shortened eating window as well as to give your body a break by not bogging it down with a constant state of digestion.
Some popular forms of intermittent fasting include:
- Circadian Rhythm: A 13 hour fast that starts at sunset and lasts till sunrise.
- 16:8: A 16 hour fast with an 8-hour window to eat.
- 18:6: An 18 hour fast with a 6-hour window to eat.
- 20:4: A 20 hour fast with a 4 hour window to eat.
- Monk Fast: A 36 hour fast
The overarching concept of the Ketogenic diet is to consume fats in place of sugars (carbohydrates) so that your body goes into an optimized state of fat burning especially when there is no sugar left to burn, resulting in having your body use ketones instead of glycogen for energy. This is known as Ketosis.
This means that the ketogenic diet follows the following macronutrient ratio of: 5-10 % carbohydrates, 20% protein and 60-80% healthy fats.
And while this ratio is open for interpretation, like all diets, the emphasis on high quality, fresh and unprocessed wholefoods take center stage. This means eating quality protein like pasture raised grass-fed beef, free range chicken, fresh vegetables, organic fats like coconut oil, avocados, ghee etc.
The Paleo diet follows the premise that humans can reach their optimum health by eating the same way our ‘hunter gatherer’ ancestors did before modern and farming agricultural practices came and made foods like dairy and processed grain available to us.
In summary, the Paleo diet emphasizes fresh and unprocessed foods, like the ones that were only available to our ancestors. It is by eating fresh, whole, unprocessed foods that made the Paleo diet so popular because this eliminates all the questionable refined ingredients that go into packaged foods and are linked to a variety of health issues.
Instead, those on a Paleo diet nourish themselves through grass-fed meat, fish & shellfish, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, broccoli & leafy greens, fruits, nuts and seeds as well as minimally processed sweeteners like honey all while eliminating dairy, grains, and legumes on top of packaged food.
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