Paleo, Vegan, Traditional: Which Diet is Right for Me?
Wondering which diet is right for you? While some people thrive as vegans, others do best on a traditional diet. There’s lots of information to sort through and much is misleading and confusing at best. We hope this will clear up a few misconceptions.
Here’s how today’s popular diets weigh in:
This timeless classic will never go out of style. Pretty common sense. Real food for real people. No processed food and the facts are in; it gets good results.
Lots of fresh, organic vegetable
Nuts & seeds
Organic extra virgin olive oil EVOO
Variety of herbs & spices as seasonings
Lowfat dairy foods, like yogurt and cheese, generally from goat’s milk (in small amounts)
Whole grain rice & pasta, quinoa & oats
Fruit, preferably for snacks or dessert
Processed foods and anything else that isn’t on the list
Best thing about this one? It removes ALL processed food from the diet.
Eggs & honey
Raw nuts & seeds
Fruits & vegetables
Healthy fats & oils such as coconut butter
When you choose a Paleo diet you’ll consume more fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals (provided your foods come from organic sources). I have reservations with the Paleo diet in that it tends to be heavy on meat. Meat in this country is mostly unhealthy: antibiotic laden and replete with large amounts of growth hormones. GMO’s and industrial chemicals in the animal feed add to more toxins that burden the body. We recommend you peruse local organic farms, co-ops and US Wellness Meats.
Note: A typical American diet with excess meat can lead to an acidic body. Bodies that are chronically acidic may result in allergies, autoimmune diseases and many other “dis-orders.”
Vegan & Vegetarian
While somewhat similar, vegans refrain from consuming all animal foods. Vegetarians will often eat eggs and dairy and sometimes fish.
There was a long stretch in my life where I chose not to eat meat. My influences as a teenager were powerful, and while no one in my immediate circle was vegan, I was an ardent reader and curious about the earth and animals. In 1972 I learned the importance of eating lower on the food chain by Frances Moore Lappe in her book, Diet for a Small Planet. The horrors of the meat packing industry in Upton Sinclair’s, The Jungle, haunted me for decades. Years later I relocated to the Midwest where for a mercifully brief time, my nightly slumber was interrupted by the horrifying odor of singed hair and burned flesh. That smell was more than enough to turn me off to the practice of eating meat for years. Today I eat meat, albeit very small amounts and low on the food chain. The data is in; a diet of mostly organic fruits & vegetables nourish and detoxify the body like no other food.
Traditional Foods: Untouched by Western civilization
Probably the best I have seen so far. I say the best because of the study and investigation behind it and how it confirms what many have none for decades; we have evolved slowly over time and the human body thrives on real, whole foods.
In the early 30’s a dentist by the name of Weston A. Price, studied healthy populations around the globe. What he found most interesting was their excellent dental health. Amazingly, these people DID NOT brush their teeth! Hmmm. How were their diets so different from ours? Namely, the absence of processed foods in the form of refined flours, oils and sugar.
Not only did they have healthy straight teeth, and robust physical bodies, they were resistant to disease. Nourishing Traditions cookbook follows the guidelines of this diet lifestyle.
Fresh, organic fruits & vegetables
Raw nuts & seeds
Butter & other unpasteurized dairy
Fish & Meat
Soaked or fermented whole-grain products
Don't Eat This:
Factory farmed meat or eggs
Any food that is not organic or on EWG's clean fifteen list.
Do you suffer with allergies? Consider going on an elimination diet to determine the foods you may be sensitive to.
Whatever your diet, remember to view your ‘food as medicine.’ For as the father of medicine so eloquently stated, “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.” -Hippocrates
Resources & References
Nourishing Traditions Cookbook
Consult your functional medicine doctor or integrative medicine doctor before beginning any new diet lifestyle.