I am asked this question at least a dozen times a day – which is great because it means people are noticing what I’ve done. What concerns me is they seem put off by the answer – my own made-up diet.
As many of you know out there, it’s really easy to get caught up in “fad” diets and crazy ideas. Clean Eating, Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers, eat a tree – well you get the point. It’s hard to figure out what to do!
When I started my weight loss competition back in August, the push was for clean eating (which I do support). When I started doing research, I took this a step further investigating a very similar whole foods diet as well as the recently popular diet – Paleo (or caveman diet).
Now if you go digging and research each of these diets, there’s many similarities, but some fairly big differences. Let’s take a look at the concepts.
Clean Eating Quick Facts
- Focus on eating the most natural food, it its most natural state (i.e. not processed)
- Avoiding the white devils – white flour, white sugar, white rice, etc.)
- Avoid anything processed and refined (basically if it’s made in a plant – don’t eat it!)
- Focus on lean proteins and healthy fats (like nuts) and an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
- Preference for organic and grass fed products.
- No preservatives.
- No Fast Food (see above for why!)
Paleo Quick Facts
- Often called the caveman diet or even primal eating.
- Preference for organic and grass fed lean meats, fruits and vegetables
- Preference fornuts and healthy fats but no peanuts.
- Consume food only in its most natural state.
- No sugar, beans or grains.*
- No dairy*
*While most people who follow paleo choose to eliminate these foods, some do not eliminate dairy, sugar, beans and/or grain or limit their consumption.
Now the simple differences. With Paleo you aren’t allowed dairy, grains or peanuts (three of my favorite things). There is a larger push for organic and eliminating all chemicals from your life (including in cleaning products, beauty, etc.)
This is just one of the many examples I can give you on the different diets, but this post isn’t meant to sit and compare apples to oranges – it’s to tell you what I believe.
One of my issues with all of these diets is when you eliminate easy to locate items, ingredients you need start to get harder to find. Case in point – I wanted to make cookies last night. I started looking for some healthy recipes and found tons, but the ingredients become difficult to locate quickly and/or are very costly to purchase. Locally, there is only ONE store I have found that sells coconut flour and almond flour – a staple in many recipes that eliminate wheat. These items are not only difficult to locate, but can be costly. We’ve been planning on attempting to make our own almond flour but to date haven’t had a chance.
Simply put, there’s a lot of great information out there but you have to educate yourself and figure out what you want to take as fact or fiction. Diets are what you make of them, why focus on labeling it and keeping to that label. Eat how you want to eat, with reason, so you’re happy and keep to your lifestyle – that’s the ultimate goal right? To find a diet you’ll stick with!
What I encourage you to do is seek out research. Read blogs, read research studies and determine what you feel is best. Now going back to the top post – if you ask for my diet … I’m going to tell you it’s “My” diet. Simply put, I’ve taken a the guidance from Whole Foods, Clean Eating and Paleo and combined them into a diet I feel is appropriate.
I still eat grains. I tried going without… I actually wasn’t happy. I like grains – especially pasta. However, I have cut back a lot and limit it to one meal a day a couple times a week. It’s truly helped.
I still have dairy. I like dairy. If you hear me give up Ice Cream – WORRY! I’ve learned to also have that in moderation as well.
I like peanuts. I’m not going to lie. Those won’t be gone either.
As for the “organic” focus. I wish I could buy all organic. It’d be nice but I simply can’t afford it and that’s fine. We make positive choices, buy from farmers marketing whenever possible and do the best we can to select the most appropriate and healthy items.
The bottom line, you need to do research on everything and figure out your own diet that you’re happy with because when you’re happy with your diet … it won’t be a diet – it becomes a lifestyle. Always remember that!