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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Day

The "Diets" Out there Today

Diet. It’s a four-letter word and probably the dirtiest one of them all. January is the diet industry’s favorite time of year. And why? It's probably because we baked cookies, attended parties, drank more alcohol - oh wait, it is because we enjoyed the holiday season? We’re with family and friends, going out with co-workers, and wearing our pjs longer into the day. But (and this is the truth) it’s okay. Seriously.

Taking our theme of embracing every day, it’s time to watch our calorie intake once again. And the diet industry is full of ideas, diets, methods, and plans. So what works? The truth is what works for one might not work for another, and the key is finding a balance that suits your body and lifestyle.

Four types of salads

Take us for example. This past year, we have learned Melissa does best with lean protein, fish, vegetables, limited dairy, nuts, and olive/avocado oils with 3-4 meals daily. Chef Michael does best heavy on red meats and protein, fats, vegetables, and fruits with 1-2 meals a day. We eat dinner at the same time, but quite often, they are completely different meals.

Recently, we've seen an influx of diet trends, each claiming to be the ultimate solution to health and well-being. From Keto to Mediterranean, Paleo to DASH, MIND to Intermittent Fasting, and Plant-Based diets, the options are as varied as they are confusing. And they continually change, giving more confusion to the question: “What should I eat?”

The Keto Craze: Is It Just a Fad?

The ketogenic diet, affectionately known as 'keto,' has been all the rage for a few years now. It's like the rockstar of diets, known for its low-carb, high-fat approach, which sends your body into ketosis. But is it just a passing trend? Initially used for treating epilepsy in the 1920s, keto has evolved and is now celebrated for its potential weight loss and energy-boosting benefits. However, it's not one-size-fits-all – for some, it's a miracle worker; for others, it's a bit too heavy on the steak and cheese.

Mediterranean Diet: A Timeless Classic

Think of the Mediterranean diet as the Meryl Streep of diets – timeless, respected, and consistently good. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, much like the dietary habits of those in the Mediterranean region. This diet isn't just about weight loss; it's a lifestyle that promotes heart health and longevity. And it hasn't changed much over the years because why fix something if it isn’t broken?

Modern Paleo: Back to the Stone Age

The paleo diet, inspired by our Paleolithic ancestors, is all about eating what could be hunted or gathered – meats, fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. It's like a historical reenactment for your digestive system. Over the years, paleo has adapted slightly, allowing some modern foods that mimic ancient nutrients. But at its core, it's still about getting back to basics.

DASH and MIND: The Health Guardians

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diets are less about the trends and more about health. DASH, developed to fight high blood pressure, emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. MIND, a hybrid of DASH and the Mediterranean diet, focuses on brain health. These plans have remained relatively stable because their primary goal is health, not just fitting into those skinny jeans.

Intermittent Fasting: Timing is Everything

Intermittent fasting isn't just a diet; it's a schedule. It's like being the boss of your eating plan, deciding when the kitchen is 'open' or 'closed.' This approach cycles between periods of eating and fasting, and it's more about when you eat than what you eat. While it's gained popularity recently, its roots are ancient, tied to traditional fasting practices.

Plant-Based Diet: The Green Revolution

The plant-based diet is like the peaceful protest of the diet world – kind to the planet and your body. It focuses on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits, and avoids animal products. While it's been around in various forms for decades, it's gaining traction as more people seek sustainable and ethical eating options.

Whole30: A Reset Button for Your Diet

Whole30 is like that friend who convinces you to try something new for 30 days. It's a short-term nutritional reset designed to help you identify food groups that might not agree with your body. Over the years, it has maintained its strict 30-day regimen, focusing on whole foods and eliminating sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy.

Remember, the best diet is the one that you can stick to in the long run. It's not about quick fixes or following the crowd. It's about listening to your body and finding a balance that works for you. So, whether you're going keto or keeping it classic with Mediterranean flavors, make sure it aligns with your lifestyle, health needs, and, most importantly, happiness.

While it's tempting to jump on the latest diet bandwagon, it's crucial to understand what each plan entails and how it aligns with your personal health goals and lifestyle. Everybody is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. Do your research, consult a nutritionist, and most importantly, listen to your body. After all, the lifelong journey of health and happiness counts, not just the short-term gains.

Remember, the secret to a successful diet is finding the right balance for you, and sometimes, that means savoring a slice of pizza on a Saturday night. Bon Appétit!

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