Health and wellness are two things you can expect to see more of from Freely Mí. As I travel, try new things, and continue pursuing all forms of lifestyle fulfillment, i’ll be sharing details about what things are working for me, inside and out. One topic I am questioned about most often is my diet. In truth, it’s a complicated subject because my diet reflects both lifestyle choices and physical sensitivities. It has taken me nearly 30 years to figure out what works for me, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work for everyone. So, in hopes that it will also help you, i’m breaking down some of the research i’ve done that helped me refine my food choices.
Sometimes called the Caveman Diet, the Paleo Diet consists of fruits, vegetables, grass-fed and organic meats, and nuts. Paleo DON’TS: grains, dairy, refined oils, added sugar or salt, potatoes, processed foods (aka anything canned or packaged), alcohol, and honey. Health –> Loren Cordain, PhD says the diet lessens the body’s glycemic load, has a healthy ratio of saturated-to-unsaturated fatty acids, increases vitamin and nutrient consumption, and contains an optimal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
This diet focuses on primarily plant-based foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Butter is replaced with healthy fats such as olive oil, and salt is replaced with herbs or spices. This diet leans towards small portions of fish or poultry as it’s meat source. The Mediterranean diet typically includes a moderate amount of wine (no more than 5oz daily). Mayoclinic –>An abundance and variety of plant foods should make up the majority of your meals. Strive for seven to 10 servings a day of veggies and fruits. The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Vegans skip anything that comes from animals, including milk, cheese, honey, and eggs. Some vegans apply this principle to more than what they eat and choose to use only products labeled vegan and “cruelty-free”. This means avoiding animal by-products in skincare, haircare, and makeup, as well as leather, fur, silk, and wool. The Vegan Resource Group –> A healthy and varied vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Almost all foods except for alcohol, sugar, and fats provide some protein. Common Vegan Foods: Oatmeal, stir-fried vegetables, cereal, toast, orange juice, peanut butter, frozen fruit desserts, lentil soup, dates, apples, pasta, smoothies, popcorn, baked beans, guacamole, chili, *lasagna, *pancakes, hummus, *cookies, *ice cream, tempeh, corn chowder, *yogurt, rice pudding, fava beans, banana muffins, spinach pies, falafel, corn fritters, *French toast, veggie burgers, casserole, scrambled tofu, seitan. *using plant substitutes for milk and eggs.
Many people don’t understand the difference between Vegan and Vegetarian diets. In truth, a “whole” vegetarian diet is just another way of saying vegan as it avoids any animal foods. The gray area comes with the variations of vegetarianism which may include things like dairy foods & honey. For example, lacto-vegetarianism includes cheese and other dairy products. WebMD –>You can get all the protein you need from plant foods. Just make sure you’re getting enough calories from a wide variety of nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains. Black beans and rice, with a salad, is one example of a classic vegetarian meal. American Heart Association –> Studies show that vegetarians absorb and retain more calcium from foods than non-vegetarians do. You don’t need to eat foods from animals to have enough protein in your diet. Plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and non-essential amino acids.
Pescatarians are similar to vegetarians, only they add fish and shellfish to a traditionally vegetarian diet – this explains why the diet is sometimes referred to as pesco-vegetarianism. What you’ll eat: Fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts & seed. They can also eat plant-based proteins like soy and tempeh. Huff Post –>This diet may reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and some types of cancer…all of the iron you need comes from fish, many fruits and vegetables and whole grains. And all the protein you need comes from consuming a healthy percentage of legumes, whole grains, tofu, and many plant sources. David Steinman’s “Living Healthy in a Toxic World“: The primary source of nuclear radiation contamination in humans is from beef and dairy products.
The raw food diet is somewhat intense & requires a TON of cooking creativity. Essentially, this diet avoids cooking to preserve the integrity of food nutrients. What you’ll eat: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains, unpasteurized dairy foods, raw eggs, meat, and fish. Most raw foods are naturally gluten-free. Some benefits to consuming raw foods: nutrients in fruits and vegetables helps control blood pressure, and the lack of additives/preservatives lower the chance of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, kidney disease, and diabetes. More details on WebMD.
Go With Your Gut!
I would argue that listening to your body, including your conscience, is the best diet and it’s different for everyone. Based on the information above, I would say my personal choices are a mix of Mediterranean, Paleo, and Vegan. The majority of my diet and lifestyle choices are in line with veganism, however, like the Mediterranean diet, I will eat small amounts (I mean REALLY small) of organic fish or poultry if my body is telling me I need it – I only recently discovered substitutes for eggs and yogurt, two foods I found most difficult to swap. The only reason I mention Paleo is because of the way my body naturally reacts to things Paleo dieters exclude. Most grains, processed foods, potatoes, and added sugar or salt cause me severe discomfort, bloating and digestive trouble – I know, my gut is complicated.
Discipline is Key!
You’ll often see me suggesting “raw” foods but what I mean is “real” foods. I recommend eating a plant-based diet and supplementing as your body needs. The trick is to find recipes that you enjoy and filling your kitchen with variety. You might be surprised to find that a majority of what you eat already fits into a plant-based diet, and after eliminating preservatives and added salts/sugars, you no longer enjoy or crave them (I can’t stand drinking dairy milk or soda)! I also encourage you to experiment with plant-based foods at your local Whole Foods or Fresh Thyme store – I’m not joking when I say this, a lot of vegan substitutes taste better! We tried a few different meat substitutes like vegan orange chicken, bean burgers and vegan meatballs, and Ben said it best: “I was skeptical at first but after trying them I discovered that I don’t really care if it’s made of plants or meat if it tastes good.” I would also suggest browsing YouTube for vegan channels that share easy and delicious recipes.
I have officially worked up an appetite, so I’m off to make my favorite smoothie bowl! Let me know what you thought about this post. Did you find the information helpful? Which diet works for you? Let me know in the comments section.