I feel that diet-searching is not the optimal option – there is one predominant reason. Change of habits is a challenge and it involves a considerable effort to learn new recipes, find new shops and markets and start trying out new ingredients. It takes time before one gets used to new meals and it happens that this whole process becomes such a burden that one cannot go on and resigns.
I feel one should set off with one’s established diet, gradually introducing changes. Smoothie instead of ice-cream, herbal tea instead of soda, veggie burger instead of meaty one. Do not force huge changes – carry on as normal, baby steps, counting calories and doing everything gradually. Let’s have a brief look at three popular diets:
High protein diet – aka “miraculous survivor diet” (Dukan, Kwasniewski, Atkins’ – all the lot). A friend of mine dabbled in this and although she lost a whooping 3kg in 2 months she nearly lost her kidney. This is an experience for many people. Stuffing oneself with protein poisons the body but somehow this works – the food cannot be digested. As a result, one can eat copious amounts and stay slim. The side effects are horrifying though – kidney issues, calcium depleted from bones (this diet can make one’s skeleton grow older by ten years), it will clog the arteries… There are many believers in the diet, attributing miraculous effects to it but no scientific trial ever has proven this. High protein diet is just an excuse to overeat. Just like an heavy drinker will claim his drink “soothes the nerves and aids digestion”, the over eater will stand by a high protein diet rain or shine.
Paleo diet. Looks OK on the surface – raw vegetables and fruit as a foundation of the food pyramid. To make the diet literally more palatable, it’s PR tells as story of our ancient paleolithic ancestors’ diet adding some extra fun facts about the Eskimo.
Research performed on the specimens of paleolithic hair however, confirms without a shadow of a doubt that our ancestors ate meat maybe once a month and were vegetarians really. It is quite logical – if one wanted meat all the time, he’d have to incessantly hunt. Eskimo people, on the other hand, despite pristine environment of life and plenty of exercise (and we are talking about really remote tribes here) are sick of cancer even more frequently than us, the westerners (the tribes who are more “civilized” are even less healthy). The risk of heart disease is also similar to ours, which is really saddening, taking into the account their diet and lifestyle. They also have the weakest bone skeleton on the planet and also the shortest life expectancy. Their immunity is near to zero and without drugs they are currently prescribed many communicable diseases would pose a grave threat to them.
In other words – paleo diet may be a good idea but only if you consumed the real diet of the paleolithic people – plenty of vegetables. Besides, our ancestors were perpetually physically active, lived in pristine environment and natural selection happened regularly. No wonder they were healthier.
Raw food. This is the real deal paleo. Raw fruit and vegetable, nuts, sprouted seeds… As I myself am a vegetarian, due to ethical and health reason, I’d really love to be able to say that this is the best diet. Being quite honest though, I have to admit that raw foodists do have health issues. While you can easily watch celebrities on YouTube boasting that they are eating raw and never felt better, you should remember that they are well paid from adds and it is easy to lie for a small fortune in return. One doesn’t need much to look good – plastics surgeries, slim figure – and voila! Any diet can be promoted and advertised. As raw is now in vogue, the celebrities happily associate themselves with it. In reality – none knows, talk to those who know the celebs in the real life. Friends of mine work for a camera crew and they were extremely shocked to be invited for a pizza by rawitarians they filmed. If someone claims that their diet consists of 30 bananas a day on YouTube, it doesn’t necessarily mean this is the actual truth. They make plenty of money from YouTube adds. Bear this in mind.
Science and raw food. Nutritional depletion is a documented issue – in one of the trials it was shown that only four years of raw eating, about 20% of bone mass was lost (not in all cases but mostly in case of fructarians). Another documented that children brought up raw eating suffered from mental retardation. It is likely this diet is doable yet very hard. Personally, I believe that raw fruit and vegetable should indeed be a foundation of diet but it’s vital to ensure ingesting protein, calcium and good fats. This keeps cholesterol levels even. Supplementation is vital – at least B12. You can compose a healthy eating plan based on raw food but it won’t decidedly involve banana-only menu.