SPREAD THE LOVE


A healthy life is a happy life – or so those pesky centenarians would have you believe! But what does it actually mean to be healthy and how can one go about living a lifestyle? Well, reducing stress, staying active, and getting enough sleep all contribute to a more healthful lifestyle. But what we eat is one of the most simple and effective ways to boost our health. Even modest changes in the right direction can have enormously positive impacts.

There is no shortage of fad diets out there, and even more disinformation on what a healthy diet should entail. Many diets diets play on people’s desire for short-term gains and perpetuate false information about unhealthy foods – people just love to hear good news about their bad habits!

So before diving into any diet you need to ask yourself: what are your goals? Is your sole objective quick weight loss, or are you looking for a permanent and sustainable lifestyle change? Sometimes the “quick fix” will get you an instant result but at the expense of your long-term health.

Disclaimer: Consult a health professional or registered dietician before attempting any significant dietary changes.

Advertisements

1. Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet

Arguably the healthiest diet on the planet, with the greatest potential for sustained weight-loss, reducing all-cause mortality and increasing longevity is a whole-food diet derived primarily of plant foods. Spoiler alert – virtually all of the other diets on this list are centered around whole plants foods.

On this diet the primary source of calories comes from whole-food staples such as cooked beans, legumes, whole grains and starchy vegetables (like potatoes, squash, corn etc.) while minimizing or completely eliminating animal products and processed or refined foods. This diet should also include ample amounts of nutrient dense and fiber-rich foods such as leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, nuts and seeds.

What to eat
What To EatWhat To Avoid
checkmark All whole starches & vegetablescross mark Meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs
checkmark All beans: lentils, legumes, etc.cross mark Refined & heavily processed foods
checkmark All whole grains, seeds, nutscross mark Oil, sugar & excess salt
checkmark All whole fruits & berries
want to learn more?

Advertisements

2. Nutritarian Diet

The nutritarian diet takes whole-food plant-based eating to another level, focusing primarily on calorically light, nutrient dense, bio-available foods such as whole and raw fruits and vegetables, cooked beans, lentils, and a big helping of mushrooms and onions. Whole grains, starchy vegetables as well as nuts and seeds can be incorporated into the diet, but should not be the primary source of calories. Processed or refined foods should be avoided completely (including oils, sugars, flours, and excess salt).

What to eat
What To EatWhat To Avoid
checkmark Whole, primarily raw vegetables (especially leafy greens)cross mark Meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs
checkmark All beans: Lentils, legumes, etc.cross mark Refined & heavily processed foods
checkmark All fruits & berriescross mark Oil, sugar & excess salt
checkmark Limited starches, grains, seeds, nuts
want to learn more?
Advertisements

3. Vegan Diet

A vegan diet is sometimes used as a catch-all for any diet that excludes animal products. However, this is a bit misguided because traditional veganism is not just a diet, but a moral stance that seeks to exclude the use of animal products not just in food, but in all aspects of life. Veganism also has no pre-requisite to be healthy – it is entirely possible to be a “junk food vegan”. That being said, veganism can be a great gateway into the world of healthy eating. The focus should be on healthy whole plant foods, but refined and processed foods are not off limits.

What to eat
What To EatWhat To Avoid
checkmark All starches & vegetablescross mark Meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs
checkmark All beans: lentils, legumes, etc.cross mark All animal-derived products
checkmark All fruits & berries
checkmark All grains, seeds & nuts
checkmark Limited oil, salt, sugar, & processed foods
want to learn more?
Advertisements

4. Vegetarian Diet

A vegetarian diet, often confused for a vegan diet, is comprised primarily of plant-based foods but incorporates limited amounts of eggs and dairy products as well as processed and refined foods. It is a great option for those who want to eat healthier, but have trouble giving up some of their favourite staple foods (because let’s face it – almost every popular food has some type of dairy in it). Similar to a vegan diet, a vegetarian diet is as healthy as you decide to make it. The more whole plant foods you incorporate, the healthier it will be.

What to eat
What To EatWhat To Avoid
checkmark All starches and vegetablescross mark Meat, fish, poultry
checkmark All beans: Lentils, legumes, etc.
checkmark All fruits & berries
checkmark All grains, seeds & nuts
checkmark Limited oil, salt, sugar, & processed foods
checkmark Dairy & eggs
Want to learn more?
Advertisements

5. Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is all the rage right now for its purported health benefits. It was originally popularized in the 1960s after certain populations living in Greece and Italy were found to have fewer instances of deaths caused by coronary heart disease. In contrast to what many believe, the Mediterranean diet is not centered around fish, pasta, red wine and olive oil. Rather, the focus is on whole plant foods with the addition of some of the aforementioned staples. The majority of calories should come from fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains, while red meat, dairy, eggs and even red wine should be consumed in limited quantities.

What to eat
What To EatWhat To Avoid
checkmark Whole starches and vegetablescross mark Red and processed meats
checkmark Beans: Lentils, legumes, etc.cross mark Refined foods
checkmark All fruits & berriescross mark Butter (substitute with olive oil)
checkmark Whole grains, seeds, nuts & herbs
checkmark Olive oil, limited salt & sugar
checkmark Fish, dairy & eggs
checkmark Limited amounts of red wine
Want to learn more?
Advertisements

6. DASH Diet

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was created to help reduce hypertension through healthy eating habits. While the primary focus of this diet is to both reduce sodium intake and consume foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, there are significant positive runoff effects due to the restricted intake of high-fat, high cholesterol foods. The majority of calories should come from fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean meats and low-fat dairy. Limited amounts of healthy fats may also be incorporated into the diet. The overall goal should be to keep total sodium intake to less than 2,300mg per day.

What to eat
What To EatWhat To Avoid
checkmark Whole starches and vegetablescross mark Added salt
checkmark Beans: Lentils, legumes, etc.cross mark Fatty meats
checkmark Fruits, berries & vegetablescross mark High-fat dairy (Whole milk, butter, etc)
checkmark Whole grains, seeds & nuts
checkmark Limited oil, sugar, & refined foods
checkmark Limited lean meats
checkmark Limited low-fat dairy & eggs
Want to learn more?
Advertisements

7. New Nordic Diet

Nope, this isn’t a diet comprised entirely of Ikea’s Swedish meatballs. Rather, the Nordic diet is quite similar to the Mediterranean diet, emphasizing whole plant foods and seafood, while swapping out olive oil for canola oil. It was created by a group of nutritionists, scientists and chefs to combat growing obesity rates and unsustainable farming practices in the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland). The diet should include ample whole fruits, berries, vegetables, beans, potatoes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seafood, while avoiding the intake of red and fatty meats as well as processed foods.

What to eat
What To EatWhat To Avoid
checkmark Starches: potatoes, rice, etc.cross mark Processed and refined foods
checkmark Beans; Lentils, legumes, etc.cross mark Red and fatty meats
checkmark Fruits, berries & vegetables
checkmark All grains, seeds & nuts
checkmark Canola oil
checkmark Fish, other seafood, game meats
checkmark Low-fat dairy & free-range eggs
Want to learn more?
Advertisements

8. Traditional Okinawa diet

Think high-carb diets are the devil? Think again! The island of Okinawa in Japan is home to the longest-living people on earth, with a higher concentration of centenarians compared to anywhere else in the world. And if you hadn’t already guessed, the majority of their diet centers around carbohydrates. 90% of the diet is comprised of whole plant foods including sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and whole grains. The remainder is made up mostly of soy foods and very limited amounts of seafood, while red meat, dairy, fruits, nuts, seeds, refined foods and oil are almost completely avoided.

Interesting fact: since the traditional Western diet has been introduced to the island, instances of disease and death have skyrocketed.

What to eat
What To EatWhat To Avoid
checkmark Whole starches: potatoes, rice,cross mark All meats
checkmark Soy beans & products (i.e. tofu)cross mark Most fish and seafood
checkmark Vegetablescross mark Dairy and eggs
checkmark Whole grainscross mark Most fruits, nuts and seeds
checkmark Very limited white fish and seafoodcross mark Processed and refined foods
cross mark Excess salt and oil
Want to learn more?
Advertisements

9. West African Diet

West African diets are wonderfully rich in tradition and flavour! Similar to the Okinawa diet, they are centered around starchy carbohydrate foods such as yams and sweet potatoes in addition to plenty of whole grains and legumes. The are also rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and plenty of herbs and spices, while fish, eggs, poultry and dairy should be consumed in moderation.

What to eat
What To EatWhat To Avoid
checkmark Whole Starches: potatoes, yams, rice etc.cross mark Processed or refined products
checkmark Beans; Lentils, legumes, etc.cross mark Red meats
checkmark Fruits & vegetablescross mark Excess salt
checkmark Whole grains & nuts
checkmark Fish and other seafood
checkmark Limited dairy & eggs
Want to learn more?
Advertisements

Disclosure: Please note that this post may include affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you choose to purchase through them. We only recommend products the we would use and any income received goes towards keeping this community supported and open to all.


2 Comments »

Leave a Reply