I've been looking over the links and websites many of you left for me and have been learning about what seems to be the latest new trend in diets: eat like a caveman. Now, I'm not sure than Dukan fits this description, but it's interesting nonetheless and I wanted to share a little summary of these three eating plans and what I think about them. If I get any of my facts wrong, please correct me. I am still a little confused about what exactly these diets look like in real life.
First, Paleo. The Paleo (Paleolithic) Diet is very popular these days. There's a website where you can get started by doing something they call the Whole 30, which is basically 30 days eating only very specific foods. For 30 days, your menu looks like this:
Say YES to:
meat, fish, eggs, lots of vegetables, some fruit, good fats (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado) as well as nuts and seeds, and water
Say ABSOLUTELY NO to:
sugar in any form including honey, artificial sweeteners, agave nectar, and maple syrup
processed foods, alcohol, white potatoes
legumes including beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, and any form of soy
grains including wheat, rice, oats, corn and any other grain or grain product
dairy including butter, cheese, yogurt, milk products, whey powder
There is NO room for a cheat on this program. You have to 100% eat from the YES list and have nothing from the NO list for 30 days. You also cannot weigh or measure yourself during that time.
After 30 days, you can add some things back in, but I am not totally clear on what is allowed. You're still supposed to avoid processed foods, legumes, grains, and dairy. Forever.
Next, Primal. Apparently this is called The Primal Blueprint and originates from the website Mark's Daily Apple and its author, Mark Sisson. From what I gather, this is a more flexible, less restrictive version of Paleo. Primal also focuses on eating meats, fish, eggs, bugs (!), vegetables, and some fruit as well as nuts and seeds in moderation. But Primal also allows some other foods in moderation that are forbidden on Paleo, most notably dairy. The dairy should be full fat and raw or at least from grass fed cows. And Primal also gives you a lot of wiggle room to eat other stuff that isn't on the "yes" lists, because of the 80/20 principle (stick with the Primal Blueprint at least 80% of the time). Mark does warn against the inclusion of any processed carbs though and says they should be completely avoided.
Between the two, I see a lot of good. I don't think anyone can argue with eating a lot of vegetables and some fruit in moderation. Protein is important and both plans focus on good protein sources with a strong preference for pastured, grass fed animals or wild meat and fish. Healthy fats are essential and both include those.
I would not be opposed to trying the Whole 30. It sounds like it's basically an elimination diet, which is what my allergist may advise me to do anyway; we'll see. I don't think anyone will suffer by cutting out refined carbs, sugar, grains, legumes and dairy for a month. However if I were to take up this kind of eating, it would lean more towards Primal (minus the bugs) because it seems more doable to eat right 80% of the time rather than always striving for 100% and falling short. And I like the flexibility.
Then there's this Dukan Diet I have been reading about. It has four phases and from what I understand its focus is on weight loss (Paleo and Primal seem more concerned about health, appealing to people who are already at a normal weight).
In phase 1 (attack) you eat only proteins. This includes not only meat, fish, eggs, and seafood but also nonfat dairy products and tofu.
In phase 2 (cruise) you add lower carb veggies.
Apparently for weight loss you eat from this list of 100 safe foods and alternate protein days with protein and veggie days.
In phase 3 (consolidation) you reintroduce foods you cut out before, like grains and legumes.
In phase 4 (stabilization) you keep eating like that but add 3 Tbsp of oat bran per day, and have one day per week of "pure protein."
It's basically a low carb diet. I don't like the idea because in the end nothing seems to be changed (well, of course you'd not want to add back in junk food) and I am really turned off right now by "diets" that focus on weight loss rather than health. In other words, if you tell me not to eat grains, I want a good reason besides "to lose weight." That's the point I am at, personally, but I also think if YOU are ready to knuckle down and just lose the weight while figuring out the rest later, that is fine. Your choice, and I've done it myself, but I just can't take it anymore. I am so done with the diet mindset that I really need a drastic change. I am still working through Medifast Transition (week 3) and doing some thinking and reading in the meantime. I am really NOT interested in anymore diets, but the Whole 30 Paleo thing interests me as a way to determine what foods might be healthiest for me, with Primal in there possibly for the long term. I want to eat in a way that results in good health, lost weight, and avoiding food triggers that cause me to overeat.
So what do you think?
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