Tag Archives: vegetarian

Recipe: Kale and Quinoa Salad For Refreshing Lunch or Dinner

kale and quinoa saladI’ve been trying to lose weight since…well, since birth pretty much. I’ve been trying a lot harder now that I live on my own and have a lot more control over what I eat. One of the first things every diet (and I’ve been on most of them so I’m pretty knowledgeable of the field) is that it’s important to be able to cook for yourself. For the past three years I’ve learned to live mostly off of microwavable Lean Cuisines (have you tried their french bread pizza? Delicious!) but a few weeks ago I decided to give real cooking a try.

It turns out I’m kind of good at it! I started with a few recipe’s from Dr. Mark Hyman‘s book “The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook” because sugar is a huge weakness for me. My dad swears that I must be half ant. Anyway, I made my through sweet potato burgers, lemon garlic chicken, and a few great smoothies. Then shortly into the cooking expedition I started experimenting on my own! I made some really awesome yorkshire puddings and chicken olive oil pasta… before realizing I was heading back into my old carb heavy (and carbs are just bread sugars) habits. So I took some inspiration from Dr. Hyman and from my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles – Franklin & Co. and perfected a kale and quinoa salad that I wanted to share with all of you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium boneless chicken breast / pre-cut chicken strips (can leave out for vegetarian/vegan options)
  • kale (I prefer Trader Joes kale because it’s already washed and cut, but to each their own!)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 avocado
  • dried cranberries
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (Have a bottle ready if you’re going with chicken)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Preparations:

Chicken – If you’re going for the carnivore version of this salad, defrost a medium or small size chicken breast or frozen chicken strips. (I found some really great pre-cut chicken pieces, boneless and not mechanically processed at my nearby Super Target, go figure).  Fill a medium sauce pan with just enough olive oil to cover the bottom the pan and cook chicken on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Make sure to flip over about half-way through. Chicken is properly cooked when the pinkness from the center has disappeared. Add seasoning as you wish – I like a small dash of garlic herb or lemon and pepper – but add a pinch of whatever you like. If you used a chicken breast, cut into desired pieces to add into the salad.

Quinoa – The first time I tried this I used a full cup of quinoa and had some left over for weeks, so I’ve learned to cut down (1 cup of uncooked quinoa = 3 cups cooked, jeez). Add 1/2 cup of quinoa with 1 cup of water in a small pot and cook on medium to low heat until the water is absorbed into the quinoa (Usually about 10-12 minutes, but may vary depending on your oven).

Kale – To prepare the kale, wash the leaves and cut away any extra long and thick stems. Add 1bsp olive oil, 1tbsp lemon juice and 1/4 tsp of sea salt to the leaves. Then using your hands massage the mixture into the kale (just like you’re rubbing someone’s shoulders). You’ll see the kale curl into a rich dark green and you’ll know it’s ready.

Salad – Add the dried cranberries, tomatoes, chicken, quinoa and avocado to the salad and mix. The lemon juice and olive oil you used to massage the kale mix well enough that you won’t need any additional dressing (calorie save, what!).

This has been my staple lunch for a few weeks now because once I got the hang of cooking the chicken it only takes a few minutes to make! Feel free to change up the cranberries for something different if you aren’t a fan (I’ve tried it with strawberries or olives instead, but cranberries are still my favorite). Even with chicken the salad comes in under 300 calories if you are conservative with the olive oil. I’ve heard many of my friends complain about kale’s bitter taste which makes them reluctant to eat it. When you massage it with this scrub it makes it so delicious though. It’s such a refreshing dish.

This post has been part of my intent to cook more and get more confident in the kitchen. Please support my intent or help out by sharing your favorite recipes with me! 

What Are You Hungry For Recipe Round Up: Snacks to Meals and Sweet Desserts

Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 8.20.14 AMFor the last two weeks we hosted a “What Are You Hungry For?” give away and had a lot of submissions for our favorite healthy snack or meal recipe portion. While we could only pick one to win for the give away, we had so many good options that we wanted to showcase them for everyone. So everyone get your bookmarks and grocery lists ready because there are some very tasty and awesome options here for you, for the holiday season and all year round! (All links open in a new tab so it’s easy for you to save and come back for others)

Snacks

Roasted Brussel Sprout Chips – Debbie R.

No Bake Energy Bites – Julia W.

Meals

Paleo Egg in Ham Cups“I’ve been starting my day with this. It’s quite easy to substitute sliced turkey if one doesn’t eat pork.  And there’s so little prep and clean up for such a pretty, fool-proof meal.  I heat the oven while I put the coffee on, pop it in while I shower, and the egg is ready 15 minutes later, perfect timing! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And I’ve noticed a big, positive difference with this perfect-sized portion of pure protein.” – Gentry L.

Ricotta Fritters with Tomato Sauce & Courgette Salad* – “A proper, wholesome meal in minutes. These fritters are an absolute doddle and the crispy creaminess works a treat with the tomato sauce. Delicious at its best!” – Tatjana J. (Featured picture*)

Grilled Cheese Tomato SandwichPinki L.

Vegan

Kale Citrus Salad with Cranberries and Roasted Walnuts – “It is super fresh with vibrant colors, a burst of citrus, tang of cranberries, a nutty crunch, and the star of the show: superfood Kale! This salad is sure to turn any kale-hater around.  With the addition of dried cranberries and toasted walnuts, it is a wildly colorful, incredibly tasty, and amazingly healthy addition to any holiday feast.” – Dawn G. 

West African Sweet Potato Supper with Coconut Rice – “This is one of my family’s favorite recipes I found on the internet: delicious, healthy, filling, easy.” – Irene R. 

Sweet Dessert

Apple Crisp from Whole Foods – “I’ve been making this crisp recipe for years. It combines both apples and pears and is great this time of year! I substitute agave for the granulated sugar and its awesome with coconut milk ice cream on top!” – Stephanie F.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough DipKarla H. 

Thank you to everyone who submitted! We hope you have fun trying out some of these dishes! If you have a favorite healthy snack or meal recipe you want to share put it in the comments below. And make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter for how to enter our other give aways happening throughout the month of December!

The Superfood Ginger Roasted Cauliflower (Recipe)

(cc) Michelle Cowden
(cc) Michelle Cowden

Cauliflower is one of the world’s healthiest foods and with only 26 calories per cup, this power house vegetable not only packs a nutrient punch but will also help keep your waistline slim. Cauliflower is not only low in calories but also provides you with an array of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and fiber. No wonder I was salivating when I walked by the cauliflower. My body was craving all the nutrients in this amazing vegetable. If you just allow your body to speak to you, it will tell you what it really needs in order to feel good. I’m not talking giving in to the mind’s idea of cravings but the body’s idea of cravings. You know what I’m talking about. If I listen to my mind, I would consume cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner but if I listen to my body, it tells me what I need to eat.

Since I was recovering from being sick, my body was craving Vitamin C. It wasn’t until I looked into the nutrients of cauliflower did I realize there was 86% of the daily recommended vitamin c in one cup of cauliflower! This vegetable is amazing. You can use it to make an amazing soup, substitute it for mashed potatoes or even roast it.

Want to boost your immune system even more? Pair cauliflower with ginger. Ginger is an amazing anti-inflammatory spice. A little bit goes a long way to helping you alleviate arthritis, nausea, or detox when you have the flu or cold. And so I listened to my body as it craved vitamin C and other anti-inflammatories and came up with this amazing recipe. Thanks to Wakaya, I was able to create this amazing roasted cauliflower dish.

Ginger Roasted Cauliflower

Serves 4 side dishes or 2 main dishes

1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of Wakaya Ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Put all ingredients in a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil
  3. Roast for 25-30 minutes

Enjoy!

How to Make the Versatile Asian Peanut Sauce

aisan-sauce-small-210x150My favorite recipes are those that you can use for multiple purposes. When you’re trying to balance home life with work or taking your kids to a million extra curricular activities – it’s good to have a few recipes that can work for several occasions. One of my favorites is the Asian Peanut Sauce. I adopted it from a website Elena’s Pantry, made a few adjustments and now my family loves it!

It’s really simple and can be used as a pasta sauce, salad dressing or a vegetable dipping sauce.  I personally use it on my grilled chicken satay or in wraps, so really it can go with most everything! The best part is that it lasts for weeks in the refrigerator so you make it once and you have it on tap for a while! Here’s how you make it:

Ingredients

Instructions

I throw all of the ingredients into a high speed blender. Because of this I don’t bother mincing my garlic or my ginger. My lovely Blendtech does it for me. If you don’t have one of these awesome machines, you will need to chop the galic and the ginger finely and then place all of the ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously.

This sauce adds some flavor to just about any dish. Use as you wish.

Store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy! Do you have any recipes that are your multi-purpose go to items? Share them in the comments below! Or let us know if you try the peanut sauce and how it works out! 

Originally posted on my website, TappsTips.com

Sweeten Up Your Fall with Cinnamon Baked Apples and Cashew Cream

baked-apple-2sm-1024x682Cinnamon and apples are two of my favorite fall flavors. There are a lot of savory things that come with the cooler temperatures – pumpkin and squash, stuffing recipes, etc, which are great for the holidays. But I think fall also lends it self to amazing desserts, and why shouldn’t we give in to our sweet tooth every now and again? Together apple and cinnamon create delicious sweet treats that are still healthy.  Using cashew cream also erases some of the guilt you’d get from pairing with regular ice cream. This recipe is a great fall dessert – and it’s vegan. It is definitely enough by itself but you could also pair it with a nice apple pie if you are feeling indulgent.

Cashew Cream 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Soak the cashews for at least 4 hours.

Rinse the cashews until the water runs clear.

Put cashews, water and salt in blender.

Blend until smooth. It will have the consistency of heavy cream.

 

Cinnamon Baked Apples with Cashew Cream

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Wash and core apples

In a bowl combine all ingredients except the cashew cream and the honey.

Mix well.

Stuff the apples with the mixture

Pour @1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the baking dish and add the apples.

Cover with tin foil

Bake for @20 minutes or until the apples are soft

Put oven onto Hi Broil, remove tinfoil and broil the apples for @ 3 minutes or until the oats look brown and toasted.

Take the apple out and place in individual bowls.

Drizzle each one with a little bit of the liquid from the bottom of the pan.

Drizzle each one with one tablespoon of cashew cream.

For an added bit of decadence, drizzle with a little bit of raw honey.

Yum.

Originally posted on my website, Tapp’s Tips.com

Soy: Is it Safe for Me? A Cautionary Tale for People and Planet

shutterstock_121423399-e1361475949317I came across an article this week, written by Barry Boyd, MD, a board certified oncologist and hematologist, that does an excellent job of summing up, once and for all, the myths and facts around soy as it relates to breast cancer.  Fortunately, I think we’ve finally gotten to a point in science that we can confidently stand on one side of the fence when it comes to soy and this issue.  If you’re at all confused about soy and breast cancer, I recommend you give his article a read.

But, before you go and grill up your next soy veggie burger, you should know that there’s another cautionary tale to be told about this plump little legume.  It turns out much of the soy we eat today is not plump or even all that soy-like.  Thanks (or not) to advances in food technology, much of the soy we eat today is either genetically modified, washed and extracted with a neurotoxic petro-chemical, or both.  So, with Dr. Boyd’s talents for history telling as inspiration, allow me to tell you a bit of a story…

Soy is actually quite a deserved celebrity when it comes to beans.  It’s an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, contains heart healthy unsaturated fats, and is a rare vegetarian source of complete protein (a protein is considered complete when it matches the composition of the protein found in an egg).  If you’re a vegetarian, finding complete sources of protein is a big deal.  It’s also planet friendly as it’s grown domestically and has a much smaller carbon footprint than eating an equivalent amount of protein from an animal source (thus the veggie burger reference).  Maybe it’s because of all these positive attributes that soy has been such a point of focus for food scientists.  The fact that it’s a subsidized crop that US farmers are heavily incentivized to grow in mass quantities doesn’t hurt either.

Although all the aspects of a soybean are compelling, it’s really the protein that’s become a focus for the packaged food industry.  High protein diets are a bit of a nutrition fad if you haven’t noticed.   Although most of us have stepped back in recent years from the extremes of the Atkins Diet, more still seems to be better and what better ingredient to bump up protein levels in food than inexpensive and abundant soybeans?

So then, it should be no surprise that soy can be found in almost every packaged foods category.  From crackers to energy bars, ice cream to frozen waffles, soy boosts the protein levels of an incredible number of foods and can be found in more than 60% of processed foods in the marketplace today.

But here’s the thing: just as protein is an established fad, fat is an equally established phobia.  Mother Nature rarely creates food without a balanced mix of nutrients – some fat, some protein, some fiber and likely some antioxidants thrown in for good measure.  Ten grams of protein and zero grams of fat?  Nope, not found in nature and certainly not in a soybean.  So, to meet our demands for protein without all the scary fat, scientists developed a method to separate the two. Hexane is a petro-chemical that is drilled out from deep down in the earth.  When washed over soybeans it causes the fat to separate from the protein.  It’s incredibly efficient at what it does, much more so than mechanically pressing out the oil (the way expeller-pressed oils are extracted).  What you get at the end of the hexane washing process are two new ingredients, isolated soy protein and soybean oil.

Hexane is a pretty scary chemical. The Environmental Working Group classifies it as… [read the rest on KeeganSheridan.com

3 Soup Recipes to Warm Up Your Autumn

beet-soup1-1024x768With summer securely in our rearview mirrors, it’s time to start preparing for cooler temperatures. Get out your jackets and scarves, but what about when you’re home?

Soup! Whether you are battling one of those transitional season colds or just want an easy to warm you up as you watch the leaves fall outside. Soups are a simple and quick thing to make in the kitchen, and so easy to turn into your own recipes. And if you don’t finish all of it in one sitting you can always freeze the rest in a ziplock bag to be warmed up later.

Here are three of my favorite soup recipes, perfect for the fall season. Better yet, all of them can be made in 30 minutes or less for those that are always on the go.

1. Beet Fennel Soup

Ingredients:

  • beet – 3 medium (about 3 cups)
  • garlic – 1 clove
  • ginger – 1 thumb-sized piece
  • fennel – 1 bulb
  • kombu – 2 strips
  • caraway seeds – 1 tsp
  • cumin – 1/2 tsp
  • tarragon – 1 tsp
  • ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • fennel powder – 1/2 tsp
  • onion – 1 medium (1 cup chopped)
  • chicken stock – 1 quart (may substitute vegetable)
  • ghee – 1 tbsp
  • coconut milk – 1/2 cup (may use soy milk or regular milk)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Scrub the beets well and then chop into 1 inch cubes. Warning – this is a messy business! While your kids might love the mess, I would avoid wearing your favorite white shirt.

Chop fennel, garlic, ginger, and onion. I am pretty rough about it. No fine dicing for me..

Put the onion, garlic and ginger in a large saucepan with the ghee (or oil) and cook on medium-high, stirring often, until the onion is transluscent.

Turn the heat down to low.

Add caraway seeds, cumin, ginger powder, fennel powder, and tarragon and mix. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add beets and fennel and mix to coat. Let that cook for two to three minutes.

Add chicken or vegetable stock and kombu. Turn heat up to medium-high and cover until the soup starts a low boil.

Make sure to check the soup often so you don’t burn it.

When the soup starts to boil then turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for about a 1/2 an hour or until the beets are soft.

Take the kombu out.

With a hand blender, blend the soup until smooth.

Add coconut milk. Mix well.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Butternut Squash Soup

A bowl of butternut squash soup, which is packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, most notably C and the powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, which protect against heart disease, make this soup incredibly good for you too.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • 3 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth. If you make it if fresh, that is great. If not, Pacific Foods makes a nice organic one.
  • 1 piece of Khombu (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Put the broth, khombu and cubed squash in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium/low and let cook for 1/2 hour. Remove khombu. Blend with a hand blender until smooth. Add salt to taste.

I usually serve it with a hearty, whole-grain toast.  I like to cut it into strips for dipping. My older son was so excited he couldn’t wait for the toast to come out of the oven.

3. Creamy Dairy-Free Carrot Soup

This soup is a nutrient powerhouse that helps our family get through the colds and flus that often derail the holiday season.

The carrots are rich in Beta-Carotene which the liver converts to Vitamin A. This is important because Vitamin A helps to rid the body of the various toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. If our livers are not functioning properly, we are more susceptible to the viruses and bacteria that make us sick. A healthy liver is needed for a healthy body, so helping it do its job is like a natural form of health insurance.

Ingredients

  • carrots – 4 cups, chopped
  • ginger – 1 thumb-sized piece
  • ghee – 1 tbsp (may use coconut oil)
  • onion – 1 large
  • apple – 1 large
  • garlic – 1 clove
  • coriander – 1 tsp
  • caraway seeds – 1 tsp
  • coconut milk – 3/4 cup
  • chicken stock – 4 cups (may substitute vegetable stock)
  • salt and pepper – to taste

Instructions 

Chop the carrots, onions, ginger, apple, and garlic.

Put the onion, garlic and ginger in a large saucepan with the ghee (or coconut oil) and cook on medium-high, stirring often, until the onion is transluscent.

Turn the heat down to low.

Add caraway seeds and coriander and mix. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add carrots and apple and mix to coat. Let that cook for two to three minutes.

Add chicken or vegetable stock. Turn heat up to medium-high and cover until the soup starts a low boil.

Stir every few minutes to keep it from burning.

When the soup starts to boil then turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for about a 1/2 an hour or until the carrots are soft.

With a hand blender, blend the soup until smooth.

Add coconut milk. Mix well.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

10 Reasons Why Summer is the Season for Eating Well

raspberriesThere are so many reasons why I love the summertime: the green grass and warm sunshine, longer days and warmer evenings, more time to savor all the beauty of the outdoors. But the best part by far is the amazing abundance of healthy, fresh, whole foods everywhere you look. In celebration of the richness of the season, I’ve put together my top 10 reasons why there’s no better time to eat well.

1. Food is Fresh, Available, and Affordable

It’s easy to eat fresh, locally grown food when fruits and vegetables are as abundant and available as they are during the summer months. And when food is more available, it’s more affordable, too, since choosing local produce cuts the cost of shipping food from some far-off place.

When food is in season, it’s better for you. Except for freezing, most food storage practices cause a loss in nutrition and quality. Think of all the preservatives and toxic chemicals used to keep packaged foods from going rancid on grocery store shelves. Beware these processed and preserved foods that can’t die. Fresh food is alive, filled with all the nourishment and nutrients needed to keep you alive and thriving!

Eating locally is not only healthy for you, it’s great for your community, too. Participate in the grow-your-own movement by shopping at your local farmers’ market or join a CSA (community supported agriculture). See www.localharvest.org to find a CSA or farmers’ market near you. For more adventurous ways to go local, try that interesting little farm stand you drive by during your daily commute (they usually offer great value for seasonal fruit and veggies) or try a pick-your-own farm.

2. You Can Get Back To Basics

Summer is all about unwinding, relaxing, and enjoying the simple pleasures of good food and good company. Always keep basic staples in the pantry, so you’ll be ready for an easy, impromptu meal. They don’t need to cost much. To eat well, you don’t have to indulge in expensive specialty foods or the new, trendy exotic fruit du jour. Keep it simple.

Tip: Get back to basics by creating delectable meals out of everyday foods, such as beans and greens. Beans cost only 50 cents per serving, yet give you 7 grams of blood sugar-friendly fiber. Try the Black Bean Salad recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

3. You Can Savor the Flavor

Summer offers so many ways for you to add flavor to your food without resorting to salt and fat. Herbs, spices, and berries are all plentiful during the warmer months. Get creative, and experiment using herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or fresh dill. In the summertime, these are so easy to grow right in your own window!

4. You Can Lighten Your Load

Produce is available in huge quantities and varieties during the summer months. This wide array of options makes it easy to enjoy a light, plant-based diet, which can keep your heart healthy, your waistline slender, and your blood sugar levels optimized.

Try incorporating meatless Mondays into your weekly meal plan or try eating at least one meal a day without animal protein. This can help you lighten the load on your digestive system, as well as on the Earth, since raising animals for food has a greater impact on the environment than growing fruits and vegetables.

Tip: Choose non-GMO tempeh to replace ground beef in your next recipe. This one change will drastically trim your shopping bill, because tempeh costs about a third of what you’d pay for the amount of meat needed to feed a family of four!

5. There Are So Many Ways To Enjoy Your Leftovers

Remember all those leftover berries from the pick-your-own farm or all the fresh zucchini you found from the farmers’ market? Don’t waste them—re-use them! Here’s one great way to use Monday night’s chicken dinner in Tuesday morning’s breakfast: the Roasted Chicken and Egg White Cup recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

6. Dine Under the Stars

Add flare to your normal weeknight routine by creating your own summery dinner table outside. No need to go to fancy restaurants to make your meal feel special; decorate your outdoor table with some candles, stones, or fresh flowers to enhance your dining experience! Invite friends over. Make it a potluck! Relaxing under the stars, enjoying a fine meal with friends, will soothe your nerves and help you digest your food, while truly appreciating the magic of summertime.

Click to read the rest on DrHyman.com >>

Is Test-Tube Meat the Way of the Future?

burgerAccording to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the world’s demand for meat is expected to increase by more than two-thirds in the near future. With the human population ever-increasing and farmland continually decreasing, this demand is becoming a nearly impossible task.

What creative solutions can you think of for this dilemma? Encourage people to eat less meat? Institute measures to slow population growth? Explore new, untapped meat sources (ever tried pigeon or squirrel?)?

These humble suggestions are much too simplistic for researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Their solution? Test-tube meat! By harvesting muscle cells from a cow and combining it with a solution of sugars, fats, minerals, and proteins, Professor Mark Post and his team have created the first test-tube hamburger. Two brave volunteers tried the hamburger this morning at a private gathering in London, reporting not surprisingly that the meat lacked flavor.

The cultured meat of course lacks real fat, which is where much of the flavor comes from, as well as blood cells which leaves it an unappetizing gray color. But not to worry, the researchers added red beet juice to the mix to make it look more realistic:

test-tube-burger-2

This honestly seems like a bizarre path to go down to solve the growing global food crisis. Obviously we can no longer maintain the status quo, but might there not be simpler, more natural solutions?

In this video, the researchers and other science and technology leaders discuss the viability of the cultured meat option. In a direct counter to what our initial reaction might be, Google founder Sergey Brin states: “If what you’re doing is not seen by some people as science fiction, it’s probably not transformative enough.”

What do you think? Would you eat a test-tube hamburger? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images via Cultured Beef Project

Food Wars: Paleos, Vegans, Raw Foodists, Oh My!

Assault On Cupcake Hill

At a recent dinner the debate got heated over the various diets whirling out there now. One of my friends, a devout Paleo, said “I would bet on the the Paleos in a fight. Vegans are wimps.” Is this the new Bloods versus Crips, I thought? Are these the new turf battles?? The Jets versus the Sharks? Are feuding eating philosophies the new gang wars? Should we pit the Inuits against the 5 and 2 people and the Raw Foodists and see who survives? People are getting so heated over which nutritional regimen they’ve chosen to follow. The competition is the movement of the moment, and people are taking sides.

So, which diet is best? Let’s start by looking at a few of the most popular current eating philosophies.

Paleo

Otherwise known as the Caveman Diet. Paleos eat no grains, beans, soy, vegetable oil, or dairy. The main foods are meat, vegetables, and healthy fats. The idea is that our bodies have been programmed for millions of years to eat like this. It’s only in human kind’s (relatively) recent history that grains have been introduced, so our bodies don’t process them well.

Vegan

This movement has been gaining a lot of ground in recent years, largely among people who are concerned about the environment. Vegans eat nothing that comes from or is produced by an animal. No meat, eggs, dairy, or honey. The main foods are beans, nuts, grains, fruits, and vegetables. The idea is that our bodies don’t need animal protein to survive and that the environment is being damaged by the large numbers of cattle and poultry farms.

The Inuit

Otherwise known as the Eskimo Diet, The Inuit is similar to Paleo in that adherents believe our bodies function most efficiently on the foods our ancestors ate for millions of years. Our bodies are programmed to accept these foods and thrive on them. The Inuit Diet consists mostly of meat and fat. Unlike Paleo, there is very little vegetable consumption in this diet. There is also sparse dairy, and very few carbohydrates.

5 and 2

This diet promotes “normal” eating (meaning no restrictions) for 5 days a weeks and limited calorie intake for 2 days a week. For men it’s 600 calories and day and for women it is 500 calories a day. This diet is supposed to promote weight loss and increase longevity.

The China Study Diet

Based on a study done over 20 years with Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. The study showed that high consumption of animal-based foods is associated with more chronic disease. This diet promotes a high variety of vegetable and fruit consumption, low animal protein (mostly fish), low fats and oils, and no red meat or dairy.

Raw

This food philosophy is that no food should be heated above 115F. This diet allows for fruits, vegetables, raw dairy, raw nuts, and beans. Though the diet is largely vegetarian, it allows for raw meats such as sashimi and carpaccio. Advocates argue that raw or living foods have natural enzymes, which are critical in building proteins and rebuilding the body, and that heating kills the foods natural enzymes.

Where does that leave us?

The funny thing is that each of these diets has a large group of followers who swear by it, saying that they have never felt better. Proponents of each claim to have scientific proof that their diet is ideal, and yet many of the diets directly contradict each other. High fat, versus low fat. Meat versus no meat or low meat. Consistent food consumption versus restricted food consumption. It’s very confusing. You can understand why the debates get so heated.

Let’s remember the Paleo gang fighting the Vegan gang. At the end of the day, who is right? The answer is no one – and everyone. It all comes down to individual choices. What works for one person might not work for someone else. There is no universal ‘right’ when it comes to food.

The “best” diet is whichever works best for you. If you feel great, have good energy throughout the day, no headaches, or sore joints, and you sleep well at night without any form of medication, you have regular bowel movements and are happy with your weight then you are in great shape. If you don’t feel good or have any of these issues, then consider making some changes. Switch things up. Try these different diet theories on for size and see what creates balances in you. Maybe a little Inuit mixed with some 5 and 2 will be your answer. Maybe some China Study and Paleo will work for you. Well known food writer Mark Bittman is a vegan all day long and then lets loose and eats whatever he wants for dinner. I know vegans who eat eggs a few days a week because that is what they found works for them.

Let’s calm the wars and throw out the titles. Put down your weapons and pick up your forks. Let us all – Paleo, Vegan, Inuit, 5 and 2, Raw Foodists and China study people – sit down to feast, in peace and good health. Just perhaps not at the same restaurant.

 

Originally published on my blog, Tapp’s Tips.

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