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No matter how you slice and dice it, the foundation for all human diets should be centered around plants, especially vegetables.
Plants contain fermentable fibers which break down into SCFA and feed our trillions of gut bacteria. They also contain phytochemicals (antioxidants and polyphenols) which are essential for optimal health.
Phytochemicals are exclusively found in plants and can be thought of as biologically active compounds of the plants immune system which give fruits and vegetables their bright color.
The more phytochemicals we consume, the better our body is able to combat oxidative stress, reduce stress induced apoptosis, decrease inflammation, and protect the gut.
• Vegan: no animal products
• Vegetarian: no meat but consume eggs or dairy
• Pescatarian: include fish/seafood but no meat. May also consume eggs and dairy.
• Low-FODMAP: avoidance or minimizing consumption of lactose, fructans, fructose, polyols, and galacto-oligosaccharides.
• Ketogenic: high-fat (70-90%) and low-carbohydrate (3-5%) with total net carb intake <30g daily.
• Paleo: avoidance of grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugar & vegetable oils, and potatoes. An autoimmune paleo diet (AIP) further removes nuts, seeds, eggs, nightshades, and added sugar.
As you can see, all six of these meal have a few main things in common:
1️⃣ Lots of vegetables (adds volume)
2️⃣ An abundance of diverse color
3️⃣ Animal protein is more of a condiment and makes up <25% of the meal
4️⃣ Comprised of whole foods and minimally processed
When it comes to food, many people seem to have a strong alliance to a particular diet/lifestyle trend. Either you’re a dedicated vegan, a devoted vegetarian, a staunch paleo lover, or on the keto craze.
We are all unique individuals, and therefore, have different goals and needs. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa.
While I personally lean more towards a whole food, plant-centric, paleoish template, I am by no means a strict vegan, nor am I a vegetarian, or strict paleo.
Find a balanced, adequate, and varied diet that works best for you.