Different dietary lifestyles are becoming increasingly popular due to the versatility of food products and supplements available to cater for all.
A few of the most popular are currently vegetarian, vegan and the gluten-free diet – this may be completely down to ethical reasons – alternatively, these dietary options have seen to be adopted for a number of health benefits they provide!
Individuals with anything from weight loss goals, improving physical performance, reduce fatigue or those aiming to a painful bloated stomach may benefit from making a lifestyle choice to enhance their overall health and fitness levels!
The Vegetarian Diet
Vegetarianism is a term for someone who does not consume any form of meat; those who don’t eat meat but do include fish in their diets are often called pescetarians.
However allow themselves to eat animal-based products such as eggs, yoghurt, milk etc!
One of the main reasons people choose to go vegetarian is because they are against animal suffering, and view the slaughter of animals for human consumption as unethical. Some animals are treated in an inhumane way, and by going vegetarian, you can help combat this. Of course, not all meat is sourced inhumanely, so if you are a meat eater, be sure to know where your meat came from!
According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians have a reduced risk of:
✓ Obesity & heart disease
✓ Colon cancer
✓ Adult-onset diabetes
✓ Lung cancer and breast cancer.
It’s also cheaper to eat green, since you aren’t spending a lot of money on meat. Fruit, vegetables and grains are much, much cheaper – it’s up to you to experiment!
The Vegan Diet
A vegan diet is a lot more strict in comparison to the vegetarian diet – no animal products allowed – including dairy!
The reasons, and benefits of a vegan diet are generally the same as for a vegetarian diet. However, since you are eating NO animal products, the general idea is that your health should be a lot better – but this again all depends on the person!
Why will your health increase with no dairy?…
There could be a multitude of reasons for this… for example, some may claim that animal products such as eggs can be high in fat, and cholesterol.
By cutting out all these products, individuals may decrease risks of certain diseases. Other benefits may include:
✓ Increased energy
Additional complex carbohydrates in the diet may began to keep you fuller for longer. In addition to this, due to the likes of wholegrain rice, grains etc being slow-release carbohydrates, your insulin levels won’t spike, therefore your body will be provided with a longer duration of energy. Carbohydrates aren’t the enemy – in fact, introducing more carbs into your diet will prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue!
✓ Tons of protein… “Where do you get your protein from?!”
Nuts, nut butters, beans, soy, tofu, quinoa, rice, green leafy vegetables – to name a few! A ton of natural foods you consume will contain protein. You needn’t worry about losing your lean muscle mass on a vegan diet, even if you’re a bodybuilder! Have a look a few sources of plant-based protein.
✓ Increase of antioxidants and vitamins
Many diets lack nutrients needed to effectively run your body and immune system properly! Increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and (maybe) grains may provide an abundance of vitamins. These may not only boost the immune system, but have a positive effect on the regeneration of cells = Nicer hair, skin, nails!
Going vegan can be very tough, so it is recommended that you take supplements so you do not lack essential fatty acids and vitamins – such as vitamin D.
The Gluten-Free Diet
A gluten-free diet means eating no gluten (honestly…) and is often found in grains such as wheat.
It is generally used to treat Celiac disease (a disease in which the small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten, leading to difficulty in digesting food,) but is also often utilised for the other health benefits it could potentially provide!
Individuals sometimes adopt gluten-free diets in hope to achieve:
✓ A weight loss goal
Losing weight might just be easier, since you’re removing a lot processed carbohydrates previously consumed.
✓ Treat a painful, bloated stomach
Your body may be able to digest your food more easily; therefore you will be less susceptible to stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea etc.
✓ Reduce fatigue
A Gluten-free lifestyle could potentially boost your energy throughout the day.
✓ Improve physical performance
Eating gluten free means eating no gluten (honestly) often found in grains such as wheat
Gluten-free foods and supplements are widely available nowadays!
Take Home Message
Previously, it would be hard to obtain food choices which fit the requirements of eat of these diets, but nowadays there are lots of different options which are widely available!
Match up your goals to each these diets and experiment to see whether you’d benefit towards reaching your goals!