What are the first thoughts that run through your head when you hear the word “diet”? The cravings, the hunger, the New Year’s resolution, maybe? Mainly, people tend to think about their efforts to shed some weight and the struggle that accompanies such endeavors.
However, on second thought, you may realize that the word “diet” has many more meanings and associations that go beyond the trying to lose weight. Simply put, diet is the way you eat. This can be influenced by your preferences, but can also be influenced by your health, religion, or even your ethics.
In most cases, at least today, people take control over what they eat, aiming to improve their wellbeing. The next logical question here is – what is a well-rounded and healthy diet that improves one’s wellbeing?
Many experts try to answer this question. Many people suggest different supplements or specific foods. Some of them go to extremes. The world of dieting is swamped with many fads and trends.
That just might be the reason why people want to learn more about the ancient diets and the way people ate and lived in the past. Some of those diets, slightly adjusted to the modern times, make excellent choices even today. Here are the four of them that deserve looking into:
The Paleo Diet
Ever tried to compare the appearance of a caveman and an average modern man? You don’t really think of cavemen as of chubby, rounded couch potatoes, do you? That’s more like a modern man. Why is that? What changed?
Two major things changed – the way we spend our day and the way we eat. The paleo diet actually tries to mimic the way our hunter and gatherer ancestors ate during the Paleolithic period. Hence the name.
Simply put, if you cannot hunt it or gather it, you should not eat it. There are many specific rules to this diet, but some of the main ideas are:
- You SHOULD eat: meat, local fruits and vegetables, fish/seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds, healthy oils.
- You SHOULDN’T eat: grains, legumes, dairy, potatoes, refined sugar, processed foods, salt, refined oils.
Therefore, you don’t need more than a few kitchen appliances that make your life easy and several good knives to prepare excellent, nutritious meals.
The Ketogenic Diet
Chronologically speaking, keto diet may be a bit closer to us than the Paleolithic period. However, we are still in the ancient times. Namely, there is the evidence that people in 500 BC tried to treat epilepsy by means of fasting and diet that resembles the keto diet.
In simple words, the keto diet today is based on creating eating plans that involve an extremely low intake of carbohydrates and a high intake of good fats.
What’s the reasoning behind this?
The point is to trick your body into the state of ketosis. When this metabolic state occurs, your liver produces ketones which are used to burn the fat from our body reserves, rather than producing insulin and glucose to burn carbs.
Therefore, your body uses a different kind of fuel. The one that you want burnt – fat!
Ketosis has its purpose in our bodies. It is triggered to preserve us from starvation. It means our body recognizes it is not getting enough food from the outside and decides to burn the reserves it stored.
However, you don’t need to starve yourself to trigger ketosis. It’s enough to cut down on carbs and increase fat intake. This is called the standard keto diet. There are also the targeted keto diet which involves taking small amounts of carbs in relation to exercise and the cyclical keto diet which involves one day a week to carb up.
If you are interested in keto, here are the basic pointers:
- You SHOULD eat: meats, leafy greens, high-fat-dairy, above-ground vegetables, nuts, avocados and berries.
- You SHOULDN’T EAT: grains, sugar, fruit, potatoes
The Mediterranean Diet
Another step closer to the modern times! Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional cuisine of the Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece.
Namely, this involves a lot of fish and vegetables, olive oil and bread dipped in olive oil, fruits, nuts and whole grains. These are the main principles of the Mediterranean diet:
- Comprising your diet mainly of plants
- Using healthy fats such as olive oil
- Replacing salt with herbs and spices
- Having red meat no more than a three times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
Also, your choice of dairy should include low-fat dairy. Remember Greek yoghurt? Additionally, the mood and the way you take your food are important in the Mediterranean. Moderate consumption of red wine is encouraged, as well as sharing meals with your loved ones. Sounds like a perfect recipe for wellbeing.
The Okinawan Diet
Okinawa is the largest of the beautiful Ryukyu Islands. Besides being so gorgeous, they are curious for another reason: people there live very long and healthy lives with very few incidences of cancer and heart diseases. People often think the reason behind this is the special traditional Okinawan diet.
The main foods in this type of diet are the purple-flesh sweet potato, taro root, bitter melons, soy, tofu, seaweed and seafood. Pork is highly appreciated, but it is eaten rarely and prepared in a way that eliminates all the saturated fats from it, turning it into high-quality protein.
When you take a look at these different diets, you can find some common themes. All of them involve reducing the intake of processed foods, sugar, refined oils and unnecessary high intake of salt. They all recommend fresh vegetables, fish and poultry.
However, no matter how healthy, tasty and logical these diets may seem to you, you need to consult your physician before starting a new diet plan, especially if you have kidney, liver or heart issues.
Kate Adams is a part of the Easy Kitchen Appliances team. She is a passionate writer, food lover and coffee addict. Kate loves discovering the “whys” behind the facts and turning them into interesting articles.