“Have you heard about this New diet?”
“What diet are You on?”
“Can you eat this on Your diet?”
“Aren’t you sick of Always dieting?”
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get tired of the word diet, and the negative connotation people tie to it! Most people begin to assume dieting involves restricting ourselves to small amounts of food or only certain foods in order to loose weight. I think of my diet as the kind of food I habitually eat – it has nothing to do with weight. Food, and your diet, should simply provide energy and nourishment to the body.  So if it does the first but not the second or is highly processed with many chemical additives, I wouldn’t consider it a food! Sometimes weight loss or gain may be a side effect when changing eating habits; but, let’s face it – if we have to consume food for the rest of our lives, do we really want it to be restricted? I love real, whole, nourishing food, so I know I don’t!
Now, there are some ways of habitually eating that have become quite popular lately, and definitely coincide with a health conscious lifestyle. Fad or not, it’s important to fully understand them if you decide to follow one of these diets. With health and nutrition in mind, here’s your overview of some common diets (aka foods we habitually eat!):
  1. Paleo – Excludes: grains (oats, wheat, corn, rice, etc), legumes (peas, beans, soy nuts and peanuts), vegetable and seed oils (olive, sesame, canola, etc), and dairy. Can have: lean proteins (including seafood, meat and eggs), fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats (coconut oil and ghee are preferred for cooking). Avoid all forms of added sugar.
  2. Vegan –  Diet excludes: meat, fish, poultry, and other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products and honey.  Lifestyle excludes leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.  Can have: fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, spirulina, seaweed, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
  3. Dash Diet – The #1 diet ranking by US News & World Report. Allows sweets (5 or fewer). Excludes: high salt and trans fat processed foods.  Emphasizes: fruits (4-5 servings/day), vegetables (4-5 servings/day), low fat or nonfat dairy (2-3 servings/day). It also includes moderate amounts of whole grains (6-8 servings/day); lean meats (6 or fewer), fish and poultry; nuts and beans (4-5 servings/week). It is high fiber and low to moderate in fat. It is a plan that follows US guidelines for sodium content (1500-2000 mg max per day), along with vitamins and minerals (foods high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium).
  4. Grain/Gluten Free – Gluten is found in many grains and processed foods and has become very allergenic due to genetic modifications and pesticide use. Excludes grains such as: wheat, oats (unless certified GF), barley, rye, bulgar, couscous, semolina, spelt. Excludes many additives: ketchup, soy sauce, egg substitute, most processed and packages foods including vegan meats like seitan (vegan), syrups, sauces, ice creams, cheeses, etc. Grain free also excludes: corn (gluten-free), rice (gluten-free), millet (gluten-free), sorghum (gluten-free). Can have: unprocessed proteins, raw vegetables, natural dairy products, most seeds and nuts, uncanned beans.
  5. Vegetarian – Excludes: all red meat and pork.  All vegetarians choose from these basic food groups: grains, fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds. Can have alternate protein sources such as: tofu, tempeh (a fermented textured meat replacement from beans like soybean or black bean), seitan (a thick, textured meat replacement made from wheat gluten), quinoa or amaranth. Types of vegetarians include:

    Pesco-vegetarians – include seafood and fish
    Lacto-vegetarians – include dairy (milk, cheese and yogurt)
    Ovo-vegetarians – include eggs
    Ovo-lacto-vegetarians – include eggs and dairy


It’s best to follow the guidelines of your primary health care provider or certified nutrition coach, like mysel; especially if your diet does involve eliminating certain foods. You want to ensure you aren’t excluding vital minerals and vitamins when removing food groups from your daily diet. Email me at soma@somafitness.com if you need help designing your own custom meal plan.
On a side-note: Tamara and I along with some of our Soma Superheroes Spartan training team will be taking part in the Spartan Race this weekend! Wish us luck and stay tuned for updates on our race, as well as ways you can participate in a Spartan Race near you!