Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between them both, you see
They licked the platter clean. – 17th Century English nursery rhyme
Growing up I heard this little rhyme and never understood how one person could eat one thing and their companion eat something totally different. My mother wouldn’t have stood for it. Eat what’s on your plate. You’re not getting something different from the others.
Later in life I understood that this was actually a story of politics and the monarchy. The whole “eating” thing stuck with me so let’s talk about the many ways we like to fool ourselves into “licki[ing] the platter clean.”
The Keto Diet
A ketogenic diet is high in fat, moderate in proteins and low in carbs. Fats and proteins are the go-to fuel for your body. Low carb choices are abundant and varied – any veggies that are high in fiber but low in starch are good choices. Many seafood items are also very low to no carbs while still providing the high fat component. Burning fat and protein as fuel forces lower insulin levels and improved neural and brain health.
The Paleo Diet
This diet is also called the caveman diet as it most closely mimics foods eaten in the Paleolithic Age – the time of hunters and gatherers. This diet preaches moderation and all natural, basic foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seeds, nuts and fish. The Paleo steers clear of foods that were grown/farmed. These include grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, salt, potatoes (a very starchy vegetable grown AFTER the time of the early human) and processed foods. It is believed that returning to this diet will cause your body to return to a more balanced state.
South Beach or Atkins
Although these diets are trendier than those based on ratios of fats/proteins/carbohydrates or pre-modern foods present in the diet of 21st century humans they still have components based on balance and ratios. The South Beach Diet is similar to the ketogenic diet in its emphasis on low carbs lean protein and “good” fats but it is more varied with its food choices. Atkins was designed by a cardiologist and it is worked in phases. The first phase drastically reduces carbs, similar to ketogenics. Once the body goes into ketosis, low carb foods are introduced a bit at a time. The keto diet was introduced in 1920 to treat children with epilepsy and is based on percentages of the three components of a calorie – carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The Atkins diet is a 4 phase approach to weight loss which ends with lifelong maintenance goals.
Vegan or Vegetarian
Everyone has heard of the word vegetarian. It’s in the name. Vegetables are the focus. Vegetarians remove meat, poultry and seafood from their diets while still eating dairy and/or eggs. Those are called modified vegetarians. Vegans go one step further – no animals, no animal by products, nothing produced by animals. Honey is produced by bees therefore, honey is a no-no. Returning to a plant-based diet is definitely a good way to return to basics, similar to Paleo but without the emphasis on the “hunter” aspect of “hunter/gatherer.”
The problem arises with the Vitamin B-12 deficiency. It’s important for brain and blood health and boosts energy. It can be found in supplement form but both vegans and vegetarians tend to be vitamin b-12 deficient because animal foods provide a substantial amount of it. If nutritional needs are met, however, either diet can provide terrific health benefits.
His Wife Could Eat No Lean – Diets Are No Way To Live
Jack Sprat was watching his cholesterol levels.
His wife enjoyed whatever tasted good.
Between them both they found
They could find a happy medium.
Hmmmm…… it doesn’t rhyme but it does make sense. Diets are just labels we place on whatever satisfies (or doesn’t satisfy) hunger. Life is meant to be experienced. Enjoyed. Reveled in. Laughed about. When I’m hungry I eat food – plain and simple. As I’ve researched these various diets though I’m starting to analyze how food makes me feel. I’ve discovered that the benefits of eating foods that are healthy or natural or attractive or smell good are that I’m no longer hungry. I feel better. I have more energy. I’m excited about life. Take a step. Read for yourself. Consult the experts. Start with WebMD or the Mayo Clinic or other top nutrition experts. See if it makes sense to you. If it does strike a chord, why not eat something that’s potentially good for you?