Fad or fiction? We explain what lies behind this latest diet to see if it really is a fad or has some benefits.
Diets that focus on eating naturally have become popular in recent years and for good cause. Convenience foods became affordable in recent decades and seem particularly useful in our busy 21st century lifestyles. However, what has now become prevalent, are the amount of health problems that are related to food. Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimers, Obesity, the list can go on and on and on. We also are aware of a LOT of people who are suddenly 'allergic' to something or have been advised to delete a food from their diet.
How did the human race get itself in such a sorry state? James Chestnut, a wellness expert and Chiropractor is often quoted as saying that if the human race were any other species of animal with the current level of chronic illness it would be verging on extinction. Thought provoking, isn't it?
Eating naturally is a healthy approach to fuelling our bodies because it is simple and resonates with the way our bodies have evolved to eat. Research in biology, biochemistry, ophthalmology, dermatology and many other disciplines indicate that it may be our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugars, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. All of these 'illnesses' have a common thread. Inflammation. While that inflammation seems to affect different parts of our bodies resulting in symptoms relating to illnesses, it is still inflammation. By eating food that our bodies have evolved to eat (as opposed to those produced by clever scientists) we seem to be better able to use and therefore run our bodies on it. It's that simple. Made by nature? Go for it! Made by man or heavily processed by man? Run from it as fast as you can!!!
There are different labels for more specific variants of a natural diet. You may hear these talked about in the press or social media as they are becoming more popular as ways to eat, thrive and battle inflammation in the body.
The PALEO diet is all about eating how our forebears would have, that we should only eat what we could have caught or gathered. To make this a more modern example, Paleo suggests avoiding sugars, grains and dairy products. As frightening as this may initially seem, it is actually quite easy to achieve. Eating meat, fish, poultry and vegetables that are raised in a healthy environment and eating a diet that they would do in the wild. Vegetables and fruit in season and in abundance and grown organically if possible. Paleo gives us an abundance of nutrients and fibre, and good fats to fuel the body. All the building blocks needed for vitality and a happily functioning person!
The PRIMAL diet concept is very similar. If it's natural, eat it. If it has seen any form of processing or modification, don't. However, the primal diet allows for a moderate amount of dairy products, if you can tolerate them.
LOW CARB such as the Atkins Diet focusses on eating a high proportion of protein and fat. Low-carb diets focus on removing sugars in all forms, but especially complex carbohydrates. We use two types of fuel for energy – either sugars or fats. All carbohydrate foods are converted to sugars inside the body so produce high energy levels, but often too much of the covered sugar is stored as fat and the process of breaking down and storing all that excess sugar puts stress on our digestive organs, especially the pancreas.
These are just a few examples of popular natural 'diets' at the moment, and the general guidelines for these need to be modified and changed around any existing intolerances or allergies. Where possible, we try and note this in the EAT section of our website. Please forgive us if we occasionally miss something.