In a world of the Whole30, Weight Watchers, and “Diets to get your beach body ready,” it can be difficult to develop a meal plan that helps achieve your goals of losing weight or getting stronger. All of these diet plans, however, revolve around a common idea: Becoming healthier.
Healthy is a relative term and its definition can vary from one person to the next. Below are five specialty diets that may help achieve some personal goals of feeling better or getting stronger, whatever that “healthy” definition means to you.
Thanksgiving dinner concluded, and suddenly the whole family is destined to find a spot on the couch and retire for the next two hours in a food-induced coma. Everyone is complaining about how they ate too much, and people are clutching their stomachs and ready to nap.
Could it be the excessive amount of turkey and mashed potatoes? Or, perhaps, it’s the gluten found in the dinner rolls.
Consuming gluten, for some people, can cause reactions such as inflammation and can often lead to more serious health issues in the future. The number of Americans following a gluten-free diet significantly increased between 2009 and 2014. Gluten is found in various grains like barley, rye, triticale and wheat, so it can be difficult to find some food substitutes that fit specific cravings without having to deal with gluten.
Different isn’t all bad, though! Being gluten free does not mean giving up every grain. Quinoa, rice, sorghum and corn do not have gluten. In addition, many restaurants have a gluten free menu that you can order from, available upon request!
Low FODMAP Diet
When it comes to losing weight, it seems that most people want a quick fix. They may resort to a three-day juice cleanse, or expect to lose a few pounds because they had a salad for lunch. For all the people that want to try a specialty diet, but do not expect to stay on one forever, the low FODMAP diet may be the winner.
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. This diet was created by researchers at Monash University in Australia. It is meant to be followed as a short-term plan, for a period of only 2-6 weeks under the guidance of a dietician.
FODMAPs are osmotic, meaning they pull water into the intestinal tract. In simpler terms, FODMAPs are carbohydrates (sugars) that are found in foods. Not all carbohydrates are considered FODMAPs. When eaten in excess they may not be digested or absorbed well and could become fermented by bacteria in your intestinal tract.
To kick start this diet, first consult a dietician. It would entail cutting out a lot of dairy products, such as sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. It may also include cutting out some dried fruit, stone fruit like peaches, and others like apples, cherries, mango, and papaya.
The paleo diet resembles a diet that our ancestors followed long ago. The name of the diet comes from the Paleolithic period because the foods allowed on this diet come from food cavemen or people from the stone age could have hunted or gathered.
This diet is meant to help a person eat cleaner and get stronger. It may help with weight loss without having to constantly count calories. With a paleo diet, focus on eating more meats and vegetables to align the foods consumed with a human’s genetic makeup.
Families that have a history of high blood pressure may look to the DASH Diet for a solution to help maintain the issue. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and is designed to prevent high blood pressure. Its purpose is to lower blood pressure without medication.
This diet plan includes a meal plan rich in fruits, vegetables, and low fat or nonfat dairy. It also involves many whole grains and lean meats. Following guidelines for sodium intake, the DASH diet has proven to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, if followed carefully.
Healthy, for some, can mean maintaining good practices for certain parts of their bodies. More and more people are recommended to follow a low-oxalate diet to maintain a healthy calcium-oxalate ratio for kidney health.
Oxalate is found in plant-based foods and is a so-called “anti-nutrient” because it binds with nutrients we need, like calcium and other minerals, making them unavailable for your body. Oxalate can be found in a wide array of foods especially leafy greens like spinach and kale, as well as grains, nuts, beans, tea and more. The low-oxalate diet involves avoiding these foods with lots of oxalates. Read more on low-oxalate diets and how to follow them.
Following a specialty diet is a commitment, but it can pay great dividends if followed carefully. It is best to first consult with your healthcare professional to find out which diet plan is best, and then take the next step into becoming a healthier version of yourself!