Vegan, paleo, flexitarian, raw food – These diets are on everyone’s lips, leading to a diet hysteria
Vegan, paleo, flexitarian, raw food diet, fruitarian, etc., the current trends in alternative diets range from daily routines to absurd. The hype is immense, thus, creating conflicts and a diet hysteria within our society.
Some consider giving up animal products the right way, others believe that only a Stone Age diet is really healthy, third parties only want to eat what falls from the tree on its own.
When it comes to our food choices, many of us suddenly become experts. Everyone has their own well-founded philosophy and sometimes represents it vehemently, especially in social networks.
I have looked at the trendiest diets and introduce them, a bit tongue in cheek, because there are already enough humorless discussions.
Vegetarianism – meat-free diets
Vegetarians abstain from meat and fish, bu,t usually, consume other animal products such as milk and eggs. A study also stated that there are mainly moral reasons for choosing alternative diets such as vegetarian food.
According to a Harris Poll in March of 2019, four percent of Americans are vegetarians and 20 percent tend to eat vegan meals sometimes, and others even on a regular basis. Please, note that four percent equals 10 million American adults.
The subdivision into “Ovo-Vegetarian” (eggs, but no dairy products) and “Lacto-Vegetarian” (dairy products, but no eggs) is more the result of a desire for clear drawers than those significant currents could actually be identified.
Vegetarianism is also medically accepted. The society for nutrition claims that “If parents or children decide for balanced and varied ovo-lacto-vegetarian nutrition – without meat and fish, but with eggs and dairy products – then we can recommend this as a permanent diet.”
Conflict Potential: Medium to High. Passionate meat lovers and vegans feel equally provoked by vegetarians, albeit for completely opposite reasons. Conversely, vegetarians do not want bloody steaks on the grill, nor do they want to give up their barbecue cheese.
It is the right nutrition for animal lovers, climate protectors, health apostles, pragmatists and everyone who’s spiritual outlook has changed.
Veganism the animal-free diet
Vegans abstain, mostly for moral, but also for health reasons (study) – to any products of animal origin. They are looking for alternatives, such as vegetable proteins derived from legumes, seeds and nuts instead of eggs and milk.
Veganism goes beyond nutrition. Most vegans do not only eat vegan food, but they also live vegan. They refrain in all areas of life from the use of animal substances, such as silk, wool, leather, honey or additives derived from animal products.
“Vegan” has been considered the lifestyle trend par excellence for several years now. Although the market is growing, it still is relatively small for now. Despite everything, however, vegans inevitably invest a lot of time in their way of life. Unfortunately, they have to deal more often with attacks, too.
Conflict Potential: High. Meat-eaters and “mere” vegetarians regularly accuse vegans of being fanatics (“Vegan-Nazis”). Conversely, vegans accuse others of being “corpse-eaters.”
It is the ideal nutrition form for animal rights activists, individualists and people who changed their beliefs after or during the spiritual awakening process.
Flexitarismus – To curb the meat consumption
I, personally, actually agree with the flexitarian concept. We all know that too much meat (especially red meat) isn’t good for us, so why not cut down on it and put a trendy name on your new movement? The flexitarian diet certainly is the most widespread nutrition form.
It is an alternative way of life, which many already unknowingly live if you really think about it: A couple of days a week you live like a vegetarian or vegan and preferably consume raw food. This is considered very healthy and would be quite feasible for everyone.
Conflict potential: Low. They go vegan among vegans, vegetarians among vegetarians – and then secretly devour a steak (just kidding!)
Proper diet for gourmets, meat and fish lovers, people who suffer conflict-shyness and those who want to take small steps toward vegetarianism/veganism.
Paleo – Nutritional forms just like in the Stone Age
This particular diet is also called stone-age or primeval nutrition and is an alternative form of nutrition, which allows only those foods that our ancestors in the Paleolithic (allegedly) have already eaten. Theory: Our body can only process these foods properly because we are actually still Stone Age people deep within us.
Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and some fats are all allowed. Excludes cereals, legumes, sugar, dairy products, additives and highly processed fats.
Although dispensing with processed foods makes sense, the meatiness of this diet is not sustainable in today’s context. It gets really absurd when the food comes mainly from industrial factory farming.
Conflict Potential: Medium. The high meat consumption is not compatible with the expectations of vegans and vegetarians, while their diet does not sit well with the Paleo philosophy, either.
Paleo is the right nutrition for meat lovers, allergic people, lactose-intolerant and experimental persons.
Paleo-vegan – Eat like the Stone Age vegan
Depending on the Paleo school, milk is not really a food that would be allowed with this diet – because it is already based on livestock farming. This creates links to veganism – one could then speak of paleo-vegan. No animals, no grain – there are only vegetables and nuts.
Conflict Potential: High. Satisfying the very selective needs of a Paleo-Vegan is difficult.
This is the perfect diet for no one, because it is incredibly difficult to eat sensibly and at the same time paleo-vegan. Vegans avoid meat and eggs and prefer legumes and cereals. Paleos, however, consume exactly the opposite. Thus, how could someone even come up with such an idea (smh)?
Clean Eating – The diet without manufactured goods
Clean Eating (“clean food”) is a movement that ostensibly focuses primarily on health effects. In this manner, one can well avoid unpopular additives, but also perform very well in terms of sustainability.
The most important rule is that you should eat only natural foods. Clean Eaters try to completely dispense with processed foods (preservatives, additives).
You should also eat 5 to 6 small meals a day with this diet, drink plenty of water, largely do without sugar and white flour and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Animal products are allowed, as long as they are, organic, free-range and not processed, whereby one must consider already with milk products, which are strongly processed. This diet is reasonable, obvious and actually quite “normal”.
Clean Eating may be considered a very sustainable diet. Because we consume many environmental byproducts, such as palm oil, only because of the many convenience products that we buy in supermarkets carry it.
In addition, the absence of highly processed foods often leads automatically to the renunciation of heavily packaged food.
Conflict potential: Low. In fact, anyone with some common sense should realize that this diet is as healthy as it is sustainable.
The right diet for sensible, health-conscious, hobby cooks, pragmatists, and independent people.
Raw food – The nutritional form without cooking
Raw eaters believe that heating food destroys important vitamins and nutrients. They, therefore, eat only raw or heated edibles to a maximum of 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some less strict raw foodists consume food that’s heated up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, this is all a matter of perspective. Foods include, for example, a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs.
Raw food is considered a healthy diet without a doubt, but it is not completely beneficial. After all, those who eat only raw food, inevitably feed one-sidedly and expose themselves to the danger of deficiency symptoms. Our bodies can absorb certain vitamins better when they are heated.
Other vitamins, such as vitamin B12, barely exist in fruits and vegetables. Therefore, people on a raw food diet, along with vegetarians and vegans, diligently need to supplement specific nutrients.
Many, but by no means all, raw food dieters are vegan. This is understandable because to eat a steak, or let alone pork, without cooking can become truly dangerous to our health.
Conflict points: Low! Not much wrong with this form of nutrition as long as one keeps the daily vitamin and mineral requirement in mind.
It’s the ideal diet for very busy people, frugal individuals, and, now be honest, all those who are too lazy to cook.
Fruganismus – Eat without damaging the plant
There are many diets, and fruitarians eat what falls from the tree. The so-called fruitarians or “frugans” go one step further than vegans: not only animals but also plants should not be harmed for their nourishment.
Therefore, fruitarians eat only foods whose crop does not damage the plant: such as fruits, nuts and seeds, many also eat grains and certain vegetables.
Tubers or roots, such as potatoes or onions, are taboo. Some fruitarians even try to consume only fruits that have fallen from the tree by themselves.
The fruganism belongs to the rather absurd nutritional ideas, because it carries the danger of the deficiency of many nutrients if not carefully monitored and supplemented.
Conflict potential: Low. The number of real fruitarians is very manageable.
Correct nutrition for plant lovers, moralists, extreme Empaths, minimalists and disciplined people.
Slow Food – Enjoy with responsibility
Slow Food is an international non-profit organization, but also a philosophy of food. All food should be “good” (in terms of delicious, healthy, fresh), prepared “clean”, without causing damage to humans, nature or animals, and all those involved should be treated fairly.
Slow food activists are committed to promoting responsible agriculture and traditional food-craft, and they feed accordingly: as organic, regional and fair as possible, but not dogmatic. This diet does not necessarily focus on health, but above all on sustainability aspects.
Conflict Potential: Low to Medium. Slow food activists like to look down on “cheap” consumers in the first place. Thus, they must hear the accusation of indulging in luxury issues.
Correct nutrition for gourmets, pragmatists, sustainability activists, local patriots, high earners, people with respect for the environment as well as for animals and humankind.
Which diets are the best?
This raises the question of which nutritional forms are actually the “best”. I like to think that that is the wrong question. Also, I want to clarify once more that I wrote the “conflict potentials” in this article with a wink in the eye.
I’m just as confused as the rest of us regarding the ‘perfect diet.” All of the above have their pros and cons alike. I appreciate all consumers who are consciously participating in trying to find the ultimate nutrition form for all of us.
That’s why the right question would be rather: Is our “normal” diet, which today often consists of highly processed, elaborately packaged finished products and many animal components of factory farming, really healthy? The answer is no, and the alternative diets listed above consistently try to get away from it in their own way.
In my opinion, smart and healthy is, therefore, a mixture of diets: more raw food and more natural foods, less processed, supermarket food and definitely fewer animal products. We shouldn’t fight about who’s right and who’s wrong, but stick our heads together and work out the perfect and most satisfactory solution for all, instead.
What are we thinking about now? Is this neverending diet hysteria and fight about who’s right also confusing you? Let me know your stance regarding diets and food choices in a comment below.
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