Poll: What kind of lifestyle diets have you tried?

July 1, 2009

Understanding nutrition labels

I’m writing about analyzing the rhetoric behind nutrition labels on food products over at Living Rhetorically in the Real World. Check it out to learn how to decipher labels and to offer your input about your frustrations with the sneaky marketing tricks used in our grocery stores!

Giveaway winner

I’m happy to announce that the winner of the Zhena’s Gypsy Tea giveaway is… Spring Girl! Congratulations! E-mail me your mailing address and I’ll contact the company with your info so they can send your tea to you.

Last month’s poll

Last month we discussed our differing opinions regarding taking medication and/or supplements. Of 40 voters, 3% take drugs as soon as they get the sniffles, 30% take them because they’ve been prescribed something special by a doctor, 48% only take them when they’re very seriously ill, and 20% take all-natural supplements or vitamins on a regular basis. I thought that many more would say that they take meds or supplements regularly, but it’s good to know that we’re mostly relying on food as our sources of nutrition. I firmly believe that diet alone can make a drastic difference in our immune system- it won’t be able to do it every time, but the majority of the time, what you eat is going to have a huge impact on your state of health.

This month’s poll

We’re doing our monthly polls at the beginning of each month now rather than the end- I’ve decided I prefer the beginning of the month. That means that we skipped June altogether. No matter! Onto July’s poll (this is a controversial one that many people might feel very impassioned about, so bear in mind that the views presented here are my personal opinion only, I’m not an expert, and I don’t want anyone to feel offended!):

Lately I have become very interested in and curious about vegan and raw foodist diets. They seem to be cropping up more and more these days, and both of these lifestyles are something that I personally have very little knowledge about. From the little that I do know, it sounds as though these diets do not fit with my health philosophy (no eggs? What is this madness! :)). However, I’m also aware that oftentimes we disagree with other perspectives simply because we don’t know enough about them and therefore do not understand them. There has also been a lot of conflicting information in the media debating whether either of these diets are beneficial to our health. My solution to getting to the bottom of it all? Try out these lifestyles, of course! In the future, I would like to do each of these as challenges (but not now. The Burpee Challenge and the Run A Race Challenge are enough at the moment). I’m undecided as to which I’ll challenge myself with first- does anyone have a preference (seeing as I’ll be writing all about it on this blog when I get around to undertaking the challenge)?

So! What kind of lifestyle diets have you tried? Which ones have improved your life and which ones have worsened your health? Answer the poll, checking all and any that apply to you, and expand on your answer in the comments! My understanding is that all of our bodies are different, so we should follow a nutritious diet that our body agrees with. It’s for this reason that I’m not a huge fan of extreme philosophies (unless, of course, some kind of medical condition requires extreme measures). Vegans? Raw foodists? This is where you get to chime in! I’m endlessly curious about the healthiness of these diets. Eventually I’ll be trying out your lifestyles so that I can really form a proper opinion about them and gain greater understanding, so any tips you have about transitioning from being a flexitarian to being a temporary vegan or raw foodist would be most helpful.

…while I was creating this poll, it occurred to me that I’ve never heard of anyone going on a “low protein” diet. That’s kind of funny. What’s so special about carbs and fats that some “experts” tell us to limit them, anyway?

And HAPPY CANADA DAY, everyone!


  1. LAUGHED at the low protein comment until it hit me that, back in the DAY, with susan powter (remember her??) and her EAT ALL YOU WANT AS LONG AS IT IS FAT FREE!!! I DID do low protein πŸ™‚

  2. In my opinion, based on hundreds of independent nutritional studies, the healthiest diet is near-vegan, high raw and whole. That’s where you see powerful disease protection, amazing healing and abundant ultra-wellness.

  3. Happy Canada Day my Canadian friend.

  4. I’m a vegan who is slowly transitioning raw, and I was thinking about your decision to try one or the other for a challenge. I think you should try veganism first since it tends to be less of a shock to the system than going cold turkey raw. When you say raw, are you talking about raw vegan (then veganism first makes even more sense) or just raw (including raw eggs and meats and dairy?) This is how I became vegan by the way…a small experiment to understand it better, then it kept going because I felt better than before! But, I do agree with Hanlie’s comment, and have read much to support it. The healthiest diet is near vegan (including fish as the non-vegan part), mostly raw and whole.

  5. I’ve tried ’em all. Much to my own detriment. Sigh. Gotta second MizFit’s comment – they never call it a “low protein” diet but they sure do exist! (And raw foodism is quite often one of them.)

  6. I haven’t tried any of those diets – not fully. I have, however, found myself incorporating aspects of all of those diets into the way I eat, though. I think that we can learn from all of these ways of eating (though I think that the thought process behind low fat and low carb diets might be flawed) even if we don’t fully embrace the diets.

  7. MizFit- ahaha. These so-called “diet experts” just kill me.

    Hanlie- I’ve heard that as well- but I wonder, do these diets really give the best balance of nutrients? Or is it absolutely necessary to supplement because some nutrients are harder to find/more difficult to absorb in plant form?

    Hangry Pants- I hereby proclaim you an honourary Canadian πŸ™‚

    Lia- thanks for the advice! I suppose if I were going raw I might as well go all the way raw vegan. And I do absolutely agree that eating WHOLE foods is healthiest.

    Charlotte- interesting! I didn’t think of raw foodism as being low protein, but I guess that would make sense…

    Cathy- and THAT is a major part of what these nutrition challenges are all about! To teach ourselves that incorporating a moderate balanced approach, using bits and pieces of different healthy lifestyles, is the most beneficial.

  8. Interesting post! I’ve tried a variety of diets. None of them were the magic bullet for me, but I definitely learned from them. Moderate low carb diets were very beneficial for me. It wasn’t sustainable as a long term way to eat, but it helped me to learn things about my appetite and the way my body responds to food.

    I’m still a fan of low GI eating. I don’t pay close attention to it, but its something that definitely influences my food choices.

  9. Heh, I put vegetarian down, although to be honest it’s kind of a cheat…see I was raised as a vegetarian until I was about 6. My parents were vegetarians when I was born (until my younger brother discovered the joys of peperoni pizza and McDonald’s through a friend.)

    I’ve toyed with the idea of being vegetarian again, I really don’t eat that much meat still, but I do love me the occasional bacon. So I’m sticking with a “flexitarian” diet ^_~

  10. I’m not really a ‘diet’ person. So many just seem too extreme. Often, diets are based on physiological properties; but are taken too far for my comfort.

    Personally, I try to take the middle road…eating a mix healthy foods with the occasional indulgent splurge to keep me sane. Personally, I find no need to cut out entire food groups (ie. meat, carbs, etc.), unless its truly for personal preference or medical reasons. Everything in moderation is a good rule to live by….

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  12. That is a cool idea to try them all. I’ve done the ow carb thing, which is what I have the most successful weight loss with. I’ve never heard of a strictly low protein diet, but I’ve heard a lot lately about how we eat too much protein anyway. It’s a thought.

    I’ve done the vegetarian thing too, which was fun when I had other people preparing all my meals. I’ve been thinking about trying it again or even going to raw food. A lot of my vegan friends recently went to raw and they love it. Its a cool idea.

  13. The ratio of proteins to fats and carbohydrates that is optimal will be different for each person. Consider the eskimo that eats 90% protein and fat compared to the South American Indian that eats 90% carbohydrates. Each is satisfying their genetic potential and geographical needs at the same time. If you tried to switch them over, wherever they lived in the world, they would both suffer!

    The key is to find out whether you are an eskimo or an Indian!

    So in essence I do agree that you should try all the diets. I certainly have. My family heritage is British through and through and considering we get extremely cold winters I thrive much more on a high protein and high fat diet, especially in the colder months. When I tried a high carb/vegetarian diet I really struggled.

    Just try them all and monitor your well-being!

  14. I initially stopped all meat except for seafood (mostly fish). Then I went low fat, sugar, and salt, and little or no dairy(dairy is meat) and no eggs(they are meat, and a fetus at that). Caviar = belch!!

    Lots of fruits, veggies, and some form of grain is usually on the menu every day.

  15. Great idea with the polls!

    And I have to say I really like the way you approached the vegan, raw food lifestyle with an open mind. That is really what it takes.

    But if I may add in too, at first to a typical omnivore, especially if one eats a SAD diet, it may seem that these two (or it could be one and the same) lifestyles are extreme and perhaps even unrealistic, but truly knowledge is everything.

    When you learn how the animal products end up on your table, when you learn the unspeakable environmental impact from them and most importantly when you learn the connection to your health it is really mind blowing.

    For me personally it just came to a point where I could no longer ignore the facts and today I feel better than ever πŸ™‚

  16. I’ve never tried any of those but if I were to do so, I think it should be a slow and gradual process. Everything in moderation works for me but I respect how other people eat. Before taking on any of these, I think that being well informed is key to achieving best results.

  17. Call me an unambitious underachiever, but I’ve never tried any of those, nor do I plan to. πŸ™‚ I’m happy enough just following the ‘healthier-than-I-used-to-be’ lifestyle.

  18. Happy Canada Day!

    My fiance Jeff was born there ( his mom and dad each had their own family homes there and that is where/how his parents met!) so Canada holds a special place in our hearts. Once we get married I will have dual citizenship just like he does!

    I would love to do a poll. I would want to see how many people have taken dietary supplements for hte purpose of losing weight i.e hydroxycut, xenadrine, ally, etc etc. I actually did take those ( when the FDA had NOT banned ephedra yet) back in 1999/2000 when I was struggling with the eating disorder. I only wonder how many other people buy into the crap that some people push to society, all the while, unknowingly being awful for your health!

  19. Hil- so true that we learn tons from trying different things. And I knew I forgot one- of course, low GI!

    Meg- but you DID try vegetarianism at one point- and that’s what this curious mind wants to know πŸ˜‰

    RickyRae- oh, absolutely. I’m using the word “diet” here as a way to describe the way we eat- not the “I’m on a diet” sort of way.

    Mary- in a way you’re right about how we eat too much protein- most people eat the wrong types of protein and excessive amounts of it. Which is why protein powders etc are often a waste.

    Brett- my thoughts exactly.

    Dr. J- that is super impressive. In a way it’s sort of what I strive for- except I’d never give up my beloved eggs πŸ™‚

    Evita & Mia- I think you’re right about that. Knowledge is power, after all!

    Cammy- definitely progress with that!

    bHealthier- ugh, it’s awful, isn’t it? And now these days, I wonder how many people buy into that crap, all the while KNOWING it’s bad for their health but still taking the diet pills anyway because they think it’s worth it to lose the weight. PS That’s awesome that you’ll be getting dual citizenship!

  20. I am doing south beach at the moment, basically because my husband’s doctor suggested it for him, and it helps if we do things together! I need to lose 30 pounds, he needs to lose at least 100.

    I am taking less insulin so that’s good! Loved this post!

  21. If i weren’t anemic I’m sure i would be a vegan, everything that keeps happening lately points to a Vegan style diet being best for my health. Happy 4th of July Sagan =)

  22. haha, that strikes out to me, too, why they don’t limit proteins but carbs and fats get the bad rep…I had my share of the low-carb diet…never again!

  23. I tried vegetarian, and may again, but for me what worked for weight loss (not just health) was a diet that contained less than 30% of the calories from fat. It was probably more like 20% on a daily average. When I did that, and I still follow it, I lost 150 pounds.

    I have tried going vegetarian (for 3 months), but found it hard to eat vegetarian, and cook for a large family (9). We only eat chicken as a meat anyway, but it was a little hard to make something different for myself.

    Great post, and I can’t wait for you to try all these diets!!

  24. I’m not convinced that raw foods, nor vegan, is the best. A lot of food isn’t very digestible before cooking, and the same can be said for plant sources of some nutrients (iron, B12). I’ve been vegan (not for long), vegetarian (many years), now I’m flexitarian, but moving to evenly omnivore. I don’t like most meat, with the exception of fish (especially raw), bacon, and an occasional burger, and I may try a bite of other stuff.

    Oh, and of course, there was the low fat (low protein) diets of the 80s/90s. What a disaster that was!

  25. I would like to try vegan for 1 month, just to see what it’s like. Just curiosity, mostly.
    Low carb has been the way to go for me: keeps me energetic, satisfies my hunger, and calms my anxiety over weight-gain.

  26. I voted for Other in the poll, and listed Mediterranean diet. It’s definitely the tastiest in my book! Oh, yes, and very healthy, too. πŸ™‚

  27. i don’t like labels, but i have really enjoyed exploring other styles of eating!

  28. I’ve recently been on a health kick and I’ve decided to become a vegetarian. I’ve got to do some research just to make sure I’ll be ok with nutrition amounts (I’m an athlete) but I’m excited! (And I love to read food lables. Food shopping takes forever, but it is worth it!)

  29. […] month we discussed the different diets that we have all tried. We had 103 votes: 26% have tried low fat, 25% have tried low carb, 21% have tried vegetarian, 12% […]

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