Paleo, Zone or ?? Which ‘diet’ do you follow?

Image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No doubt you’ve heard about the Paleo Diet. This diet advocates eating like a caveman (or cavewoman as the case may be). The Paleo Diet includes grass-produced meats, eggs, fish/seafood, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and healthful oils such as olive, flaxseed, walnut, macademia, almond and coconut.

That’s straight from the website of thepaleodiet.com. The diet, devised by Dr. Loren Cordain, aims to mimic our Stone Age ancestors. Because our ancestors (theoretically) didn’t have access to grains, legumes, dairy or salt, these should not be eaten (neither should processed foods and refined sugar for obvious reasons).

Many athletes are turning to the paleo diet in the belief that it will help them improve their performance. I’m not one of them.

There’s also the Zone Diet. This is a diet that is 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrates. Every meal should contain this proportion of nutrients. In this diet, there are favorable and unfavorable carbs and proteins. Now I don’t know about you, but I really don’t have time to calculate which percentage of my meal is 30-30-40.

Go to any bookstore and you’ll find a shelf full of books about diets – the aforementioned Paleo and Zone along with the Atkins and many more.

What do these diets have in common? They tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat, or when to eat what, or how much to each in which proportion.

I prefer to eat what I want, when I want. I believe that all “real” (i.e., unprocessed) food provides important nutrients for us. That leaves out the Paleo diet, which doesn’t allow for dairy. I have a glass of milk daily, am trying to incorporate more yogurt for the probiotic benefits, and love cheese.

It also leaves out the Zone diet because as an athlete who needs to feed her muscles, I need at least 70 grams of protein daily. I’m sure that’s more than the 30% the Zone diet advocates.

I found out there’s a name for the way of eating I prefer – agnostic. It’s how many pro athletes eat. According to Active.com, where I came across this term, there are 10 basic types of foods:

Mandatory:
vegetables
fruit

Recommended:
nuts and seeds
high-quality meats and fish
whole grains
dairy

Acceptable:
refined grains
low-quality meats
sweets
fried foods

The one rule of agnostic healthy eating is this: Each week you must eat each of the two mandatory foods more often than any other food type; you must eat any of the recommended food types you choose to eat more often than any of the acceptable food types; and you must eat any of the acceptable food types you choose to eat less often than any of the mandatory or recommended food types.

While I still don’t like the use of “mandatory” and “acceptable,” isn’t this just basic common sense? Didn’t our mothers tell us to eat our fruits and vegetables? (and isn’t that what the USDA has been telling us lately?). And don’t we already know that fried foods are not going to give us the energy we need?

I think I have the working out aspect of my life down pretty well but I’m still trying to figure out the diet part, trying to figure out what really works for me and what doesn’t

What about you? Is there a ‘diet’ you follow? How is it working for you?


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