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Low-carb diet? Check. Paleo Diet? Check. The Gabriel Method? Check. Tried going Vegan? Check! I’ve pretty much tried every diet trend that’s ever come out in my quest to lose weight. As a matter of fact, one of the main purposes of this blog is to share lessons I’ve learned along the way about the health benefits of foods and various ways of eating that will help you maintain optimum health or to lose weight if that’s your ultimate goal.
Throughout the blog there are other posts about different ways of eating, but I wanted to revisit and compare some of them within one blog post. I specifically wanted to elaborate on the keto, vegan, paleo and flexitarian diets because I’ve found varying levels of success with them. Let’s get into more details about some diet plans that can help you lose weight fast.
There is no question that many people have found great success in losing weight on the Keto Diet, myself included. To recap, the Keto Diet is basically a low-carb diet on steroids. Eating a ketogenic diet causes your body to rely on ketones for energy instead of the glucose/glycogen you normally get from carbs. This in turn causes your body to burn fat for energy.
The basic requirements for the keto diet are that the majority of your calories come from fat (about 70%). You get to eat a moderate amount of protein (about 25% of total calories) and consume less than 30 grams of carbohydrates per day (5% of calories). Some versions of the diet allow for as much as 50 grams of carbs per day.
Ultimately, I think the total amount of allowed carbs will depend on each person’s unique nutritional requirements. Fine-tune the Keto Diet to your unique needs by experimenting with varying carb amounts. This way, you can find your ideal daily carb amounts for optimal fat loss.
I lost 8 pounds after following this diet for four weeks. Not bad, but this was mostly water weight. While on Keto, I found myself less hungry due to all the fat I ate. Even though I was allowed to eat as much fat as possible, I tried to stick to healthy fats such as Earth Balance spread, avocados, almond butter, nuts, etc. It was overall pretty satisfying and there were many substitutes and recipes available for when I craved something carby.
If you are able to stick to an extremely low-carb diet, I recommend that you try the Keto Diet. As always, check with your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to drastically change your diet, and do your research to be sure you are doing the right things.
Vegetarianism or veganism whatever you want to call it, going vegan or eating a primarily plant-based diet is difficult for many of us. Why? Because we’ve been conditioned to believe that in order to get that most essential nutrient – protein – we need to consume animals and animal products. Overarching this need for protein is the fact that we find animals delicious!
How can we give up animal-based proteins? Why would we want to? Let’s briefly examine the beef industry and its impact on our bodies and the environment. According to timeforchange.org:
“A cow does on overage release between 70 and 120 kg of Methane per year. Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2). But the negative effect on the climate of Methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2. Therefore, the release of about 100 kg Methane per year for each cow is equivalent to about 2’300 kg CO2 per year.”
These numbers alone should give us all pause to reflect on the damage to the environment caused by our consumption of meat. However, we are omnivores, and not all of us will subscribe to a diet completely free of animal products. On a personal level, I believe in moderation and making small changes that could have big and positive impacts, both on our bodies and the environment.
There are plenty of tasty, healthy options that provide both protein and the mouthfeel we associate with eating meat. Organic firm tofu, tempeh, jackfruit, TVP (textured vegetable protein), and seitan are some great meat substitutes. Using the right spices and seasonings can make you forget that you’re not eating meat. It’s a definite win-win: you enjoy delicious, healthy food while saving animals and the environment.
What do you think of the vegan lifestyle? Are you willing to try it? Are you already vegan? Got any great recipes to share? Let me know below in the comments. Next up is the Paleo Diet.
Have you ever tried the Paleo Diet? If so, you’ll know that it’s not as easy as it seems because you have to seriously watch your carb intake, including grains and cereals. So, what do you do? It’s not easy giving up grains! Many people have found success around this obstacle by using low-carb flours and bake mixes to satisfy their carb cravings.
Caution should be observed, however, to limit your intake of these products or you might end up eating too much and sabotage your weight loss efforts. This post will tell you what you need to know to ensure you select the right ingredients that will let you occasionally enjoy bread and pastries while going Paleo.
To make baked products, you will need good low-carb flours like the following:
- Carbalose flour by Tova is very effective for making tasty low-carb white bread and other pastries.
- Carbquik (also by Tova) is the perfect choice If you’re looking for a baking mix for biscuits, pancakes, and the like.
- Almond flour, coconut flour, and flax meal round out the list of Paleo-friendly “flours.”
These products let you enjoy an occasional slice of bread, or biscuits, or pancakes while sticking to the basic tenets of the Paleo diet.
Make sure your recipes have other Paleo-friendly ingredients (like eggs, healthy oils, etc.), so you can stay on plan. Also ensure to eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, grass-fed meats, fish, nuts/seeds, and avoid refined sugar, potatoes, overly salty foods, legumes, processed foods, and candy/junk food.
Any good recipe with these foods should let you achieve success. Now that you know what ingredients to use, you’re ready to Paleo without worrying about your carb intake.
My most recent way of eating is popularly known as the flexitarian diet. Just as its name implies, this is a flexible diet where you have a variety of eating choices.
On the flexitarian diet, you can incorporate all or some of the previously listed diets and tweak it just so it fits your lifestyle. On the flexitarian diet, you get the foods you enjoy eating including a moderate amount of sweets. Below are a few examples of how you can potentially construct your own flexitarian diet or way of eating:
- If you enjoy high protein and/or fatty foods like bacon, butter, eggs, yogurt, and the like, you can try incorporating aspects of the keto and paleo diets into your eating plan. If your goal is to lose weight, be sure to closely follow the requirements of both diets by limiting your carb intake and/or only eating whole-grain sources of carbohydrates.
- If you enjoy eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and limited amounts of animal protein, then you can follow a more plant-based flexitarian diet by incorporating all the healthy plant-based foods you enjoy. As always and with any diet, limit your consumption of added sugars or use substitutes where needed.
- If you want, you can also follow a more strict plant-based flexitarian diet where most of your nutrients come from plants, fruits, and grains with very little or no animal protein. If you want no animal-sourced food at all, then simply follow the vegan diet
So Which is the Best Diet Plan to Lose Weight Fast?
No one diet or way of eating will be suitable for everyone, this is why it’s important for us to have choices when it comes to our nutrition. Let’s face it, the role of food is to provide fuel for our bodies, but we also enjoy eating food (some of us a bit too much!).
If your goal is to lose weight, any of the diets above can work depending on your body type coupled with physical exercise. Because the majority of weight loss depends on calorie consumption, you don’t have to overdo it by working out, but you must include some form of physical activity for at least 20 minutes every day.
So there you have it. Four different diet plans to help you lose weight. Which one do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time, happy eating!