Thursday, January 17, 2013
I saw an article today that was comparing a very low-carb diet and intermittent fasting. There were two terms it used that I found interesting:
I really like this first term for some reason. When we scheme, we plot and plan - often with a hint of being sneaky or tricky / clever about it. So many times when someone wants to accomplish something with their food - whether it is burning fat faster or bulking up muscle or non-medically trying to improve their health or even making a statement about a moral or ethical belief or issue - they turn to one or another dietary scheme.
I think of it as different from fad diets for one key reason. In my mind a fad diet tends to be very unrealistic about long-term sustainability. No one ever plans to live on the grapefruit diet or the cabbage soup diet for the rest of their lives. People do plan to eat a vegetarian diet or a primal diet or other such schemes. In addition, fad diets often sound absurd and use anecdotal evidence as their whole proof. Dietary schemes, on the other hand, usually have at least some science or logic (right or wrong) on which they are based.
This was sort of defined as being a diet that goes counter to the way "most people eat" and often requiring "a drastic change in eating habits and priorities". For someone to eat a demanding diet requires rejecting food items that others consider normal. Eating out can become awkward as restaurants rarely cater to the dietary scheme. They also require a lot more attention to nutrient balances, a lot more planning and sometimes a lot more preparation.
This reminded me of trying to eat "health food" style -- following my mother's example. I remember rows of brown vitamin and mineral bottles, grainy seeds mixed into everything, so much focus on how modern agriculture produced food without much nutrition so we had to supplement it all in. To eat like that required pretty much baring the cupboards and starting fresh, replacing white flour with whole wheat and so on.
The time, effort and cost were demanding. (And the end result was not as appealing, though I don't consider that a flaw of the scheme so much as a lack of cooking skill on my part at the time.)
I think what I found intriguing about that was my own reaction to just about ANY dietary scheme.
The only named dietary scheme I ever really tried was the Zone Diet (guess it would be called a high-protein diet). The younger brother I was sharing an apartment with wanted to try it, so we figured out the menu. We had to do a special shopping trip to fill the kitchen with the necessary items and spend extra time checking recipes or using the ones provided.
Ultimately I've come to understand that I'm not willing to make drastic changes to my culinary comfort zone. Avoid gluten? Ain't gonna happen. Go low-carb? Nix meat? Dairy? All animal products? Unlikely to ever happen.
However, this doesn't leave me eating junk, junk, and junk.
There are so many possibilities in terms of what we can eat. I find it amusing at times to eat foods labeled as fitting within various dietary schemes. Vegetarian chili? Certainly! This omnivore is quite happy to include plant foods side-by-side with her animal foods. Gluten-free desserts? Chocolate meringue cookies and flourless domes are both DELICIOUS! I don't have to be on some sort of dietary scheme to pick yummy foods that just happen to fit within that scheme as well. Unprocessed foods? Have plenty of those ... right alongside my packaged and processed ones.