As the weather warms up and we hopefully are able to spend more time outside with friends and family, we may be asking ourselves how we can get in better shape. Based on our own experiences here at Caveman, it is tough to maintain a careful diet in these stressful times (and we are pretty sure millions of people can relate). Whether it's because we are excited to be able to go to the beach with our family or just to be healthier, people may start exploring diets but the amount of information out there can make it difficult to decide which one is right for you.
It can be pretty tough to figure out what diet you should follow, and a quick Google search might make things seem even more complicated. Indeed, there are many different diets out there and a good deal of them are sensationalist fads, which can make it even more difficult to figure out what you should do.
If the last paragraph feels relatable to you, then this guide is for you! The purpose of this short-but-thorough guide is to give you a basic understanding of the more popular types of diets that can best aid you in your fitness goals - no matter what those might be. What’s most important is picking a diet that fits with your lifestyle and expectations, as each of these plans vary in how strict they are and what they allow you to do.
As always, if you haven't already, consult a doctor or dietitian before making any big changes to your diet and lifestyle. While being healthy is key to a long, happy life, being safe is a big priority as well!
This is probably the term you’ve heard the most. “Clean eating” is a phrase that gets thrown around quite a lot when it comes to discussing diet regimens; unfortunately, how to define clean eating typically varies from person to person. According to WebMD, eating clean is defined as choosing foods to eat that are “as close to their natural form as possible.”1 In essence, it means that you are cutting down on, or removing entirely, processed and preserved foods in favor of fresh, unprocessed foods. “Clean eating” can be a good first step for some individuals looking to clean up their diet, but most may find it confusing due to the lack of rigidity and framework for what does and doesn't constitute “clean” food. Because of this, clean eating is great for general wellness but may be too free-form for individuals looking to lose weight or gain muscle. On an additional note - while Caveman Foods’ products are more paleo diet-focused, they make a great choice for someone looking to eat clean due to their minimally processed ingredients and great taste without fillers or artificial sweeteners.
The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet is a balanced eating plan based on what might have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era. In our opinion, the benefits of this diet are avoiding overly processed foods upon which we have become too reliant. The Paleo Diet is similar to clean eating, but involves a bit more structure and restriction – namely, foods including processed grains, dairy, high sugar foods, or legumes are not permitted on the Paleo Diet. What is left is foods like meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Because the Paleo Diet is fairly low in carbs and high in fat & protein, it makes an excellent choice for those looking to maintain an active lifestyle. What’s more is that all of Caveman Foods’ products are made specifically with individuals following the Paleo diet in mind - in fact, all of our products are certified Paleo or Paleo-friendly by the one and only Paleo Foundation.
A great option that has been surging in popularity for someone looking to lose weight , the Keto diet has in some form has actually been around for quite some time. Named for a natural body process known as ketosis, the Keto diet takes advantage of body’s response to not getting enough glucose from food, as it begins metabolizing its own glucose using your fat cells as fuel. This results in relatively quick fat loss compared to other diet plans, according to DietDoctor. Unlike the Paleo diet and “clean eating,” which are focused more on what you eat versus how much, the Keto diet requires you to focus on how much carbohydrates, fats, and proteins you eat each day. That being said, the Keto diet has some flexibility so long as you don't go over your carbohydrate limit and your ratios of carbs to protein and fat. While the Keto diet is one of the preferred options for quick fat loss, some may find the restrictions challenging to maintain. While Caveman does not design products specifically for keto diets, some of our meat products can be part of a keto regimen because of their high protein to carbohydrate ratios. As we recommend with any major diet changes, it’s good to talk to your doctor about these options and to try them out before committing long term.
Intermittent Fasting (“IF”)
Intermittent fasting is another form of dieting that has seen huge popularity recently. While the hype surrounding intermittent fasting may make it seem like another fad diet, it can actually be quite effective for general wellness as well as weight loss. Put simply, intermittent fasting is a type of diet plan where you give yourself a window of time where you’re allowed to eat, and outside of that window you fast. The most common type of fasting plan is an “eight to sixteen” split; so out of a 24 hour period, you will eat within an eight hour window (say, from noon to 8 pm), and you will fast the following sixteen hours (from 8pm to noon the next day). Reasons to adopt an IF lifestyle can include being able to eat more at once while keeping your overall calorie count low, or because your lifestyle may make it difficult to eat during the day. Either way, the benefits of intermittent fasting are clear: intermittent fasting can reduce stress and inflammation in the body as well as lower risks for type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and various types of cancers. Additionally, fasting can boost cellular repair and growth hormone levels in the bloodstream while being extremely effective for weight loss - this is due to intermittent fasting’s ability to boost your metabolism from eating more dense meals with a low overall calorie count while fasting for the remainder of the day.
At the end of the day, we at Caveman believe the key is getting back to better. Better ingredients, less processing, more time in nature. We don’t encourage you to follow diets with strict rules but if that is what works best for you, we also support that. Do your research and figure out how it will fit with your life. We do know that being active and eating a healthy, balanced diet is probably the best thing for all of us. For us at Caveman, consistency is critical. We are big fans of paleo-based diets and clean eating because they emphasize "rules" that are easy to follow. By avoiding overly processed foods and seeking whole foods, we are already most of the way there. Stay balanced and stay consistent. Best of luck!