Diet Plans for The New Year – Which is right for you?

Banh Mi Gourmet Style

At Intelligent Gourmet, we know it’s not about losing weight – it’s about living your best life. And, the only way to do that is by giving your body everything it needs to thrive. That said, for many of us, part of becoming healthier, happier people involves undoing some of the less-great decisions of our pasts and, yes, losing weight. Unfortunately, changing your lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight (though one diet claims otherwise), and an actual “Diet” might be just what you need to kick-start your efforts. Here are a few Intelligent Gourmet-Approved plans.

With all the diets below, you can mix and match to create your own healthy and delicious eating plan that works for you. What matters is keeping your nutrition high, your calories controlled, and your exercise up! Be sure to combine your eating plan with a regimen of physical activity that is right for you. Whichever weight loss plan interests you, be sure to first discuss it with your primary health care provider.

The Mediterranean Diet
Resources: The New Sonoma Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, The Omega Diet, The New Mediterranean Diet

Who should consider this:
• People with families, since it has a wide variety of foods and is something everyone can do
• Those with a risk of heart disease
• Anyone who wants to maintain their healthy weight
• People interested in lifestyle changes and learning to eat for optimal health

The Mediterranean Diet is the recommended diet of the Mayo Clinic. Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Every meal is based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts legumes, seeds, herbs and spices – with moderate amounts of seafood, poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt. Red meat and sweets are a once-in-a-while treat.

The Anti- Inflammatory Diet

Resources: The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet, The Anti-Inflammation Zone, The Inflammation Free Diet Plan

Who should consider this:
• Those with a family history of heart disease
• A family history of arthritis or Alzheimer’s disease
• Anti-aging buffs looking for younger-looking skin
• Those with inflammation-related health problems

Anti-Inflammatory Diets focus on foods that are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. You’ll be eating salmon, lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts and low-fat dairy, but you’ll have to avoid processed foods made with flour, sugar or other sweeteners. No breads, cereals, crackers, fried foods, fruit juice, pasta, pizza, soda, or even frozen yogurt allowed. The up-side? You’ll look great!

Gluten Free Diet
Resources: Wheat Belly, Grain Brain, The G – Free Diet

Who should consider this:

• People with diagnosed celiac disease
• People with skin allergies
• Those with auto immune disease
• People with chronic inflammation
• Diabetics

If you don’t like to read labels this diet isn’t for you. It requires eliminating all contact with gluten to be effective. This diet is fabulous for people who love to make their food from scratch, using whole ingredients, since you’ll want more control over exactly what you’re putting into your body. Or you can always order Intelligent Gourmet meal plans. 😉

Vegan/Vegetarian Diet
Resources: Forks Over Knives, Eat to Live, The Kind Diet, The China Study

Who should consider this:
• People with hypertension
• People with high cholesterol
• Heart patients

The American Dietetic Association has given the official “Okay” to vegetarian and vegan diets as being healthful and nutritionally adequate. As if we needed their permission! The health benefits of a vegetable-centric diet are many, though it can lead to over-dependence on carbs unless you’re careful. Careful is really the watchword for vegetarian and vegan diets. You have to be careful to ensure you’re getting enough protein and micro-nutrients since you’re cutting out a significant source (meat). My tips are: Keep sweets and fatty foods to a minimum, go with whole grains, and eat a wide variety of whole foods that include protein-rich staples like lentils.

A Fat Burning, Low Calorie Diet
Resources: The New Abs Diet, The Flat Belly Diet, From Belly Fat to Belly Flat, The L.A. Shape Diet

Who should consider this:
• Those who want to drop a few pounds quickly
• Exercise junkies
• Non-foodies
• Models

What I like about these types of diets is the emphasis on eating less and moving more. That’s a recipe that always works! There’s a heavy emphasis on protein-rich foods like almonds and beans, allowing you to feel full for longer, and refined carbs and sweets are kept to a minimum. Just be sure that your “low calorie” diet is at a minimum of 1,200 calories a day – no less. Otherwise you’re burning muscle, not fat!

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