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FOOD & NUTRITION BLOG
It’s always amazing to me to see how much has changed in our dietary patterns. Back in the day, there were no such things as gluten free diets or paleo diets or any sort of rigidly defined eating habits. But, times have changed. Food allergies are on the rise, obesity is becoming a worldwide epidemic, and more and more people are starting to actually care about what they put in their bodies because they can visually see the detriments of a poor diet and lifestyle. One of the popular ways in which people have started to control their diets are through specialized diets. Vegetarianism, gluten free diets, and paleo diets are gaining rapid popularity throughout the U.S. I will be focusing on vegetarianism and a brief overview of gluten free diets and other types of diets that are pretty well-known in the nutrition sector.
There are so many different types of vegetarians out there, it can get confusing. But the basic premise of this diet is that you eat no animal flesh including but not limited to chicken, pork, beef, lamb etc and eat mostly plant foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts and grains, and legumes and seeds. There are more specific categories of vegetarianism:
Vegans- vegetarians who eat no animal flesh or any animal derivatives. This means they not only avoid any meat products, but also animal-derived products like dairy and eggs and even honey.
Lactovegetarians- vegetarians who eat no animal flesh, but still include dairy in their diet and no eggs
Ovo-vegetarians- vegetarians who eat no animal flesh, but still include eggs and no dairy
Lacto-Ovo vegetarians- vegetarians who eat no animal flesh, but include eggs and dairy
Semi-vegetarians- vegetarians who don’t consume any red meat, but will still include chicken and fish with plant foods and dairy and eggs
Gluten Free Diets
Originally created for sufferers of celiac disease, an autoimmune disease in which the protein gluten attacks the small intestine and causes intestinal damage, gluten free diets have hit the ground and run. Now, gluten free products are in almost every major supermarket across the country and companies are slapping gluten-free labels on their products. So what is a gluten free diet?
Basically, a gluten free diet is one that is devoid of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. People who have celiac disease also avoid any products that have been contaminated by gluten through cross contact- this basically means if a gluten free food touched something with gluten, then it cannot be eaten by someone with celiac disease. Even a trace of gluten can trigger a response from a celiac sufferer.
If you’re avoiding gluten by choice, you have greater freedom to experiment with what works and feels good for you. Some people choose to go on it because they feel healthier and better after removing a large majority of junk food from their diet.
Food Allergies & Intolerances
If you have food allergies or food intolerances, you automatically have to avoid those foods that trigger reactions. Food allergies are different from intolerances. Intolerances are mostly not life-threatening and are usually characterized by abdominal and stomach discomfort. Food allergies, on the other hand, can be life-threatening because of the chance of anaphylaxis that needs a swift administration of epinephrine.
I’ve actually devoted an entire post about Paleo diets! You can find it by clicking here!
Maybe you’ll be inspired to learn more about or even try some of these diets!
Until next week!
1. On Vegetarian Diets
2. Gluten Free Diets
3. Food Allergies