The beginning of a new year is primetime for people to start dieting.
Three popular lifestyle diets that The Puyallup Post staff decided to try were vegan, Paleo and organic, to let students know which works best, the ups and downs of the diets and their experiences.
A vegans lifestyle is essentially a vegetarian lifestyle with more restrictions. Along with not eating meat, vegans also don’t eat any animal products or by-products such as dairy, eggs and honey.
Staff members Meagan Lucero and Kaitlyn Hall took on the challenge to eat vegan for a week.
Lucero had a few obstacles along her journey, such as eating bread before she realized most breads contain milk and eggs. Lucero substituted her regular meat proteins by eating plenty of beans and nuts, this ended up making her tired for the first day or two as her body adjusted to a new diet.
Lucero ran into some food issues on campus. In the Café menu items that say vegan are few and far between. The vegan toast item that is offered ended up not being vegan so Lucero left without lunch.
“When I placed my order, the man looked at me like I was crazy, and then frantically searched the kitchen for ‘vegan bread’ so he and all the other workers were all asking each other, ‘Do we have vegan bread?’” Lucero said. “All they found was gluten free bread, which contained eggs…so that obviously didn’t work out. I left without my food.”
Hall, who’s already a vegetarian, didn’t have to change much to eat vegan for the week but cutting out all dairy was a slight challenge.
“I was able to cut out a variety of processed foods and decrease my intake of products with added sugar,” Hall said. “Being vegan wasn’t a huge departure from my typical vegetarian diet; however, I missed having dairy, especially cheese, in my diet.”
Hall stuck to snacks such as apple slices and peanut butter. She loved having potatoes, which can be prepared in multiple ways.
After a week, both decided that vegan is probably not a diet they’d stick to. They said being a vegan also is made harder when most restaurants don’t have a lot of vegan options.
Officially known as the Paleolithic diet, it centers on eating the same foods that Paleolithic humans consumed 15,000 years ago. It mostly sticks to fish, grass-fed pasture-raised meats, eggs, vegetables and fruit. It restricts grains, nuts, dairy, refined salt and sugar and processed oils.
Staff members Anika Bates and Katie Hammermaster took on this diet.
Hammermaster was sick with a cold for much of the diet, which hindered her ability to fully know if the diet or sickness was causing her lack of energy.
Hammermaster did find some recipes for dinner, including salmon and spaghetti squash to include some starch in her diet.
Nuts, dried, unsweetened apples and fruit smoothies were go-to snacks for Hammermaster, although she felt like she ate more because the diet left her feeling hungry.
“Certain parts of the diet I think I would adopt as normal habits, but other parts are a little too restrictive,” Hammermaster said. “For instance, I enjoy eating beans and other legumes. I really like peanut butter, and I miss it. I like being able to treat myself with the occasional hot chocolate or other sweets.”
Bates spent the first day eating fruits and vegetables but ended up feeling tired. The next day she made a pot roast with carrots for dinner and felt better after adding protein.
Bates was able to find a sufficient meal at Panera. It was a chicken salad without the meat and, instead of the dressing, she used lemon and olive oil.
“I went throughout the day regularly- eating fruits and nuts in the morning, and salad and meats for lunch and dinner. At the end of the last day, I weighed myself and, as it turned out, I had lost five pounds this week,” Bates said. “I would definitely recommend Paleo as a weight loss diet because sticking to it really produces results.”
An organic diet means only organic food goes on the plate. Organic food is easy to find these days and has plenty of options. Restrictions are nearly non-existent. As long as it is labeled organic, the food is acceptable.
Staff member Lacey Longpré participated in the organic diet.
Longpré usually eats organic food, so eating entirely organic wasn’t a big difference for her or her family.
Longpré’s diet consisted of a variety of foods from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to organic pasta. The possibilities for this diet are endless, she said.
“For me, it wasn’t a huge challenge eating organic at home, however, coming to school every day and being faced with temptation was a challenge,” Longpré said. “I did feel an overall better sense of energy from this diet, even when I ate processed organic foods.”
Longpré enjoyed the diet but wouldn’t recommend it for weight-loss since it’s easy to eat too many calories.
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