Whenever I go to London I like to go to a large bookstore and see what the latest cookery and nutrition books have to offer. My most recent visit saw me looking at a large selection of, at one end of the scale vegan books and at the other end books on the ketogenic diet.
Vegan diets obviously avoid meat, fish, eggs and anything related to a living creature and therefore include lots of grains, pulses and vegetables whereas the ketogenic way of eating leans quite heavily on animal products and fat and cuts out carbohydrate foods which includes grains, beans, pulses, and vegetables and fruit that have a high carbohydrate content.
I am left wondering if either is a healthy diet long term and why we are becoming so extreme. I’m starting to come to the conclusion that there are a lot of ill people out there and these diets do suit some sick people. For instance eating a vegan diet after years of poor food choices will often leave people feeling much healthier because they are eating more fruit and vegetables. Eating a ketogenic diet can help those who need to lose weight, those with diabetes and thyroid problems and people who don’t tolerate grains.
What worries me is that people often choose these diets because they think they are good for them rather than listening to what their body needs. Our bodies are very good at knowing what nutrients they need but it is easy to override these instincts and go with the latest trend.
I know that I couldn’t live for long without some animal produce as I get cravings for meat after a period without any. Similarly I find that too much animal food leaves me unable to face another meal unless it’s contains lots of vegetables and grains. Having just returned from a few weeks away where I ate far more meat, fish and eggs than I wanted to, I find myself turning to stir fried vegetables and rice almost daily to redress the balance.
There is no one diet that suits everyone because we are all so individual. Vegan diets can be healthy but it isn’t easy to obtain certain nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron, zinc and essential fatty acids, which is their downside. Ketogenic diets seem to suit some people but it is early days and only longer term use will show if eating high protein and fat but low carbohydrate is healthy long term.
Nowadays a lot of research is being done into diet but in the meantime try listening to your intuition because it’s the only one that knows exactly what is right for you.