You need not focus on the “die” part of diet. You can eat right, have fun doing so, and look great in your clothes — or, y’know, out of them.
The New Nordic Diet
It’s no secret that the tall, thin, pale people of the Nordic countries don’t have the same issues with over-consumption and obesity that we do here in the U.S. of A. People in the Scandinavian region have been living a semi-paleo lifestyle since their lean, seafood-loving ancestors figured out how to make fire and hunt. The New Nordic Diet promotes all-out Scandinavian specialties like elk meat and rutabaga, but the principle is a back-to-basics approach to cooking that cuts out all the processed crap your body doesn’t need, leaving you with twice the amount of fiber you’d get if you ate like a typical Westerner. In the book The Nordic Way, Arne Astrup, Jennie Brand-Miller, and Christian Bitz outline a strategy and provide simple, delicious recipes to help you adopt this fresh, forward-thinking approach to food and cooking.
If you haven’t heard the word “keto” by now, it’s probably because you lost your auditory ability in a tragic accident that we don’t want to make you relive. The ketogenic diet is a strict meal plan that has had Americans in a frenzy for the last year. Although many health pros argue that the keto diet can be harmful as a long-term lifestyle change, it will get you fast results if you follow the rules exactly. This means absolutely no carbs, no empty calories, and no sugar. It’s a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that stimulates metabolic changes pressuring your body to use stored fats for fuel, which kicks your body into “ketosis” resulting in weight loss. So, yes, you can have cheesy eggs with a side of Canadian bacon for breakfast, but you have to eliminate everyday staples such as beans, potatoes, pasta, and most fruits.
Paleo (aka The Caveman Eat Right Diet)
Paleo has been popularized by athletes and actors for its simple, farm-to-table approach. The rules? Eat like our cavemen ancestors did back before we had guns, condoms, and toilets. You will munch on tons of meat, seafood, veggies, fruits, and nuts while cutting out dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, and processed foods. One major plus is that the Paleo plan promotes a healthy heart, and studies have shown that this diet has helped those suffering with multiple sclerosis. The pitfalls? It’s time-consuming, causes possible iodine deficiency, and there is no guaranteed weight loss unless you pair this with an exercise routine. The Paleo lifestyle means a lot of home cooking and meal preparation, but your body will thank you as it flushes out all the toxins and garbage you’ve been harboring.
Even though the Flexitarian trend gained traction back in 2008 (with Dawn Jackson Blatner’s The Flexitarian Diet), it has grown in popularity the last few years thanks to an endorsement by acclaimed food journalist and former New York Times columnist Mark Bittman. The Flexitarian approach to meal planning includes tons of organic, unprocessed fruits, veggies, and whole grains—basically, a vegetarian who thinks of meat as an indulgent side dish, not the center of his dinner. (For example, if you eat 21 meals, then your goal is to have 9 to 14 of those without meat.) The best part? Super strict (and insanely annoying) vegetarians will shun you based on principle.
Eat Right … and DASH
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) makes sense if you want to live a healthy life and combat high blood pressure (which is probably why it’s supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute). DASH promotes eating the foods nutrition experts have always told us are going to keep us healthy—fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy—while avoiding refined sugar and foods with high levels of saturated fat. You have to cap your sodium intake at 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams (for every 2,000 calories per day), but you’ll be amazed at how easily herbs and spices can flavor foods as you watch your flab and high blood pressure disappear.