Eating like a caveman or subsisting on plant foods: which is your best bet? I’ve figured out what works best for me through trial and error. For your convenience, here are some basics of the most popular trends:

No grains, no sugar, no dairy and no processed foods, but a lot of quality protein and vegetables. Eating paleo is often called the “caveman diet” because you eat like our ancient ancestors who lived off the land: fish, meat, regional vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds. Paleo enthusiasts argue that our bodies weren’t made to eat processed grains, especially the way we eat them now. I’ve tried the paleo diet out, and while it can be hard at first, it’s made me feel my best. Of course, I still incorporate some cake, candy and ice cream, because you only live once, right? Check out the Nerd Fitness blog. It’s great.


Photo by Zoe Zaiss

You guessed it: no gluten. But, what is gluten, anyway? It’s a type of protein that’s found in grains that can sometimes cause inflammation. Not all grains are off-limit based on this list, but it’s important to make sure packaged foods are labeled “gluten-free” before purchasing. And while you can basically eat anything on this diet as long as it’s free of gluten, subsisting on gluten-free packaged cookies, chips and breads is not the answer to a healthy diet. Focus on getting carbs from fruits, veggies and grains like quinoa. Check out the blog Tasty Yummies for tons of gluten-free recipes.  

Juice Cleansing
Incorporating a fresh juice into your daily diet can provide some health benefits and boost your vitamin intake, but juice cleanses or fasts are controversial. Cleanses involve drinking solely fruit and veggie juices for typically three to five days. Because of the lack of fiber from juicing, it’s easy to digest and gives your stomach a break from processing things like late-night pizza. It can help get you back on track from a period of  overindulgence, like spring break. The lack of fiber means you might get a blood sugar spike, so make sure you include veggies in your juice, not just fruits. While you’ll be getting lots of nutrients, you’ll be missing out on protein.


Photo by Alex Weiner

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Raw Foods
Think fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and unprocessed grains. It’s similar to the paleo diet, minu animal products. Foods can’t be heated past 118 degrees in order to be considered raw, which some argue help contain the vitamins that cooking sometimes destroys. You’ll have to make sure you’re getting enough protein and vitamins that are found in meat. Young and Raw and Rawsome Vegan Life are awesome blogs to check out if you’re interested in trying out a raw foods diet.