It's true: eating foods contrary to the Standard American Diet (SAD) can be pretty difficult. The average grocery is built to feed us processed foods filled with common allergens, sulfites/sulfates, preservatives, artificial flavorings, and TONS OF SUGAR. Whether you have an allergy or have simply made an alternative lifestyle choice, you may want some support to learn the ins, outs, ups, and downs of your special diet. We feel ya, and we can help.
Below you will find some basic information and links to support groups and helpful blogs for different diets.
Vegetarian: what is it, what can I eat? Vegetarianism is a diet defined by the exclusion of meat, and often also excludes eggs. Vegetarians can have an amazingly varied diet based on nuts, legumes, vegetables, whole grains (like quinoa), fruits, some dairy products, and (if you so choose) eggs. It is now a well-documented, scientific fact that balanced, plant-based and vegetarian diets can result in vibrant health and a longer lifespan.
Gluten-free: what is it, what can I eat? Going gluten-free is becoming more and more popular, especially as more people are being diagnosed with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance. There are now many options for those seeking to remove gluten from their diets, from pasta to cupcakes and everything in-between. As a gluten-free person, you will want to abstain from wheat, spelt, rye, barley, oats, triticale (a cross between rye and wheat), and einkorn (an ancient form of wheat).
Vegan: what is it, what can I eat? Veganism is a diet defined by the exclusion of all animal products, including: meat, fish, eggs, gelatin, dairy, sugar bleached with bone-char, and (sometimes) honey. A balanced vegan diet can be incredibly nutritious and wholesome. Vegans eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and grains. Vegans can have delicious, varied, whole-foods based diets easily, especially now that there are so many new food resources for those following a 100% plant-based diet. From non-dairy cheese and milks to vegan meat substitutes and vegan candy bars, you can find almost anything to satisfy a full range of vegan dietary needs and interests.
Low Glycemic: what is it, what can I eat? People choose to limit sugar intake for a number of reasons, whether to prevent disease or simply to lose weight. Being sugar free, though challenging, can be incredibly rewarding. Going sugar-free detoxifies the palate, gets your energy levels into balance, and makes it 10x easier to stay healthy. Naturally occurring sugars in food include lactose in milk and fructose in fruits. Added sugars include: table sugar (sucrose), honey, maple syrup, agave, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, sorghum syrup, brown rice syrup, and barley malt. Wheat can also spike blood sugar, according to Dr. William Davis (Author of Wheatbelly ).
The best way to maintain a low sugar diet (consuming 15 grams of sugar or less per day, including fruit sugar) is to up protein, fat, whole grain, & vegetable intake.
Raw: what is it, what can I eat? Whether you're doing a short raw foods cleanse, becoming a "Raw Foodist", or just incorporating more raw foods into your diet, choosing raw foods can be incredibly healing and transformative for health and happiness. Foods are generally considered "raw" as long as they are never heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit (opinions vary on this topic). Eating a raw foods diet often means that you will be eating a 100% plant-based diet as well, though this is not always the case.
Wheat-free: What is it, what can I eat? Eating wheat free and eating gluten free, though similar, are not technically the same. Eating wheat-free means that you abstain from bread, pasta, crackers, or other wheat-based or wheat-containing foods. If you have a wheat allergy, seek out products made in wheat-free facilities. If this is a dietary choice as opposed to an allergy you may still be able to eat wheat-free products processed in the same facility as wheat. You may also be able to eat some older varieties of wheat (like spelt and einkorn), barley, rye, and oats. If you have celiac or non-celiac gluten-intolerance, however, you should opt for a completely gluten-free diet. See the blurb on "gluten-free diets" above.