Sommer’s Summer Challenge

These days it seems like everyone is looking for something new and hip to try, and healthy eating and exercise challenges are what’s in right now. There’s the 30 day beach body challenge, the 30 day squat challenge, the paleo diet, and even the Beyonce diet. Yes, that’s right. Beyonce now has her own diet (which I am very tempted to try) that supposedly gives you a physique similar to the songstress. But come on, let’s be honest. Can anyone ever achieve the perfection that is Beyonce? Regardless of the effectiveness of these diets and challenges, people are doing them.

I decided to do some research on the matter, and found that not all exercise challenges and diets are for show. There were actually a number of diets that seemed to be beneficial and quite easy to do. Just to clarify, the diets that I researched do not focus on weight loss (although that is always an added benefit), the sole purpose is to create a healthier, longer life for the dieter. These diets are meant to be long term and turn into a lifestyle, not just a weekly fad.

There are numerous benefits that come from living these healthy lifestyles that I researched, and I’m all about that. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and clean eating all bring something unique and valuable to the table when it comes to life. So now I’m very intrigued! I am going to try out one of these three lifestyles. For 7 days I will abide by the rules, and if after the 7 days I think it’s something I could transform into a lifestyle, I will! But first, I have to pick one.

Gluten-Free

I hear gluten-free and the first thing I think of is no more Olive Garden bread sticks. I knew that eating bread was out of the question on a gluten-free diet, but I wasn’t really sure what else the diet ruled out. A gluten-free diet is one that excludes the protein gluten, which is found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. This diet is used mainly to treat celiac disease, but those without celiactic symptoms can also benefit from it. Removing gluten from your diet can reduce inflammation and the pain that comes with it.

Due to me being an athlete, reduced inflammation is a huge plus. I am constantly putting my body through strenuous workouts and practices, and I frequently suffer from minor injuries. The severity of inflammation that happens in those injuries is what can take them from being minor to major, and I’ll take any opportunity I have to reduce that.

PROS:

  • For the most part, I have already cut bread out of my diet, so that won’t be a hard adjustment
  • I can eat a lot of fruits and veggies
  • I found this gluten free blueberry banana muffin recipe that looks yummy

CONS:

  • It may be hard to determine what foods contain gluten
  • A lot of sauces and condiments have gluten in them, so goodbye to those

Vegetarian

I have a lot of friends who have tried to become vegetarians, but they all say the same thing; they miss the meat. I do love a good steak, but I don’t think I would care that much if I couldn’t eat it anymore. I do however think I would miss dairy products. So the type of vegetarian lifestyle I am considering is called lacto-ovo. This means that I would cut out all meat, fish, and poultry, but not dairy products or eggs.

Not eating meat can be beneficial in many ways. You are more likely to avoid diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, which increases your chances of living a longer life. Also, your cholesterol levels will be much lower. The vegetarian diet has been shown to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol; the one that clogs coronary arteries. You will also maintain a lower body weight while being a vegetarian. This is somewhat beneficial to me since the lower my body weight, the quicker and more explosive I’ll be on the court.

PROS:

  • I can eat a lot of fruits and veggies
  • It will make me lighter on my feet
  • There are a wide variety of foods that fit this diet

CONS:

  • No meat!
  • I may not be able to get the daily dose of protein I need

Clean Eating

Out of all three, clean eating is the only diet I had some prior knowledge about. To me, eating clean is just eating healthy. Once I did more research I found that clean eating isn’t really a diet, it’s more of a lifestyle. Clean eating is all about eating fresh, organic, non-processed foods. It also requires you to eat five times a day and drink two liters of water a day.

Partaking in the clean eating diet/lifestyle would be very beneficial to my athletic career. I would always be fully hydrated and would have the fuel I need to tackle my workouts. Also, I would be well rested because the parameters of clean eating promotes sounder sleep, which will surely improve my workouts.

PROS:

  • It won’t require many changes; I already eat pretty clean
  • I will finally drink the amount of water I need to

CONS:

  • No more processed foods
  • I may not have time to eat so frequently

So now that you know more about the three diets/lifestyles I’m considering, it would be great if you could help me choose one! I’d love it if you would comment below and tell me your suggestions or opinions. With your help I will make my decision and start this 7 day challenge on Monday, June 29th. I can’t wait to get started!

SK’s Food Of The Day

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CANTALOUPE

Cantaloupe is jam-packed with Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Eating a slice of this can help lower blood pressure and keep your skin moisturized. You can cut up this juicy fruit and put it on a salad, or eat it by itself; either way it’s delicious.

Feeling inspired? Let me know what you think about this post in the comments section below!

photo credit

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3 thoughts on “Sommer’s Summer Challenge

  1. Another great post, Sommer! My personal choice is the clean eating lifestyle but the lacto-Ovo diet is appealing. You’ve inspired me to conduct a little research of my own. I’ll post again when I make a final decision and plan to start on June 29 as well. Thanks!

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      • I found the following information at http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/difference-between-lactoovo-vegetarians-lacto-vegetarians-3261.html:
        “While avoiding meat and meat products is relatively easy, the presence of animal-based ingredients in processed foods such as cookies, cakes, ice creams and refried beans can be a challenge for vegetarians. To ensure that a food meets your needs as a vegetarian, educate yourself on the origins of various ingredients listed on food labels. As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, avoid foods that contain ingredients of animal origin such as lard, keratin, tallow, carmine and gelatin. In addition to animal-based ingredients, lacto vegetarians should look for and refrain from eating foods that list eggs and egg products such as albumin on food labels.”

        After reading the above, I’ve decided to focus on clean eating while avoiding red meat, fried food, and refined sugar (I use organic agave syrup and stevia to sweeten food and beverages).

        Like

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