If the end of the year has you taking stock of your wellness and conjuring ways to improve it, you’ve come to the right place. For those of you specifically looking for ways to enhance your energy, lose weight, or say buh bye to bloat, we bring you Nutritious Life’s Diets Decoded series.
The series takes a look at many of today’s popular healthy diets—from paleo to Mediterranean and vegetarian—and breaks them down for you. We explain the facts about each one and then provide quick, actionable tips on how to follow each diet as part of a Nutritious Life.
“For each individual, the healthiest diet is an approach to eating that fuels your body and mind and fits into your lifestyle,” says Nutritious Life founder Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN. “Eating empowered, one of the eight pillars of a Nutritious Life, means listening to your body and focusing on the diverse, delicious, healthy foods you can have rather than what a hard-to-follow diet says you can’t have.”
In this roundup of today’s popular diets, we take a look at five eating plans that use food as biohacks. In other words, changing eating habits in order to achieve optimal health and well-being. All of these diets—from ancient principles to modern fads—tackle the idea of hacking our food intake to become healthier and happier versions of ourselves, a concept that never gets old.
5 Biohacking Diets—And Whether They’re Right For You
The Mayr Method
When actress Rebel Wilson declared 2020 the year of health on Instagram, she credited the Mayr Method for kickstarting her impressive weight loss journey. Which led many people to scramble to their nearest Internet search engine to ask, “what is the Mayr Method??”
Like everyone else, you may be hearing of this eating plan for the first time. But the Mayr Method is actually based on the 100-year-old Mayr Cure. It was created by Austrian physician Dr. Franz Xaver Mayr, who believed that people are poisoning their guts with the foods they eat.
Today, this diet is typically practiced by staying at the luxury wellness clinic VivaMayr resort in Austria or by taking the less expensive route and following the principles and plan provided in The Viva Mayr Diet book. The main premise of the diet is that good health starts with a healthy gut, so the Mayr Method seeks to improve digestion through alkaline foods, mindful eating and other behavior changes.
Learn more about this diet and if it might be the eating plan you’re looking for in your next Google search.
The Raw Food Diet
Raw food had a moment about a decade ago and its popularity has ebbed and flowed over the years. Raw food devotees are generally vegans who believe that plant foods should be consumed in their most natural form—uncooked and unprocessed—because natural enzymes in “living” food make it best for the body.
Raw means nothing heated above 115 F. Since you can’t use heat, raw foodies do a lot of juicing, blending, dehydrating, and sprouting to increase meal options and variety.
Read on to discover the pros and cons and whether this diet is sustainable for you.
The Vertical Diet
Eat more but fewer foods is the premise behind this diet designed to enhance athletic performance, build muscle, shed weight, and optimize health.
Instead of eating evenly across a wide variety of food groups (otherwise known as eating “horizontally” by vertical-eating fans), you’re encouraged to consume a limited number of easily digestible foods in large quantities, or, in other words, eat “vertically.”
According to Stan Efferding, professional bodybuilder, powerlifter, and diet founder, eating vertically enhances metabolism, improves gut health, and helps the body become more efficient at digesting food and absorbing nutrients.
Find out if this diet has any scientific merits and get the nitty-gritty on what you can and can’t eat on the Vertical Diet.
The Macrobiotic Diet
The Macrobiotic Diet comes from Japan and emphasizes a mindful, seasonal approach to food. Drawing on the concepts of yin and yang, each plate is balanced: For example, food from the sea should be served alongside food from the land.
While that sounds heady, it ends up meaning you basically eat lots of bowls of fresh vegetables and whole grains, with some fish, beans, and seaweed thrown in. While it may be associated with an old-school, hippie vibe, that Instagram-worthy “grain bowl” fad is basically a filtered version of classic macro bowls.
Read on to discover how this diet has withstood the test of time and whether incorporating its basic tenets is right for you.
The Ayurvedic Diet
More than just a diet, Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old medical practice and lifestyle based on the idea that the body is made of three energy systems. Vata (wind), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth), otherwise known as the doshas, are the elements that we have within us (similar to chakras). While everyone has some of each, one tends to be dominant.
According to Ayurveda, your dominant dosha helps determine the healthiest lifestyle choices and diet for your unique body. By eating foods that cater to your dosha, you can nourish and heal your body, strengthen your digestive power (known as Agni), and create balance among your internal energies.
Sound intriguing? We think so. But is this the right diet for you? Read on to find out.