Lately, it seems like you can’t enter an office lunch room or head to a party without hearing about someone who’s doing the “Whole30” or just “went Paleo.” You’ve probably seen a Keto cookbook at the grocery store or a celebrity on Instagram showing off their weight loss after a cleanse. There’s one thing these diets have in common: they all recommend 100% grassfed beef.
Keto, Whole 30, Paleo: What’s the difference?
Each diet focuses on whole, non-processed foods, though there are subtle differences in each diet.
A Paleo diet recommends unprocessed, lean foods that our ancestors would have eaten in Paleolithic times: grassfed meats, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. Off the table are grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, processed foods, starchy vegetables, and alcohol. Paleo-eaters believe that if it wasn’t available in Paleolithic times (think Stone Age), our body isn’t designed to process it. Paleo dieters believe our technology has evolved faster than our cells - so our modern western diet works against our biological nature.
Ever popular during the month of January, Whole30 is best described as an elimination diet. The purpose is to spend 30 days without foods that are often irritants to the body. After 30 days, you methodically re-introduce foods to see if any cause a reaction. Whole30 followers eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and fats. Sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains, legumes, sulfites, and processed “treats” are all no-nos. Proponents of this diet say it helps them with energy, clarity, and a feeling of renewed health.
The Ketogenic (Keto) Diet
The Keto Diet is almost 100 years old and was originally intended to treat epilepsy. It is incredibly popular today for its dramatic weight loss results. The Keto diet is a high fat, low carb diet. It works because our bodies store carbohydrates with water in our cells. When we don’t give our body carbohydrates, we burn fat instead. This process is called ketosis.
It might sound like a dream come true to eat as much fat as you like. For the diet to be effective though, it is important to get fats from natural, non-processed sources. Good fats come from sources like grassfed meats, nuts, and nut oils, avocados, and natural dairy products. You should avoid trans fats from things like processed vegetable oils and processed foods. Bread and pasta are also off the table. Even fruits and vegetables must be low sugar - so apples and bananas shouldn't be eaten. This diet is about staying full with protein and fat, and can produce rapid results - especially for people with fatty liver or blood glucose issues - but it’s important to get fat from the right sources and keep it balanced. Fans of the diet say it boosts energy, and studies have shown that a Ketogenic eating plan can improve insulin resistance in diabetics, and even help with Alzheimer’s disease. Not bad for a high fat diet!
How Does Beef Fit In?
Paleo, Whole30 and Keto dieters seem to agree that 100% grassfed beef is important for good health.
While eating more fat usually means protein, this diet and “the keto lifestyle isn’t so much about protein as it is about healthy fats.” Grassfed, grass-finished beef is an excellent source of healthy fat because it contains much higher Omega-3s than grain-fed beef.
Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory, help with focus, and can even improve depressive symptoms. Grassfed beef also contains electrolytes. You may have heard of the keto flu, which occurs when electrolytes are flushed from the body causing flu-like tiredness and aches. Eating grassfed meat protects your body from these symptoms. Of course, the lean protein power of grassfed meat also helps build muscle and keep you feeling full - important elements when you’re working hard to lose weight.
You have a lot of options when eating grassfed beef on the keto diet. Steak, ground beef, and even organ meats have different flavor profiles and nutritional benefits. When you are limited to certain food groups, it is important to experiment with different recipes, cuts, and combinations to keep yourself interested and committed.
Paleo, Whole30, and Keto diets can be a jump-start to a healthier body or the start to a long-term dedication to a healthier lifestyle. It’s up to you!
Interested in trying Keto or another whole food diet? Our new Keto box is a great starter kit.