One of the top subjects my family and friends ask me about is all the different dietary protocols out there. There are so many to choose from and it can become overwhelming deciding what protocol is best for your family.
Today we looked at SAD, WAPF, Paleo, AIP and GAPS in detail on a Facebook live Webinar I hosted. If you were unable to join me, you can watch the video on my Facebook page. If you don’t have time to watch the video, here are the highlights:
SAD (Standard American Diet)
Called SAD because it is a highly processed diet with very little resembling real-food. The average American eats more than 20 teaspoons of sugar per day and a large majority of this is high-fructose corn syrup. Over 50% of our nation is obese. Americans consume more calories than any other nation in the world but are the unhealthiest nation in the world. Depending on the statistics you look at, 50-90% of the top causes of death in this country are linked to diet. The average American child will only eat 2-4 servings of vegetables in a week and often this is coming through as french fries or on pizza. There is virtually no regulation or testing done on GMOs and food additives. We’re consuming cheap, low-quality foods that are literally killing us.
Clearly, there is a gross lack of education and lack of value placed on food in America. This is why I get excited when a friend of family member asks me about any of the dietary protocols. More and more people are learning about the profound impact food has on our bodies and the ability for food to heal.
Hippocrates once said: “all disease begins in the gut.”
Scientists are finding this to be true each and every day. We now know more serotonin is found in the gut than in the brain.
What a profound change of health our nation could have if families embraced a whole food, traditional diet. Choosing which one can be confusing! Here is a chart explaining the basic similarities and differences between 4 of the most common dietary protocols.
How these approaches are similar
They all focus on nutrient-dense foods. They all incorporate broth and stock, ferments, real fats and regular consumption of fat, organ meats and sourcing the highest-quality food possible. Ideally, produce should be organic (or at a minimum the “clean 15” and “dirty dozen”) and animal products should come from animals allowed to live in their natural environment and fed the foods they would naturally consume.
How these approaches are different
WAPF and Paleo are designed more as long-term dietary protocols. GAPS and AIP are generally followed for a few months up to several years depending on the level of healing involved. Many people will start with GAPS or AIP and then move to Paleo or WAPF depending on their body’s needs.
Deciding what is best
First of all, take a close look at your health. If you have any autoimmune disease, autism, IBS, digestive issues, psychiatric disorders or other significant health challenges than consider AIP or GAPS. For otherwise healthy families looking to get off SAD and maybe loose a little weight, gain a little energy and remove toxins than Paleo or WAPF is likely where you want to start. Personally, I think everyone could benefit from 30-60 days on either AIP or GAPS. In the resources below I’m including links to some of my favorite blogs from these dietary approaches so you can take a look at recipes.
It’s important to have someone come alongside you when beginning a new dietary protocol. Especially if you’re going to being a healing diet such as GAPS or AIP. Unfortunately, most MDs receive little training on diet (usually only about 4-6 hours total in medical school) and are almost always trained about SAD. The Weston A Price Foundation in your area is a good place to start to find a practitioner. There are practitioners specifically trained in WAPF, GAPS, AIP and Paleo. Look for someone with the title “nutritional therapist,” or a “naturopath,” “dietary coach,” or “functional medicine doctor.” Many homeopaths are also highly trained in dietary protocols. I’ll also include some links in the resources below to help you find a practitioner.
I hope this has helped you learn more about the differences and benefits of these dietary approaches. Check out my Tips for Saving Big Money on Real Food to help transition without breaking the bank! Feel free to leave me a message in the comments or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions.
Weston A Price Foundation
Once-A-Month Meals (has batch cooking for WAPF-friendly, Paleo, and occasionally GAPS and AIP meals)
Aprons & Armor
Nourishing Ourselves (WAPF based Facebook group)
Keeper of the Home
A Humble Place