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Special Diets for Healing and Prevention

Many special diets have been created in the past several decades to help heal specific conditions and diseases. Many of these are named after the person who created them.

Most of these special diets eliminate meat, at least in the beginning. Some, because certain conditions require maintenance for a long period of time, severely limit meat intake if they allow it back into the menu at all.

Lifestyle Diets

For various reasons, many people these days are shunning animal products in their diets to varying degrees. 

Vegetarians leave off of meat products, but generally will partake in limited amounts of other animal products, such as cheese, milk, butter and sometimes eggs.

Vegans, on the other hand, eliminate all animal products from their menu. 

There are also those, though they are very few in number, who practice a diet called Fruitarian. Yup - as the name suggests, they eat fruit and nothing else. This is not as crazy as you may think, as most of what people consider vegetables are actually fruits.

I'll leave off the crazier lifestyle based special diets for now - maybe another time...

Special Diets for Weight Loss

Almost a household name, the Atkins Diet espouses a mainly carb-free diet for the active part of the weight loss, and slowly adding carbs back in as one reaches maintenance weight.

The South Beach Diet was also very popular in the 90's.  It is similar to the Atkins diet, as it nearly eliminates refined carbohydrates and sugars. They are still a minimal part of the diet, though.

Weight Watcher's and Jenny Craig are also quite popular, and mainly eliminate dairy and sugar. There can be a lot of starch, though, in both of these diets, which limits the amount of food or the portion size.

Nutrisystem is similar yet again, but allows for more starches. None of these diets is overtly gluten free, but recipes can be adapted if you are cooking at home. Otherwise, certain dishes must be avoided.

All  of these plans offer pre-portioned frozen meals by delivery and in some cases in stores. All of them also offer recipes and such for people to prepare their food at home and still stay within the guidelines.

I believe it was largely Weight Watchers that is responsible for the carb, sugar, fat and protein symbols on most products these days. While they might have gotten that part right, what passes for contents in those jars is another story...

Special Diets for General Health and Well-being

The Paleo diet is all the rage these days. Although - their packaging leaves much to be desired! Mainly meats, root and cruciferous (broccoli, kale, etc) vegetables, this diet consists mainly of what we believe our farthest-back ancestors ate.

Ayurveda comes to us from India, and is used to improve health and longevity. it is based on the three body types, or Doshas (Pita, Vata and Kapha. Menus are planned based on the foods thought to be best for these types. In a way, it is similar to metabolic typing.

Macrobiotic diets are relatively bland, consisting of rice with nearly every meal, and mainly vegetables. Once trouble has passed, extremely limited white meats are allowed to be taken. Never are pork or beef reintroduced in the diet.

Special Diets for Healing Specific Diseases

Among the most popular diets for the prevention and healing of cancer is the Gerson Therapy. It is, however, a generalized healing diet along with several modalities such as coffee enemas and detoxification protocols.

Gerson Therapy also has great success with other diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and auto-immune issues. It has received some bad press, but mainly from "experts" who espouse only conventional therapies for treating disease.

GAPS Diet, short for "gut and psychology syndrome" focuses on removing those foods which are hard to digest. This in turn helps to heal the intestinal tract, and will positively affect many inflammatory issues.

While eliminating foods that tax the body, supplementation is used to address symptoms and improve nutrition to help heal the condition.

The Wahl's Protocol was developed by Dr. Terry Wahls, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa. As her MS became aggressive and her health declined, she researched supplements and functional medicine, and eventually put her disease into remission.

She also did research to switch from strictly supplements to getting the same nutrients from food, which is how she finally developed this diet.

ES Health News

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