Diet is a key question with regard to both physiological and psychological health and wellness – in affecting the state of our body, including our brains, in turn it also affects our emotional and intellectual functioning.
It should be noted that by "diet", we don't mean something you do temporarily, or to lose weight (though that is one common effect); we mean something that is permanently adopted in order for one's body and brain to function at its best – a lifestyle, in other words.
Much disinformation has been spread over recent decades regarding diet, and several ideas based on bad science have become generally accepted – this has, among other things, led to the widespead adoption of low-fat, high-carb diets. In addition, there is much confusion regarding the ethics and politics of dietary matters, as in the promotion of vegetarianism and veganism. Much of the information collected here deals with such issues, and is recommended for anyone interested in a critical look at what they've been "fed" (both literally and figuratively) throughout their lives.
- Main article: Ketogenic diet
The most optimal diet we know of at this time is the ketogenic diet. In a nutshell, this diet involves the following: the removal of the most detrimental things from one's diet – e.g. gluten, dairy, soy, and sugar; and replacing carbohydrates with fat, while keeping protein restricted to moderate amounts. This is a large change from a "standard" diet, and therefore, before proceeding with these changes, it is important to understand what one is doing and why. We strongly recommend reading the most important resources on diet beforehand.
Our consensus on the best way to approach a transition to the ketogenic diet has changed over time. For many, it is possible to transition directly to a ketogenic diet, but some experience problems in doing so, and some (often older people) find that their bodies are not able to adapt well to it even over time.
Our old paleo diet remains a good solution for those who are either unable to transition to the ketogenic diet, or must do so slowly. For those who are healthy and not of senior age, we however recommend starting out by giving the ketogenic diet a try. We now know more about common, solvable issues that people often run into – and the ways that people can deal with them – and a fast transition done right is both simpler and able to bring quicker benefits.
The best practical guide we currently know of for those interested in transitioning to a ketogenic diet is Maria Emmerich's book Keto-Adapted. It is short, easily read, and covers a lot of common pitfalls and ways of addressing them and avoiding them in the first place. For a deeper understanding of the scientific background, there are several works which can be read in addition to it, e.g. Diet Research of the Cassiopaea Forum and Primal Body, Primal Mind.
- Main article: Paleo diet
Our older paleo diet essentially removes gluten, dairy, soy, sugar and some other problematic foods and substances. It makes for less carbohydrates and more fat (especially animal fat) than a "Standard American Diet", but does not quite take it to the level of the ketogenic diet.
For people who are not able to transition directly to a ketogenic diet, the paleo diet is a good stepping stone. In removing foods that are particularly inflammatory and otherwise problematic, for many it has brought relief from health issues, as well as greater clarity of mind and emotional stability.
It can take time – years, even – for the body to make use of a better diet to heal itself. Those who are not currently able to adopt the ketogenic diet can find that the situation changes over time, as the body becomes ready to adapt to a more dramatic change. If this doesn't happen in your case, the paleo diet still remains a solid improvement over the kinds of high-carb, low-fat, grain-filled diets that most people nowadays adhere to. You can stick to what works best for your body.
If you're taking a more gradual approach to dietary transition, then there's a simple step-by-step plan leading up to the paleo diet.
- For a full list of recommended books related to diet, see Recommended books#Health and diet
- Primal Body, Primal Mind – Nora T. Gedgaudas
- Diet Research of the Cassiopaea Forum – Gabriela Segura
- Keto-Adapted – Maria Emmerich
- The Vegetarian Myth – Lierre Keith
- The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living – Stephen D. Phinney and Jeff S. Volek
- Life Without Bread – Christian B. Allan and Wolfgang Lutz
- Deep Nutrition – Catherine Shanahan and Luke Shanahan
- The Iron Elephant – Roberta Crawford
- Fiber Menace – Konstantin Monastyrsky