Vegan, Raw Foodism, Gluten-Free, and Paleo Basics: What Are These Diet Trends All About?

We have a lot of choices when it comes to diet.There’s so much hype in the media and online about the best diets for health and weight loss that it can be tough to cut through the noise and learn about the benefits and drawbacks of all your options. Here’s the low-down on four of the most popular diet trends: veganism, raw foodism, gluten-free, and paleo.


Veganism is less a diet trend and more a lifestyle choice. Vegans only eat foods that do not contain animal products. A vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, and legumes and excludes meat, eggs, milk, honey, cheese, lard, whey, and gelatin. Some vegans also avoid personal care products that were tested on animals.

Vegans avoid the inhumane practices inherent in our food system, specifically the raising and slaughter of animals for food. Eating vegan can reduce the impact you have on the planet and improve your nutrition, as you’ll be laying off the hotdogs and other processed foods.

Some people find the limited vegan diet too restrictive. Carnivores and dairy lovers may find it difficult to stick to veganism (although vegetarianism may be an option for people who can give up meat but not dairy).

Raw Foodism

Some vegans take their diets a step further and become raw foodists. People who eat raw only eat food that is never heated beyond 115 degrees. Some folks choose to eat raw milk, fish, and other select raw animal products. But most of what you eat on a raw food diet are plants.

A raw food diet may cause weight loss and reduce inflammation and the risk of heart disease because little or no animal products are consumed. All the fiber will make you feel full.

However, a raw food diet can be difficult to follow and is very restrictive. It can take a lot of time to prep your food, and eating out is extremely difficult, if not impossible, with all the rules.


“Gluten-Free” is a hot trend in the food industry. Someone on a gluten-free diet avoids food containing gluten, such as wheat, barley, and rye. Breads, pastas, and many processed foods are off-limits for gluten-free devotees. But going gluten-free isn’t just a trend for people with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. For these folks, avoiding gluten reduces or eliminates painful, uncomfortable symptoms.

A gluten-free diet is extremely helpful for Celiacs and those with gluten sensitivities. But there is little evidence going gluten-free directly benefits people without these conditions. But, going gluten-free eliminates a lot of processed foods and carbs from your diet, which could help you maintain or lose weight.

Going gluten-free can be frustrating, especially at first, as many foods contain gluten. It can be difficult to find gluten-free options at restaurants, though that’s starting to change as food companies react to the gluten-free trend.


Our Neolithic ancestors didn’t eat grains, and we shouldn’t either, according to people who adopt the paleo diet. They argue the human body is not designed for eating grains, so the key to good health is to eat a hunter/gather diet high in protein, fruits, and vegetables and low in carbs. When you go paleo, you don’t need to watch portions or count calories.

Eating paleo cuts out processed foods, so your diet will be mostly clean foods free from preservatives, additives, and other chemicals. The high protein and fiber content means you’ll feel fuller longer, and most people lose weight because they are eating fewer carbs and generally choosing from a limited menu.

However, eating paleo can be expensive, especially when you opt for organic grass-fed beef and other sustainably grown meats. The lack of carbohydrates may result in nutritional deficiencies for some.

There you have it, the basics of veganism, raw foodism, gluten-free, and paleo. Navigating the world of diet trends can be difficult. To start eating and living more sustainably, contact me today!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance & Get Green with Gene

Common Workplace Chemical Hazards and How to Prevent Them

warning-icons-variations-set-1164088-639x579The kids are back at school and you’re finally back on a normal work schedule after the stress (and fun!) of the summer. Take a moment every day this week to notice any strange health conditions—a headache that won’t go away, a strange cough that comes out of nowhere, or itchy, red eyes. The chemicals at your workplace could be the culprits.

Toxic chemicals are found all over the American office. They’re in conventional cleaning products, office supplies, the toner in the office printer, and even in the carpet and office furniture. Harmful chemicals can cause skin and eye irritation and burns on the skin. Chemical vapors may cause respiratory irritation, including coughing, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

Preventing Health Effects from Toxins

Don’t be discouraged by the prevalence of toxins in the workplace—instead, take action to prevent your exposure to them. The easiest way to avoid harmful chemicals is avoid bringing them into the office in the first place. This is easy if you are the primary decision-maker at your business. If you’re not, you may need to educate your boss on why getting rid of toxic chemicals is important.

Replace conventional cleaning products with products with plant-based active ingredients such as thymol and citric acid. If you’re unable to find an all-natural alternative to a conventional cleaner, make sure you are reading all the labels on your conventional cleaner and following the instructions to the T.

If you’re replacing old carpet or furniture, work with a designer to find products that are eco-friendly and made with little or no volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Products made with these chemicals give off vapors that can cause respiratory irritation.

Controlling Chemical Hazards in the Office

One of the best ways to ensure a healthier workplace is to take measures to improve air quality. Get your air quality tested so you know what contaminants exist, then take steps to filter the air. Create a system to control access to hazardous chemicals. Educate your employees on healthy habits to improve their overall health and prevent the spread of disease at the workplace.

The easiest way to avoid the harmful effects of toxic chemicals is to reduce or eliminate them from your workplace. For more information on all-natural commercial cleaning products or to order a DIY air quality testing kit, contact me today!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance