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I get it. Diets are overwhelming.
You try to do all the research, read the pros and cons for each diet. Maybe you have a sticky note (or a spreadsheet) about Paleo vs Whole 30, Paleo vs Keto and Whole 30 vs Keto. Weighing the pros and cons side by side…trying to pick which one is best for you.
Whether you’re trying to heal your body and reduce the amount of medication you’re taking, or you’re trying to lose that stubborn 20 pounds that didn’t “fall off” after the baby like everyone said would happen, changing the way you eat can have a positive effect on your health.
The funny thing about diets is that there’s about one hundred different diets out there. Some were fads long ago, and have since been proven to be quite unhealthy.
And some are backed by science, and popular for a reason.
But here’s the thing:
There isn’t just ONE right way to eat that works for everyone.
It depends on YOU and YOUR BODY.
If you’re at all like me, that’s both frustrating and freeing at the same time.
But if you can commit to taking steps towards health and pay attention to what your body is telling you, you’ll get where you want to go eventually. It will take discipline and time, but you’ll get there!
Yes. You read that right.
It WON’T be easy.
It WILL take effort.
But, in case you didn’t know (hopefully you did) you’re worth the effort!
When Changing Your Diet feels Too overwhelming…
And in case you’re sitting there feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, I get it. I’m like you. Often overwhelmed by adding another “thing” to my to-do list, sometimes feeling like I’d rather crawl under a rock than face the list of things I need to do…it’s because there’s not enough structure to my life.
Sure, eating healthier will likely give you more energy, but what do you do right now when you don’t have any energy to think about paying attention to what’s going in your body and changing the way you eat?
Here’s an idea. Take a look at your daily schedule and see which parts you can delegate (to your kids or your husband) to take some of the weight off your shoulders. When you’re able to have a routine surrounding your daily tasks, you’ll free up mental energy for some of these things that are essential to your health and wellness.
If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of adding another “thing” to your plate, and aren’t sure quite where to begin, check out this course on Family Routines from Hilary at Pulling Curls to get your life organized and bring more margin to your day-to-day life.
I recently took the course, not 100% sure if I would get anything out of it. But once I started watching the videos, I felt like I’d found pure gold.
Until then I didn’t even realize how much pressure I was putting on myself to do all-the-things. And in doing so, some of the important things got pushed out of my life and replaced with the everyday tasks of raising kids and owning a home.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Paleo Vs Whole 30 Vs Keto
Whole 30, Keto, and Paleo are three of the big diets out there right now. And while some people might tell you they’re extremely different, I honestly think all three have a LOT in common.
Take a look at this image. As you can see, there’s quite a bit of overlap in the middle section (the section they all have in common).
None of the three diets allow grains, refined sugar, or junk processed foods. And they all encourage you to eat plenty of nuts & seeds, meat & seafood, vegetables, natural oils, and eggs.
The diagram above is meant to be a simple representation of the diets and how they overlap. Obviously I couldn’t fit EVERYTHING about each diet into their circles and still be able to read it without a magnifying glass, so just use it as a guide.
Which diet is best for you?
So which is best for you? By the end of this article you should have a pretty good idea which of the three will work best for you.
Below I’ll explain the basic premise of each of these diets, along with what restrictions each diet has, and why it may or may not work for you.
Jump to a specific diet here, or scroll down to read them all.
After that all you need to do is make a decision! I don’t think there’s one right answer that works for every single person. Try one for a while, and if it doesn’t work, you can always change directions later.
Stick To Your Diet By Making a meal plan
If you’re about to embark on a new diet, making a weekly meal plan will GREATLY simplify your food decisions throughout the week.
Check out this meal planning service that provides weekly meal plans for your diet (and gives you time back in your evenings).
Meal planning has been a HUGE help for my family as we’ve navigated diet changes and food allergies/sensitivities. In my experience, simply making a meal plan reduces the stress throughout the week.
Sign up below to get my whole collection of meal planning templates with different styles and colors.
Paleo Diet Basics
The Premise of the Paleo Diet
The word “Paleo” comes from the idea that we should eat how our bodies were designed to eat. Contrary to popular belief, it’s NOT a meat-only diet, and it’s not as weird as “eating like a caveman”.
The Paleo diet encourages eating a variety of nutrient dense whole foods that work with our bodies instead of against them. Avoid empty calories, processed foods and other food our bodies weren’t designed to eat.
Along with changing your diet, make sure you’re getting adequate sleep, keep your stress levels down, and incorporate more movement into your day to day routine.
“NO” Foods on the Paleo diet
- Legumes (beans, peas, peanuts)
- Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners
- Dairy (sometimes on the “yes” list)
- Refined oils
- Processed foods
Possible benefits of the Paleo Diet
- Weight loss
- Feel more energetic
- Overall happier and better mood
- Change lifestyle habits and take steps towards wellness
Why The Paleo Diet Is the right choice for you
There are a lot of lifestyle components to the Paleo diet. Daily frequent movement is encouraged, as well as healthy relationships and overall wellness. Give the Paleo diet a try if you’re interested in shifting your eating to focus on nutrient dense foods that our bodies were designed to eat.
With the Paleo diet, you decide how many carbs you eat depending on your goals and activity level. The occasional Paleo-approved desserts are allowed (encouraged if you ask me).
The Paleo diet is also backed by science. This online course by Dr. Sarah (The Paleo Mom) explores all the scientific evidence that points towards the Paleo diet. For a deep dive into Paleo, check it out here.
Recommended Resource For the Paleo Diet
If you’re looking for a resource to get you up and going with the Paleo diet, The Paleo Template by The Paleo Mom is a great choice.
It provides a comprehensive quick-start to Paleo. With family friendly recipes, meal plans, shopping lists, and the science behind why Paleo works, it’s everything you need to get started with the Paleo diet.
And if you’re working on healing an autoimmune disease with AIP, Dr. Sarah has a great resource specifically for the AIP protocol. Her E-book The Autoimmune Protocol has everything you need to get started with the healing AIP diet.
Whole 30 Diet Basics
The Premise of Whole 30
What’s the deal with The Whole 30? The idea is…certain foods could be having a negative effect on your health and you may not even realize it.
Food groups like sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes are eliminated completely from your diet for 30 days to let your body heal and recover from whatever ill effects those foods may have been causing.
“NO” foods on the Whole 30
- Sugar (of any form)
- Junk food
Possible benefits of the Whole 30
- Weight loss
- Feel more energetic
- Overall happier and better mood
Paleo vs Whole 30 And Why Whole 30 Might Be The Right Choice For You
The Whole 30 was designed to be a temporary thing. It’s 30 days of a super strict elimination diet, with the idea that you add foods back in one group at a time (and make note of how you feel). I haven’t actually done The Whole 30, but I think it would be a valuable thing to do every now and then to “reset” your body.
When you look side by side at Paleo vs Whole 30, you’ll see there are a lot of similarities between the two. The difference is that Whole 30 eliminates all sweeteners and dairy. And the Whole 30 was designed to be a short-term elimination diet.
If you’re looking to jump right in to an elimination diet, Whole 30 is a great option to “reset” your body.
Recommended Whole 30 resource:
Keto Diet Basics
The Premise of The Keto Diet
What’s the premise of the Keto diet?
Eat VERY low carb and high fat.
By severely restricting your carb intake, you put your body into a state called ketosis. When your body is in ketosis, it’s incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. Instead of relying on carbs for energy, your body is able to convert fat into energy.
Suggested Macro Breakdown for the standard keto diet
Instead of a strict “yes” list and “no” list, the Keto diet focuses on a certain ratio for macro-nutrients. According to this article, the macro breakdown for the standard keto diet is:
- Fat: 75%
- Protein: 20%
- Carbohydrates: 5%
Instead of stressing about calculating your macros for each meal, grab this 28 day keto meal plan that’s personalized JUST for you! Follow the plan and you won’t need to worry about whether you’re staying in your target macros or not!
keto “no” foods
The focus in Keto is on the macros, but there are a few foods that are on the “no” list.
- Foods high in carbs (starchy vegetables, pasta, rice, etc.)
- Refined oils
Possible benefits of keto
- Weight loss
- Reduced blood sugar and insulin levels
- Benefits for a wide variety of different health conditions
Paleo vs Keto And Why Keto Might BE the right choice for you
In the Keto diet you can’t eat much fruit without crossing the carb threshhold, so it might not be a realistic option for you if you like eating summer berries and seasonal fruit like I do. If you think you can be really strict about your carb intake, give it a shot!
If I were buying one Keto book, it would definitely be this one because of the delicious recipes made with simple ingredients.
What do Paleo, Keto, and Whole 30 have in common?
One thing all these diets have in common is the elimination of processed foods and refined sugar (remember the venn diagram from earlier). If you’re looking to eliminate processed food from your diet, it’s possible, even though it might not seem like it. Use one of these diets or just start using simple ingredients in your cooking.
Which is the right choice for YOU?
So what about you? Which is the path you want to go down? As you sit down to compare the three…Keto vs Paleo vs Whole 30…think about your end goal, and think about which diet sounds like it could work for you?
And who knows…maybe you end up doing something else all together!
Pin this chart for later as you try and figure out what will work best for you. Try one diet for a few weeks, and if its just not working, make a change.
Honestly I feel like I fell into the Paleo diet. After months of elimination diets and plenty of trial and error, I’ve learned what works for my body. And since going gluten free, grain free, (mostly) legume free, and refined sugar free…I feel better than ever. Even my kids follow the Paleo diet (most of the time).
Whatever diet you decide, find out a version that works for your body by testing and keeping a food journal.
Whether you’re desperately trying to lose a few pounds or you just want enough energy to read a book to your toddler without falling asleep, changing the food you’re eating can help with your goals.
I’d love to hear what steps you’re taking on your path to wellness. Leave a comment below and let me know.